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10 things your installer won’t tell you before you purchase a biomass boiler
I saw a headline this morning in the green trade press, which read: ‘Why every business should be interested in the Renewable Heat Incentive’. A good headline no doubt to get people to click through and read on. But that kind of editorial should also carry a warning sign: if you are a business (or from next spring, a household) interested in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), you should be very wary about what technology you invest in –especially if you are a small entity and/or you are urban-based.
I am shareholder in a small business that owns an eco residential property in London. We fully support the move to a greener future and renewable technologies. But after eight years of heartache, we have finally decided to decommission our pellet boiler because of all the problems that have befallen it (we estimate our boiler has only worked for three years out of the eight we have owned it).
I confess we were too early to benefit from the RHI, but even if we’d had such an incentive and I knew what I know now, I would have made a different choice of technology. So, for those of you considering a pellet boiler, I’ve compiled a list of the some of the issues your biomass installer is unlikely to share with you before you make your purchase.
10 things your installer won’t tell you about your pellet biomass boiler before you buy it
- We may overspec or underspec your boiler
- The biomass boiler will likely breakdown frequently
- The boiler will require “considerable more time and effort to ensure it runs efficiently and gives long service” compared to a gas boiler
- The weekly checks and clean-outs you are required to carry out will not prevent breakdowns from occurring
- When your boiler does breakdown, your building will be without heating for more than a few hours because we don’t have an engineer in your area
- When things go wrong – and they will – we will blame it on the quality of the fuel you have purchased to burn in the boiler, not the quality of the boiler and parts
- The electrical items on your boiler, only have a 12 month guarantee on them but some, such as the heat gun, will likely fail frequently
- The service contract is very expensive because we know you will need to call us out a lot
- Because the boiler will likely be manufactured abroad, we will not feel the same sense of responsibility to put things right as we would if we were the maker
- When you decide it really does not make sense to keep throwing good money after bad, we will not buy back/sell on the biomass boiler for you.
(In case you are wondering, our installer is part of a large reputable firm, MSC certified and a member of the REAL scheme).
If you are installing a biomass boiler, or thinking of installing one, remember to keep these points in mind before taking the plunge – this is a big investment you are making in a piece of kit that will be critical to your every day living/working conditions, even if you are going to be able to benefit from generous subsidies under the Renewable Heat Incentive.
If you’ve had a similar experience, a better experience, or you have further questions or advice to offer on this subject, we’d love to hear from you, so please leave your comment(s) below.
This blog was updated on February 6 2014.