Help on wood burning boilers

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grinling

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Help on wood burning boilers
« on: April 14, 2011, 21:23 »
Moving to lincs and no gas :ohmy: There is an oil fired boiler with the smallest amount of oil and a boiler I've no idea how it works. Has anyone had experience of a wood pellet or wood boiler and what is involved and how much?
There are radiators and a hot water tank.
Thank you

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Junie

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Re: Help on wood burning boilers
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2011, 07:43 »
We have just had a visit from a company selling and installing wood pellet boilers( as well as others) We were told they were far more efficient and made from the stuff that normally goes to waste.
It was a system which had a water tank with it ( ours is currently electrically heated - the norm in France). We currently have radiator central heating.  From what we understood it was an on demand system, self lighting ( which many log boilers aren't) .  running costs were a third of oil, but the system was about 16000. 
We have not shopped around at all, I am sure there will be cheaper options available.
they are becoming more popular in France as opposed to oil boilers.


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compostqueen

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Re: Help on wood burning boilers
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2011, 09:17 »
You should be able to find your make and model on line if you Google. They are said to be fabulously efficient.  Lucky you  :)

Lucky to be moving to Lincs too. My niece lives there, in the sticks, as loves it. 

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John

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Re: Help on wood burning boilers
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2011, 09:21 »
Our central heating combi boiler is powered by LPG gas which seems to be about twice as expensive as piped gas. We've also got a multi-fuel 9Kw stove which supplements the central heating.

The multi-fuel runs on either coal or wood or a mixture of both. We're not in a smoke controlled area so use ordinary house coal rather than the more expensive smokeless 'coal' Over last winter as the price of mains gas went up, so did the LPG (except we were on an initial fixed price deal, but our neighbours were not) So did the cost of coal and logs.

My point is to approach your problem from the supply end. Sustainably sourced wood is very green, near carbon neutral but actually quite expensive. A large sack of logs (softwood) costs 3 and a 20Kg bag of coal currently costs 4.60. But the coal gives off a lot more heat - so it's quite a lot cheaper. (I'm sure someone could do calorific calculations and quantify but that's our experience). We did have a load of free scrap wood given us - can't get cheaper than free!! :)

If you're looking for a new boiler then I'd suggest some research into a ground source heat pump. They suck heat from a network of pipes in the ground and concentrate it into the house rather like a fridge in reverse. For every unit of electricity used they deliver 3 to 4 units of heat into the house.

I think you may be able to get a feed in tariff or grant - another thing to look at - with a heat pump.

The one thing those of us on expensive fuel realise quickly is that the payback times for additional insulation, good controls on the heating etc are reduced.

Check out our books - ideal presents

John and Val Harrison's Books
 

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grinling

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Re: Help on wood burning boilers
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2011, 11:36 »
Thanks for the replies. Will need to do quite a bit of homework, ground work fine as it is a big garden also thinking of wind power. Can't do cavity wall as I don't think there is any.
It is all very confusing esp to someone who has always had gas central heating.

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John

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Re: Help on wood burning boilers
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2011, 00:03 »
We had gas central too until 6 months ago and the mother of all winters... great time to move :)

To us, at 200 M high, wind power would seem sensible but reliability of the turbines seems to be an issue.

There are other options than cavity wall, like internal or external insulation but we're back to price and return on investment. Our insulation plan for this year is to add 20cm to the loft insulation.

The long term plan is to plant enough trees around the place to provide our own wood fuel. However, heat pumps and solar water etc will have to wait a while - the savings have gone with the rebuilding.

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Milly

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Re: Help on wood burning boilers
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2011, 07:55 »
Like you we'd always had gas central heating, we moved in january to a big old house with no gas. It has a thermorossi  multifuel boiler, a big beast of a thing.
We initially tried to run it on solid fuel/logs as we'd bought some solid fuel from the previous owners but for some reason the pump kept tripping in and out. The previous occupents kindly returned to give us a teaching session 'again' and said we needed to maintain the temperature between such and such (I forget now).
Anyway, after two weeks of OH living in the boiler room and nearly dying of hypothermia we put 1000 litres of oil in the tank and changed over to oil, bliss, heat at last. The next morning about 500 litres of oil was on the floor, the tank leaked  :ohmy:

We bought a new tank on ebay (unused) and are running the oil down gradually to replace it. I suspect the problems with the pump and solid fuel are more to do with the boiler, something we need to sort out at some point because the heating system works perfectly on oil.

To save money we've opened up the fireplace in the lounge, something I was dead against at first. We have an abundance of logs and plenty of trees need removing so it made sense. I have to say I'm so glad we did. At this time of year it's nice to light the fire early evening and as it has a back boiler it's given us hot water as well. I suspect we will need to change the boiler at some point but for now the house is a little money pit and we have lots to do but I'll think long and hard about the next heating system.

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grinling

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Re: Help on wood burning boilers
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2011, 08:52 »
Had a good look.
Ground floor heating would be good if I could put underfloor heating in, but the floors are layed to tiles and a parquet floor and warm air heater is noisy.
So still looking at wood boiler. Downloaded lots of interesting fact sheets, but it isn't very easy to find an installer in Lincs, the land of no gas.
I will try to find help down here as I would like to have hot water available by the time we move.

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black diamond

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Re: Help on wood burning boilers
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2011, 20:08 »
Is solid fuel an option,take a look at the Trianco TRG range.

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Junie

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Re: Help on wood burning boilers
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2011, 21:20 »
We also looked at Air source pumps which did not require underfloor heating, but our house was too big for these to be efficient.  
Ground source do not need underfloor, they are just more efficient that way.

We have our own wood, but have been told that the log burning boilers are not efficient and the wood pellets/granules  ( which look like rabbit food pellets) release 93 percent thermal energy, but it does seem silly buying in wood when we have plenty of our own!! ::)

Another  thing I have seen, although not really looked into is heating elements in skirting boards, from what I remember they do not require the heat of the radiator, and are more like underfloor heating.

We have mage the decision to stick with the oil, get more insulation, as we have worked out that oil would need to increase dramatically to outweight the outlay of the boiler when we do not need a new one.  

We have learnt to live with more jumpers!! and also noticed fewer family colds this year!

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grinling

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Re: Help on wood burning boilers
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2011, 23:04 »
Hubby deceided that we will get a boiler engineer in to take a look at the boiler. I am assuming the metal box outside is the boiler and how things work is beyond me!!! Also get him if possible to look over the oil tank which has been empty from at least last December, as I do not want it leaking the moment we try to fill it. Would it say on it how much oil it takes?
We have time to play before we move, but I do worry about such things :)

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Milly

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Re: Help on wood burning boilers
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2011, 07:46 »
Also get him if possible to look over the oil tank which has been empty from at least last December, as I do not want it leaking the moment we try to fill it. Would it say on it how much oil it takes?
We have time to play before we move, but I do worry about such things :)

You're right to worry, the tank leaking for us was un unexpected expense and we lost about 300 worth of oil overnight, we could have done without the expenses and I suspect the previous owners knew. I'm not sure how they check if a tank is intact but I imagine they have ways.

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Bluedave

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Re: Help on wood burning boilers
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2011, 07:53 »

Ground source do not need underfloor, they are just more efficient that way.

We have our own wood, but have been told that the log burning boilers are not efficient and the wood pellets/granules  ( which look like rabbit food pellets) release 93 percent thermal energy, but it does seem silly buying in wood when we have plenty of our own!! ::)

Another  thing I have seen, although not really looked into is heating elements in skirting boards, from what I remember they do not require the heat of the radiator, and are more like underfloor heating.


The COP drops right off if you raise the temperature above 50 degrees. Standard Rad systems work on a flow temp of 80 - at this temp you'd be lucky to get a COP of 1/1.5 which would make this an epensive option. You could size your rads to work on a lower flow temp but the size goes up dramatically (underfloor works on a flow temp of 35-45 degrees).

The amount of heat you get out of the wood is down to it's moisture content - very wet green chips give you very little heat per kg (i.e you need to burn more of them), logs have a fairly high moisture content, pellets tend to have a low moisture content BUT they are processed and dried which adds to the carbon footprint of this type of fuel. It's horses for courses, as John said supply is your biggest issue - if you have a free and steady supply of wood - use that it might not be as efficient but it's free! One of our clients is using green chip with a mositure content of 60/65% - I don't dare tell him the efficiency is less than nothing but he has a zillion acres of forest up in scotland and it suits him.

Maintenance is an issue with these boilers if you are using high moisture content fuel.

Skirting heating only gives you 100-150 W/m of heating so is a good supplement heating if you have large glazed areas etc but would struggle to heat a whole room on it's own in the depths of winter.

Try Wood energy

http://www.woodenergyltd.co.uk/


they generally cater for bigger systems (from 45kW) but they may be able to put you onto someone who can help. I'd try and help but I deal with systems from about 400kW upwards for district heating systems. One of our other engineers did have a smaller system (15 kW I think) so i'll ask him who he used and pass on their details.

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Bluedave

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Re: Help on wood burning boilers
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2011, 07:57 »
one thing I didn't mention for all those on oil, have you looked at some solar thermal panels to redcue your oil usage?

you can pick up a system for 1500-2000 now a days (CAVEAT! - depending on the size of property and water usage - could be double this for larger houses etc).

Would save you quite a lot on your fuel bills and is a green technology.

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Bluedave

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Re: Help on wood burning boilers
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2011, 08:09 »
found these guys - not used them so don't take this as a recomendation but they have the support of the relevant bodies (DEFRA and REA).

They've put boilers in around lincolnshire by the looks.

http://www.englishwoodfuels.co.uk/case-studies/item/4/domestic-wood-pellet-boiler--lincolnshire/

somewhere to start anyway?



 

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