Biomass Boilers - Is it right for me?

Biomass Boilers are more suitable for properties not connected to mains gas and who have suitable space for storage.

There are a few key things to consider before installing a Biomass Boiler…

Installation Space?

Wood and pellet boilers are larger than their gas or oil equivalents and as such a larger installation area is required.

Storage of Pellets

You will also need space to store your pellet fuel. Pellets can be “blown” in to an area using a hose off a truck or they come in 25kg bags. Either way you will need a dry area to store your pellets somewhere that is suitable for deliveries and also suitable for feeding the boiler. As a guide you will require approximately 2 – 6 cubic metres of space near where the boiler is sited to store the fuel.

Ideally the fuel storage area will be under cover, as it is important to keep fuel dry. High moisture content in the fuel reduces the efficiency at which it burns. If wood pellets get wet they turn to unusable mush.

Do you have somewhere to put the flue?

All pellet boilers require the installation of a flue. You will need a flue which meets current building regulations and the standards for the appliances: a new insulated stainless steel flue pipe or an existing chimney – though chimneys normally need lining to make them safe and legal.

Do you have a local fuel supplier? 

Some companies now offer deliveries of pellets anywhere in mainland Britain; the supply of logs is much more variable.

To do a detailed initial assessment of whether or not it’s appropriate, you can download the Carbon Trust’s publication Biomass Heating: a Practical Guide for Potential Users.

Wood Pellet Fuel

Pellets are a good source of energy as they are very dense and have a very low moisture content, this provides consistent combustion. During combustion, any water must first evaporate before ignition can occur. The higher the moisture content the more energy it requires to ignite, and therefore reducing the systems efficiency. For this reason, only approved wood pellets can be used.

Wood Pellet Fuel

Planning Permission

Ordinarily you do not require Planning Permission for the installation of a Biomass Boiler. However you should always check.

If your dwelling is in a Conservation Area, or is a Listed Building, or in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), or on a World Heritage Site, there is additional criteria to meet. You should firstly consult with your local planning office to confirm any requirements.

All new heating systems need to comply with Building Regulations.

Smokeless zones

Under the Cleaner Air Act wood can only be burnt in exempted appliances, again one should confirm with your local area planning office.