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Biomass Boilers - Frequently Asked Questions

By Woodpecker Energy Ltd  |  Posted: April 11, 2013

Biomass Boilers from Woodpecker Energy

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If you are considering a biomass boiler, here are a few of the most FAQ we encounter:

How much space is required for a wood pellet boiler?

A typical domestic boiler with fuel storage and buffer tank will take up half a garage of indoor space.

Are there any grants or incentives available for using a Woodpecker wood pellet boiler?
The Renewable Heat Incentive for non-domestic properties came in November 2011. This is designed to give a 12% return on the additional capital invested in a biomass installation. A domestic version of this scheme is due to launch in late 2012.

How much ash and particulates is produced by a Woodpecker wood pellet boiler?
The boilers are extremely efficient and the fuel is produced from timber with the bark removed leading to only a small amount of ash and soot being produced. It is not unusual to empty a domestic boiler ashcan on a six monthly basis.

What sort of maintenance schedule is required for a Woodpecker boiler?
Normally a service is required every 12 months or 1200 hours, whatever is the earliest.

How does wood pellet boiler work in relation to gas or oil?
Slightly more 'hands on' but with bulk storage and automated feed this can be a near oil boiler experience.

How can Woodpecker claim that wood pellet boilers are a form of carbon neutral heating?
It is generally accepted that recently grown timber offsets the carbon produced in burning, which is minimal for a wood pellet boiler.

I don't have enough indoor space for a wood pellet boiler. Is there any way I can have one?
Yes. Solutions can include putting them in an outbuilding or using our Cosyman outdoor boiler. For larger properties we have containerised solutions too.

How much wood pellet would I use?
Depends on how well insulated and big your property is and how warm you want to be. As a rule of thumb, usually slightly more expensive than gas but significantly cheaper than oil or LPG.

Do I really need a buffer tank?
Yes you do. Biomass wood fuels are not instant ignition so there needs to be a block of heat available for instant use. Failure to do this will result in short cycling of the boiler, reducing component life.

I have access to timber and intend to produce my own pellets, is this possible?
Yes, especially if you have deep pockets. Setting up a pellet plant is a multi-million pound investment.

Can I burn elephant grass, rapeseed or other pellets in my Woodpecker boiler?
Our boilers have not been set up to burn anything apart from A1 grade wood pellet. Even cheap wood pellet that would burn in power stations is not suitable for our boilers and use of out of spec fuel could invalidate the warranty and at the very least will be a chargeable call-out.

How easy is it to buy good wood pellet?
Very easy. There are local, national and international suppliers of A1 grade wood pellet. We will commission your boiler with such fuel and would expect you to use such fuel in the future.

How often will I need to fill my boiler with pellets?
Very much depends on how hot you want your property, how big it is and how well insulated. Obviously heating your house to 25 degrees C will use more heat than setting your room temperatures at say 21 degrees. Then again a 25kW boiler that is supplying an installation requiring 25kW heat load will use more than one requiring 18kW heat load. Lastly a newly built property in the depths of a hard winter will have far less heat loss than a similar sized property built in the 1950's.

If you have any further questions or would like to talk to someone about your options please call Woodpecker Energy on 0845 838 6359 or email us at 

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