Is your biomass boiler likely to have a lifespan of 20 years or more? For many people, the answer is no.
Certainly, there are biomass boilers that will outlive your 20-year non-domestic RHI payments. However, these ‘high-end’ Austrian boilers – such as the ETA range which we install – cost more upfront than lower grade models that tend to conk out after less than 10 years.
Of course, now that the regulations for non-domestic RHIs have changed, you can replace an underperforming biomass boiler with a new one. But that is a much more expensive option than installing a good quality boiler on day one.
Lifetime cost of your biomass system
Here’s the point. You need to assess your investment over the 20-year period of your RHIs (and beyond), rather than just in year one.
It will cost you less to install a boiler that will last you a generation than it will to install an inferior boiler that appears, at first sight, to cost you half the amount.
Also, bear in mind that the boiler, on its own, forms only about a third of the cost of your biomass installation. Two thirds of the cost will be for other biomass plant, plumbing, electrics and ground works.
You also need a boiler which earns you the maximum possible RHIs over the 20-year period.
How a good quality boiler saves you money
- Provided it is properly serviced, a high-end boiler will churn out heat for 20 years and more. Conversely, a cheaper boiler will probably need replacing within 10 years.
- A high-end boiler will work more efficiently and should be able to produce you more heat and higher RHIs from lower fuel costs.
- No matter what boiler you have, it should be serviced at least once a year. However, the cost of maintenance and replacement parts is likely to be much higher on a low-end boiler.
- ETA boilers send parts on next day delivery and have a ‘parts promise’ in the UK all the way through to 2040. However, it can be impossible to obtain replacement parts on some less boiler makes or, if parts are available, they can take weeks to turn up.
- Unfortunately, some of the lower quality boilers have trouble burning wood pellets which have been produced to the industry ENplusA1 standard. This can cause breakdowns, meaning that you can be without heat until the pellets are taken out and resupplied. We have seen no such problems with ETA boilers.
In the end, you get what you pay for, in terms of both biomass plant and follow-up service.
Installing a biomass system is a major investment, which can certainly provide a good return over 20 years. You are much more likely to obtain that return and to reduce niggling issues with your biomass system if you install a good quality boiler like the ETA or Gilles range.
Biomass boilers advice line- 01437 761320
If you have any questions on new installations, repairs or servicing, please give us a call. We’ve been looking after biomass customers since 2008 and we’d be delighted to help you.