Should I Repair or Replace My Heating Oil System?

Should I Repair or Replace My Heating Oil System?

Here Are Some Guidelines to Help You Decide

furnace boiler maine You will eventually reach a point where repairs to your aging heating oil system will cost more than they’re worth. That’s because an old heating oil furnace or boiler will continue to have low fuel efficiency – along with poor performance and a greater chance for further breakdowns.

So how do you determine whether to repair or replace your home heating oil system? Here are some guidelines.

  1. The age of your heating system – If your heating system is more than 15 years old, you should consider replacing it soon. It’s better to invest your money into a new high-efficiency system with the latest technology– which will lower your annual fuel costs– rather than putting your money into an aging system with worn parts prone to failure.
  2. Compare repair and replace costs – A new heating oil furnace or heating oil boiler represents a significant investment for your home. But repair costs can be high. With a repair, you need to consider the possibility of the problem happening again in the future. Here’s a rule of thumb: if your heating system repair exceeds 50% of replacement costs – especially on an older unit – you should probably replace it.
  3. Consider system efficiency – Old heating systems burn more fuel because of their inefficiencies, which means you’ll get higher bills. An old heating unit could have an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of less than 70%. A replacement model can be 85% efficient or higher.

Understanding Efficiency Ratings for Heating Systems

AFUE is a type of energy efficiency rating used for furnaces and boilers, including those fueled by heating oil. The AFUE number—usually found on a yellow sticker attached to your heating system—represents how much of the fuel your equipment consumes is being directed toward producing heat for your living space.

For example, in a newer heating system with an 85% AFUE rating, 85% of the fuel consumed by the heating system goes toward heating your home; the remaining 15% is lost in the combustion process—usually getting wasted up the chimney.

Another way to judge AFUE is to consider it in terms of the dollars you spend on fuel. In an 85% AFUE furnace, 85 cents of every dollar will go toward heating your Maine home. But if your oil-powered furnace is old and not well maintained, your actual AFUE could drop into the 60s or even 50s. This is a big reason why new heating oil equipment usually pays for itself quickly. You’ll also see savings on maintenance and repairs when you update your system.

Knowing the AFUE rating remains an important bit of information when it comes time to high efficiency home heating equipment. But AFUE doesn’t tell the whole efficiency story. Proper heating system installation and periodic heating system maintenance are also extremely important pieces of the equation.

Ensure a Proper Heating Oil System Installation

Once you have selected a new heating oil system, your heating oil service expert will install it the right way. This requires skilled technicians with specialized training. The bottom line: installing a new heating system will increase energy efficiency and save you money, as long as the heating oil boiler or heating oil furnace is sized and installed correctly.

People Use Less Heating Oil Now

Today’s heating oil boilers and heating oil furnaces offer Maine homeowners a great opportunity to increase their comfort while decreasing their energy usage. New heating oil systems can now heat a home using significantly less energy compared to older generation equipment.

The combination of higher blends of Bioheat® fuel with increasingly efficient heating oil systems serves as the 1-2 punch that will help homeowners save significant money on their energy bills while their homes are becoming more carbon neutral. The growth of Bioheat fuel makes it possible to install more super high efficiency systems in the years ahead.

Compared to about 25 years ago, homeowners now need an average of 500 gallons less heating oil to heat their homes each year. That’s because new, high-efficiency heating systems feature enhanced technology and control capabilities to provide optimal comfort while decreasing energy costs. Another popular feature of modern, high-efficiency heating systems is that they operate significantly quieter than old heating systems.

In contrast, old heating systems were built with thick metal components that do a poor job at transferring heat. Unfortunately, many of these systems are still in use today and people who still use them pay so much more to heat their home.

If you’re ready to explore new heating oil system options for your home, your Maine full-service heating oil company will be happy to help. Be sure to ask about savings opportunities through available equipment rebates and tax credits.