Oil heating systems can last very long. Quality systems with proper maintenance can last up to 20 years or more and it’s not uncommon to live up to 25 years. It is hard to estimate the exact life of your furnace, but there are some signs which can reveal that your furnace is “terminally ill” and that you need a new one.

Common Signs That You Need to Replace Your Oil Burner

oil-burner-replacement1. The first thing to notice is decreased efficiency. The furnace burns much more oil than it did the previous season, although you didn’t change your habits, the weather isn’t much colder and you did all maintenance tasks you should.

If you just moved to a home with a furnace and a coal burner, you need to replace both if you want to switch to oil heat. It is also recommended to replace systems which use pilot lot instead of electric ignition.

2. Frequent system breakages is another clear sign that your furnace is nearing its end. These breakages are a result of worn out furnace construction. Through many years of usage the furnace slowly deteriorated (just like anything else, but oil furnace wears very slowly). Combined with increased oil consumption, it’s clear that further use of this furnace is not economically justified, as it’s cheaper to invest in a new furnace.

3. Noisy operation and bad smells that can’t go even with the best maintenance are also signs indicating that the furnace has deteriorated and can’t run efficiently anymore. Even if your furnace still consumes “normal” amounts of oil, that probably won’t last for a long.


You first need to know what furnace power and size best matches your needs. Your energy needs are determined by many factors: size of your home, the area you actually need to heat, state of your home’s thermal insulation, your lifestyle and habits.  In most cases, your old furnace has a much greater nominal power than you need. Keep in mind that compared to the old furnaces made some 20 years ago  new systems are much more efficient. You may choose a supplier that will estimate your actual furnace needs according to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America Manual. This manual requires that technicians inspect the home thoroughly and talk to you to find out your heating lifestyle. The inspection takes all important factors into consideration, so you get just the furnace you need, instead of oversized ones, which was once common to do.

New oil heating systems have efficiency level of 95% or more. Burners that are 20 years old and are most commonly replaced have 80% or less efficiency level. This means that if you got a really old furnace which is still running properly, it’s still smart to replace it with a newer one, as it would pay off relatively quickly through reduced oil consumption. However, these newest high-efficiency units are sold at relatively high prices, so you need to do some calculations to see whether you need it now. However, in the long run these high-efficiency systems are the most cost-effective, even if oil prices remain low for years.