Friday, February 24, 2012

Wood Pellet Boilers and Stoves


Why I Still Believe
That Wood Pellet Stoves 
are a Bad Investment

Price and Payback

An average price to pay for a wood pellet central heating boiler is €5,000 to €7,000. A multi-fuel stove with a back boiler would cost around €1,500. The saving would be between €3,500 and  €5,500. The wood pellet unit could cost up to €1,000 to install in an existing heating system. A stove would cost half or less to plumb in. The lower saving figure of €4,000 would essentially give you FREE Heating for over 3 years!!

Add to that saving the maintenance of the wood pellet boiler, conservatively at €400 for the 3 year period. Now add in the fact that over a longer period the spares for the wood pellet boiler could cost up to several thousands, augers, control units, igniters, hearths, or a new burner at €2,700 perhaps. An equivalent oil burner costs about €350 max,  a Reillo burner I checked the price of recently,  is selling for €249.

A multi-fuel stove needs virtually no maintenance in the first 5 years or so.  After that time you may need to replace a grate or baffle if the metal in those pieces is not 16% chromium, or if you have been burning the stove too hot in an uncontrolled way.

Doing your bit for the Planet

If you burn wood briquettes in a stove, the good ones - REMEMBER -  with the hole through the middle, you would be fully doing your bit for the environment just the same as the guy with the wood pellet system.

Fuel Independence

You would not be tied to a single fuel type, in fact you could, if you had to, burn just about any available fuel.

If you had a good gravity feed on your multi-fuel stove's boiler, your system would be independent of electricity supply. This would only work properly in a two story house, or with radiators placed high on the walls in a bungalow.

Stove Disadvantages

Operating a stove has a few disadvantages.

(1) It needs to be manually tended regularly - get it right and it will burn for up to 8 - 9 hours at a fill. It is easily possible to keep a stove burning 24 -7 on a slow burn. This is the best way to maintain an even temperature in the home.
(2) Stoves need some cleaning regularly.

Overall, I feel the advantages and saving on a simple multi-fuel stove system FAR FAR outweigh the advantages that wood pellet stoves offer, especially when you take into account the complications and huge costs associated. Grants or no grants I consider wood pellet a bad investment.



V said...

HERE HERE, we have been saying this for years.

Bad investment, pallets are going to be pricey as there is not enough available they have to be imported, here goes the carbon footprint.

Expensive to maintain, parts prices are high, to many boiler manufacturers and all different part required. not so with gas and oil they can be bought in Ireland mostly of the shelf.

Have to do maintenance yourself, if not youl have great expenses in the maintenance department.

Oil and gas boilers efficiency are 98%+, and a tich of the price of a pallet boiler or stove.

While there are some grewat looking "pricey" stoves out there, in general they do nothing for the room.

Investment high payback 15 years + and then you more than likely require a new one.

Gas and Oil emmissions can be witht he new boilers and burners extreemly low, if they are commissioned the right way, price for a normal houshold boiler a quarter (or less) of the price then a pellet boiler.

A pallet boiler is a young person boiler, no offence to peopl over 65 but the maintenance can be substancial what you have to do, breakdown can be long and in the winter that means the house will be cold, on a freezing winter day with snow and ice out there I think it is not for elderly people. It is not a comfortable and secure heat source. A gas or oil boiler more thatn likely can be fixed within a day, a pellet boiler due to the amount of parts that can break, can be up to ten days as it is not feasable for an engineer to carry all the parts in stock, due to the expence.

There are sooo many good gas and oil boilers on the market, even better and efficient burners with such an high efficiency, why would you bother with a pellet boiler.

Thomas Hand said...


What you say about wood pellet boilers is very true,particularly in regard to Ireland. I invested in a KWB state of the art boiler with guaranteed customer service etc.I am now on my third prolonged boiler breakdown in two years with no heating and no hot water.

The boiler failed on the 2nd October 2012 and I am assured by KWB in Austria that the boiler will be repaired at the weekend i.e. about the 10th - very cold comfort indeed.

The Irish agent does not stock spare parts even though at the service in May 2012 I advised them that the fan was very noisy and likely to fail. At that point they should have been pro-active and ordered a spare fan motor in anticipation of a probable failure.

Although the Irish agent knew the fan had failed on 2nd October, they did not order a replacement until today (8th)and KWB in Austria tell me it will not be in Ireland until this coming weekend. It is incredible that the delivery of a small fan motor from within the EU should take that long.

In hindsight I made two mistakes, I should have read your blog first and then invested the price of this installation in solid fuel- at least I would be warm and not in need of a shower.

As Kermit the Frog said "It's not easy being greeen!"

Thomas Hand

buggykl said...

you will need to sustain your energy levels if you too have switched to green energy. The chances of you getting a service for your boiler is somewhere betwen zero and nil.