Should I repair or replace my heating oil furnace or boiler
As you know, your furnace is what converts your heating oil into heat for your home. It’s an important (and expensive) asset, and you’ll want to make sure it’s working properly. That raises a great question – how do you know when you should replace or repair your heating oil system? Let’s find out!
Getting to know your furnace
You already learned that your oil tank has a lifespan of about 15-25 years in a well-maintained environment, and your oil furnace is the same – with some variables.
Not all furnace systems are equal, and some are built better than others – usually meaning they will last longer. Honestly, a 15-year lifespan for a modern furnace is pretty low, but it is a possible outcome if it’s not maintained properly, has moisture, and it’s in a less-than-ideal spot in your house. BUT, on the brighter side of things – you can bank on a 25+ year time-frame if you have a well-built system in the right place that is well-maintained!
Efficiency and Performance
Simply, you want an efficient oil furnace system. However, the definition of “efficiency” is also variable. It’s hard to say what a “good” efficiency is but generally 85% and above is good – but it will vary from unit to unit. What you really want to focus on instead is the comparison rates of your unit over time.
To actually do this, take your initial efficiency rate when it was new and compare it to right now. Say you had 85% and it dropped to 75% in a year and the trend is still going down, you’ll want to get this checked out for possible potential issues. Lower efficiency means that all things being equal (i.e. weather, number of people in the house) you’ll burn more oil – which will cost you in the long-run.
P.S. If you need help gauging your usage, Heatable can help you out! Everyone can track their usage on the account so it should help you figure out if your annual usage is going up.
Troubleshooting Potential Issues
It’s important to keep an eye on the performance of your furnace to discover any concerns. Things to look for (but not limited to) may include:
Are there a bunch of new sounds coming from it?
Has its ability to evenly heat rooms changed?
Is it running more frequently than usual?
Is it producing more dust and soot?
Is it smoking or giving off carbon monoxide? (This is obviously an emergency situation to get someone out there ASAP)
Repair or Replace?
Now it’s time for the action: repair or replacement. Here are some general rules of thumb for either scenario, but you’ll want the opinion of 2-3 trained technicians to make the most informed decision.
Repair: If the heating oil system repair is a straightforward fix (with accessible and cost-appropriate parts) at a reasonable cost.
Replace: You’ll likely be looking at repairing your heating oil system replacement with these scenarios:
If the unit is 20 years old or older
If the efficiency is 20% lower than when it was purchased and declining each year (with the usage going up)
If it’s not heating the home the same
If there are signs of corrosion and increased noises
If the estimate for repair is >33% of heating oil system replacement cost
Maintain, maintain, maintain!
In addition to keeping your system in a relatively clean and low-moisture environment, it’s also crucial to have annual tune-ups to ensure the health of your system, make sure it’s running efficiently, and to pinpoint any issues. You can read more about annual tune ups (with a focus on your oil tank) here, but seriously, get that date on the calendar!
I’m all up to speed on my furnace plan and now I need some oil! Hook me up!
At Heatable, we’re all about bringing you heating oil in the smartest, fastest, least expensive, and easiest way possible. To get started, simply enter your zip code on our website or app and see if you live in one of our ever-expanding Maine & New Hampshire delivery areas. If you do, we’ll show you the current price of oil – and let you know exactly when we can deliver it (hint: very quickly, we’re kinda known for that). You’ll need to enter a few pieces of information for your first delivery, and then from there on out you can order heating oil anywhere, anytime, and all online with just two taps and a swipe on your smartphone. Just Tap, Tap, Swipe and we bring the heat!
Learn more about Heating Oil
Visit our Ultimate Consumer’s Guide to Heating Oil for everything you need to know about heating your home with #2 heating oil.
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