the age of the
A simple question.... and the
simple answer to is this- If the steel boiler or furnace is more than 20 years old or the
heat pump is more that 10 years old you should plan on replacing the
Life Expectancies and the discussion below.
Warning!!-- Rules of thumb are useful however
the guideline must be balanced with how the heating unit was fabricated and type
of materials used as well as its physical condition and level of
maintenance. Guidelines are no substitution for a
age of the heating unit is a good indicator for anticipating the level of
repairs, estimating when replacement will be needed, and the level of reserve
funds needed for repairs and/or replacement.
A reserve fund is the balance in your savings account after closing,
moving, decorating, and other expenses are paid and will be needed for repairing immediate
deficiencies or replacement them.
heating system uses energy (oil, natural gas, LP gas, electricity, solar, or the
heat in water or air) for heating a home. The
heating unit (either a boiler, furnace, electric baseboard, or heat pump
system) converts the energy into heat and distributes the heat within the home.
A boiler is used in steam or hot water heated homes, whereas a furnace or
heat pump which consists of a condensing unit that contains a compressor,
and air handling unit) is used for hot air systems. Typically electrically heated homes
use permanently mounted electric heaters in each room.
are fabricated using either steel plates that are welded together or cast
iron sections that are mechanically joined, hence the name steel boiler or cast
iron boiler. Furnaces
are fabricated using welded steel plates or stainless steel.
symbol or lack of a symbol on the boiler name plate will indicate the
type of boiler. "IBR"
indicates a cast iron boiler and "SBI" or no symbol indicates a
steel boiler. Unless the furnace is
labeled with a notice that the heat exchange is stainless steel or guaranteed
for life (read the warranty for restrictions) furnaces are steel units.
following useful life expectancy guidelines are averages and averages are affected by the quality and thickness of the metal, welding method and
workmanship, amount of usage,
quality of maintenance, environmental conditions (like dampness, corrosive
water, etc.). The general accepted life for steel constructed units
is 15 to 20 years and cast iron units 40 to 50 years. Heat pump systems have an average life of 10 years.
The bottom line
is this-- if your dream home has a twenty to twenty five year old boiler that looks like it's
on it last leg , for a cast iron unit the deterioration indicates a lack of
maintenance and with proper serving will serve you for the next 15 to 25 years or if it's a steel unit you should increase your reserve fund by the total cost
for replacing the unit. For steel
furnace over twenty years and heat
pump system over ten years old full replacement cost should be included in
your reserve fund.
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