When Should I Replace My Boiler?
We know that really understanding your boiler and how it works (or should be working) can be a little bit tricky. Especially for new homeowners or people who are inexperienced with using home heating oil in their house.
Unfortunately, like everything, boilers have a lifespan and will always need to be replaced at some point eventually. This might be a case of weeks or years depending on the age and condition of your boiler, but what’s important to know is when the right time to do this is. Because, as we’ll cover later, you could be wasting a lot of money if your boiler is outdated or not working to full capacity.
Let’s start with the basics:
Boilers are all assigned an energy-efficiency rating, with ratings from A-G (A = Most efficient, G=Least…)
These ratings are based on how well the boiler can convert the fuel you place in it, into effective heating for your home. A-Rated Boilers range from 90-95% efficiency, meaning almost all of the fuel you buy is being put to good use in your home.
G-Rated boilers however, usually only max-out at 70% efficiency (often only 60%). Which means that in some cases nearly half of your fuel (and spending) is basically down the drain.
All new boilers should be A-rated, and if you are holding on to a boiler that’s 10-15 years old it’s most likely in the G-rating territory. Meaning you could be losing heat and wasting money on bills that are way too high.
Now, we know that replacing a boiler can be a stressful and expensive task and it might not always be necessary. If you are servicing your boiler annually it could still be in good condition and sometimes a simple repair or replacement part can solve an underperforming boiler.
So what we’re going to do is walk through some situations to help you decide whether its time to replace that beloved boiler of yours.
On average a boiler has a lifespan of 10-15 years. As you might have guessed, the older a boiler gets – the more often it will need repairing. If you are getting by on your annual service and are not noticing drops in efficiency regularly, then there’s no need to worry.
The tell-tale signs that the boiler could be on its last legs is when you’re noticing issues every few months and need to call in for repairs or replacement parts each time. The labour costs of these visits, on top of the cost of parts, and the call-out charge can be quite expensive if they are a regular occurrence.
At this stage you should weigh up the costs of this against installing a new boiler, because after a while the repair and replacement costs could stack up to more than a brand-new unit.
Struggling to find replacement parts?
The other problem with having an older boiler is that over time it can become tricky to locate the correct replacement parts should you need them. These parts can be hard to find simply because they’re not being mass-produced any longer. Which also means once you do find them, they’re most likely going to end up more expensive due to their relative rarity.
Also, sometimes these parts are not even new! Instead taken from older boilers – which means there will be no warranty, quality assurance for the part you spent ages trying to find and forked out a lot of cash for!
House or water is cold?
This may sound too obvious to mention but if you feel like your home is cold even when you are setting the usual parameters for your heating system – this is a big red flag. Cold radiators or your taps running cold water could be a sign of system damage, a blockage, frozen pipes or a thermostat issue.
Some of these may be fixable with a service or standalone repair job. The key thing to keep an eye on is the regularity of these issues. Like we’ve said before the cost of these repairs can quickly add up, meaning a complete replacement might be far more cost-effective in the long run.
Hearing strange sounds?
Of course, boilers and radiators make noises, which after a while you won’t even notice anymore because you’re so used to them. However, if you do start noticing your radiator or boiler singing a new unusual tune – this could be a big hint that something is not right.
Sometimes this can be fixed with a simple service. If there is a build-up of sludge or grime it can be flushed out and the problem is solved. You’ll know something more serious is afoot if you are noticing the radiator or boiler hissing, vibrating, banging, clanking, clicking, whistling or wailing regularly.
If this is the case, it could be a sign that something in the system is indefinitely blocked or damaged. If this is happening for you, it might be time to take the plunge and fork out for a replacement boiler or system upgrade.
As well as making peculiar sounds, your boiler or radiators can also let you know they aren’t feeling 100% by letting off unpleasant odours. The smell of eggs in particular is one to keep your nose peeled for. Especially if it is near to your boiler as this stench can be a sign that the boiler is leaking carbon monoxide. If you fear this might be the case, make sure to shut down your boiler immediately and call for a service as soon as you can as this can be very dangerous.
Other stinks to be aware of are the smell of oil, metal or hot plastic. These could be evidence of some part of your heating system overheating. If unsure the best thing to again is to shut down the system and call for assistance to avoid long-term damage to your boiler or house.
Once again, these issues could be solved with a one-time visit from your boiler-technician. If however these are happening regularly it is definitely worth looking into a complete system replacement, both for your wallet and your safety.
Boiler turns itself off?
One more tell-tale sign that something is not right in your system is if you notice that your boiler is turning itself off. Most boilers will have a device built-in which works as a safety cut-off. Meaning that if the boiler or one of its parts starts overheating, it will shut itself down in order to prevent any larger damage to itself or your home.
So, if you notice that this is happening it could actually be potentially quite dangerous. So instead of investigating it yourself we would recommend once again that you turn off the boiler and heating system and call for professional help.
If there is permanent damage to your system this could yet again be a sign that it’s the right time to invest in a new boiler.
The Benefits of a New System
If you do decide to replace your boiler, don’t worry it’s not all doom and gloom! The money you spend now will guarantee that your relationship with your home heating becomes a much more pleasant and stress-free situation.
First of all, you’re surely going to see a noticeable reduction in your spending and fuel consumption which means more savings and better peace of mind.
A new boiler will most likely come with some form of guarantee, so you won’t need to worry if anything is amiss as you’ll be covered by your supplier.
With newer boilers you can take advantage of the advancement in technology – meaning you will have access to better customization and programmable controls which can aid in further lowering your costs and making sure no fuel is going to waste.
New boilers and their systems are often sleeker and more compact than older models also so you could end up with more space in your home.
We hope this little tour through the world of boilers was helpful to you in deciding whether its time to upgrade, or at least given you some tips on what to look out for in the future.
Whether you decide to replace your system or stick it and see, you can always rely on Campus to be there to provide the fuel to keep your home warm and cosy. Order Online Now for the best prices monitored daily.
Sources: Seai, CSO, Bord Gais