A boiler is one of the most efficient and functional options for whole house heating. The average cost to install a new boiler is $6,500 – $11,000, including all materials and professional labor.
Installing a boiler as opposed to a central furnace provides much greater efficiency and improved temperature control throughout your home.
We will review how much it costs to install a residential boiler system, types of boilers, their energy efficiency, as well as the best oil and gas boilers for 2022.
How Much Does A Boiler Cost?
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To get a new boiler, radiator, or the entire system contact your local HVAC pros for FREE estimates.
Across the US, homeowners report spending $4,500-7,500 to install boiler heating system.
Compared to the cost of a forced warm air furnace system, installing a boiler with radiators is roughly 3 times more expensive. However, it’s a superior heating system in areas that have prolonged cold weather.
Your total boiler installation cost depends on:
– the size of the house
– complexity of labor
– number of circulation valves
– number of radiators
– other system parts such as ducts, pipes, etc.
New radiators cost $100-500 each, depending on their size. Installing baseboard radiators costs $400-1,300 depending on the number of radiators and complexity of the job.
If you would like to install radiant flooring, expect to pay $3-7 per square foot, in addition to the costs of boiler installation.
Keep in mind that you may need to repair or completely replace old water pipes in order to make boiler heating work.
The average cost to repair piping is $550-1,200. However, replacing the entire main line can cost anywhere from $1,575 – 4,900 depending on the size of the pipe and complexity of labor.
Boiler Cost Break Down
Here is a summary of the prices homeowners pay for different types of boilers, as well as system parts, repairs, etc.
|Oil Boiler||$2,000 – 6,500 (device)|
|Gas Boiler||$1,200 – 4,500 (device)|
|New Install Hydronic System||$6 -12 / sq.ft. (labor only)|
|Install Standard Gas Boiler||$2,500 – 5,000 (labor and materials )|
|Install High Efficiency Gas Boiler||$6,000 – 9,000 (labor and materials)|
|Install Oil Boiler||$4,000 – 6,000 (labor and materials)|
|Boiler Repair||$300 – 700 (common issues)|
|Switch from oil to gas boiler||$5,000 – 8,000 (labor and materials)|
|Circulation Pump||$300 / each|
|Radiator||$100 – 500 / each depending on size|
|Radiant Flooring Installation||$3 – 7 / sq.ft|
|New Piping Installation||$1.25 – 2.50 / linear foot|
|Replace broken piping||$500 – 1,000|
|Install new pipe main line||$1,500-5,000|
|HVAC Contractor Labor||$70-85 / hr|
You can use our Boiler Cost Calculator to estimate the cost to replace a boiler in your house.
Average Boiler Prices
Installing or replacing a gas fueled boiler costs anywhere from $3,000-7,000 or more (including labor).
Your total boiler installation cost will depend on the type of boiler and complexity of the job. Keep in mind that a high efficiency gas boiler costs at least $1,000-2,000 more than a standard gas model.
Overall, the price of a boiler (oil or gas) depends on two factors: boiler brand and efficiency (AFU).
This efficiency rating describes how much of the boiler’s energy is actually being converted to heat as opposed to wasted, in real world conditions.
Did You Know? Standard efficiency boilers have an AFU of 80-85%.
High efficiency boilers have an AFU of at least 90%. While they cost a few thousand dollars more than a standard boiler, they can also save up to 30% on your heating costs.
An oil boiler costs 20-35% more than a gas one.
Cost To Switch From A Gas To An Oil Boiler
Because a gas boiler is significantly more efficient than an oil-fired boiler, many homeowners consider changing one for another.
If you want to switch from an oil to a gas boiler, you should budget at least $2,000 extra for this replacement. However, often times labor charges are even higher, especially if environmental clean up is involved.
However, you have to keep in mind that there may be a number of additional hidden costs involved:
When replacing an oil boiler, you need to test the tank for any potential leaks, as these present an environmental hazard. The test alone is around $500-650. Moreover, the soil around the tank also needed to be tested, and this costs $300-500.
If the oil tank is located above the ground, it will cost $1,200-2,000 to remove it. However, if its located below the ground, removal fees can be as high as $3,000.
In case there is minor soil contamination from an oil spill, cleaning it up typically costs $3,000-4,5000. However, if its a bigger job, the price can be as much as $10,000.
If there is major ground contamination, environmental clean up will cost, tens of thousands of dollars. Its not uncommon for homeowners to spend up to $90,000-1000,000 to clean up a major oil spill.
Also, remember than when you change from oil to a gas boiler, you will need to install new gas hook up and meter. This costs $1,000-1,700 and is done by your local gas company.
Hooking up the gas line between the meter and your home will add another $500-1,100 to the total install cost.
While making the change from oil to gas may seem like a very expensive upgrade, there are a few things to keep in mind:
– gas boiler equipment is significantly cheaper than oil boilers. For quality devices the price difference can be as much as $4,000
– the price of gas is significantly cheaper than the price of oil as a source of heat. While oil is currently inexpensive, its price can fluctuate drastically, and can go up when you least expect it.
– by installing a gas boiler you avoid the chance of an oil boiler rusting and creating a spill, which is very costly yo clean up.
– if something breaks, an oil boiler is more expensive to repair than a gas one. The price difference can be $250-500
$4,500 - $5,780
$4,900 - $6,100
$2,300 - $3,900
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What Is Boiler Heating?
Boilers account for about 1.5% of all heating systems installed across the US. Actually, boilers and radiators are primarily installed in Northern states, where very low temperatures last for many months.
A boiler (gas or oil) uses water as a heat transfer medium. The water is heated up inside the boiler, and then a pump sends it through pipes than can be connected to baseboard heaters, radiant flooring pipes, or radiators.
Traditionally, a boiler system uses hot water as the medium for heat transfer. However, in recent years, more advanced systems have been designed, which incorporate the use of other liquids, such as antifreeze (glycol is a popular option).
Antifreeze is beneficial in helping to prevent water from freezing and pipes bursting, as well increasing water’s boiling point. In some cases, mineral oil is also used.
Much older boiler systems use steam instead of water as a medium of heat transfer. Some of them are still in operation today in very old houses.
In most cases, homes are already outfitted with hot water radiators and boilers, and homeowners stick with them.
Consequently, they repair or replace old boilers, pumps, radiators, pipes and other components of the system that are damaged or old beyond repair.
Standard vs Condensing Boiler
There are basically two types of boilers condensing or non-condensing. A condensing boiler is designed to use wasted heat to preheat cold water that enter it. This enables it function at a lower temperature, which greatly improves energy efficiency. Boiler efficiency is designated by its AFUE rating.
A condensing boiler will have an energy efficiency rating from 90-98.5% efficient.
Most condensing boilers are available as a combi boiler (delivers hot water so you don’t need a separate hot water tank), or heat only boiler.
The most efficient condensing boilers as rated by Energy Star are:
Energy Kinetics Accel CS™ Series (models are between 95, 96, 97% efficient)
HTP EFT Series (models are between 95, 96, 97% efficient)
Buderus SSB Series (96% efficiency)
BAXI Luna DUO-TEC Series (95% efficient)
Bosch Greenstar Series (95% efficient)
Bradford White Brute Elite Series (95% efficient)
Burnham by U.S. Boiler (different series are available, 95% efficient)
Carrier BMW Performance Series (95% efficient)
Crown Boiler Phantom Series (95% efficient)
Dunkirk Series (95% efficient)
Firebird Popular Series (oil-fueled, 91 and 92% efficiency models)
By contrast a standard non-condensing boiler needs to operate at a higher temperature. As a result, is only 80-88% energy efficient. Keep in mind that if you have a non-condensing boiler, its efficiency with actually go down with age.
Typically, a boiler that is less than 10 years old will be about 85% efficient. Every 5 years, its efficiency will go down by about 5%. So a 25 year old boiler will only be 60% efficient.
Sealed Combustion vs Non-sealed Combustion Boiler
Another very important distinction between boiler types has to do with combustion. A sealed combustion boiler bring outside air into the burner, and draws the exhaust gases out.
By contrast, a non-sealed boiler takes heated air and sends it up the chimney. This not only wasted energy, but also requires having proper chimney lining, etc.
Overall, it’s preferable to install a sealed combustion boiler.
Cost Of Gas vs Oil Boiler
QUICK ANSWER: Gas boiler is much, much better than oil! See the operating cost comparison between oil and gas.
In terms of fuel source, you can have either a gas-fired boiler or an oil-fired one. Oil boilers are a lot more expensive, both to install and to operate. Moreover, an oil boiler requires you to have a separate storage tank for oil.
Oil is more expensive as a source of fuel compared to gas. However, if you live in an area where there are no main gas lines, heating with oil may be your only alternative.
Keep in mind that you always need to remember to order your oil and have it delivered ahead of time. Otherwise you may get stuck without heating fuel at the worst possible time.
Gas, on the other hand is always available. You just need to watch out for broken gas main lines, and carbon monoxide leaks. However, these are extremely rare.
Oil leaks and ground contamination as well as clean up are all potential hazards that can happen if you have an old, leaking oil boiler or tank. From this perspective, a gas boiler is a lot less problematic.
$4,500 - $5,780
$4,900 - $6,100
$2,300 - $3,900
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Best Gas Boiler Brands
Here are the top gas powered boilers that HVAC specialists recommend to homeowners.
1. Elite FT Heating Boiler: high efficiency, wall-mounted gas boiler with a rating of up to 97% AFUE. It is available in 6 models of various sizes, ranging from 55,000 to 399,000 BTUs.
This boiler features a stainless steel fire tube heat exchanger that provides optimal heat transfer. For the past 3 years, Energy Star has rated Elite FT as the most efficient boiler.
3. Lennox GWM-IE Boiler: gas modulating condensing water boiler that can be wall-mounted. Offers a high efficiency rating of 95% AFUE. This unit has an electronic ignition control that monitors water temperature.
It automatically turns the burner on, when necessary. Also features a corrosion resistant stainless steel mesh burner. Note, if you are interested in this boiler, you need to find a local dealer through the Lennox website, as these units are not available through third-party sellers.
3. Bosch Greenstar: a gas condensing boiler with an efficiency rating of 96.1% AFUE and helps reduce nitrous oxide emissions. Can be installed as a heat only or combination boiler. It is available as a floor or wall-mounted device.
4. Westinghouse Combi Boiler: a modulating condensing gas boiler that has a built-in water heating option. The wall-mounted unit offers efficiency of up to 95% AFUE, while the floor-mounted unit, offers efficiency of up to 93.2% AFUE.
This boiler features a ceramic fiber burner, with high combustion efficiency and low NOx emissions.
Cost: $2,100 – 2,300
5. Slant-Fin Sentry Boiler: gas boiler with an efficiency rating of 84.4% AFUE. It is available in 5 sizes, with input ranging from 34-150 MBH. Offers cutting edge thermal targeting technology that monitors heat demand, saving you money on fuel.
Top Oil Boiler Brands
Here are the best oil boilers that HVAC pros trust.
1. Firebird Condensing Oil Boiler – FB P90 HYDRO: a unique unit because it is one of the few truly condensing boilers on the market.
It features extra heavy insulation, delivers 95,000 Btu’s and efficiency of 91.5% AFUE. Such a high rating is comparable to that of a wall-mounted, high efficiency gas boiler.
2. Burnham PV8H4WT-TBWF Water/Steam Oil Fired Boiler: this none-condensing boiler features a sectional cast iron design, multiple oil burner options and an intelligent control system. It offers 85.3% AFUE efficiency and 141,000 BTU output.
3. Buderus G125BE/21 Logano 63 MBH: this a top of the line, condensing model, that offers 90.7% efficiency and an output of 63,000 BTU.
This boiler features an innovative design burner that burns at a lower temperature and recirculates combustion gases. The result, is a more complete burn with very low nitrogen oxide emissions, and almost no soot.
4. Slant-Fin Steam Oil-Fired Boiler TR-30-PZ: a none-condensing boiler that features cast iron construction, 84.15% AFUE efficiency rating and 101,000 BTU output. This unit features more BTU’s per section than ordinary boilers.
5. Weil-McLain P-SGO-3 Steam Oil Boiler: this is a none-condensing boiler that offers 83.8% AFUE, and 85,000 BTU output. Simple cast iron construction and readily accessible panel, make this unit easy and fast to service.
$3600 - $4500
Hot Air Furnace
$4500 - $5900
Central Air + Ducts
$11900 - $16100
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Can A Boiler Cool A House?
Modern boiler heating systems are designed to also be used for cooling. They work the same as when heat is needed, except cold water is used as the transfer medium.
There are some systems that only do heating, so if you need air conditioning as well, make sure that you are installing the appropriate system.
Did You Know? Many homeowners have no idea that a boiler system can cool their home, and do it in a more efficient way than a forced air system.
This is because the majority of people install a boiler for its heating advantages, because other systems don’t provide nearly the same level of comfort and efficiency.
Boiler vs Furnace
The greatest advantage of a boiler system for heating is how efficient, simple and versatile it is.
Usually, a boiler ( gas or oil) is used to heat the liquid, and then its distributed through the system of pipes into either underfloor, wall or radiators.
Cooled water is returned back into the boiler, is heated and recirculated again. A pump constantly circulates the water from the boiler to the pipes and back.
The reason why a boiler is more effective than a furnace is because liquid is a superior conductor of heat, compared to air. In fact, air is actually considered to be a very poor conductor of heat.
Air’s thermal conductivity is 0.024 watts per meter kelvin. By comparison, water’s conductivity is 0.58 watts per meter kelvin.
This means that water can absorb and transfer the heat that is produced much better than air, so you will be loosing a lot less heat, and spending less your energy bills.
Is Boiler Heating More Efficient Than Forced Air Heating?
If you are looking to improve the energy efficiency inside your home and to lower your monthly heating costs, a hydronic heating system offers the greatest advantage.
The US Department of Energy recommends radiant hydronic heat over other conventional systems for a number of reasons:
– more efficient than forced hot air heating
– there is no energy loss through air ducts
– can operate on a variety of energy sources
– create a uniform distribution of heat across the floor, which is a lot more comfortable
– offers the greatest efficiency in homes that have smaller size rooms and lower ceilings
– using an Energy Star rated programmable thermostat to control the system can help you save hundreds of dollars a year.
– there are no dust particles, so you have a dust free, allergen free home environment.
How To Determine The Right Boiler BTU Efficiency
If you want to accurately estimate the boiler BTU output that will result in the most savings, its best to ask an HVC professional to conduct a manual J calculation.
Often, the pro will do this for free, as part of providing you with the estimate for a boiler install.
However, here is how you can make this estimate on your own:
– If your home is located in a cold climate, your boiler should have at least 50-60 BTUs output per square foot
– If your house has a lot of windows and doors and the weather is often cold 60 BTUs may be more appropriate
– Poor insulation in the walls and in the roof will call for a higher BTU output. If your house is poorly insulated consider making this remodeling update first, before investing into a more powerful boiler
– If your house is in the shade (there are a lot of trees around) you will need a higher output to heat your home, compared to a house that is fully exposed to the sun
– If you live in a warm climate, 30-35 BTU’s may be sufficient for your boiler.
– An older house will require a more powerful boiler than a new construction home.
To get an accurate estimate, you can also use our HVAC Load Calculator
Boiler Heat Distribution Options
When a boiler heats up the water, it can be delivered into three different types of receptacles. Each one has its own pros and cons.
However, hot water radiators are the most popular options for residential installs.
Radiant Underfloor Piping
This system can be installed throughout the house to provide very uniform and comfortable heating that will rise from the floor and be distributed throughout the room.
It is essential to install very high quality tubing to avoid the risk of subfloor leaks, as these can cost thousands of dollars to repair.
Radiant heated floors are considered a very desirable and luxurious feature, especially if your home is located in a cold climate.
If you ever plan to sell your home, installing radiant flooring is sure to attract and impressive prospective buyers.
A radiator is the most popular receptacle that most homeowners install. Radiators can be placed anywhere along the walls of a room, radiating heat out.
Baseboard radiators are wonderful because they surround the room, providing a very even and pleasant source of heat, low to the ground.
There are many designs available for baseboard radiator covers that can match both classic and modern interiors. They can be made of wood, or rust-proof plastic.
Baseboard radiator installation costs range from $450 to $1,1000.
Baseboard heaters require a lot less tubing under the floors, so they are cheaper and easier to install than radiant floors. For best efficiency, you should make sure that there is no furniture or other items blocking the radiator.
Wall and ceiling panels
These panels are similar to radiant flooring. They can be installed inside the walls and ceilings, thereby concealing the presence of the heater all together.
They can also heat a very wide surface area, but great care should be taken during installation, as there is a risk of severe water damage.
PROS Of a Boiler
When choosing the type of heating system to install in your house, its important to consider all the pros and cons, as well as installation, maintenance and repair costs you will incur down the line.
A boiler heating system offer many advantages that are superior to other types of heat.
– Clean, dust, odor and mold free heat, which is very important if anyone in the house has allergies or sensitivity to dust.
– Its easier to install zone thermostats and control the temperature in individual rooms, compared to a furnace heating system. If you are interested in additional heating for a particular room, consider installing a ductless mini-split.
– The heat is distributed more evenly throughout the space and feels more pleasant. In the winter, you will not get cold feet, the same way you would with a furnace heater.
– Because heat comes through ground radiators or from radiant flooring, the heat remains close to where you are, so you actually feel warmer at a lower temperature setting. This can help you save money on heating costs, especially during the cold months.
– A boiler provides radiant heat, which means it actually heats op objects in the room, including the floor itself, as opposed to the air (this is what a furnace does). This type of heating is ideal for homes with very high or cathedral ceilings, where heated air just escapes upwards, leaving the livable space actually cold.
– Since there are very few moving parts in a hot water boiler system, there is practically no maintenance and much less risk of something breaking. Repairs are rare, but if one is required, its not expensive ($300-500 on average)
– If you live in a small house or an apartment, you can install a combi boiler: it serves both as a source of heat and hot water. This way, you don’t need to install a separate hot water heater.
CONS Of A Boiler
Here are some downsides to keep in mind about boiler systems.
– A boiler system is more expensive than forced air. In fact, this is why forced air heating has become so popular and is often considered the default option for new construction homes.
However, upon closer examination, it turns out that the cost difference between the two systems is not more than $1,000-2,500.
– If the house has old cast iron radiators, they may become very hot to the touch, so you need to be careful if you have young kids in the house.
– An older boiler may leak, if a pipe freezes and bursts.
– A faulty gas boiler can release poisonous carbon monoxide fumes. That is why its extremely important to do a boiler maintenance check once a year.
Schedule a boiler inspection before the cold weather kicks in, so you can rest assured your boiler will function well throughout the winter. Also, make sure that you have a functioning carbon monoxide detector in your home.
– Many people worry that a boiler may blow up or cause a fire. Generally, the risk of this happening is extremely low.
However, this can potentially happen if the pressure on the boiler becomes too high, or if there is a gas leak. The good news is that newer boilers have controls that automatically kick in to shut off the pressure if it gets too high.
If you have an old boiler, you should manually check its pressure once every month or so. The indicator on the display should be in the green zone (1-2). If its higher, you can manually release this pressure, by bleeding out one of the radiators.
– If you want central air, you will need to install a separate system of ductwork to accommodate central air.
This makes the initial investment into having both systems very expensive. If you have furnace heating, its very easy to put in central air, as all the ductwork is already in place.
How Much Value Does A New Boiler Add?
Before spending thousands of dollars on a new heating system, its important to get a sense of what kind of return on investment you can expect when you install a new boiler.
In fact, is there any added home value, when you replace a boiler?
According to Remodel Magazine, replacing an old inefficient boiler with a new more efficient model can have about 70% return on investment.
However, and this is very important to keep in mind, replacing a functioning boiler, with a new high-efficiency boiler to bring up your efficiency from 80% to over 90% may actually be NOT WORTH IT!
The primary reason is that the energy savings that you will gain from a more efficient boiler are not enough to recoup and cover the much more expensive cost of a high-efficiency boiler model vs the cost of a standard efficiency boiler.
Average savings from a high-efficiency boiler are about $100-150 a year, while the price difference is a few thousand dollars. This means that it will take a few decades to recoup the cost difference.
Still, a new boiler can definitely boost house value and help sell your property faster, especially in cold Northeastern states.
This is because prospective buyers are very attracted to the idea of not having to worry about any heating issues for the next 10-15 years, when they learn that your house has a brand new boiler.