Heating your home with Wood Pellet Boiler Stoves
As oil, gas and electricity prices continue to spiral up, with no end in sight, we are receiving a lot of enquiries about wood pellet stoves. This is a brief explanation of the different options available and their pros and cons.
Wood pellet boilers are perhaps the only renewable alternative to a fossil fuel boiler where you can just swap your existing boiler for a wood pellet boiler without adapting your heating system significantly. They are low carbon and their price has remained comparatively stable. They are made all across Europe, but there is also a good supply of sustainable British pellets made using plantation timber and waste wood where new trees are planted to replace those felled.
Grants of £5,000 are available for wood pellet boilers and heat pumps under the government's Boiler Upgrade Scheme
All pellet stoves share certain advantages over traditional woodburning the stove can be set to light itself at a particular time or simply when heat is needed, it adjusts its output to the heat demand and turns itself off when the house is up to temperature, just like a gas or oil boiler. The fuel is clean, readily available, easy to store and handle and has a very good calorific value. Pellet stoves have high efficiencies, usually above 90%, and burn very cleanly with low particulate emissions.
All pellet stoves require a chimney. They can be fitted into an existing chimney, which may need a flexible liner put down, and will need to stand on a non-combustible hearth. If there is no chimney where the stove is to be sited then your fitter will simply use a pre-fabricated twin wall insulated flue which will go up through the house and out of the roof or through an external wall and up.
An in-house model doing the full central heating and hot water would need its pellet hopper topped up once a day, a smaller dry model might only need to be checked once every three or four days. A utility model in the garage running the central heating could go for a week or more depending on the hopper size.
There are two types of pellet stoves, dry models intended to heat the room where they are installed and spread a background warmth around the house, and boiler models designed to do all the central heating and hot water.
Dry pellet stoves
These come in a variety of shapes, sizes and outputs and are usually installed in the living room, hallway or kitchen. Smaller models are designed to heat the room where they are placed as well as providing a real flame as a cosy focal point, but will inevitably spread some extra warmth around the house and will reduce your conventional fuel costs. If it is possible to fit the pellet stove in a position where the warmth will easily spread further around the house then it is worth going for a slightly bigger model as it will take over more from your existing boiler and your oil or gas bill will come right down. Many dry pellet stoves have a quiet convection fan to blow the warm air around which makes them very effective at spreading their heat right around the house.
wood pellet boiler stoves
These often look just like a dry model but contain heat exchangers that transfer most of their heat to the central heating and hot water. They can be slim elegant models installed in the living room or insert stoves built into the wall or as a utility boiler in an outhouse or garage. They can even come as a cooking range fitted in the kitchen, which will save yet more electricity or gas as you can cook on it. A pellet boiler stove replaces the conventional boiler completely and there are government grants available to offset the cost of the boiler and its installation.
Please feel welcome to ring or email us if you have further questions, or would like to discuss what would be the best for your situation.