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When Should I Replace My Boiler? A New York City Tech Answers

January 21, 2021


In the New York City area, homeowners can typically expect boilers to last upwards of 15-30 years.

That said, if your boiler is over the 20-year mark, it may be time to consider preemptively replacing it.

We know it might be tough to consider replacing a boiler that seems to be working fine. However, preemptively replacing a 20+-year-old boiler typically results in the following benefits:

  • Lower monthly utility bills

  • More replacement options

  • Peace of mind

In this article, we’ll explain why you should consider preemptively replacing a boiler that’s close to or over 20 years of age.

For more information on boiler lifespans, check out our blog, “How Long Do Boilers Last in New York?”.


Think you’re due for a boiler replacement? Call Ranshaw. We’ll send a highly trained technician who can inspect your boiler then give you an upfront, fair price estimate for your boiler replacement project.

And if we think you can safely get a few more years out of your boiler, we’ll let you know. You’ll always get an honest recommendation when you call Ranshaw.

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Why should I preemptively replace my boiler?

Benefit #1: Lower monthly utility bills

The earlier you choose to preemptively replace your aging boiler, the more you save in the long run in the form of lower monthly utility bills. That’s because as a boiler increases in age, efficiency usually begins to decrease. A new boiler will heat your home using much less fuel than your aging boiler does.

To explain, let’s first explain boiler efficiency ratings.

Boiler efficiency is measured by AFUE ratings—a ratio of how much heat the boiler provided over the course of a heating season compared to the amount of fossil fuel it consumed. The higher the AFUE percentage, the more efficient the boiler.

A 20-year-old boiler when initially installed most likely had an AFUE rating considerably lower compared to modern boilers. And keep in mind that a boiler’s efficiency drops steadily year after year. Your old boiler could have an AFUE rating as low as 60%.

Boiler’s today, however, have AFUE ratings that are typically 82% - 83% for steam and 83% - 85% for hot water systems. Upgrading from an older boiler can result in huge utility savings.

Let’s compare below…

  • 60% AFUE boiler: For every $100 you spend on heating oil or gas, $60 goes toward actually heating your home and $40 is wasted to inefficiencies in the heating process.

  • 85% AFUE boiler: For every $100 you spend on heating oil or gas, $96 goes toward actually heating your home and $15 is wasted to inefficiencies in the heating process.

As you can see, upgrading to a new boiler boiler means you waste less money every month on heating. And the sooner you replace the boiler, the more you save in the long run.

Benefit #2: More replacement options

If you’re in Queens or the NYC area and you have an oil-fired heating system, you may be considering making the switch to gas.

Afterall, gas heating systems provide the following benefits:

  • Less expensive compared to oil heating (both equipment AND fuel costs)
  • More energy-efficient than oil boilers
  • Gas heating produces fewer emissions than oil, so it’s more environmentally friendly
  • More convenient, no need for fuel oil deliveries

However, if your oil boiler breaks down in the middle of winter, switching to gas will not be an option.

Why is this the case?

The process to convert to gas could be lengthy. Once started, you could be left without the use of a boiler for an extended period.

You see, when converting to gas, permits and inspections are required which are coordinated through the NYC department of building (DOB) and utility company. Unfortunately, this could involve long wait times.

Keeping that in mind, gas conversions should only be performed in the Spring or Summer when you don’t require the use of your boiler to keep you warm. So, if you don’t plan accordingly and replace your boiler before it fails for good, it’s possible that you can miss the opportunity to convert to gas.

Benefit #3: Peace of mind

When you replace your aging boiler with a brand new system, you eliminate the risk of costly repairs and/or untimely mid-winter boiler failure. That means you no longer need to stress over when your next boiler repair will hit and how much it will cost—or worse, when your boiler will finally fail and potentially leave your family without heat for an extended period of time.

Of course, the peace of mind that a new boiler affords is completely dependent on the quality of the boiler installation.

For example, if a boiler is installed improperly or is sized improperly, you will quickly run into bigger issues such as high utility bills, lower comfort levels and frequent, costly repairs.

That said, the contractor you choose to replace your boiler is an important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Inexperienced, dishonest contractors could result in rushed installation jobs or cutting corners to get the job done faster.

To ensure you get a quality installation and the peace of mind that a new boiler should provide, make sure the contractor you choose:

  • Has at least 10+ years of experience installing boilers

  • Is licensed and insured by the state of New York

  • Has plenty of positive reviews on sites such as Google or BBB

  • Can provide an upfront, honest boiler installation estimate in writing

  • Can back their installation work with a solid labor warranty

Need a boiler replacement in the NYC area?

Just contact the professionals at Ranshaw. We’ve provided boiler replacements to homeowners in the Queens and surrounding areas for more than 50 years.

When you call us, we’ll send over a skilled boiler professional who can inspect your system and give you honest recommendations on whether repairing or replacing your system is more advantageous in the long run. And, if you need to replace your boiler, we’ll provide you with an honest and fair boiler installation estimate in writing.

Plus, we back every boiler installation with a solid 1-year labor warranty for true peace of mind.

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