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Aging Home Heating System: Should You Repair or Replace?
Studies have shown that only about 55% of U.S. homeowners have their heating equipment serviced regularly. Those who don’t follow a recommended maintenance schedule usually experience higher fuel bills, more repairs and shorter equipment life. Heating equipment that is maintained properly uses less fuel than units not maintained. Approximately 75% of all emergency repairs can be prevented with regular maintenance.
With all that said, regular maintenance can only take you so far when have an aging oilheat system. Even the best maintained heating equipment will eventually wear out because it can only last so long.
There will be a point where repairs will cost more than they’re worth, since an old heating system will continue to have low fuel efficiency – along with poor performance and a greater chance for further breakdown.
So what should you look at as you decide whether to continue making repairs or go ahead and replace your home heating system? Here are some guidelines.
Determine the age of your heating system – If your heating system is more than 15 years old, you should consider replacing it soon. The average life span of a heating system is about 20 years old. Doing online research using the manufacturer name, furnace model and serial number should help you determine the age of the unit; your heating oil company may also be able to help you get the answer.
Compare repair and replace costs – A new furnace or boiler is a significant investment for your home. But repair costs can be high, too – and with a repair, you have to consider the possibility of the problem happening again in the future. Follow this guideline: if your heating system repair exceeds 50 percent of replacement costs – especially on an older unit – you should probably replace it.
Consider system efficiency – Old heating systems burn more fuel because of their inefficiencies, which means you’ll see higher fuel expenses. An old heating unit could have an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of less than 70 percent. A replacement model can be 85% efficient or higher.
Consider Maine oilheat rebates – Current rebates for energy efficient heating systems could save you hundreds of dollars on new equipment – perhaps enough to tip the scales in favor of replacement. Read more.