If you have purchased and installed a biomass boiler, then you know that it will eventually need to be serviced. There are a lot of things the home-owner can do to take care of their own boiler, and some of the different tasks will be the same as any other boiler, plus there are individual services that will apply to one part of the system only, such as the chimney. Let’s take a look at all the different parts of servicing biomass boilers.
Different Biofuels Will Require Different Types Of Services
If you’re going to be burning waste wood from broken pallets that you harvest from trucking and shipping companies in you area, you’ll find that the wood is mostly well dried and leaves very little creosote in the chimney. On the other hand, if you’re gathering wet tree trimmings from the local landscaping companies, or arborists, you might find that the chimney and flue will need to be professionally cleaned every few months.
You won’t actually know the exact frequency of cleaning that is necessary until you have the flue inspected a few times to see how much buildup there is. Creosote, when built to a certain thickness, can ignite and become hot enough to melt metals, or ruin a brick and mortar chimney, requiring complete replacement, or maybe burn down a house, so it’s important from a safety standpoint as well as efficiency.
The Maintenance Of The Actual Boiler Is The Same
From the boiler to the radiators and back is almost exactly the same as a standard boiler, so any certified boiler maintenance person can do the job. There are also plenty of small tasks that the homeowner can do, but you should refer to the instruction manual that comes with the boiler for the exact maintenance schedule.
There are also warning signs and noises to listen for that indicate adjustments or cleaning that need to be done, that should all be explained in the manual, or have a professional come inspect it while you watch and learn.
If You Have A Pellet Burning Boiler There Are Other Issues
If you’re using pellets for fuel you’ll have other problems and maintenance requirements that apply only to the hopper, feeder, and igniter belonging to that part of the equipment. For that maintenance, it might be best to contact a pellet stove technician to inspect and repair any of those parts.
There are also regular tasks that you, the owner, can do, such as lubrication of the feeder and cleaning the hopper and everywhere that the pellets touch. Depending on what kind of pellets you’re buying, some of them leave a sticky residue that will eventually slow down and clog the feeder. Regular cleaning with a stiff brush, and occasionally with solvent will eliminate this problem. Not all types of pellets leave residue, however.
Most Fuels Will Leave An Ash Residue
Most types of biofuel will leave some kind of ash after it’s burned. This is something that the home-owner will have to clean out on a regular basis with a small shovel, or other supplied tool. If you’re burning corn cobs, rice hulls, or avocado seed residue, you’ll have to gauge for yourself when it needs to be done. Failure to keep the firebox clean will result in inefficient operation because the ash will insulate the fire from heating the water causing waste energy to go up the chimney.
Reducing your environmental impact by burning waste fuel or biomass is an admirable way to take action against climate change. There will always be some trade off of spending extra time and effort to do the right thing. But you will have the satisfaction of saving plenty of money on your heating bills at the same time.