26 Feb 2015

A question about : Wood Pellet Boiler or Oil ? UFH or Radiators

In the middle of a new build house in the country, so no mains gas. After adding as much insulation as we can we have the dilemma of which heating system to install. It seems basically down to oil or wood pellets. I have researched GSHP and ASHP and heat recovery, which are not going to work out for us for various reasons.
insulation will be approx.
100mm Quinntherm in block cavity walls
125/150mm in the floors and a min of 300mm in the loft

Large S-SE facing Sunroom

Wood pellets seem to get mixed reviews, and oil , well is oil.
The Ј2500 boiler grant and the 7 year RHi Payback for the pellets seem to be very good and basically are working out at free heat for 7 years, as long as it continues!, but there is very little real life info out there on them.

Again thinking of running UFH downstairs and Rads Upstairs

Any thoughts or real life experience info appreciated

Best answers:

  • PM'd Thanks
  • Biomass 100% over Oil!
    Make sure you go for a recognized brand I would recommend ETA or Frolling.
    And you must choose a good installer.
    Then it comes down to wood pellets or wood chip.
    Chip is cheaper but you need to be able to take large tipped deliveries, this will depend on the size of your house and size of boiler etc.
    If you are only going to be taking relatively small deliverys just a few ton a year, you would have to go for wood pellets. slightly more expensive than chip but the boiler and delivery equipment from the hopper to the boiler is cheaper. So swings and roundabouts really.
    UFH where you can have it, remember if you have underfloor heating upstairs you will not be able to access anything in the voids very easily if there are any leaks or electrical problems. I have it on all floors in my house, but it is something that people over look
  • Been making a few enquiries regarding wood pellet boilers, thanks to motorguy's advice on a different thread. Spoke to a guy at GET-Renewables and plan to visit to see their gear. Really interested in the grant available plus the "cashback" for 7 years. Is there anyone who can explain this in more detail? The grant itself seems straightforward, ie after installation the Government will refund Ј2500 of the purchase price. But hoe exactly does the 7 year payback work? The guy at GET said that basically it is based on your house size. So, if your house is say 2000 sq feet then the payback would equate to about half of that, ie Ј1000. But is it that simple? Is it a straight payment based on the size of your house? Surely its more likely to be based on usage? I mean lets say my house was 2000sq feet, but I decided( hypothetically) not to run the boiler all year. Would I still get the Ј1000. Any info on this would be greatly appreciated. Also are there other suppliers out there apart from GET-Renewables? does anyone know the current price per kg of wood pellets
  • I'd love to get it but I'm not sure I'd get the benefit of it in this bungalow. It's just not big enough and the groundwork we'd need to do would be massive.
  • I was looking at replacing my old boiler and was thinking about a biomass boiler, how much roughly would it cost to install?
    Also I have read a lot of articles about biomass boilers stating that they break down a lot, is this true?
  • As far as I am aware the yearly payback has been capped at Ј2000. There are quite a few suppliers of biomass out there. Ambergreen Technology is another I had a detailed quote from.
    You can also get wood pellet stoves with built in back boiler to heat the radiators or UFH at various kw sizes.
    As long as the Government don't 'pull' the payback grants after install, I doubt that would happen as they have really only started, but you never know. Its probably less tempting because of the recent decline in oil prices, but I guess we all know that wont last forever. I don't think pellet prices have dropped in line with the oil drop though.
    It would be good to hear from any others who have a pellet boiler or stove actually installed as there seems to be a real shortage of real life case studies / information, and the day to day / yearly running costs. Tonnes used, how long heating is on per day, size of property etc etc
  • I'd also like to know more about warm earth and warm air schemes. I think this is the way forward.
    The real key is insulation. We've cut down on heating so much since we had our loft redone. I've had to put fire-bricks in the reduce the size of the coal fire because the memsahib loves it but you couldn't stick the heat in the lounge when it was lit. We've also fitted a condensing oil boiler but that's still averaging out at Ј100 per month and for a house this size I think that's too much (we're about 1200 square feet). In GB and on natural gas we were paying 40% less than that for about 1800 square feet.