Identifying the Age of a Boiler or Furnace

As part of Mass Save's rebate program, when customers replace their older, inefficient heating and cooling equipment, they may be eligible for rebates of up to $3,250 if the equipment is a certain age. All existing equipment must be verified before the replacement, but here are a few initial tips to help determine the age of a boiler or furnace.

When is an HVAC is eligible for a rebate?

  • Furnaces must be 12 years old

  • Boilers must be 30 years old.

Identifying a steam boiler vs. hydronic boiler:

Snowman Boiler
  • Steam boilers have a pigtail-looking coil near the switch and all steam boilers have a site glass so that you can visually identify the quantity of water inside the system.

  • Hydronic boilers often have a small tank attached as well.

Tips to visually identify how old a boiler is:

  • If the boiler has a PVC or stainless steel, you can pretty much instantly disqualify it from early system replacement.

  • The yellow “Energy Guide” label did not exist until the 90s

  • Look at how the serial number was imprinted on the manufacturer plate. If the serial number is punched into a metal plate, that typicaly indicates that the equipment is pre-1990s.

  • Generally, if the manufacturer is American Standard, it is older than 30 years old.

  • If the boiler is covered in white asbestos and looks like a "snowman, it is generally over 30 years old.

Confirming the age of an HVAC is with databases:

  • One very common boiler manufacturer is Weil-McClain. The boiler should have a 6 or 7 digit CP number. If it is 6 digits, add a 0 to the beginning of the serial number. Use the database to determine the date of manufacture.

  • Another common boiler manufacturer is U.S. Boiler Company. You can manually enter the serial number of the boiler into the database to obtain the date of manufacture. You would also use this database to search boilers under the manufacturer name, “Burnham".For other manufactures, use this database to look up how to read the serial numbers:

  • For all other manufacturers, use this database to determine the age of the equipment.