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Biomass Heating

The benefits of wood-fuelled heating:

  • Affordable heating fuel: although the price of wood fuel varies considerably, it is often cheaper than other heating options.
  • Financial support: wood fuel boiler systems could benefit from the Renewable Heat Premium Payment and the Renewable Heat Incentive.
  • A low-carbon option: the carbon dioxide emitted when wood is burned is the same amount that was absorbed over the months and years that the plant was growing. The process is sustainable as long as new plants continue to grow in place of those used for fuel. There are some carbon emissions caused by the cultivation, manufacture and transportation of the fuel, but as long as the fuel is sourced locally, these are much lower than the emissions from fossil fuels.
Costs, Savings, Maintenance & General Information

Pellet costs depend mainly on the size and method of delivery. Buying a few bags at a time makes them expensive, we recommend that you buy a large amount of bags and keep them stored in a shed, garage or boiler house etc.

If you have room for a large fuel store that will accept several tonnes of pellets at a time, delivered in bulk by tanker, this is also beneficial.

Savings in carbon dioxide emissions are very significant - up to 14.5 tonnes a year when a wood-fuelled boiler replaces a solid (coal) fired system or electric storage heating. Financial savings are more variable - if you replace a older gas heating system with a wood-burning system you might save up to £80 a year, but if you are replacing an old electric heating system you could save as much as £650 per year.

Wood fuelled boilers should be kept clean and swept regularly to remove ash. Ash quantities are generally very low (under 1% of fuel volume), but you will still need to empty the ash bin of the wood boiler. This is likely to be weekly and never more than once a day. Most appliances now particularly boilers have self-cleaning systems built in. A self-cleaning system will collect ash from the combustion grate and the heat exchanger tubes. If there is no automatic ash cleaning mechanism in place the boiler will need to be shut down periodically so that this can be done by hand. If the ash is not cleaned out regularly, it will build up and adversely affect combustion conditions, which can lead to boiler failure and shut down.

If you have a wood burning stove or boiler the chimney and flue pipe must be swept regularly to remove all soot deposits and prevent blockage. HETAS recommend that this “should be done at least twice a year, preferably before the heating season to check that the flue has not been blocked by bird's nests for example and also at the end of the heating season to prevent soot deposits from resting in the chimney during the dormant period”.

Types of Fuel
  • Wood chips are not suitable for heating a single house but can be used to heat larger buildings or groups of houses.
  • Pellets are much easier to use and much more controllable than logs.
  • Pellet boilers can run automatically in much the same way that gas or oil boilers operate.
  • Do you have a local fuel supplier? Some companies now offer deliveries of pellets anywhere in mainland Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • Do you have space? Wood boilers are larger than gas or oil equivalents. You will also need space to store the fuel: somewhere that's handy for deliveries but also appropriate for feeding the boiler.
  • Do you have somewhere to put the flue? You will need a flue which meets the regulations for wood-burning appliances: a new insulated stainless-steel flue pipe or an existing chimney - though chimneys normally need lining to make them safe and legal.
  • Do you need permission? You may not need planning permission, but you should always check. All new wood heating systems must comply with building regulations, and the best way to ensure this is to use an installer who is a member of a competent person scheme.
  • Do you have a thatched roof? Click here for more information on HETAS's Building Regulations advice.

If you are interested to find out more about our Biomass Heating Renewable Energy Services for your home, business or commercial premises, please contact us on 01493 857167 or e-mail us at .

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