May 21, 2019
Disengagement from heating oil is now a one-way street as rises are expected to burden the family budget. Here are some alternative ways of heating.
A period of … decisions is the time we are dealing with the implementation of alternative heating methods, as after the increase in the Special Consumption Tax on heating oil, the family budget is going to be overburdened. In this tribute, we present all the necessary information you need to know about alternative heating methods, including infrared heating technology. Thus, you will have the opportunity to read interesting details about pellet fuel and its respective combustion methods, while on the next pages you will find market proposals as well as tables with technical characteristics and prices of the products found in the Greek market (wood stoves, fireplaces , pellet boilers, pellet stoves, wood boilers and infrared heating panels).
Wood: The oldest way of heating
The oldest and most common way of heating is the use of firewood. Positive to this solution are their low costs (120-220 euros per ton) and of course the possibility of finding them everywhere in nature. However, their inexperienced use leads to overgrowth, while it is quite difficult to check their quality and the moisture content they carry. Now, with new wood-cracker burners, modern wood-burning stoves and energy fireplaces, we can achieve quite high yields in space heating. In practice, the use of wood has little “hassle”, as it requires a fairly frequent cleaning of the system and, of course, a fairly large storage area, so that it can be continuously refueled with the combustion tool.
Wood pellet (pellets)
The pellet is solid, cylindrical and compact and can be used as a fuel. In fact, it belongs to the category of solid fuels (biofuels) and its production comes from the processing of wood and / or plants (for example, sawdust, corn, olive-pomace, etc.).
Burning wood pellets results in fewer pollutants (carbon dioxide) being released than those using oil as a fuel. Generally, they are standardized for easy use and are available in 15kg or even bulk packages. This product can be used in special burners and pellet stoves. However, the higher performance is shown when used in special burners or pellet stoves. Also, one of the questions that is reasonably given to each of us is whether the wood pellet is of interest compared to heating oil. In practice, the benefit to the consumer arises from the pellet price as compared to that of diesel. In particular, the pellet costs approximately € 0.30-0.37 per kilo, as opposed to the heating oil price of € 1.40 per liter (due to the Fuel Heating Oil Efficiency equation of 80 % of traffic). Also, the ratio between the two types of fuel mentioned above is: 1 liter of heating oil = 2,14 kg of pellets. This means that, in order to get the energy that a liter of oil gives me during burning, I have to consume 2.14 kg of pellets. That is, a larger quantity of pellets may be required to heat the same space, but the benefit remains high due to the increased heating oil price.
An important element is quality
There are several types of pellets on the market in terms of their quality, which directly affects their heating power. So we meet specific specifications for the production of wood pellets, which differ from country to country in the European Union and are related to characteristics such as diameter, length, density, moisture content, calorific value, and so on. The most common wood pellet norms you will encounter are DIN PLUS and EN 14961-2. We also note that in order to get the best possible pellet heating results, the moisture content of the product should be less than 10% in all cases. Finally, the quality of the product depends on the boiler and chimney cleaning intervals and, more generally, on the more efficient operation of the system.
What else should we know about the operation of the wood pellet boiler
The use of wood pellet boilers requires cleaning them at regular intervals, which depend on hours of use, but also on the quality of the pellets we use. In general, the cleaning interval may range from 2 days to one month. However, its maintenance is almost like an oil boiler, that is, once a year. Regarding the autonomy of the system, it changes according to our needs, tank capacity and fuel quality (indicative autonomy about 1-3 days).
How to choose a pellet boiler
The first issue that we should look at is the technical characteristics of the product we choose. Among these are elements such as:
Boiler power depends on the space we need to heat up. For example, a house of 80 sq.m. requires a 10 kW power pellet boiler. Practically, calculate that for each square meter a power of 0.125 kW is required. Also, to maximize the benefits we can get from pellet boiler installation, we need to compare products of the same performance. If, for example, we currently have a 90% oil boiler, then it is appropriate to install the same pellet boiler performance. If we install a larger boiler pellet, then we will achieve greater savings and faster payback of the money we have spent (unless we install a boiler with a lower efficiency than the one we already have, the savings will be significantly lower). Finally, because boiler power is often referred to as Kcal / h (calories), you can multiply it by the factor of 0.001163 to calculate how many kW each number corresponds to. That is, a boiler with a power of 20,000 Kcal / h corresponds to 23 kW (20,000 X 0,001163 = 23 kW).
Pellet stoves: stylish warmth
A pellet stove consists of a high-temperature combustion chamber, an ash collection bucket, a pellet container and the appropriate exhaust outlets. The categories we meet are two: air and hydraulic. Both types of stoves require a smoke outlet of 8 centimeters in diameter and not the classic bob, making installation much easier.
Pellet air heaters also have the corresponding hot air outlet ports. These are very easy to use and have a thermostat to operate only for as long as they are needed, and they automatically switch on using an electrical resistance. Today, technology has gone so far that some stoves operate by remote control or even with our mobile. They have a very high thermal output which, depending on the model, can exceed 90%, and combustion autonomy of up to 32 hours. A stove can cover an average apartment of up to 100-150 m². or a home without the use of any other heating source. Maintenance of the stove is very simple and easy and can be done daily as long as the stove is cold by emptying the ashtray whenever necessary. Once a year, cleaning and maintenance must also be carried out by a qualified technician.
The peat plumbing stoves operate with radiators, heat the whole house and produce hot water. They use the existing radiators and the same piping and feed the heating network. Stoves of this type work only with a network connection. Part of the heat diffuses into the space where the stove is operating, but it itself can not function as an air-source source. The stove takes the role of an oil or gas burner (located inside the house) providing the same result, with less cost.
How much do they cost
Prices for a pellet stove start at € 850 with VAT, depending on model, design and performance, up to € 3,500 or above depending on what we want to cover. In the stoves we can choose various decorations according to our aesthetics and space. Decorations can be made of steel, ceramic and others.
Energy fireplaces give us the “company” of burning fire with much higher efficiency than a normal fireplace and with the significant advantage of better combustion – saving fuel. Also, multifire fireplaces also use pellets and wood according to the desired result.
We note that an energy fireplace presents a much higher performance compared to a conventional one, since it fully exploits the hot air flow resulting from the combustion. Thus, we can have less fuel consumption. The flow of hot air can be natural or mechanical (that is to say, it is an air-heated fireplace). This product can also be connected to the boiler that we already have in our house to heat the water for use and heating.
TIPS Quality Control of Pellet
1) Buy a small amount of sampling. There should be no large volume of dust and scum in the package.
2) Take a piece of pellet and press it in your hand. The piece should not be crushed and if it breaks it should not be in the form of dust.
3) After placing the pellet quantity into the boiler, check the amount of smoke and system operation. The flame within the boiler should approach the white color. If after a period of operation you see intense smoke inside the appliance, then it is necessary to adjust the burner or the pellet quality is not good.
4) After burning the entire quantity, check the amount of ash. If it is large enough and you find stones inside it, then the product you selected is not of good quality.