How old is your boiler?
The age of a boiler is often the most important consideration. If it is less than ten years old then it is probably repairable, but any boiler over ten years old that has broken down should probably be replaced.
The cost of sourcing parts on an older boiler can be high, and once one part has failed there is always a risk that other parts are also on their way out. In recent years we have seen many boilers fail due to faulty PCBs (printed circuit boards), for example, and these are often quite expensive to replace. When an electrical fault occurs it may not always have an immediate impact on the boiler but instead result in inefficient or improper running, and this can cause additional wear and tear on other mechanisms.
Replacing the PCB, which will often cost several hundred dollars, will fix the problem in the short term, but you may find that after six months there is another more serious problem that was lurking in the shadows. A good engineer can always repair it, of course, and it might carry on running well for another five years without any issues.
Another consideration that is linked with the age of a boiler is its warranty. Some boilers come with long-term parts warranties and this can reduce the cost of repair considerably. A repair job should also be under warranty for the specific repair. If you choose to have it repaired, always check first with your plumber that the repair will have a warranty, for both parts and labor, so that if it fails you are covered.
A new boiler will automatically come with a longer warranty, so by replacing the boiler completely you can rest assured that you will have around five years of minimal repair or servicing costs. But, there is always small print with a warranty. Often the warranty for replacement parts is only honored if you use the manufacturer’s chosen engineers to replace them and sometimes this costs far more than using your local heating engineer to carry out the repairs. Warranties are not always the cheapest option.
Another consideration is the brand of your old boiler. Some boilers are simply built to last longer than others, and an experienced heating engineer will know which brands should be repaired and which are best replaced.
A new boiler, of course, can easily cost over $1000 more than a repair job. Does the additional cost of replacing an unreliable boiler (that can be fixed) really weigh up? This is really something for you to decide – every boiler repairer will confidentially tell you that you should repair it, and every boiler salesperson will tell you why you need to replace it!
Really it comes down to your own judgment. For most people, the big question is whether or not they can afford to buy a new boiler. You might own the oldest and most unreliable boiler ever made, but if you only have a few hundred dollars in your emergency cash fund you probably have very little choice but to repair it and hope that it keeps you warm and cozy for another year.
If your boiler is showing those telltale signs that it might be heading for a breakdown, contact RupCoe before it shuts down and leaves you out in the cold this winter. And remember, a well-serviced boiler will always outlast one that has been neglected.