If so, the first question on your mind is probably price.
The cost to install a boiler in Michigan ranges from $8,500 to $20,000, with most homeowners paying around $12,000 on average.
We know—that’s a big price range.
The reason the cost varies so greatly is because of the following factors:
- Unit size
- Unit efficiency
- Fuel type
- Comfort features
- The contractor you hire
We’ll look at each of these factors in more detail to give you a better idea of how they affect price.
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Factor #1: Unit sizeThe key takeaway: The larger the boiler, the more expensive it will be.
Boiler size is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units), which is a measurement of how much heat a boiler can produce in an hour. Most residential boilers range from 100,000 to 300,000 BTUs. The higher the BTU output, the “bigger” the boiler.
Note: A “bigger” boiler will not necessarily have larger physical dimensions, it will just provide more heat.
The boiler size you need depends on several factors such as:
- The square footage of your home
- The insulation levels of your home
- How many doors and windows your home has
- Whether or not you have radiant heat, fan coils or radiators
- And much more
Factor #2: Unit efficiencyThe key takeaway: The higher the energy efficiency of the boiler, the more expensive it will be.
Boiler efficiency is measured in AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) and is expressed as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the more energy efficient the boiler.
Residential gas boilers can fall into 2 AFUE categories:
- AFUE of 80% to 85% (standard gas boiler)
- AFUE of 90% to 99% (high-efficiency gas boiler)
So what do the AFUE percentages actually mean?
Let’s say you have a high-efficiency boiler with an AFUE of 90%. That means 90% of the fuel directly heats your home. The other 10% is lost through the boiler’s chimney and is vented outside as exhaust gas.
The contractor you hire to install your boiler can help you determine which AFUE percentage is best for your budget and long-term heating needs.
Factor #3: Fuel typeThe key takeaway: If you currently have an oil or electric boiler and you want to switch to natural gas, you’ll pay more for your boiler installation.
Many homeowners prefer natural gas boilers because they are cheaper to operate, compared to electric or oil boilers. However, switching to natural gas requires additional parts and labor, such as adding gas lines and chimney liners, which raises the total cost of the installation.
Talk to the contractor you hire to see if it makes sense for you financially to switch from electric or oil to natural gas.
Factor #4: Comfort featuresThe key takeaway: Adding advanced comfort and performance features will raise the cost of the boiler.
Examples of boiler comfort and performance features include:
- Modulating burners
- Sealed combustion
- Smart thermostats
Modulating burners in a boiler function just like a car: A normal car accelerates gradually from one speed to another, with speeds ranging from 0 mph to 100 mph (and the ability to go any speed in between). Similarly, modulating burners allow your boiler to gradually adjust their heating capacity based on the demand.
Modulating burners allow more precise and even heating, while also lowering your energy bills. That said, boilers with modulating burners will be more expensive than ones with “single-stage” burners (i.e., burners that only run on 2 settings: high and low).
A sealed combustion boiler brings outside air directly into the burner and then directs exhaust gases outside, without the need for a draft hood or damper. This keeps dangerous combustion gases totally outside of your home.
In addition to the added safety, a sealed combustion boiler is also more energy-efficient than a non-sealed unit, which has to send exhaust gases up the chimney instead, resulting in wasted energy.
Smart thermostats are Wi-Fi enabled, which gives you the ability to control your heating system remotely. These thermostats also allow you to set predetermined heating schedules based on your daily routine.
If you opt for a smart thermostat you’ll pay more upfront, but you’ll cut down on energy costs over time if you set a heating schedule.
Factor #5: The contractor you hireThe key takeaway: Higher-quality contractors charge more for their installation services, but they also do more thorough installations that are custom-tailored to fit your home’s needs.
As you already saw in the price range we provided at the beginning, buying a new boiler is an expensive investment.
The last thing you’d want is to spend thousands on a new boiler, only to have the contractor you hire cut corners or do shoddy work.
That’s why it’s important to hire a higher-quality contractor. Paying for a higher-quality contractor may cost more upfront, but a correctly-installed boiler will be more efficient and need less repairs down the road.
So how do you find a high-quality boiler contractor?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the contractor licensed and insured? If so, you know they will obey local codes and follow safe installation practices.
- Does the contractor have good online reviews? Check sites like Google, Facebook and Better Business Bureau. If the company has good reviews on those sites, it means you’ll probably have a good experience working with that contractor.
- Do they give you upfront, honest pricing? If the company gives upfront pricing (preferably in writing), then you’ll be protected as a consumer. There won’t be any surprises when you get the final bill.
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For more information about what to expect when you hire us, visit our boiler installation page.