HVAC Equipment – What is the Life Expectancy? – Part 2 – Oil

Continuing on with our second piece, now we’re addressing oil equipment.  Once again, if you were to ask three different people, you’ll get three totally different answers.  This is where variables will come into play.

In the world of oil boilers, furnaces, and oil tanks, the general consensus is 20-25 years.  Does that mean that the calendar flips to the 20th year and you wake up to no heat and in need of new equipment?  Not at all!  However, based on how well you have taken care of the unit and its quality at the time of purchase, it could be way behind the current standards in terms of fuel consumption.  Like a car with 200K miles on it, do you truly trust it to still meet your needs, when you need it to most?  If at the time of purchase, say 20 years ago, it was state of the art for that time, you take away half of the logic to replace it now.  It’d be like buying yesterday’s newspaper twenty years ago – how much good does it do you today?

Some say that because a warm air furnace only runs in the winter it will have a much longer life expectancy – not usually though.  Again, there are plenty of variables, but the biggest enemies of a warm air heat exchanger are rust and high temperatures.  If the unit has AC on it, the evaporator coil on top of the heat exchanger  can be very restrictive to heat removal; couple that with, say an undersized duct system or a water leak in the AC season, and you have the perfect storm that effects its lifespan.  On top of that – during the colder months of the heating season, there are quite a number of cold starts – meaning the unit comes on once a day for 15 minutes.  This typically results in excessive moisture in the flue passages.  Take this moisture, add sulfur from the exhaust, and again, we have a perfect storm of sulfuric acids.

As far as oil tanks go…don’t fool around with them!  If your tank is 25 years old, get rid of it!  I know of a horror story when approximately 50 gallons of oil spilled and it cost $104,000.00- and two-years to finally remediate!  If you ever wish you had a crystal ball…this is it!!  It is a guarantee that your tank will leak, most often from 25 years or older.  It’s possibly the only thing in your home that if you wait until it fails to replace it, the costs can be staggering.

At R&W Heating Energy Solutions, LLC, we are a family owned and operated business.  We employ highly motivated, experienced, and dependable technicians, with a combined experience of over 80 years in the HVAC field.  We welcome your calls and questions, and invite you to stop in our office and meet our team – son, daughter, nephew, daughter-in-law, and our twelve other employees who have become part of our family!