Boiler installation and replacement is a complex process that requires specialized skills and knowledge. Here, we’ll break down the various factors that can impact the cost of a boiler installation or replacement, including the type of boiler, labor costs, and system type.
Boiler Installation Cost
Boiler installation is a challenging, often multi-person job. It requires specialized skills—don’t try to tackle this as a DIY project. Instead, budget between $500 and $1,200 in labor for boiler replacement.
Installing a new boiler without any existing infrastructure takes even the best HVAC technicians much longer. For larger projects, they might bill a flat rate of roughly $2,500.
HVAC technicians charge between $75 and $150 an hour for boiler installation. If the project is during its peak season or the work is especially challenging, anticipate paying on the high end of that range.
If a boiler installation will take more than a day, HVAC techs might quote you a flat rate, usually around $2,500.
System Type and Boiler Replacement Cost
Your boiler replacement cost depends on the type of system you purchase. Standard (or conventional) boilers are more affordable than system and combination boilers, and high-efficiency boilers are the most expensive type of all.
Standard or Conventional Boilers
A standard boiler uses hot water or steam to heat your home but does not provide potable water. Because they are not multipurpose, they are more affordable—roughly $2,000 to $6,500 for the unit itself.
System boilers can heat your home and your potable water supply. These boilers have hot water reserves in a storage tank and cost from $3,000 to $6,000. They are less efficient than combination boilers but make sense for larger homes.
Combination boilers, also called combi boilers, are similar to system boilers in that they also heat homes and potable water. The difference: Combi boilers, which cost between $2,600 and $7,000, are tankless, only heating water when you need it. This makes them more energy-efficient, but they’re less suited for larger homes.
High-efficiency boilers cost between $6,000 and $11,000. To be considered high-efficiency, a boiler must have an AFUE rating of 90 or more.
Factors That Affect Boiler Installation and Replacement Costs
Type of Boiler
One of the largest factors affecting the cost of a boiler installation is the type of boiler itself. High-efficiency boilers can cost five times as much as a standard boiler. System and combi boilers, which also heat your potable water, are often more expensive than standard boilers as well.
Water vs. Steam
If you go with a conventional boiler, you can choose hot water or steam as the heat source. Steam boilers get hotter faster and can reach 212 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Hot water boilers usually max out at 180 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Steam boilers tend to be more expensive.
New vs. Existing Installation
While there may be a small cost associated with removing an existing boiler, you’ll otherwise find it more affordable to replace a boiler than to install a new one in a home that didn’t previously utilize a boiler. When installing a new boiler, contractors may need to install ductwork and lay new pipes throughout your home— and even under your existing flooring.
Fuel Source Conversion
If you buy a boiler that requires a different fuel source (for example, from electric to gas or vice-versa), you may need to budget for additional work, like the installation of new pipes, electrical outlets, or valves.
When it comes to installing or replacing a boiler, the size of your home plays a significant role in the total cost. Larger homes require bigger boilers, which inherently cost more. Combi boilers and electric boilers, which are among the most affordable options, are not viable for big houses.
Additional Costs and Considerations for Boiler Installation and Replacement
Boiler installation typically requires obtaining a permit. The HVAC contractor you hire may handle the permit process for you and include it on your invoice. However, permits for a boiler installation typically cost between $50 and $300. You may also have to pay for an inspection, which can add another $50 to $75 to your total costs.
Ductwork and Gas Lines
Depending on the type of boiler you choose, you may need to have existing ductwork replaced or new ductwork installed. With a gas boiler installation, you may need to hire a plumber to install a new gas line.
If during an inspection of existing ductwork, your contractor finds asbestos, your project costs could increase considerably. You’ll need to pay a professional to remove the asbestos, which can cost from $1,200 to $3,000.
Time of Year
Boiler installation costs tend to rise in the winter when more homeowners are thinking about heating their homes. Boiler prices may be discounted during the summer, but you’ll pay the full price in winter. In addition, heating contractors may charge a higher hourly rate during their busy winter months.
Boiler Repair vs. Replacement Costs
Boiler repair costs are typically between $200 and $600, depending on the issue. If your boiler needs repair work but has otherwise been reliable, it’s probably more cost-effective to hire an HVAC technician to do the repairs. However, if your boiler is older, inefficient, and/or regularly in need of repair, it might make more sense to budget for a new boiler. If you get a repair estimate higher than the starting price of a typical boiler replacement ($3,100), consider skipping the repairs and buying a new boiler.