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When Should I Replace My Heating Equipment?

When it comes to larger appliances in your home, namely your heating and plumbing equipment, it can seem like all hell breaks loose when something is out of whack. With that said, it can seemingly cost a small fortune to make certain repairs or replace certain units entirely. So, does it make more financial sense to do it now or later? We’re shedding some light on the situation, below!


We understand that heating and plumbing equipment is not something you typically replace on a monthly or yearly basis. Sometimes a system can seem like it’s working just fine when in reality, it’s draining your bank account. Other times, things may in fact, be working just fine even though the system might be a few years (or even decades) old. So, how can you tell the difference?

Let’s start with a few of the largest energy guzzlers in your home — the furnace, boiler, water heater and refrigerator. In most cases, replacing these pieces of equipment as they near 15 – 20 years of age is a wise decision even if they’re still operating. Why? Older models tend to use much higher amounts of energy in order to operate, while newer models can actually save you a ton as a result of energy-efficient features.

Should I Replace The Furnace/Boiler?

If you live in a colder climate, as we do here in Detroit, you likely spend ⅔ or your energy budget or more on heating costs each year. Cutting back on these costs is one of the easiest and best ways to cut down on your annual utility bills, so here’s what you should consider:

  • If the unit is 15 years old, or older, it likely makes more financial sense to replace it now rather than wait a few more months, or years, until it officially stops working.  
  • It the unit is 5 years old or less, chances are a newer model won’t be that much more energy efficient, so upgrading won’t be worth the up-front cost. 
  • If the unit falls somewhere in between, you need to find out how energy efficient your current system is as well as do some math to calculate annual repair costs. If you’re spending a few hundred dollars each year on repairs, it’s probably best to upgrade now and reap the benefits in the long run.

Should I Replace The Water Heater?

Natural gas or propane water heaters typically account for somewhere between 15% and 20% of energy consumption in your home. Electric water heaters are also an option, but they too consume lots of energy. Here’s what you should consider:

  • If your gas or propane water heater is 10 years old or older, it likely makes more financial sense to replace it now. Models manufactured more than 10 years ago were made to operate at around 50% efficiency, while newer models can operate at upwards of 80% – 95% efficiency. 
  • If it’s 5 years old or less, you can hold off for a while. The only reason you should consider replacing the system if it falls into this category if it needs a major repair already. 
  • If it falls in between, just like your furnace, you need to do some calculations. If you find out that it operates below 80% efficiency, it’s probably a good idea to replace it.

Still unsure? We’re here to help! Call on the experts at Levine & Sons today and we’ll help you make an educated decision depending on your unique situation.

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