It is rarely easy to decide whether to repair or replace an expensive appliance when the time comes. If the cost of repairing your boiler exceeds the cost of replacing it then the decision is easy but that is rarely the case. More often a careful weighing of the pros and cons of each option is required.
The first step in your decision should be to get the opinion of a local heating engineer. Have your boiler inspected and get an estimate for both repair and replacement of the unit. The heating contractor will assess the potential for increased energy savings and can suggest the expected short term and long-term costs of both repair and replacement. When you have that information be sure to get one more, if not two, expert opinions so you are able to make a balanced decision.
The issues that you and the boiler expert will need to take into account are:
Age of the Boiler
Once you have to repair an old boiler the chances are good that you will need to do it again sometime down the road. An average boiler has an expected lifetime of approximately 15 years. If your boiler is more than 10 years old, it may be time to seriously consider a replacement as your repair may not last long. On the other hand, a boiler that is 3-5 years old has a long life ahead of it and is a good risk for repair.
Cost of Operating the Boiler
A newer boiler will cost less to operate than your old one. Consider that modern boilers run at 90-95% efficiency compared with the 50-70% efficiency of a boiler 6-10 years old. Given the increase in heating costs over the last few years saving 30-50% on your energy bill can be an impressive amount of money over the course of just a year or two.
How Long Will You Live in the Home
If you plan to stay in the home for a few years having an efficient and reliable boiler may make a lot of sense. But what if you plan to move soon? Before you decide to repair you may want to consider the increase in the value of the home a new boiler will make. (A quick chat with a local real estate agent should give you an idea what the increased value will be.)
Peace of Mind
Peace of mind has its own price tag. Knowing that your boiler is going to be reliable and efficient for years to come may be worth spending a bit more now. The actual value of peace of mind varies from one person to the next but it is definitely worth considering as you make your big decision.