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Biomass Boilers – Are they Worth it?

With the sharp increase in oil and fossil fuel prices, it would make sense to change to an eco-friendlier way to heat your home. Biomass boilers are a popular alternative to traditional boilers as they have the ability to burn sustainably sourced wood pellets. Using wood as a replacement for fossil fuels is a helpful way to prevent long-term climate change, but our team is noticing a trend amongst our customers. Our team is finding that some are actually changing from their Biomass boilers back to a conventional gas boilers!

Although Biomass boilers are considered more economically friendly due to the fact that they burn a sustainable fuel source, there is a large upfront installation cost amongst other cons against this type of boiler. With a large installation cost, a biomass boiler has to be topped up regularly with wood pellets and the ash removed from the boiler to then be cleaned. 

Making it more effort to maintain than a standard boiler creates no dirt or grime. With the war in Ukraine increasing the cost of many day-to-day items and the fuel for these boilers is no exception. In addition of a large up-front cost, the cost to fuel has increased drastically as some suppliers are seeing a 25-40% increase in costs. An average cost of fuel goes from £200 per ton up to £360-385 and is likely to increase with international sanctions in place.

The Ultimate Question: BioMass Vs Gas Boilers?

With the sharp increasing costs of running and maintaining Biomass boilers, some of our customers are replacing their current Biomass boilers with conventional gas due to their cons now overreaching their pros. But for those looking to burn a more sustainable material, Biomass boilers are a perfect choice as burning wood and biofuel can be grown in a matter of years as compared to gas which has taken over a million years to create. 

With eco-friendly alternatives on the rise, a biomass boiler is seen as carbon neutral as the amount of carbon dioxide released from burning the biofuel is the same as the amount that is absorbed by trees and plants grown for biofuel purposes.

With the current sanctions on Russian imports, this price increase is only expected to be a short-term problem. But with the realisation some of our customers are having, they are deciding to make the trade as they are realising how much effort is having to be spent on maintaining a Biomass boiler compared to a conventional natural gas boiler.

Although the government encourages the focus to make the change from fossil fuels to a carbon neutral fuel, Biomass boilers have a lot of downsides to being installed in a modern home. Alongside the rising costs of fuel for the boilers almost matching those of gas boilers, Biomass boilers are also larger and need a considerable amount of space to store the fuel it burns. The fuel also needs sufficient safe and moisture-free storage to prevent the fuel from becoming useless and unusable.

But with gas boilers, it is a “install and forget” style of technology, although the carbon emissions are higher than a biofuel boiler, the technology gone into the creation of a simple and easy-to-maintain boiler exceeds that of a biomass boiler. The addition of standard gas boilers only needing a sufficient amount of space i.e., kitchen cupboard, the biomass needs considerably more space and storage for the fuel.

As the world is ever-changing and adapting, the future of Biomass boilers looks bright. In addition to the UK government beginning to phase our gas boilers in newly built houses, in 2025 the alternatives are electric boilers that can run off renewable energy such as solar and wind energy or the alternative being Biomass boilers. Both gas and biomass boilers come with advantages but it can be hard to make the choice, especially if you are without heating through the colder months.

For those who already have the facilities to have a gas boiler installed, it is an easy choice to make, as well as those looking for a simple boiler to maintain. But if you’re looking to improve your home’s impact on nature, then a Biomass boiler is a carbon-neutral way to advance.

To learn more about the types of boilers we can install as well as the other services we provide click here!