If you heat your home with steam, a hydronic radiator, or a radiant heat flooring system, then you have a boiler producing the heat for your home. Boilers heat water and push the hot water or hot steam through pipes to radiators or radiant heat systems to heat your home. They are efficient, comfortable, and provide even heat with fewer allergens than furnaces.
Boilers come in many sizes, configurations, efficiencies, and fuel types. For this reason, there is a wide range of costs associated with boiler installation in the U.S. The national residential boiler price average is between $1,500 and $15,000, with most people paying around $8,362 for a high-efficiency gas boiler designed to heat a 2,000sq.ft. home with in-floor radiant heating.
|New boiler installation costs|
|National average cost||$8,362|
The average cost of a new boiler can be comparable for gas, propane, or oil units, although there is a variety of choices between these and other units. For example, electric boilers may cost less, but are only suitable for smaller spaces and warmer climates. On the other hand, outdoor wood boilers cost the most upfront but are cheaper to run. Regardless of unit type, the labor cost to install a new boiler can be considerable due to the various lines and hookups needed to set it up. Whether this setup needs to be repaired will influence the cost to replace the boiler. This new boiler cost calculator will provide you with installation and material costs based on your location and requirements.
Ultimately, the size and efficiency of your boiler are the biggest driving factors behind its cost, but the boiler type also impacts the price. Each boiler type has its own cost range for the boiler and installation:
|Boiler Type||Average Cost Range (Boiler Only)||Total Cost Range (Including Installation)|
Electric boilers are the least expensive to purchase and install, but that is because they are not designed to heat an entire home, especially in colder regions. Electric boilers are expensive to run, despite being more efficient at converting energy to heat. They are a good choice for homes located in warmer climates that only need to heat their homes slightly, in additions, and for supplemental heating in colder climates. They have an installed cost range of $1,500 to $9,000.
Gas boilers are the most common method of producing hot water for a steam or hydronic heating system. Gas is inexpensive, and gas boilers are very efficient, although gas is not available in all areas. Gas boilers cost between $3,800 and $12,000 installed, depending on the boiler size and the modifications needed.
For anyone living in an area where natural gas is unavailable, propane boilers are a good choice. Propane burns cleaner than gas or oil, so it is more environmentally friendly, and while propane costs more than gas, it is cheaper than oil or electricity. Most gas burners can also burn propane or can be converted to burn propane. They cost between $3,800 and $12,000 installed.
Oil boilers are a fairly common heating system in parts of the Northeast where gas may be difficult to obtain. Oil boilers are higher maintenance, but they burn hotter than gas or propane, so while oil has higher costs, you use less. Oil boilers tend to be less efficient than other boilers, with high-efficiency models only approaching 95% efficiency for a few brands. To purchase and install an oil boiler, expect to pay between $4,000 and $9,000.
If you live in a rural area and have good access to wood, you may want to heat your home with an outdoor wood boiler. These large boilers produce a lot of heat, and while they are more expensive to purchase, they are cheaper to run. Most are large enough to heat your home as well as all the hot water you need. They have an installed cost range of between $8,000 and $20,000.
Boilers are used to heat your home in one of two ways - hot water or steam. Most newer homes use hydronic radiators or in-floor radiant heat systems. In these spaces, the hot water boiler heats the water, which flows through the pipes and back to the boiler as it cools to be heated again.
Some older homes have upright steam radiators, and they need a steam boiler that heats the water to a higher degree, converting it to steam to send through the pipes. It condenses back to water and returns to the boiler to be reheated.
Hot water boilers are more efficient and smaller than steam boilers. They also tend to cost less.
|Boiler Type||Average Cost (Unit Only)|
|Hot Water Boiler||$1,200 - $8,000|
|Steam Boiler||$2,500 - $9,000|
Hot water boilers are smaller and more efficient than steam, and they also have lower starting costs. All boiler types produce hot water, including electric and wood-fired boilers. They have starting costs as low as $1,200.
Steam boilers need to be larger to accommodate both the water and the steam. They are also less efficient, needing to reach higher temperatures. Not all boiler types are used to create steam - propane, gas, and oil boilers are all available in steam models. They have starting costs closer to $2,500 to $3,000.
When it comes to efficiency, gas, propane, and oil boilers come in two types - condensing and non-condensing. A non-condensing boiler is also known as a standard boiler. It heats the water, and some of the heat is given off in exhaust, which is vented to the outdoors.
A condensing boiler condenses the exhaust to retrieve heat that is otherwise lost to the exterior. While a standard boiler only reaches efficiencies of around 94% at best and about 80% to 89% on average, a condensing boiler reaches efficiencies as high as 98%.
Condensing boilers must have stainless steel heat exchangers to deal with the higher acidity that exhaust condensing produces. This means that they are more expensive and have a lower lifespan than a standard boiler.
Condensing boiler prices are higher than standard boilers, but they save money on your energy bills each month. Standard boilers have costs starting at around $1,200, while condensing boiler prices start at $3,000.
Wood boilers perform the same way as a condensing boiler but in a process known as gasification. To purchase a high-efficiency wood boiler, look for a gasification boiler rather than a condensing boiler.
If you have a smaller home and want to heat your hot water and your home with gas, propane, or oil, purchase a combination or combi boiler. These small high-efficiency boilers heat water on one side for heating the home and water for laundry and bathing on the other. They are typically smaller and start at around $2,000 for very small units and $3,000 for average-sized units.
Gas, propane, and oil boilers are available in two different combustion systems - sealed and non-sealed. Non-sealed combustion systems are older. They take air from the interior of your home, so they take the warmed air out to heat the water used to heat the air. Because they are not sealed, dangerous gasses from the combustion may leak into your home.
In a sealed system, the boiler takes air from outdoors, so they are more efficient. They are also less likely to allow dangerous gasses to escape back into your home because the combustion is sealed. Non-sealed combustion boilers have costs ranging from $1,200 to $4,000 on average, while sealed combustion boilers have costs ranging from $1,200 - $8,000.
Regardless of the boiler you purchase, it is important to buy the correct size. A boiler that is too small struggles to keep you comfortable. A boiler that is too large means you spend more on energy bills and shortens the boiler’s lifespan.
To determine the correct boiler size for your home, you need to know the square footage of the area you are heating and the climate zone you live in. Find your zone from this map by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Electric boilers are only recommended for zones 1 - 3 with only partial use in zones 4 and 5, such as for an addition. Wood boilers are recommended for zones 5 and up because they tend to produce more BTUs than are necessary for homes in warmer climates.
|Zone||BTUs (per square foot)|
|1 & 2||18 - 30|
|3||25 - 35|
|4||28 - 40|
|5||40 - 50|
|6 & 7||50 - 60|
To determine your boiler size, multiply the square footage of the area to heat by the number of BTUs needed per square foot for your climate zone. Below is the average boiler size to heat a home based on square footage in zone 4:
|Square Footage||BTUs Needed|
|1,000||28,000 - 40,000|
|1,500||42,000 - 60,000|
|1,750||49,000 - 70,000|
|2,000||56,000 - 80,000|
|2,500||70,000 - 100,000|
Ideally, stay within 10% to 20% of the number of BTUs needed for your space. Any larger than that, and your boiler is oversized for your home.
When installing a boiler for the first time, you need to install the boiler and several other things that are necessary for it to function. This includes an exhaust, a flue or flue pipe, a drain for high-efficiency models, and a fuel line for gas, propane, and oil boilers.
Wood boilers need a line run from the outdoor boiler to the interior, where it meets with a heat exchanger before moving on to the appliance it heats. Every installation is different, with location, fuel type, and whether the boiler is high-efficiency factoring into the total installation cost.
For that reason, labor costs for boiler installation are usually around $2,600 to $4,000 for gas and propane installations and $2,300 to $2,500 for oil boiler installations. There are additional costs of between $500 to $5,000 for things like exhaust lines, drains, and fuel line hookups.
Wood boilers cost between $3,000 and $6,000 in labor to install, along with the necessary equipment. Electric boilers cost between $700 to $2,000 to install.
Even with a boiler in place, replacing a boiler has similar costs to a new installation in most cases. New boilers typically need a new drain, exhaust, or update to the fuel line. It is not uncommon to have a new fuel line installed at the same time because of clogs or buildup. You may also have disposal fees for the old boiler or the need for new pipes to connect it to the heating system. For these reasons, the price to install a replacement boiler is equal to the cost of a new boiler, with the average cost to install being around $8,362.
Many factors influence the total cost of your boiler. These include the boiler size and fuel type, its efficiency, location, whether you are upgrading to a high-efficiency boiler and need a drain installed, and if you need to retrofit spaces in your heating system to incorporate the new boiler.
Some boiler brands require technicians licensed by that brand, which may increase costs because these technicians are more highly trained. Other brands may be more difficult to install, which increases the cost of installation.
Many boilers last up to 25 years before they need to be replaced. However, some types require replacement sooner. If your boiler is no longer heating the water efficiently, you are paying more in fuel costs without seeing an increase in heat, your boiler stops working, or you notice leaks or corrosion on the exterior of the boiler, it is likely time to replace it. Likewise, if your boiler is more than 10 years old, you may want to replace it with a more energy-efficient version, especially if you made upgrades to your home’s efficiency, such as insulation, because this might make your current boiler too large.
High-efficiency boilers are condensing, capturing more energy and heat from the same amount of fuel. Propane and gas boilers achieve as high as 98% efficiency, while oil boilers achieve as much as 95% from a few manufacturers. Electric boilers are naturally efficient, using nearly 100% of the energy to produce heat.
A high-efficiency wood boiler produces as much as 90% efficiency through gasification.
High-efficiency boilers cost more than standard boilers, between $3,000 and $8,000 on average for propane, gas, and oil, and $6,000 to $14,000 on average for wood.
Before purchasing any boiler, your HVAC technician should perform a manual J calculation to determine the right size of boiler for your home. This calculation takes into account the amount of space you need to heat, your climate, and the energy efficiency of your home, such as how much insulation you have, when determining the right boiler size. This avoids getting an oversized boiler, which uses more energy than you may need.
Your boiler maintenance costs depend largely on the boiler type. Electric boilers have the lowest maintenance cost, only needing to be drained occasionally to remove sediment. Oil boilers have the highest maintenance, requiring frequent cleaning. Most boiler maintenance happens once a year on average and costs between $50 and $200 per visit, but oil boilers can cost as much as $500 a visit.
Both boilers and furnaces are used to heat your home, but they work in very different ways. Boilers heat water or produce steam, which is fed through a series of pipes to radiators or radiant heat flooring. They produce more even, comfortable heat that rises and heats the objects in the room.
Furnaces produce forced hot air, which is circulated through your home via ducts. This creates hot and cold spots and a greater chance for producing allergens like dust. Boilers tend to be more efficient, but both heat your home adequately. The average cost for a furnace is around $6,000, while the average cost for a boiler is about $7,500.
Many HVAC technicians remove your old boiler for free, but some charge a removal and disposal fee of between $50 and $200, depending on the boiler type, age, and size.
Adding boiler insulation improves your energy efficiency by stopping heat loss. Insulation costs between $50 and $100 on average.
Some boilers are light enough to be wall-mounted to save space. They tend to be energy-efficient and smaller and cost starting at $4,000.
If you upgrade your heating system, you may want to upgrade your thermostat as well. A programmable thermostat saves energy by setting times for the boiler to be off when you are not typically at home. Programmable thermostats cost around $145 - $230 installed.
If you live in an area with frequent power outages, a portable generator keeps your boiler running even if the electricity goes out. Portable generators cost around $750 on average.
Yes, most plumbers can work on HVAC systems as well.
Expect to pay around $6,000 - $9,000 installed for a new combi boiler.
Replacing a 30-year-old boiler reduces your monthly energy costs by a great deal because boilers of that age were only 50% efficient. Today, the lowest efficiency is 80%, while some achieve efficiencies of 98%.
Boilers of this age are only 50% to 75% efficient compared to today’s boilers, which reach 98% efficiency.
Old boilers are not necessarily dangerous. Some may leak carbon monoxide if they are not well-maintained, but otherwise, they are perfectly safe.