Boil And Bubble: 3 Reasons You Should Replace An Oil-Filled Boiler System
If you have an oil-fired boiler, every time there's an oil price hike, the cost to heat your home or business gets jacked up, too. For that reason, and to get better efficiency out of their heating systems, many home and business owners are switching their oil-fired boilers over to gas or wood pellet units.
There are several reasons why you should consider replacing an aging boiler.
You live in one of the states with conversion initiatives.
If you live in New York State, your commercial boiler conversion could net you up to $200,000 in state assistance if you switch to a high efficiency boiler system. The average homeowner may receive only a tenth of that figure as reimbursement for the switch, but it's enough of an incentive to make the move since the state may be donating half the total cost.
New York State is sponsoring a switch to low-emission, high-efficiency cord wood and wood-pellet-fueled boilers, which heat water and then send it through radiator systems. Pellet boilers are the more maintenance-free choice, with automated fuel being fed from a supply of pellets stored in an outdoor bin. Homeowners only need to empty the ash drawer and check the pellet stores periodically to keep these boilers going.
You want to switch from steam heat to hot water heat, or from oil to gas for fuel.
Switching from a steam radiator system to a water-filled system means your entire piping and radiator system will probably need to be replaced. Some furnace repair companies will replace an oil-fueled burner with a gas-fueled burner for a fraction of the cost of a new boiler, but that doesn't change the mode of heat delivery in your rooms.
Another problem with this approach is that you're still stuck with an aging, inefficient boiler. You also may have compatibility issues between the types of burners and the system. Gas-fueled systems need extra features including proper venting to get rid of exhaust.
Steam and water generally need different sizes and configurations of pipes to heat your home comfortably, so you'll also need to replace most of the fittings in your system. Thermostatic radiator valves can be added to your system, however, which will give you control over each individual room. When you can adjust the flow for each space, you aren't wasting money overheating some rooms and under heating others.
You hate the way your pipes look.
Think long and hard before you decide to have pipes placed inside walls rather than simply redone inside your rooms. You can use special PEX tubing to run water through the walls, but this configuration could put your system at risk if a section of pipe fails and you need to quickly locate and repair a leak inside the wall.
Also, the heat will be displaced outside of the rooms, meaning it will take more energy to keep rooms comfortable when the piping is hidden behind walls. Pipes inside walls could also freeze, which creates another big set of problems when a burst pipe thaws out. It's better to box in your risers and pipes and learn to live with them than to risk hiding them behind your home's walls.