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.
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.
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.