One of the most functional and efficient options for whole-house heating is installing a boiler system. Homeowners can choose from gas boilers, oil boilers and baseboard boiler systems. In this guide, you’ll find information regarding boiler prices, installation prices, if you should buy a new system or replace an existing system and other cost considerations.
AFUE ratings make it easier for homeowners to compare a boiler’s efficiency rates. For example, all gas and oil-fired boilers manufactured after September 1, 2012 must have an efficiency rating of 82-84%, according to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
Oil-fired boilers with an AFUE rating of 87% or higher and gas-fired boilers with an AFUE of 90% or higher are awarded Energy Star qualification through the Environmental Protection Agency.
How much does a boiler cost?
Before considering boiler pricing, you must consider what kind of system is best for your home. Do you want gas, oil or a baseboard system? Here’s a breakdown of the pricing you can expect for each of these choices:
- Gas boiler: $3,900 to $5,600
- Oil boiler: $4,800 to $6,700
- Baseboards: $2,100 to $3,500
Boiler pricing depends on if you’re looking for a budget, medium-grade, or premium-grade boiler. For example, if you’re in the market for a high-efficiency boiler (one that’s 90-99% AFUE), the cost breakdown looks like this:
- Budget: $2,400 to $2,600
- Medium-grade: $2,600 to $2,700
- Premium-grade: $2,700 to $3,000
However, some boiler prices can run up to $8,000 without the cost of labor. Your best recourse is contacting an HVAC professional to receive an in-home estimate regarding your new boiler cost.
Boiler installation pricing depends on both labor costs and the boiler itself. Under most circumstances, the installation of a standard gas-fired boiler ranges between $2,500 and $5,000. Installing an oil-fired boiler ranges between $3,000 and $6,500. If you’re looking for a replacement boiler, the costs for that including installation average around $5,150.
Homeowners looking for high-efficiency boilers, which include 90-99% AFUE for gas and 90% for oil, will pay between $6,000 and $9,000 for both oil and gas models. These prices can vary, though, depending on the HVAC company’s business model and regional labor costs.
New vs. replacement costs
According to findings from the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, older boiler models have efficiency ratings between 56-70% AFUE, while newer models have efficiency ratings as high as 98.5% AFUE. Updating from 56% to 90% AFUE in an average home in a cold climate saves 1.5 tons of carbon monoxide emissions annually when those homes use gas heating and 2.5 tons when they use oil.
The average lifespan of a boiler is approximately fifteen years. If your boiler is older than that, consider a replacement. If you’re experiencing a significant amount of repairs, replacing the boiler is more cost-effective. The same is true if you notice your utility bills skyrocketing or if your water is taking much longer to heat. Replacing a boiler is far more economical over time than paying repeated repair costs.
Factors that affect boiler prices
Several factors affect boiler pricing.
- Size and type of the unit
- Professional installation
- Type of fuel (i.e., gas vs. oil)
- Advanced features
Costs to run a boiler
If you’ve never used a boiler before, you’ll find it’s similar in energy efficiency to a furnace.
A boiler’s age plays a significant role in its energy efficiency. Older units typically provide between 56-70% AFUE, while newer boilers have ratings up to 98.5%. Higher AFUE ratings mean that more fuel goes toward heating your home.
Average boiler repairs range between $200 and $350. However, some repairs can cost up to $3,000. Many factors affect the cost of repairs, including the following:
- Broken parts
- The boiler’s location
- If the boiler needs to be moved for servicing
- Required electrical work
- Type of fuel
- The HVAC professional you choose to do the service
Costs to run per year
According to EfficiencyMaine.gov, here’s an annual cost breakdown for using a boiler:
- Natural gas-fired Energy Star boiler: $2,005 annually
- Oil-fired Energy Star boiler: $2,150 annually
- Propane-fired Energy Star boiler: $3,015 annually
Costs vary according to the region and the price of fuel per gallon.
Additional costs to consider
Other factors come into play when installing or replacing a new boiler system.
If your home needs new ductwork, you will pay additional material and labor costs when you install a boiler. If you are replacing an old unit, you will likely need new ductwork, which costs between $2,000 and $3,000 on average. If you don’t need new ductwork, your HVAC professional will perform tests to ensure your existing system doesn’t have any leaks.
Home insulation efficiency
In older homes, insulation becomes less efficient over time. Therefore, heat loss occurs, and it might be time to update your home’s insulation.
New gas lines
If you’re replacing an older boiler system, your HVAC professional will also advise a new gas line installation. The older lines may have damage or may not line up correctly with the new boiler system.