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Boilers—Repair or Replace?

Although new homes are usually equipped with modern, energy efficient heating systems, many older homes still utilize hot water or steam boiler systems for their space heating needs. Similarly, boiler systems remain commonplace in large buildings and multi-family housing complexes because they tend to perform well in commercial sites where heating systems serve multiple tenants. As boilers continue to age, however, and maintenance costs rise, home and business owners are ultimately faced with making a tough decision:  repair or replace?

Consider the Advantages of Boilers

 * They offer one of the simplest methods of space heating, which is one reason for their historical popularity. Properly maintained, they have a longer practical lifespan and are more reliable than more complex heating systems.
 * Because boiler systems use hot water or steam to heat the room, they deliver “clean heat,” a definite advantage for those who are allergic to dust and other airborne particles that get stirred up by systems that force heated air into the room.

Consider Maintenance Procedures and Costs

Like all heating and cooling systems, boilers require regular maintenance in order to function properly and at their highest level of efficiency. There are some basic procedures you can routinely perform yourself, like checking the water and pressure level gauges, but safety concerns dictate that a robust annual service—to include inspection of the burner, the chimney and flues, all controls and gauges, and the air valves on radiators—should be carried out by a qualified boiler system professional.

If your system is working poorly in spite of your maintenance efforts, it is a good idea to gather data on the anticipated number of years of service remaining on your boiler and your expected annual maintenance and repair costs.  In so doing, you will have a figure to compare with the estimated cost of a system replacement.

Consider System Efficiency

Generally speaking, water and steam heating are not as efficient as other space heating options. Ask your service professional to assist you in calculating the energy savings you could expect if you were to replace an ailing boiler with a forced air furnace or another type of system.  You will then be able to factor this information into your decision to repair or replace.

Consult an Expert

Whether you choose to keep your existing boiler running or to replace it altogether, working with a professional in the HVAC industry is essential to making the best decision for personal comfort, reliability and efficiency of the equipment, and economics.

Eck Heating Cooling, Inc. has been installing and servicing all types of HVAC systems—and maintaining a reputation for high-quality professionalism, dependability and honesty—for over a century. Visit www.eckheatingcooling.com to learn more and to contact an expert to discuss your HVAC needs.

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