Eco-Friendly Thinking: Heating Your Home and Water With Biomass Fuel and Appliances

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Courtesy of Uzelac Industries, Inc

With today’s struggles with carbon footprints, pollution, and finite energy sources, people are becoming more environmentally conscious. And if you’re thinking of transforming your home into a more eco-friendly structure, there’s a lot to consider. If you want to stray from your oil, gas, or electric heating system, consider investing in a biomass heating system for a more natural alternative. Doing so can help you minimize your contribution to pollution. For more information about biomass heating systems and how they’ll work for your home, read on.

What Is Biomass Fuel?

Biomass fuel is essentially any biological fuel that can be burned. Common biofuels can include straw, grain, and grass, and if it’s processed properly, even industry residue or animal waste can be transformed into biomass fuel. The most common biomass fuel is wood, and wood can be turned into a few different forms for biofuel: pellets, chips, briquettes, and logs. These distinct wood products offer unique benefits and efficiency levels.

What Biomass Fuel Is Best for Homes?

If you’re looking for an easy supply of biofuel, look to wood options. But if you live in a rural area, you may also want to consider corn feed or other corn biofuel products. When looking at wood, you want something that’ll effectively heat your home while using the least material possible. While logs can easily burn, they may not be the most efficient option, and they also don’t burn as cleanly as wood briquettes or pellets. Because wood chips can offer a number of issues with storage, handling, and transport on a residential level, you may want to avoid those as well. Wood briquettes and wood pellets are the best options for homes. Both undergo a similar production process, but briquettes are about the same size as a small log, and pellets are usually 10 to 25 millimeters in length with a diameter of six millimeters. They burn more efficiently than many other options, and they’re fairly clean to burn. To determine whether briquettes or wood pellets are right for you, determine what kind of system you’d like and what kind of maintenance you’re willing to do. For instance, with an automated pellet boiler, the pellets only need to be reloaded every few days while the ash needs to be emptied on a weekly basis. If you’re a bit more dedicated to your heating system, a briquette or log boiler needs the ash cleared each week and the materials need to be reloaded daily.

What Are Your Appliance Options?

When selecting the best biomass appliance for heating your home or water, you have three main options: stove boilers, stoves, and boilers. Depending on what you’d like to heat with biofuel, one option may be more beneficial than another. But be wary that biomass heating options can cost more upfront than some more common heating systems.

Boilers

Biomass boilers work like any other oil-fueled boiler. With the right fuel, the boiler heats the water, providing warm showers and hot dishwashing water. The main difference is that you have to refill the fuel much more often to keep it going, and you need to regularly empty the ash to avoid issues.

Stoves

Stoves are essentially space heaters. The fire is fueled by pellets, briquettes, or logs, and warmth radiates through the room and other areas. You can place these appliances in a popular family room or other central areas of the home. Wood stoves accommodate logs or wood briquettes, and you have to periodically throw in more fuel for consistent heating. Pellet stoves can accommodate all kinds of materials, such as wood pellets, corn, grain, or seed. The device has an automatic feeding system, so you can wait a couple of days before refilling the fuel. Whether you choose a pellet or wood stove, be sure it’s installed by a knowledgeable professional. Installation mistakes can lead to hazardous conditions for your family. Also, plan for extra installation costs for both the appliance and the chimney.

Stove Boilers

Biomass stove boilers are generally a combination of boilers and stoves. The appliance works much like a stove, except there’s a boiler toward the back to heat water and send it through your home. However, the stove needs to run consistently to produce warm water, so you need to consider whether or not you’ll use the stove all the time for central water heating. If you live in an area with hot summers that make a running stove unbearable, you may have to look for a separate alternative.

Is a Mixed System a Good Idea?

If you’re unsure if you want to rely entirely on a biomass stove or boiler, consider a mixed heating system. Installing an air-source or solar thermal heat pump for those odd chilly mornings in the summer and spring can be a cost-effective option, allowing the biomass heating system to take on the bulk of winter and late fall.

When you want a more environmentally friendly home, install biomass boilers or stoves for effective, clean heating. While they may be more expensive initially, they can reduce your pollution and provide a great heating source, even when the power is out. If you’re thinking of producing pellets or other biomass fuels for residential areas, rely on Uzelac Industries Inc. We can help you produce clean biofuel on a large scale so you can put a quality product into the homes of environmentally conscious customers.

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