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How to choose your biomass boiler installer

Posted by FairEnergy . on 18 July 2013 at 9:35 am

A biomass boiler is unlike any other type of boiler and there some very important considerations that your installer should understand and be able to explain to you.

1. Ask how long the company has been installing biomass boilers.

2. Find out how many installations the company has done and ask to visit at least one local installation. Reputable companies will be happy to show you a working system as well as letting you talk to the boiler owner.

3. During your sales visit, check that the sales person has a good level of technical knowledge. They should clearly understand your current heating system and be able to explain how the biomass system will connect to your property.

4. Make sure that the salesperson gives due attention to how your fuel will be delivered to the fuel store. Remember you will have to do this for 20 years so keeping it simple yet effective is important.

5. Ask if they use their own heating engineers or subcontract? If they subcontract, find out who they will use, how experienced this company is and who takes responsibility if something goes wrong.

6. Ask if the company can offer provide an annual service or maintenance package.

7. Sizing the system is very important and the company you choose should look at your existing boiler size and the heat load of your property based on its construction to select an appropriate sized boiler. 

8. Do your research on the boiler manufacturer each company suggests you use.

9. Any quotation you receive should itemise all of the equipment that will be used and also state what is included and what is excluded. Common things that may or may not be in a quote are:

    - Trenching including penetrations from the trench into the building
    - Connection to your existing heating system in the property
    - Delivery of equipment
    - Electrical works
    - RHI (renewable heat incentive) application to Ofgem
    - Removal of old boilers

10. Your quote should include a detailed breakdown of your projected payback period (or in the case of domestic installations, income from RHI and savings on energy bills).

11. Speak to a couple of local fuel suppliers to get an idea of the price you will pay for fuel per tonne. Give this figure to any companies that quote you so that they can use it in their payback calculations ensuring that these are as accurate as possible.

12. Always ask how many RHI applications the company has successfully completed. It is preferable to use a company that will do the application on your behalf as the process for non-domestic applications is long and complex.

Written by Tom Dear

More information on biomass boilers and the RHI from YouGen:

YouGen guide to biomass boilers

YouGen guide to the renewable heat incentive

Domestic or not: where's the divide for the RHI

What to expect from your biomass boiler

Biomass boiler case study - Highfield farm, Devon

About the author: Fred Thomson is a technical surveyor and John Fursdon is a senior technical sales consultant at Fair Energy

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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