eco design
Wood fuelled heating
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Heat and hot water from wood fuelled stoves and boilers

Wood fuelled heating systems generally burn wood pellets, chips or logs to power central heating and hot water boilers or to provide warmth in a single room.

See how wood fuelled heating can work in your home

    * How do wood fuelled heating systems work?
    * The benefits of wood fuel heating
    * Is a wood fuelled heating system suitable for my home?
    * Costs and savings

See how wood fuelled heating can work with solar hot water

How do wood fuelled heating systems work?

There are two main ways of using wood to heat you home:

* A standalone stove burning logs or pellets to heat a single room. Some can also be fitted with a back boiler to provide water heating as well.

* A boiler burning pellets, logs or chips connected to a central heating and hot water system.

Log burning stoves and boilers have to be filled with wood by hand. Some pellet and chip burners use automatic fuel feeders which refill them at regular intervals from fuel storage units called hoppers.

A biomass boiler could save you around 470 a year on heating bills

The benefits of wood fuel heating

    * A carbon neutral option: although burning wood releases CO2, it is the same amount as was absorbed while the wood was growing. If a new tree is planted for each one burned, there are no overall carbon emissions.

    * A good use for waste wood: burning wood can be a convenient means of disposing of waste that might otherwise be sent to a landfill site.

Is a wood fuelled heating system suitable for my home?

To tell if wood fuelled heating is right for you, there are a few key questions to consider:

    * Do you have enough space? You'll need a large dry area close to the boiler to store your wood. Ideally this should
     be close to where the wood is delivered to your home to minimize the distance you have to carry it.

    * Do you have a suitable flue? You need a vent which is specifically designed for wood fuel appliances, with
      sufficient air movement for proper operation of the stove. Your existing chimney can be fitted with a lined flue,
      which is relatively inexpensive.

    * Can you comply with safety and building regulations? If you live in an old or unusual home this may be an issue.
      For more information, see Part L of the Building Regulations.

    * Do you live in a smokeless zone? If so then wood can only be burnt in certain exempted appliances.
    * Do you need planning permission? You need to talk to your local authority if your flue will extend 1m or more
      above the height of your roof, or your home is in a Conservation Area or World Heritage Site and you plan to
      install a flue on the principal elevation visible from a road.

Costs and savings

Costs for a standalone stove are around 4,000 including installation.
A typical automatically fed boiler for an average home costs around
10,000 including installation and installing a suitable flue.
Manually fed log systems are slightly cheaper.

Savings in CO2 emissions are significant - up to 9.6 tonnes
per year when a wood boiler replaces a solid (coal) fired system.

Fuel savings are less significant, and if you replace a gas heating system with a wood burning system you may end up paying more for your fuel. But if you replace solid or electricity you could save between 200 and 475 per year.

Wood costs often depend on the distance from your home to a wood supplier and whether you can buy and store wood in large quantities. If you have your own supply of wood fuel then this can significantly reduce your costs. Typically, heating and hot water costs for a year will be around 1200 in a detached property.

To reduce your home's CO2 emissions further, consider installing solar electricity or some other form of renewable electricity generating system.
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