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Author Topic: Approximate costs for a biomass boiler  (Read 11308 times)
peter_964rs
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« on: March 26, 2014, 02:43:42 PM »

I am aware that string is of undetermined length here, however I want to understand - ballpark - what I should budget for with a biomass system, porbably wood pellet but possibly wood chip, replacing an existing behemoth oil boiler we daren't use.

I need about 40kW of heat, but may want more than this in future if I can afford to fit a swimming pool. So a boiler that has capacity for more but is still reasonably efficient when operating at lower output.

I've two local installers currently shortlisted that are leaning towards ETA boilers. I may qualify for commerical RHI and therefore the adoption of a biomass system is very attractive, however I do wonder if quotes for my capital costs are a little steeper than they should be precisely because most buyers look at the returns and pay less attention to costs.

Any input here would be useful. I have two options on the table that may bump my installation costs up further, including siting the boiler in a garage about 50m away from the house, and incorporating a solar thermal panel with buffer tank, but the base cost for a typical installation of this sort of capacity would be a good benchmark for me.
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climber
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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2014, 08:28:55 PM »

Claiming RHI to heat a swimming pool?

It won't be long (hopefully) before the RHI is axed as it seems the more energy you  waste, the more you are paid...........
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peter_964rs
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2014, 06:44:45 AM »

Claiming RHI to heat a swimming pool?

It won't be long (hopefully) before the RHI is axed as it seems the more energy you  waste, the more you are paid...........
I am told the pool needs to be well insulated and enclosed in order to qualify, so the RHI offsets the cost above that of a basic open pool - and I'm expecting to have to supplement the boiler with solar thermal to heat it properly.

The pool is a year away at least so really this is about the cost of heating my house & why biomass boiler prices are potentially higher than they should be?
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chasfromnorfolk
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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2014, 08:43:33 AM »


 this is about the cost of heating my house & why biomass boiler prices are potentially higher than they should be?

Probably because at the sniff of subsidy, Industry canes the purchaser for as much as they'll stand and reduces price as interest wanes: as the subsidy is reduced.

Chas
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peter_964rs
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2014, 09:02:12 AM »

I dare say you are right, which is why I'd like some kind of reference as a negotiation device.

It's so much simpler with gas an oil boilers; you can just find them on eBay or basic plumbing websites and challenge a plumber why they feel they can charge four or five times the Internet cost for the same thing. Or, ask them to break their quote down into time and materials, understand the time it takes to install and challenge why their daily rate is four or five times what it should be.

It irks me partially because I stepped in for my elderly Mum once when she needed a new gas boiler in her current house and has BG plus others come in and quoted what looked like twice the market rate for a Worcester Bosh. I was able to shop around and negotiate on her behalf and get it down to a reasonable profit for the installer and at least 1k off for her. I was never sure if quotes were artifically high because most people won't shop around, or specifically because she is an elderly customer and they thought they could take advantage.

Anyway; to my mind the same principle of good profit and good value applies regardless of whether I'm buying a gas, oil, biomass or tokamak boiler. Ok, maybe a reference cost for the latter is a touch trickier to find...
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NavBen
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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2014, 09:22:02 AM »

There isn't really a benchmark Peter, the costs depend on the quality of the system you install.  If you're looking to take the heat 50m from the garage to point of use you'll need to use pre-insulated pipe which can be as much as 100/metre and a distribution pump and depending on the plumbing existing your installer may need to adapt the heating circuit.  You should find a system where the solar thermal can be connected to the same buffer tank as the boiler, although this depends how you want to use the hot water it generates.  Unfortunately there's no "price per kW" rule of thumb, I'd advise finding an installer you trust and going with them.
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peter_964rs
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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2014, 11:16:21 AM »

Thakns for the input - at least I know an approximate benchmark for the thermal piping to/from my house, which is useful. I can estimate a buffer tank cost since I can find costs for a variety of sizes of different quality of tank on t'internet, and add on a factor for pipework, insulation and installation manpower (at, say 175 per man day).

What would be good is approximate costs of ETA, Windhager, Frohling etc boilers so I can understand where my costs are going. These are proving hard to find!
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martin W
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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2014, 11:16:41 AM »

I would think ball park figure should be 10 - 15k. Depends a lot on boiler and hopper set up. Rhi pellet boilers seem to be in the 5-8k price for a cheapish one. Add hopper, thermal store/ buffer tank,etc bumps price up quite a bit.

mcs seems to have doubled the price of boilers. Looking at a 35-40kW boiler with intergral hopper.... Mcs =5-8k. Non mcs from Poland around 2500 inc delivery...

Ok might not be exactly the same boiler, but very similar in design and controls.

on gas boilers.. You need to shop around..BG quoted 3500 for a boiler install, we did it for around 2400, including two new rads and a 200 more expensive boiler and BG wasn't quoting including the rads...

a standard combo boiler replace ment should cost you around the 1800-2000 including a new central heating filter and a full day powerflushing.

typical profit would be @ 600 that's for two guys for two days (if they doing it properly). A cheaper boiler might knock 200 off price...
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NavBen
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« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2014, 11:26:16 AM »

For A 45Kw Windhager set up, with acc tank, suction feed system etc you'll be looking at 25-30k just for the plant.  I'd also suggest that 175 per man day is cheap! The MCS hasnt increased the cost - MCS sets out product standards.  The polish offering is cheaper because it's cr@p!  There's far more to go wrong in a solid fuel boiler, and wood is far dirtier to burn than fossil fuels, for the plant burning it.  You'll never find a biomass system which will compare favourably to fossil fuel boierls, either on cost or reliability sadly.  The cost of being green! I've heard anecdotally that there are only 2 manufacturers who would expect their boilers to last the 20 year term of the commercial RHI though - Windhager and HDG. 
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billt
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« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2014, 12:12:06 PM »

10-15k is ludicrously low. My 25kW log boiler system cost about 14,000 for parts only - no labour - 4 years ago (although that did include a rather complicated control system which added a lot to the cost). A pellet boiler + pellet storage would be a few thousand more than that, plus installation, which won't be cheap. You might be able to run a pellet boiler without an accumulator which could save a couple of thousand.

"The polish offering is cheaper because it's cr@p!"

My Atmos boiler came from Kotly for half the price retailers in this country wanted. It is a perfectly adequate, well made and efficient product and isn't cr@p. It's also simple, so easy to repair if it does go wrong. In fact it's much simpler than a modern condensing oil boiler. I doubt that a pellet boiler is much more complex.

MCS haven't raised prices, but the prospect of lucrative subsidies probably has, cf the PV installation industry.
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peter_964rs
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« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2014, 01:02:17 PM »

Again my thanks to forum posters (this forum is a great find!) for your input.

I'm tending towards the 'Audi' end of the boiler spectrum, rather than the 'Fiat' end, just because I value quality & reliability for such an important component. Having said that, I've run a Fiat for the past seven years and it has been nice and reliable over that period despite me thrashing it!

Anyway - I fully expect ETA, Windhager, Frohling etc to be more expensive but also more reliable. It's these brands that I'm targeting for benchmark costs.

Thanks again
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NavBen
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« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2014, 04:25:38 PM »

Billt; the pellet counterparts are significantly more complicated!  I cede your point re: polish cr@p; i've generalised there hugely, but they're not of comparable build to Austrian/Scandinavian offerings. Log boilers don't require the levels of automation than pellet boilers need for ash removal and fuel feed, and the combustion isn't so tightly regulated as a pellet boiler.  It tends to be these elements of the boiler that require maintenance/attention.  By comparison, a log boiler is a firebox with a heat exchanger - much simpler.
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NavBen
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« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2014, 04:28:08 PM »

Peter, in my experience if you contact the boiler manufacturers most will recommend several local installers who work with their kit.  I'm sure you could get quotes for comparison; long-winded to do it for 3 installers of each brand but it would give you a comparison of the costs of the kit.  Beyond that, labour costs will show you which installer is most expensive, as they'll all be paying the same for the plant.
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martin W
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« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2014, 05:57:18 PM »

10-15k is ludicrously low. My 25kW log boiler system cost about 14,000 for parts only - no labour - 4 years ago (although that did include a rather complicated control system which added a lot to the cost). A pellet boiler + pellet storage would be a few thousand more than that, plus installation, which won't be cheap. You might be able to run a pellet boiler without an accumulator which could save a couple of thousand.

"The polish offering is cheaper because it's cr@p!"

My Atmos boiler came from Kotly for half the price retailers in this country wanted. It is a perfectly adequate, well made and efficient product and isn't cr@p. It's also simple, so easy to repair if it does go wrong. In fact it's much simpler than a modern condensing oil boiler. I doubt that a pellet boiler is much more complex.

MCS haven't raised prices, but the prospect of lucrative subsidies probably has, cf the PV installation industry.

LOL

Polish boiler I was commenting about was an Atmos from Kotley.......
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Woodstove owner since Feb 2011 Tongue (yes it's finally off the pallet)
Solar Water Heating since 17th March 2009, 2.94kW PV since Dec 2011
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Now an Lister wannabie Tongue
climber
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« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2014, 09:31:30 PM »

Claiming RHI to heat a swimming pool?

It won't be long (hopefully) before the RHI is axed as it seems the more energy you  waste, the more you are paid...........
I am told the pool needs to be well insulated and enclosed in order to qualify, so the RHI offsets the cost above that of a basic open pool - and I'm expecting to have to supplement the boiler with solar thermal to heat it properly.

The pool is a year away at least so really this is about the cost of heating my house & why biomass boiler prices are potentially higher than they should be?

Forgive my cynicism... angel

I'm just a little suspicious of the "commercial" aspect of the RHI - I've spoken to a few in the biomass game who seem to be advocating practices such as heating cow sheds to claim the RHI or using the heat to dry logs to fuel the boiler  wackoold

Now, I have no problem in subsidising new technology, but when installers are advertising payback < 3 years and 20K+ per year income for 20 years, then this can only be a gravy train which is about to come off the rails.

Seems to be the latest subsidy bandwagon for the landed gentry to jump on without spoiling the views with wind turbines  whistlie

And don't even get me started on the boatloads of biomass we import from the other side of the world...........
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8 x SolarWorld 245W Mono Black Panels and Power One PVI-2000 Inverter (FIT)
4 x Solar Kinve 235 W Panels and Growatt 1000S Inverter (Non FIT!!!)
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