Wood pellet boiler or stove: which would suit you best?
Posted by Jon Edge on 31 January 2011 at 9:57 am
Wood pellet is a low carbon and cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels and works very well in urban properties. There are two types of pellet heating system: a boiler which replaces your existing central heating system for space heat and hot water; or a pellet stove which has a window to show the flame and can give just space heat, or both heat and hot water.
There are a number of differences between the two and both have their place depending on the needs and wants of the household. Some of the first things to consider are:
Do you want a fully automated central heating and hot water system? If so the only option is a pellet boiler, where vacuum hoses pull pellets into the boiler automatically, so you don’t need to handle the pellets to refill the hopper and you can run a programme just like a gas boiler and go on holiday with no worries about coming home to a cold house. There are even smart phone apps to let you manage your pellet boiler remotely so you can tell it to come on or off from anywhere in the world. Pellet boilers need a watertight pellet store, somewhere up to 20m away from the boiler, in an outbuilding, shed or garage and delivery of pellets can be blown straight into the store from a delivery truck up to 30m away.
Do you want to see the flames? If you want to see the flames and don’t mind filling it up with pellets then a stove is the best option and this would go in, for example your lounge, and could give space heat and hot water or just space heat. With a pellet stove there is a hopper in the top of the system which needs to be filled with bags of pellets every day or two when in use. It is slightly more expensive to buy bagged pellets and they need to be stored in a dry place to ensure no moisture gets in.
For both stoves and boilers there needs to be a flue to take the smoke and gases away, however high efficiency pellet stoves and boilers can be used in smoke-free zones. Both technologies can have high efficiencies, are self lighting and as with all things range in price, features and build quality, so it is important to look around for the system that is best suited to your requirements.
Next time I will look more closely at some features and benefits for each system as well as some price comparisons.
Photo by Cappi Thompson
About the author: Jon Edge is marketing director at Fair Energy CIC
If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.
4 comments - read them below or add one