Central Heating Boilers
I have been looking at various affordable alternatives to both overpriced heating oil and to overpriced wood-pellet and geo-thermal heating systems. The one that keeps popping up again and again is the use of some form of multi-fuel solid fuel heating.
The humble free-standing multi-fuel stove is turning out to be a major winner in Ireland. With over 750 stoves a week having been sold in recent months in Ireland. The main problem with stoves is that they lack any form of automation.
Another alternative is the use of a solid fuel central heating boiler like the one shown above. This type retails about €1,600 plus shipping and is capable of fully heating a fair size house and has a degree of automation and has high output capability..
Some of the newest types of solid fuel central heating boilers are fully multi-fuel capable, meaning they will happily burn wood, coal, turf, briquettes etc. and their design has been refined to the point where they are 90% efficient, that is a higher efficiency than many oil boilers.
I recently took a look at an installation
Where this type of boiler would have an immediate and most rewarding application is with someone who has access to turf or wood, it would pay for itself in no time. But even run one on coal, especially if that coal comes to you at €14 per 40Kg bag, you will still beat the cost of oil hand down.
Water filled Fire Grate
The picture above shows the boiler I examined make name Cetik. The first thing that struck me was the flexible hose loop out the front - it looks unfinished. What was that for? The hose is part of the circulation to the water filled grate. Having a fire grate with water running through it makes it last for a long long time - it won't burn out like a cast iron one would. The flexible hose is so the grate can be riddled or shaken to knock down the ash, it would also mean that replacing a grate would be relatively easy when the time came.
90% Efficient Multi-Pass System
DIY servicing saves money
Another point that impressed me was the size of the boiler. Two factors account for the larger than usual size. (1) There is a highly efficient multi-pass flue system which gives the boiler up to 90% efficiency and makes cleaning very easy. These boilers are DIY self maintenance - for the most part. You do your own cleaning. That represents another saving over oil boilers and a MASSIVE saving over wood pellet systems!!
The more common flue baffle system is a pipe system there are a number of disadvantages to a pipe type heat exchanger. (a) It is very difficult to clean, (b) Generally it is a less effective pathway for the gasses, (c) It is difficult - if not impossible to attain very high efficiencies with solid fuels using a pipe system, without making the pipes very small - which in turn leads to the need for frequent cleaning and the danger of blockage.
The firebox of the new Cetik multi-fuel boiler. What you see burning is a combination of bits of old pallets and some coal. The boiler was lit only minutes before I took the picture and you can see how the fan assist has got in going in no time. The fire door is nice and big for easy access and re-fuelling.
Heat in less than 10 Minutes
This photo give an impression of the height of the 35Kw model which is nearly 5 feet, and shows the control panel. Within 10 minutes of it being lit, the Cetik multi-fuel boiler had heat circulating to the radiators. Many oil boilers will take longer than this to get the heat circulating, I was impressed with the speed of heat delivery.
Overall the design of the Cetik multi-fuel boiler impressed me. It is rather large when compared to an oil boiler and this may be a disadvantage in some cases. Where is would be ideal is where there is an existing boiler house or a garage with a bit of room.
Cost and Availability
So down to cost and availability. What does it costs for 88%+ efficiency in a multi-fuel, water grated, semi-automated, central heating boiler with an output of 23 Kw for the smalled and 34Kw for he larger one? And where are these available from?
Econ Fuels in Tralee are local agents in Ireland. Econ are also coal merchants and sell a smokeless mix at only €14 per 40Kg bag. Sean at Econ can be contacted at 066-4011099 and he can give you a quote and some more information on the Cetik range of multi-fuel boilers.
Econ Fuels currently have the 25Kw Cetik multi-Fuel, multi-pass, water grate boiler on special on DoneDeal at only €1,350 plus the VAT. At the current price of oil, two seasons should easily see it pay for itself.
Cetik, the makers, have a very modern manufacturing facility in Turkey with robotic welding and are full CE compliant.