Written on: May 28, 2022
Much like your car, regular preventive maintenance goes a long way in extending the lifespan of your heating oil equipment, including oil-powered boilers. But even the best-maintained heating equipment eventually wears out.
You will then reach a point where repairs will cost more than they’re worth since an old 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 oil boiler? Here are some guidelines.
Just like your water heater, if you see outward signs of rust on your boiler, its time is running out. A professional inspection may also reveal damage to piping or other boiler components.
Is your old boiler keeping you warm enough? A properly working oil boiler should keep you comfortable even on the coldest Hudson Valley nights, but a boiler’s operating performance diminishes with the passage of time.
If you also depend on your boiler to heat your domestic hot water—and you’re not getting as much hot water as before–this could be a sign of a leaking or corroded coil on the boiler, a warning of potential boiler failure.
There are two types of boilers: a steam boiler, often found in older homes, and the modern, and more energy-efficient, hot water boiler. Steam boilers require special safety precautions because of the temperature of the steam (the water must be heated to 212°F). As a result, it is vitally important to follow a regular maintenance schedule.
Your boiler extracts heat from heating oil as it burns; this heats the water (or creates steam) that will run through the zones that are calling for heat. The heat is delivered through your radiators or baseboards.
The problem is that some heat (as much as 30% in some older boiler models) will be lost as exhaust, which means you are paying a lot of money for heat that will never reach your living space.
In a high-efficiency condensing boiler, heat loss is reduced dramatically. By recycling heat from the exhaust process – and by operating at lower temperatures overall – your condensing boiler can improve operating efficiency by 10-15% compared to a non-condensing boiler.
So why aren’t all boilers condensing, considering their obvious efficiency advantages? For one thing, condensing boilers cost more to manufacture. Plus, a condensing boiler is not practical for all homes. What’s more, installing a condensing boiler correctly requires highly trained technicians who know how to capitalize on the efficiency benefits of these sophisticated machines.
By upgrading to a new oil boiler, you’ll be able to enjoy all of the great benefits of oilheat—now and in the future.
Besides better, more efficient equipment, there have been significant improvements in the quality of heating oil itself. This is due to the vast reduction of the sulfur content in heating oil and blending it with renewable biodiesel. Known as Bioheat® fuel, this fuel contains biodiesel that is composed of various organic products, including vegetable oils, animal fats, and even algae and various grasses.
Why will this reduce carbon emissions? Biodiesel is considered a biogenic fuel that reduces carbon by 100%. By contrast, when fuels that do not contain biodiesel are burned, they take carbon that was stored in the ground and put it back into the atmosphere.
Meanwhile, the combustion of biofuels and other biogenic energy sources recycle carbon-dioxide emissions through renewable plant materials and other biomass feedstocks. That’s why you’ll be hearing a lot about net-zero carbon emissions in the years ahead. You can read more about Bioheat fuel here.
If you’re ready to explore new heating system options for your home, reach out to your local heating oil service company and be sure to ask about saving money on new heating oil equipment with New York State rebates.