Anybody who regularly tunes into the news will be well aware of how big the energy efficiency industry has become. Solar panels have come and arguably gone, A-grade boilers are well in fashion, while wood-burning stoves appear to be gradually rising in popularity.
Part of the reason behind the success of wood burning stoves is because of the government’s financial incentives. While they are marketed as being a superb way to slash your energy bills, if you look at them in more detail they are probably not worth the thousands of pounds that you generally have to shell out. However, if you take advantage of a government grant and then start to recoup the cost from feed-in tariffs next year, it’s no surprise to see that many homeowners are sitting up and starting to think that the stoves could be a good idea from a financial perspective.
One thing that many people forget is that the stoves do require their own source of fuel. We’ve lived in an era where it has become granted to simply switch on the boiler and become accustomed to immediate heat. This is something that does not always occur with biomass devices and while your boiler may take advantage of fuel from the National Grid, you are the one responsible for stocking up on the wood that is required for a stove to function adequately. Bearing this in mind, the remainder of this article will take a look at several of the wood considerations you should analyze before pledging your interest in a biomass fuel system.
Type of Wood
Anyone who has not researched the type of wood that can be used in a stove is probably set for a nasty surprise. Unfortunately, you can’t use any form of the material and it has to be properly seasoned to work effectively in a stove. It also goes without saying that some wood will burn much better than others and if you can obtain something like oak as your primary source, the wood will burn much slower and therefore last longer. However, if you turn to something like pine, the burning time is shortened as it can split and also deposit soot in the chimney.
Similarly, make sure you analyze the different forms that the wood arrives in. Chips, pellets, and logs are the usual option, with pellets and chips being the most common as they can run without little maintenance. If you turn towards logs, which are cheaper, you will have to regularly fuel the boiler which isn’t practical for many homeowners.
Where to Source the Wood
Don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ll be able to easily source the wood either. If you live in the country, there’s a good chance that you will be able to find several suppliers. However, it might be a little more difficult to find the wood in urban areas and you may even have to travel far to find a decent supply. This, of course, needs to be factored in the overall maintenance costs.
Another issue that a lot of people forget about is that the wood needs to be stored somewhere. You can’t simply buy on demand – as there will become times where your boiler ceases to function because of this. Therefore, you need a dry space to store the wood and it’s much easier if it’s part of an outbuilding to aid with deliveries.