This guide will help you understand the ins and outs of biomass boilers, including the costs, timescales as well as the advantages and disadvantages of installing a biomass boiler
Are you considering changing your boiler? If so, you may want to consider having a biomass boiler installed as an alternative to your existing boiler.
Biomass boilers are very similar to gas boilers, in that they provide your home with space heating and hot water solutions.
However, instead of using gas, they are fuelled by renewable wood pellets or chips which are more eco-friendly.
The average biomass boiler installation prices range from £4000 for a 15kw manual-fed boiler up to £25,000 for an automatic-fed biomass boiler with an output of more than 16kw.
The labour cost for installing a biomass boiler is typically around £200 to £250.
This will vary depending on several factors, including the location of the property, as heating engineers may charge more to travel to a remote location.
They will also up their prices if accessibility is limited during the installation, as this usually means the job will take a lot longer.
For a better understanding of biomass boiler prices, take a look at the following table, which sets out the supply and installation costs for different types of biomass boilers.
|Type of Biomass Boiler||Supply & Installation Cost|
|Up to 15kW manual-fed boiler||£4000 - £7000|
|16kW+ manual-fed boiler||£7000 - £10,000|
|Up to 15kW automatic-fed boiler||£9000 - £16,000|
|16 kw+ automatic-fed boiler||£15,000 - £25,000|
You will also need to consider the cost of fuel, as the price of fuel varies depending on the type you choose.
For instance, wood chips are the cheaper option, in comparison to wood pellets; however, the latter generally offers better efficiency.
The below table sets out the fuel costs and price per tonne for different types of biomass boiler fuel.
|Type of Fuel||Fuel Cost per kW/h||Cost per tonne|
|Wood chips||£0.29||£60 - £70|
|Wood pellets||£0.42||£150 - £250|
There are two main types of biomass boiler – automatic and manually-fed biomass boiler, which both offer various advantages and disadvantages.
Take a look at the pros and cons of each to see which biomass boiler is right for your home.
A manually-fed biomass boiler is powered by wood chips or pellets which must be poured into the boiler’s furnace by hand.
The cost of installation ranges from £4000 for a manually-fed biomass boiler with an output less than 15kw to £10,000 for a boiler with an output larger than 16kw.
✔ Lower fuel cost.
✔ Cheap installation cost .
✖ Inconvenient and time-consuming refills.
✖ Requires regular maintenance.
An automatic-fed biomass boiler works precisely the same way as a manually-fed model; however, instead of refilling it manually, the boiler will refill and clean the biomass automatically.
The installation cost ranges from £9000 for a boiler with an output of 15kw or could set you back around £25,000 for an automatic-fed boiler with a 16kw or more output.
✔ Low maintenance.
✔ Automatic refills.
✖ Expensive installation.
✖ High fuel cost.
The process of installing a biomass boiler is a complicated and time-consuming job which must be completed by a professional heating engineer who is experienced with biomass boiler installation.
Take a look at this step by step guide to help you understand what is involved in a typical biomass boiler installation:
There are several other costs you may want to consider along with the biomass boiler installation.
This could include installing new radiators which typically ranges from £1200 to £2400, which will vary depending on how many radiators need replacing.
For more enhanced heating, you may want to consider having underfloor heating fitted, which is normally priced at £100 per square metre, so the overall cost will depend on how large the room is.
Installing a biomass boiler on a DIY basis is not advised as it is a complex job which typically requires a qualified heating engineer to complete or certify the job.
It can also be a dangerous and expensive job, especially if it not done correctly.
Planning permission is not typically required to install a biomass boiler, especially if the boiler and additional components are installed inside the property.
If you need a new flue fitted, then you need to ensure that it meets permitted development rules which state that the flue must be positioned no higher than one metre above the highest part of the roof.
You may also be limited further if you live in a conservation area or live in a listed building, as this may require extra permissions.
For a compliant installation, you will need to obtain building regulations approval, which is easy enough if you hire a heating engineer who is listed under the competent person’s scheme.
This will ensure that your biomass boiler is installed correctly and safely, while also making sure that the ventilation, noise and general safety is considered.
There are some biomass boiler problems to consider, the first being the high upfront biomass boiler installation cost which can put some people off.
However, this is usually balanced out if you receive renewable heat incentive payments.
You can also lower the cost by purchasing a manually-fed biomass boiler which is cheaper than an automatic model.
However, this requires you to fill up the boiler with chips or pellets on a regular basis, and it is also quite high maintenance.
Unlike other boiler types, you will also need to wait in for regular deliveries of wood chips or pellets which are used to fuel your heating.
To install a biomass boiler, you will also need a significant amount of space, so they are not the best option for smaller properties.
Adhering to building regulations and planning permissions is also essential.
If these rules are not followed, then you may end up paying out more for your boiler to be removed and replaced to ensure it follows the current regulations.
Biomass boilers are fuelled by biological matter such as wood chips and pellets which are burnt in a combustion chamber within the boiler.
This produces hot gas and air which is fed through a flue and then a heat exchanger in order to heat up your home.
Biomass boilers are very similar to conventional boilers which run on gas or oil, however, instead of using harmful fuels they use biomass which is converted into hot air and gas to fuel your central heating system.
There are various biomass boilers available; however, according to reviews, Froling has some of the best biomass appliances available.
This includes the Froling T4 Biomass Boiler which has an output from 15kW to 100kW is automatically fuelled by both wood chips and pellets.
Overall, this boiler costs around £8000 to £14,000 for both installation and running costs.
Another popular biomass boiler is Viessman’s Vitoligno 300-C boiler which has a wide-ranging output between 2.4kW and 100kW which is perfect for both domestic and commercial dwellings.
This is run on wood pellets only and tends to cost around £9000 to £10,000.
There are various biomass materials; however, the most popular choices for biomass boiler fuel include wood chips, pellets and logs.
The type you choose will depend on the level of output and whether it is being installed in a home or business.
For instance, wood pellets tend to work best for small, urbanized properties due to the benefit of greater energy.
Logs can be used in both homes and small businesses with daily input required.
While wood chips typically work well with larger, automated systems which are beneficial for medium to large companies.
An average-sized home with a biomass boiler will typically use around 11 tonnes of wood pellets per year; however, this will, of course, depend on how much energy you use.