The first step in the decision making process is to decide how much heat is required as this will indicate which size boiler is needed. It is inefficient to use a boiler which generates surplus heat to your requirements. Once the size has been determined, you can then proceed to investigate the boilers that are available in that particular size.

Before the boiler is purchased, it is important to consider the installation requirements for the system and how it can be integrated into a pre-existing heating system if relevant.

It is also important to consider the types of fuel that the boiler uses, as different boilers require different types of fuel storage and fuel feed equipment. You need to decide if you need the fuel to be fed to the boiler automatically. Pellet and chip boilers use automatic fuel feeders which refill them at regular intervals, whereas, Log-burning boilers have to be filled with wood by hand. Indeed, logs require considerably more work, for example you will need a lot of logs to heat a whole house, but they can be cheaper than pellets if you have a good local supply. Pellets and chip boilers are much easier to use and much more controllable than logs, they can run automatically in much the same way that gas or oil boilers operate.

The following features will help enhance the life of your boiler,

  • If the augers have solid steel shafts rather than being hollow, they will last longer as they are less likely to break.
  • Depending on what you are burning, you may want to make sure that your boiler can burn fuel with high moisture content. Some quality boiler brands such as Gilles can burn fuel with up to 55% moisture.
  • It is important to consider the thickness of the steel construction, usually if a boiler has thicker good quality steel it will increase it longevity. Look for boilers with steel thickness of 6mm or more.
  • Safety features such as the “cell wheel” are important to prevent burn-back. It is reassuring to have the peace of mind that your fuel store won’t burn down!

Gilles Biomass Boilers are a good example of boilers that include the features mentioned above.

Gilles Biomass Boiler

Gilles Log Gasification Boiler

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