Last updated 27th October 2019
All you need to know about installing a biomass boiler for your home including costs of materials, labour and time frames.
Prices of biomass boilers vary considerably in the UK, but the reason they are so popular is they are still cheaper than other traditional heating systems due to the grants available under the Renewable Heat Incentive. Though there are major changes to this incentive for 2017, there is the possibility that to help encourage the take-up of renewable heating technologies for those lacking the initial capital to cover the install costs, the government is proposing allowing householders to assign their right to Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments to a company that has financed their renewable heating technology. This will allow householders in fuel poverty to install renewable biomass heating systems.
The price quoted to install a biomass heating system will depend mainly on the type or manufacturer of the boiler, the fuel type and the boiler capacity. But the actual price paid will depend on RH payments. Under current RHI legislation, there is no limit to the heat demand that is eligible for payments. So bigger properties can receive RHI payments which are far higher than the actual cost of installing the renewable heating technology. Larger homes with biomass boilers could potentially get a payback of installation costs in just 2 to 3 years. However, under proposed changes for 2017, heat demand limits are being introduced for biomass systems with a maximum of 25,000 kWh per annum.
Biomass boilers need more room compared to a regular gas or oil fired boiler, but are great for those not connected to mains gas who have space for fuel storage. Although biomass boilers are growing in popularity (no doubt at least due to the Renewable Heat Incentive), they currently only account for around 0.5% of all boiler sales in the UK. This suggests that many homeowners in the UK still choose to have conventional gas and oil boilers despite the environmental benefits and energy bill savings they offer.
A small manually fed log boiler biomass system will typically cost from around £4000, whereas larger manual systems can cost as much as £10,000. Automatic pellet fed boilers start from around £9,000 for a small home, but larger capacity systems will cost as much as £21,000. The prices quoted vary depending on the manufacturer, size and level of automation, with automatically fed boilers being more expensive than manually fed systems. Running costs also need to be factored in. Wood pellets derived from waste wood are the most popular fuel for biomass and cost between £150 and £200 per tonne (average UK property would need around 11 tonnes per year). Though if you have the space and can buy the wood pellets in bulk, then the cost of the pellets will come right down.
The average material cost of installing a biomass boiler is dependant on if the boiler is manual or automatic. Small manual biomass boiler prices start at £3000, whereas as a large boiler will cost around £9000. Small automatic pellet fed boilers start from around £8,000 and larger capacity systems will cost as much as £20000.
The average biomass boiler specialist will usually charge around £200 per day in labour which will usually be factored into the overall price. The job of installing a new biomass boiler will typically take around 2 to 4 days to complete and will depend on the level of automation, the size of biomass boiler and the ease of installation.
Below are some estimated costs to hire a specialist heating engineer to install a biomass boiler:
|Biomass Boiler Type/Size||Avg. Cost||Duration|
|Small manual fed log boiler supply and installation||£4,000||2-3 days|
|Large manual system supply and installation||£10,000||2-3 days|
|Small automatic pellet fed biomass boiler supply and installation||£9,000||2-4 days|
|Large automatic fed biomass boiler supply and installation||£20,000||2-4 days|
Individual costs of installing a small manual biomass boiler - Total Cost: £4000