Drawbacks of Biomass boilers
There are, however, certain drawbacks which must be born in mind, such as:
- Relatively high initial cost for system and installation, especially when compared with other energy savings measures such as insulation (although those who wish to install biomass systems enjoy a lower VAT rate (5%) on the installation cost.)
- Biomass systems are not a DIY job, and as such need to be installed by a qualified heating engineer
- Some systems such as log-fed boilers require a high level of human input
- Biomass boilers require a large amount of free space for the unit and fuel, and are therefore unsuitable for smaller properties, flats, as well as urban areas (this is changing though with manufacturers bringing smaller internal hopper fed boiler systems to market)
- The fuel must be delivered periodically
- Fuel availability can be limited in some areas
- Planning permission may be required
- More maintenance and cleaning is required than for other renewable heat energy technologies such as heat pumps
- As the units themselves are probably not sold in vast numbers, parts could be hard to get. Check with your installer for lead times should something go wrong, as you could potentially be left without heat for the time it takes to acquire the part and have it installed.
- Check what warranty is associated with your boiler and who is responsible for fixing it should it go wrong. Assess the lead times of repairs carefully and factor this into your decision about which boiler to go for. (Also consider the size and reputation of the manufacturer, are they likely to go out of business and what are the availability of parts for their units).