Are wood pellets easy to get hold of?
Yes. Wood pellets are available from a number of manufacturers and specialists suppliers throughout the UK. Wood pellets can be bought in bags of varying sizes or delivered in bulk by tanker.

Can a wood pellet boiler replace oil, LPG and electricity?
Biomass boilers are the ideal replacement technology for oil, LPG and electricity. By installing a biomass boiler, your heating costs and CO2 emissions will be reduced. With the Governments RHI, you will turn your heating costs into a heating income.

Do I need a Carbon Monoxide Detector?
Extract from Building Regulations, Approved Document J, (applicable in England & Wales)
Clause 2.34 – ‘Where a new or replacement fixed solid fuel appliance is installed in a dwelling, a Carbon Monoxide alarm should be provided in the room where the appliance is located’.
Solid Fuel – Extract from HETAS ‘Protect yourself from CO’.
Have your appliance serviced and cleaned regularly by a qualified engineer. Ensure your chimney is kept clear by having it swept at frequent intervals by a HETAS Approved Chimney Sweep. Make sure the installation complies with Building Regulations guidance. The guidance is there to protect you. Fit an audible CO alarm conforming to BS EN 50291:2002 and positioned in accordance with Building Regulations Approved Document J requirements.

How does a Biomass boiler work?
They are usually fed automatically with wood chips or pellets from a store on site. If you have the space, we would recommend installing a store that can hold a year’s supply of fuel. This minimises transport and delivery costs for fuel, as well as ensuring there is plenty of fuel to cover the colder months without risking running low.
If you have a small heating requirement, then you may feel it acceptable to fill your boiler by hand, this saves you on space and will greatly reduce the upfront installation costs. Pellets come in 10 or 15kg bags and there is only a slight uplift in pricing for delivery this way. We have a hand-fill biomass boiler in our showroom, please feel free to come in for a full demonstration.
Maintenance is minimal, requiring only basic monthly user checks and an annual engineering service and clean-out. Depending on the heating season and usage you will need to empty any ash from the pellets, this happens once every 6 to 12 months and is a quick process as most of our boilers come fitted with an automatic ash box.

Do Biomass Boilers give off pollution?
Starter energy solutions Ltd follow strict rules when designing wood burning flues. This ensures that any domestic property near the system is safe from harm. The biomass boiler produces many fewer parts per million than a log burner.

Wood Pellets

Can I replace my gas or oil boiler with a wood pellet boiler?
Yes you can provided that you have enough space. A wood pellet boiler is as automated and easy to use as a gas or oil boiler and can also supply a similar heat output. It is important to note that these are boiler heating systems, not kitchen appliances.

Can I use my current radiators and plumbing?
Yes, provided they are in good condition and were originally designed to be of a suitable size and specification for your building. And if your current radiators are in poor condition or are unsuitably sized for the heat load, they will prove to be inefficient with whatever heating system you use, so are better replaced in any case.

Does the automatic wood pellet boiler have to run continuously?
An automatic wood pellet boiler does not need to run continuously. The boiler is fully automatic, and indeed has complete electronic control over the entire heating system. It will match the heating requirements by modulating (i.e. running at less than full capacity, something which wood pellet boilers do extremely efficiently unlike many wood chip or log boilers), and by cycling (i.e. running to a timetable or shutting down when there is no demand for heating). Of course, being fully automatic, the boiler re-ignites itself electronically whenever heat is required meaning that the building occupant need know nothing about the boiler and its controls.

How does the calorific value of pellets compare with oil and gas?
The calorific value of one litre of extra light oil amounts to 10 kWh, as does the calorific value of 1m³ of gas. It is therefore true that: 2kg pellets ~ 1 litre extra light oil ~ 1m³ gas. In terms of price pellets do significantly better than oil and LPG

How long can pellets be stored?
In dry conditions pellets can be stored indefinitely. Attention: if pellets come into contact with water or damp they will expand and be destroyed.

What are pellets?
Wood pellets are cylindrical pellets made of dry, natural wood waste (sawdust and shavings) with a diameter of 5-6 mm and a length of 10-25 mm. They are compressed under high pressure (without chemical binders) and have an extremely low water content. Wood pellets are supplied in kilograms.

What is the calorific value of pellets?
The calorific value is standardised at 4.9 kWh/kg. Quality is important! For optimal functioning of your pellet heating system use only pellets which comply with Ö-norm or DIN-plus standards.

Where do I get the pellets and where are they stored?
Wood pellets are an indigenous resource and therefore a regionally available energy source. A small network of manufacturers and suppliers can supply a large area. The pellets are delivered by tanker truck, from which they are blown into the pellet store or tank. Unlike oil, pellets do not have an unpleasant smell. Pellets can be stored in dry storage rooms or purpose-built silo bags. The best storage system will depend on the building type, but an especially cost-efficient option is the OkoFEN FleXILO, which maximises all the available floor space. The Flexi-Tank can be installed in the boiler room, in an adjacent building or outdoors (if placed outdoors, the FleXILO must be protected against rain and UV-light).

Why wood pellets? Does burning wood not generate pollution?
It is true that the combustion of wood fuel releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, the amount of carbon dioxide released is only equal to the amount which was absorbed as the tree grew prior to felling. Unlike fossil fuels which are not being replaced as we burn them, wood fuel is an infinitely renewable resource: provided we replant as many trees as we fell, there will always be a supply of fuel and it will never provide a net increase in carbon dioxide levels.
Of course, a small amount of additional energy is required to harvest, process and transport wood pellets. At present, electricity is used for the production process and petrol or diesel for transport. However, being an indigenous fuel the distance which wood pellets are transported is far less than the distance oil travels to reach us, and the amount of energy used in the production of wood pellets is significantly less than that used to refine crude oil. Overall, when burnt efficiently and cleanly as it is in an Ökofen system, wood fuel is as renewable an energy source as you can get.

Wood Burner

How often should I have my chimney swept?
Chimneys need to allow the free passage of dangerous combustion gasses. Regular sweeping will remove soot and other blockages such as bird nests. It also removes creosote, helping to prevent dangerous chimney fires. We recommend having your chimney Swept yearly which will also increase the efficiency of some appliances.

How should I store my wood?
When considering a wood burner, it is sensible to think about where you will store your wood supply. Customers tend to have dedicated log sheds which can be brought from many outlets. Ideally you should burn well seasoned wood in order to get the best results.

What type of wood burner do I need?
When our Engineers carry out a site survey, they will consider the size of the room the burner will go in to, the insulation of the home, the type of flue, the type of fuel you wish to burn, they style you prefer and your budget. This information will help our engineer suggest the type of burner required.

Solar Panel

How does a Solar Panel work?
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, capture the sun’s energy using photovoltaic cells.
These cells don’t need direct sunlight to work – they can still generate some electricity even on a cloudy day.
The cells convert sunlight into direct current (DC) power, which in turn is converted to alternating current (AC) power by the Solar Inverter so that household appliances and lighting can make use of it.

How much can I earn from installing solar panels?
The Solar Energy Calculator estimates the savings you could make by installing a solar PV system and the payment you could receive from the domestic Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme for eligible PV installations of up to 4kWp including new build.
Please click here to view the possible savings on your own home.

Is it worth investing in Solar Panels?
The ‘Energy Saving Trust’ estimates that the installation of solar PV panels on your roof will give you a tax-free return of around 12-15%, which sounds much more attractive than most savings accounts or retirement funds. This depends on the suitability of your home and roof, the number of panels you have fitted and how effectively they work. As an example, if you have a 4kw system installed (16 panels), installed on a property then you could save up to £15.5k over 20 years in electricity bills.
The Government have introduced the Feed-In Tariff which allows owners to receive a fixed rate for electricity generated annually and for any unused electricity exported back to the grid. You can enjoy a steady income for over a 20 year period with Solar PV

What are the benefits of Solar Panels?
They will reduce your electricity bills: sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be reduced as you will need to purchase less from the grid.
You will get paid for the electricity you generate: the government’s Feed-In Tariff pays for the electricity generated, even if you use it all.
You automatically sell any spare electricity back to the grid: if your system is producing more electricity than you need, or when you can’t use it, you sell the surplus back to the grid.
You will reduce your home’s carbon footprint: solar electricity is a green, renewable energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants. A typical home solar PV system could save over a tonne of carbon dioxide per year – that’s more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime.

What are the general costs as a guide?
The average domestic solar PV system is 3.5 to 4kWp and costs around £7,000 (including VAT at 5%), with the typical cost ranging from £5,500 to £9,500.

What properties are best suited to Solar PV panels?
The ideal home for solar PV panels is an unshaded south facing – facing or +/- 90 degrees of South – with a medium to large roof that does not have any features such as loft conversion and sky light windows that limit the space available.
We carry out a full assessment with all our Renewable project and will discuss the results with you

Solar Thermal

Does the Government support Solar Thermals?
Yes they do and you may be able to receive payments for the heat you generate from a solar water heating system through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive.

Does the system only work in Summer?
The system works all year round, though you’ll need to heat the water further with a boiler or immersion heater during the winter months.

How does Solar Thermal work?
Solar water heating systems use solar panels, sometimes called collectors, fitted in or on top of your existing roof covering. These collect heat from the sun and transfer this ‘free’ energy via a refrigeration circuit and heat exchanger to hot water that is stored in a hot water cylinder. It is possible to retro-fit a solar thermal system to work with an existing boiler or immersion heater, although we would usually recommend at the least a cylinder upgrade.

What are the general costs as a guide?
The cost of installing a typical solar water heating system is around £4,800 (including VAT at 5%). Savings are moderate – the system could provide most of your hot water in the summer, but much less during colder weather.