What Is A Biomass Boiler?
A biomass boiler can also be referred to as a wood fuelled heating system. They work by burning wood (in the form of pellets, chips or logs), waste wood or even agricultural waste from poultry. They can be used to provide heating to a single room in your home. Alternatively, they can be connected up to your central heating and hot water system. A stove is generally used to heat a room whereas a boiler is used for the central heating and hot water. Biomass boilers can either be filled manually when required, or else they can work automatically, fuelling the boiler at set time intervals through the use of a mechanical arm.
It is estimated that a biomass boiler can save the average household up to £600 per year in fuel costs and most homes can accommodate them relatively easily. All you will need is some extra warm, dry space in which to store your fuel. However, some households who are in smoke free zones may not be able to make use of a biomass boiler, so it is best to check with your local authority if you are unsure.
Biomass boilers provide you with a cost effective, eco-friendly way of heating your home using naturally sourced and affordable fuel. The price of logs etc. varies in different areas, but they will always remain a cheaper alternative to conventional fuel. If you have a biomass boiler installed you could be entitled to payments from the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme and the Renewable Heat Premium payment. These schemes have been introduced as part of the government’s plans to meet targets regarding the UK’s carbon emissions which must be lowered by 2050. The schemes will pay you a small fee for every unit of power your system produces. This, in turn, will provide you with another form of income which is tax free and index linked. As biomass boilers are considered a low carbon option, they will also significantly lower your own carbon footprint.
Biomass boilers are very efficient as they have been built using the best of modern technology. They will currently operate at 90% efficiency which is a huge amount more than with conventional boilers and electric heating systems. How efficient your system will actually be will also depend on how energy efficient your home already is and may also depend on the air flow around the boiler and the type of flue fitted. These boilers will work best when the home is well insulated to begin with and you may be advised to have additional energy efficiency work done to your home before the system is installed.
Generally, biomass boilers will work best when they are fuelled with logs and wood pellets. Heat and fuel are never wasted and they produce very little ash and smoke. Any ash that is produced can simply be used in your garden as fertilizer. When the logs are burnt, the CO2 that is released into the atmosphere is exactly the same as is produced when a plant dies naturally and is left to rot. Even if you take into account the emissions of fossil carbon dioxide produced in planting, harvesting and transporting your fuel, by replacing a fossil fuel source with wood you will be cutting CO2 emissions by an average of 90%.
To make sure your boiler keeps running at this high efficiency level, it must be kept in good working order. Fortunately, biomass boilers require very little in the way of maintenance and this can usually be carried out without expert help. However, to get the very best from your boiler to begin with, you should make sure you get a long standing company with a good reputation to fit it. They should be able to answer all of your questions and be able to advise on the best type of system for your household’s needs. If possible, make sure you employ a company that specialises in this type of renewable energy source.
To purchase a biomass boiler, the average price will be in the region of £11,500. This will be for an automatic boiler that does not have to be filled manually. It is slightly cheaper to install a manual boiler, and room staves can be purchased from £4,300. From the boiler you can expect savings of around £600 if replacing an electric heating system and, remember, you could also be entitled to payments from government schemes.
If you are at all uncertain when it comes to any aspect of maintenance, the fitter should be able to tell you what to expect and how to go about doing this yourself. A full maintenance service should be carried out by the installing company approximately every three years, though, all in all, there is very little that can go wrong with a biomass system, generally making it highly cost effective and hassle free.