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Choosing a Wood-Fuelled Heating Option

As we continue to look for different ways in which to create energy within our homes, wood-fuelled heating systems have become a sustainable, cost-effective source. Whether you choose a stove that heats a single room or a boiler to heat water and the rest of the house, you could be saving a lot of money on your energy bills.

If you choose to have a stove installed in one of your rooms, this could effectively heat this room without the need of a radiator by burning pellets or logs. Equally, some people decide to have these fitted with back boilers, which can then be used to heat water too.

However, if you’re looking for an energy saving solution for your entire home, then a boiler that burns chips, logs or pellets may be the answer. This type of boiler could reduce your bills by around £600 a year, compared to your standard electric heating.

What are the benefits of wood-fuelled heating systems?

Firstly, it is a more low-carbon option than other energy sources. Despite the fact that there will be emissions of carbon dioxide when you burn the wood, this equates to the same amount that will have been absorbed by the plant throughout its entire growth period. Therefore, if another plant is planted in its place, this results in a sustainable energy source. Some may also argue that by transporting, manufacturing and cultivating the fuel there are carbon emissions caused by this; but if you source this type of fuel locally, these carbon emissions will be much lower than if you chose fossil fuel.

Perhaps more importantly for you and your home, this is also a more affordable option. You may find that wood prices can be incredibly variable but this will still be a cheaper option that a lot of other energy supplies.

How much will it cost to install?

If you are looking to install a pellet stove, you could be looking at just over £4,000, which also includes installation. However, log burners can often be obtained for half this price, which will also include the chimney lining or a new flue.

Automatically fed boilers, which are big enough for the average size home, will cost an estimated £11,500, including fuel store, flue, installation and 5% VAT. However, if you choose to have a log boiler that is manually fed, these costs may be a little cheaper.

Fuel wise, you will need to assess what is available to you locally and what the prices are like in your area as they can vary from place to place. You may find that logs are considerably cheaper; but with the transportation costs involved there can be increased costs. It is more cost-effective to save unseasoned logs for a year, if you have the storage room for this.

When it comes to pellet costs, again, these depend upon the size of your order and how they are going to be delivered to you. If you just buy a couple of bags as and when you need them, you may find that this is quite expensive, whereas, if you have storage for several tonnes of pellets you could be looking at more reasonable prices of around £190 per tonne.

How much could I save?

If your wood-fuelled boiler is replacing a gas heating system, you may save around £100 per year; but replacing an electric heating system could save you a much more significant £580 per year. Equally, if your wood-fuelled boiler is replacing an electric heating system or coal fired system, then you could be saving 7.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. (This is based on an average 3 bedroom semi-detached house).

It is always recommended that you have the maximum amount of insulation in your home when your renewable energy source is installed as this can help you save even more money.

When to choose wood-fuelled heating.

Before deciding whether or not to have a wood-fuelled heating system installed, there are several factors that you should consider.

  • Is there enough room to have the boiler installed, as they take up more room than your standard one; and do you have enough room to store the fuel? Having enough room to store your fuel source, e.g. logs, can save you a lot of money in the long run, and is recommended if you are heating your entire home with wood fuel.
  • You will also need to check if you need planning permission for this type of heating system as they have to adhere to building regulations.
  • Can a flue be installed? In order to comply with the regulations that are in place for wood burning, you will need to have an existing chimney for the log burning (this may also need to be re-lined) or space for a stainless steel flue to be installed.
  • You will also need to decide which wood burning system is going to benefit you the most. Do you just want to heat a single room with a stove or are you looking for an option for your entire home? Equally, carefully consider which type of boiler you are going to have installed and which fuel you will be using. Chips are only recommended for either groups of buildings or larger ones. Log burners need re-filling by hand, whereas chip and pellet burners often have automatic feeders. However, even though log burners do require more work on your behalf, they can also save you more money if you can source them locally.

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