Key factors for correctly sizing a heating and cooling system include climate; the size, shape, and orientation of your home; how well your home is insulated; types of windows; air-infiltration rates; number of occupants and their temperature preferences; and how much heat home lighting and appliances give off.
Consider replacing a boiler during the summer months, when installers are less busy, and when pricing may be more flexible. To entice customers to think ahead, some service companies offer extended five-year warranties at no charge during the warm months.
“Remember, if we get a cold snap, it will put stress on a boiler, and that's when the boiler is going to fail,” Reid warns about the busy winter stretch.
Once installed, the new boilers should be serviced and cleaned every one to two years, though some boiler warranties actually require annual inspections. Those service calls, usually priced at $125 to $150, consist of using a combustion analyzer to monitor the levels of carbon monoxide and oxygen the unit emits, servicing the flame sensors, and ensuring that the unit is burning properly.
“Just because it is running doesn't always mean that it is safe,” LaChance says.
Photos: David Toerge
TOP BOILER BRANDS
Based on recommendations from our team of Bay Area radiant-heat maintenance companies, these are boiler brands to consider when it's time to upgrade:
Bay Area Plumbing & Heating
LaChance Radiant Heating
Reid Heating & Energy