Biomass are wood-fuelled heating systems burning wood pellets, chips or logs to provide warmth in a single room or to power central heating and hot water boilers.
A stove burns logs or pellets to heat a single room and may be fitted with a back boiler to provide water heating as well. A boiler burns logs, pellets or chips, and is connected to a central heating and hot water system.
Financial Savings - If you replace a gas heating system with a wood-burning system you might save £100 a year, but if you are replacing electric heating you could save as much as £580 per year.
CO² Savings - Carbon dioxide emissions are very significant, around 7.5 tonnes a year when a wood-fuelled boiler replaces a solid (coal) fired system or electric storage heating.
Typical savings by installing pellet central heating in a typical 3-bed semi-detached house with basic insulation:
|Fuel Replaced||Expected Saving||Expected Carbon Dioxide Saving|
|Electricity||£630 a year||7.5 tonnes a year|
|Oil||£270 a year||3.9 tonnes a year|
|LPG||£790 a year||3.6 tonnes a year|
|Coal||£270 a year||7.7 tonnes a year|
|Gas||£90 a year||3.1 tonnes a year|
You may be able to receive payments for the heat you produce from a wood boiler through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). Find out more at www.gov.uk.
Wood fuelled boilers, stoves and room heaters should be kept clean and swept regularly to remove ash and have the flue pipe swept regularly. Some appliances have self-cleaning systems built in An annual maintenance check is required.
For more information refer to the Energy Saving Trust booklet ‘A buyer's guide to wood-fuelled heating.’ Visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk
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An individual pellet stove will cost around £4,300 including installation. Installing a new log stove will usually cost less than half this, including a new flue or chimney lining.
For boilers, an automatically fed pellet boiler for an average home costs between £7,000 and £13,000 including installation, flue, fuel store and VAT at 5%. Manually fed log boiler systems can be slightly cheaper.
Pellet costs depend mainly on the size and method of delivery. Buying a few bags at a time makes them expensive. If you have room for a large fuel store that will accept several tonnes of pellets at a time, delivered in bulk by tanker, you can keep the cost down to around £190 per tonne in most parts of the UK.
Logs can be cheaper than pellets, but costs depend on the wood suppliers in your local area, as they cost a lot to transport. If you have room to store more than a year’s worth of logs you can save money by buying unseasoned logs and letting them season for a year. Search for wood fuel suppliers in your area at the Log Pile website.