Friday, July 14, 2006
Wood Pellet Ireland Update
1. A boiler is a "kettle" full of water which is heated by flames. Oil boilers, Gas boilers or wood fired boilers are much the same basic idea.
2. A pellet boiler has a flame making unit ot burner fitted into it that is especially designed to burn wood pellets.
3. A "pellet burner unit" is what makes a pellet boiler a pellet boiler. Otherwise it is a wood-burning boiler.
4. Some pellet boilers on the Irish market, such as the Dor, are essentially log boilers with a pellet burner strapped on to it. These work just fine.
5. Other pellet boilers are integrated complete units, all designed to work together.
6. There are some very high-tech (and high priced) pellet boilers which are self-cleaning etc.
7. Pellet boilers work just the same as oil boilers - they turn on and off, or in some cases up and down, as the heat is needed. The more sophisticated ones 'modulate' the heat to the requirement with between 5 and 100 steps of modulation..
8. Also the better units are equipped with a "Lanbda" sensor unit. This is an electronic box that senses the flue gases and adjusts the burn process automatically. Some cars also have Lambda sensors.
9. SEI Sustainable Energy Ireland, the government agency set up to encourage alternative energy give a grant for pellet heaters.
10. SEI has an "approved" list of boiler - burner units.
11. Manufacturers or agents simply need to apply to SEI for approval of their units.
12. SEI approve the Unit NOT the agent or seller.
13. SEI has a list of approved Installers.
14. These installers are not actually trained or tested for competence - they are simply registered - no more. An un-registered installer might indeed be far better, and cheaper than a registered one - BUT you wont get the grant unless you are signed off by a registered installer.
15. Many registered installers take advantage of the grant scheme by charging OUTRAGEOUS prices for installing a boiler. Normal rates for a normal installation should not be more than €200 - €300.
16. Prices being charges in Ireland for many pellet boilers are between 30% and 100% dearer than on the mainland Continent. Buyer beware.
17. None of the government agencies seem to be interested in the Rip-Off going on. It is up to the buyer to try and figure their way through a maze of facts and figures and avoid the crooks and gombeen men in the process.
18. There are moves afoot to form private buying co-ops to import these boilers.
19. There are a number of companies, that I have been speaking to, interested in selling pellet boilers and taking a fair and reasonable profit. If this happen, it will be the best solution to short circuit the gougers.
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