Why Should You Switch to a Biomass Boiler?
While your main reason for switching to a biomass boiler should rightfully be to reduce your impact on the environment, being green is not the only benefit these systems bring. In fact, biomass boilers can also help you save money on heating bills.
Biomass Boiler Benefits
Biomass boilers burn organic material - usually wood in different shapes - to produce heat. They have a relatively short payback time (5-7 years) and allow you to save between 30%-50% on your fuel bills to offset the higher boiler cost. How does that happen?
- Affordable fuel: wood is a cheap fuel option and its price is more stable than that of fossil fuels. The closer your wood supplier, the lower the delivery costs. Pellet boilers are common for domestic use, and use a very affordable fuel.
- Making use of waste wood: the most cost-efficient option of them all is to use your own waste wood if you have any. This would mean you’d get free fuel and be even more sustainable by efficiently using your waste wood and eliminating carbon emissions related to delivery trucks. However, you’d need space and time to store and season the logs.
- Financial support: biomass boilers are eligible for the government scheme called the Renewable Heat Incentive, which grants you periodical payments over 7 years. The current payments (until 31/12/2015) range between £1,245 and £1,880 per year.
Biomass Boiler Savings
Biomass boilers savings are not only about money since these systems can help you save a significant amount of carbon emissions - up to 15.4 tonnes a year - when you replace a solid (coal) fired system or electric storage heating with a wood-fueled boiler.
Financial savings depend on the type of boiler you’re replacing: if you switch from an old gas heating system to a wood-burning system you might only save £70 a year, but if you are replacing an old electric heating system you could save as much as £880 per year. Basic insulation is a must for the heating system to work properly and give you substantial savings.
In addition, there are biomass boiler grants that you can make use of in order to further increase your savings.
Biomass Boiler Costs
A biomass boiler costs around £4,300, including installation costs. A new log stove usually costs less than half this price, including installation and a new flue or chimney lining. An automatically fed pellet boiler for an average-sized home usually costs between £9,000 and £20,000, including installation, flue, fuel store and taxes, while manually fed log boiler systems can be slightly cheaper.
Fuel (pellet) costs depend on the method of delivery, the distance from the supplier and the quantities you are buying. Of course, the cheapest way to go is buying in bulk: that way you can keep the cost down to around £230 per tonne in most of the UK, but you will naturally need a large storing space. Choosing a local supplier close to you will keep delivery costs and carbon emissions to a minimum.
Logs can be cheaper than pellets, but costs depend on local suppliers, as they can be very expensive to transport. Unseasoned logs are cheaper, but you would need space to store and season them for a year before you can use them.