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Cost to replace a boiler?

geoffhazel's picture

So as I disclosed in another post, our Vaillant boiler died a couple weeks ago.  It's 13 years old, and the inducer blower motor is fried, and there are no replacement parts.  Wonderful.   The company that came out and diagnosed the problem quoted me $8000 to provide and install a Buderus boiler of equivalent size.  While going online to check specs on the unit, an ad popped up from and they'll sell the bare bones unit, delivered, for $2500.00.  I'm thinking "OK, the heating contractor has overhead, profit, etc.  But how long can it take to pull one unit and connect the other one?  There's two water connections, one gas connection, one power connection and some control wires.  And a few more parts and pieces, possibly a new circulating pump, safety overload devices, and whatnot.  Even two guys for a full day, what's that worth?

Am I off my rocker to think that replacing a boiler with a new unit should be somewhere around $1500-$2000 for labor?

Are you physically (post #198602, reply #1 of 12)

Are you physically disabled?

If not, even if you dont have the tools, you can buy a LOT of used tools for $2000 and DIY, then you will also have the knowledge.

get busy <G>


edit:  re the inducer motor - there are ALWAYS replacement parts, you just have to use your imagination to adapt something similar. 

I'd ask around for a good mechanic who knows how to do stuff vs. just selling. 

What he said (post #198602, reply #2 of 12)

+1 for interviewing additional contractors. While you have provided no info about BTUs required, etc, this sounds real high. Try the site "The Wall" for other contractors in your area. FYI, they won't discuss pricing at all.

Good luck.

the wall? (post #198602, reply #3 of 12)

Do you have a URL for "the wall" -- I've been looking around and there's lots of "the wall" sites but all the ones I've looked at so far have nothing to do with boilers, HVAC or plumbing

Here you go, part of (post #198602, reply #4 of 12)

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


Calvin, thanks for the link (post #198602, reply #5 of 12)

Calvin, thanks for the link -- I think.  I got hold of a guy I found over there who's in my area and seems knowledgeable.  That's the good news.  The bad news is HE's quoting me $10-11,000.  It's heading in the wrong direction!

apparently our city requires permits for boiler replace/install.  He said you COULD put one in "on the sly" without a permit, but if you did that and your house burned down because of the unpermitted boiler, your insurance might not cover you.

That doesn't sound implausible to me -- has anyone else heard of that?

Sorry (post #198602, reply #6 of 12)

I guess us forum types are just higher dollar............

I have heard similar stories on unpermitted work, and you certainly can understand the possibility that this is what happens.  When it comes to insurance, you can believe the hype that the companies are there to protect in event of loss.  However, they are there to make money and they can't do that easily if they pay out fully on everything to everybody.  The real contract language of a policy is full of small print.  And the reality of it is "substandard"  work could very well contribute to fire etc, that it is unpermitted may or may not be the deciding factor-but so much more easy to prove.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


Well, a permit can't cost (post #198602, reply #7 of 12)

Well, a permit can't cost $3-8K.  Could he explain the reason for such a high price?

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Brands (post #198602, reply #8 of 12)

The issue nobody mentioned so far is that Buderus is top of the line premier equipment, not quite comparable to a "bare bones". Your comparing the cost of A Mercedes-Benz to a Yugo. If installed anywhere close to properly, the Buderus would be the last boiler you will ever buy for this house, gross user error excepted.

I'm with JH on this one: there are always parts available, even if some customization is required. 13 YO boiler usually don't fail unless they installed/maintained very poorly or were simply junk to begin with.

A couple of Chevy's and Fords to consider: Weil-McLain and Burnham. Depending on the details (capacity, venting, steam vs hot water), you can find retail prices on Ebay and other websites.

I would expect the contractor is paying 3500 to 4000 for the unit at his cost, to charge 8000 to provide and install.

We have heat again (post #198602, reply #9 of 12)

Well it was a  long journey, with some false starts and detours, but I finally wound up buying a new Buderus GX124-32 boiler and installing it myself.  Total cost under $3000, which includes some final check out by a local firm for the reasonable cost of $150.00.


Thanks to all the forum members that encouraged me to "get busy" and figure it out.  Now that it's all over, it turned out to be a lot simpler than I expected, as long as you mind the details and don't get wrapped up in all the wiring diagrams.


Turned out the cost of using space heaters was comparable to the gas costs on the boiler, so waiting didn't cost us any money.

Biggest surprise: Cost of a 1" copper ELL at Home Depot is $4.30.  ONE.   I'm used to buying a bag of 10 1/2' for that price.

Really nice to kick the noisy space heaters out of the house.

Great To Hear (post #198602, reply #10 of 12)

things worked out.

On another thread, I noticed you asked about the clearance required for the b-vent. For this boiler?

Ever get your asnswer?

I don't engineer these things (HVAC systems, that is) any more so I don't have the references on my desk. The Fuel Gas Code and/or the Mechanical Code (I refer to the ICC versions, but all localities will have similar codes that are mostly identical) will have the answer.

Thanks for sharing. (post #198602, reply #11 of 12)

Thanks for sharing.

boiler replacement (post #198602, reply #12 of 12)

After 27 years of service my boiler had to be replaced (140 btu Vaillant).   I called a few plumbers and wanted a price to replace unit.  Estimates ranged from $5,000. to $8,000.  Can that much variation be possible? After speaking with a few people, here is what I learned- Plumbers get a discount on the purchase of any boiler like other professions.  They charge twice the list price.  Next question was how long is the job.  Answer was 1 day.  Plumber labor rates vary. $100 per hour -$150 per hour.  Any helpers.  8 hours x$150=$1200.  So I bought the unit at the plumbing store ($2368. incl tax & LP conversion kit.-free delivery) Labor estimate was $1200. Total cost labor & material was $3568.  Permit fee $85.00  I disposed of old unit (no skill required).

Material $2368x2=$4736    Labor charge $200 per hour x8=$1600. Total contractor price=$6336.00  Less $2135 for unit =$4201 for days work.     Some contractors were $250-$300 per hour  (attorney rates)  When people need heat they fail to think logically nor want to be bothered.  They want service right away & pay for it.