Monday, February 11, 2008

WoodPellet Efficiency Query - Follow-up


The Query

"My father was advised to install a wood chip burner in his new house. He was advised that it would be economical. He is now using 2 tonne of pellets a month to heat a 6,000 sq ft house. Common sense would dictate that this cannot be right but the supplier has been out and looked at the product and says it is working perfectly. Can anyone advise how we can go about trying to prove that we have been duped?"

Here is my tuppence worth to start the ball rolling:

1. Wow - 6000 sq foot is a huge house – more like a mini-hotel. It is well over three times the size of a typical average semi-detached 3-bed home - even four times the size. So here you could treble or indeed quadruple the average heating cost.

2. 2 tonnes of pellets equals roughly 1000 litres of heating oil – I would say for 3 to 4 average sized houses is not too far off the normal.

3. Just how well insulated this new very large house will have a big bearing on heating costs.

4. The pellet boiler could be some of the problem. For instance: (a) what is the efficiency rating of the boiler, (b) have all the baffles been properly inserted in the boiler flueways? (c) Has the boiler got a proper flue draught regulator to stop the heat being sucked up the chimney in windy weather?? (d) has the boiler been fully tuned for efficiency, and what type of regulator system has it got??

5. What level of heat is being maintained in the house, in how many of the rooms, and for how many hours? If you are heating a house to say 23 degrees for 16 hours a day then you are going to eat fuel.

There may indeed be nothing wrong with the heating system - just with the size of the house!! Just like a big gas guzzling car - a big house will suck up the juice!!


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