When homeowners in Twin Cities need to replace an old boiler, we always get asked, “How much does it cost to install a new one?”
Here’s our answer: The cost to install a new boiler in Minneapolis-St. Paul ranges from $8,000 to $20,000.
The cost of a new boiler varies based on these 5 factors:
- Boiler size
- Converting to natural gas
- Boiler efficiency
- Boiler accessibility
- Length and type of manufacturer warranty
Cost factor #1: Boiler size
Boiler size is measured in BTUs. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, which is the amount of energy it takes to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
Most residential boilers typically output 100,000 to 250,000 BTUs, but some can exceed 300,000. Boilers with smaller BTU output are less expensive; boilers with higher BTU output cost more.
Determining what size boiler you need depends on a few factors:
- Whether or not you have a low or high temperature heating system (for example, radiant heat vs. fan coils or radiators)
- The square footage of your home or the area that needs to be heated
- The age of your home and if you have made significant home renovations
Finding the right boiler size requires some complex calculation. But luckily you won’t have to do that. A boiler installer can figure it out for you when they come to your home to give you an in-home estimate.
Cost factor #2: Converting to natural gas
Fuel-type boilers can run on natural gas, propane or oil. Natural gas boilers are generally less expensive, cleaner and more efficient than propane and oil boilers.
If you currently have a propane or oil boiler and are looking to make the switch to natural gas, there are some factors that could dramatically increase the price for installing a boiler.
Consider these questions:
- Do you already have a natural gas line?
If you do not have a natural gas line running to your home, you’ll have to call your local utility company to install one. They’ll also hook up the lines between the meter and your house.
- Do other appliances run on propane or oil?
Check what other appliances use propane or oil in your home, then see if the manufacturers have conversion kits available to make the switch to natural gas. These kits should be installed by professionals as the regulators and burners will likely need to be adjusted.
- What about your current propane or oil tank?
Most homes that use propane or oil generally have large tanks in the back or side yard. If you switch to natural gas you’ll have to remove these tanks and restore the surrounding lawn area.
Cost factor #3: Boiler efficiency
Boiler efficiency is measured in AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) and is represented as percentage. You can think of the AFUE as the gas that’s actually used to heat your home.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you have a gas boiler that has an AFUE rating of 85%. That means 85% of the energy used actually heats the home, while 15% is lost through the boiler’s chimney as vented exhaust. Looking at it from a financial angle, in this scenario 15 cents of every dollar you spend would be used on energy that doesn’t directly heat your home.
A gas boiler with a higher AFUE rating is more energy efficient, but it’s also more expensive to install. Typical AFUE ratings of standard and high efficiency gas boilers are:
- AFUE of 80% to 85% for a standard gas boiler
- AFUE of 90% to 99% for a high efficiency gas boiler
Cost factor #4: Boiler accessibility
If your boiler is in a hard-to-access part of the home (like a crawl space, attic or tight closet), the install and labor cost could be more expensive. Have one of our heating experts provide a free consultation on your home for an accurate quote based on this cost factor.
Cost factor #5: Length of manufacturer warranty
Most boiler manufacturers automatically offer limited warranties that cover certain repairs or replacements for an extended time, usually with a prorated cost to the consumer as the boiler ages.
For example, a manufacturer could cover 100% of the boiler replacement cost (usually not including labor) after 1-2 years, then 75% following 5-7 years and 50% after 10+ years.
Some boiler manufacturers offer additional warranties for longer or more extensive protection. Purchasing an additional warranties gives you peace of mind. But you also pay more money upfront.
Be sure to ask what limited warranties are included or if there are any additional warranties you can add to your boiler purchase.