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Pellet Users Markus and Miia

  • Heating targets: detached house
  • Area: 120  m²
  • Fuel: pellet
  • Heating system: central heating boiler, pellet burner (20 kW)

Markus and Miia’s detached house heats up affordably with pellets. As an additional heat source functions an old baking oven. The one-storied house has 120  m².

Pellet heating has been used since August 2008. Before that the house had oil heating, and to replace it Markus bought a 1987 model double chamber boiler. He integrated a pellet burner (20kW) in the place where firewood should be burned and built a pellet silo unit next to the brick house. He has not counted the exact measurements of the silo.

“When we used oil the consumption was roughly 2 500 litres a year. Now we use 4 000–5 000 kilos of pellet a year. Last year the number was 4 000. We fetch the pellet in 500 kg large sacks with a trailer, and fill the silo manually using a tub. It takes about 15 minutes, and we do it occasionally, maybe once a month in the winter.”

“I’m very happy with pellet, I do recommend it to other people as well. No problems have occurred. There have been a few setbacks, but of my own fault. I haven’t serviced the system as often as I should have, only two or three times a year, Markus reminisces. “Sometimes we’ve ran out of pellets and sometimes there has been too much ash. I haven’t cleaned it often enough. I can only blame myself.”

“Today we spend 1 000 euros on heating, which means we save up to 2 00 euros every year. The system has by far paid for itself. Especially because I found a used boiler and didn’t have to buy a new one,” Markus smiles happily. 

Larja Horse Farm

  • Heating targets: detached house
  • Area: approx. 600  m²
  • Fuel: pellet, in the summer firewood
  • Heating system: central heating boiler, stoker burner (40 kW), hot-water tank (2 500 l)
  • Extra source of heat/thermal storage: oil burner

The four-member Larja family and granddad Antti heat their big house with pellet. The total living area is 1 200 square metres, of which half is heated with pellet. The building has 55 rooms: 34 upstairs and the rest downstairs. The downstairs rooms are kept heated.

Pellet consumption is 37–38 tonnes a year. The burner used is a stoker burner (40 kW), which is connected to a 1981 model downdraft boiler. During the biggest freezes an oil burner gives extra heat. Peak demand during the top frosts is 60 kW.

In the summer the Larja horse farm is heated up with firewood, enabled by a 2 500 litre hot-water tank. The network water and hot-water tank water combined, the total volume is 3 000 litres.

Pellet is delivered to the farm in large sacks, and it is poured into a storage silo next to the downstairs boiler room. From the silo the pellets are moved with a tub into the stoker burner’s own tank, which holds 400 litres. The filling is on granddad Antti’s responsibility, who takes the job as functional exercise. The stoker is filled daily.

Pellet has been used in the Larja horse farm since 1996. During these years, 200 000 kg of pellet has been burned in the stoker. According to the farm owner Mikko, not a single problem has occurred in that time. “The only thing that bothers me is that we could make the pellet we use ourselves of the manure our horses produce, but the Finnish legislation doesn’t let us do that. In Sweden and in Germany it is allowed,” Mikko regrets.

“Compared to oil, this is a money-saving option. If we used oil, the consumption would be 15 000 litres. That means that by using pellet, we save 11 000 euros per year. With that money, I could buy a new heating system every year. Not that I need to,” Mikko chuckles and continues: “One single incinerator we have replaced. It probably wore out when we burned grain at one point.”

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t have high-quality pellet when you burn it in a stoker. Even saw dust goes. I reckon our system works too well, I’ve become lazy doing the sweeping,” ponders Mikko.

Pellet Users Pasi and Sanna

  • Heating targets: detached house
  • Area: 160  m²
  • Fuel: pellet
  • Heating system: central heating boiler (20 kW), burner (20 kW)

Pasi and Sanna’s fully renovated detached house (160 m²) has been heated up with pellets since the autumn of 2008. The burner (20 kW) is integrated into the boiler (20 kW). A self-made pellet silo functions as a storage. A large pellet sack of 500 kilograms fits into the storage.

The pellet consumption is approx 500–700 kg per month depending on the weather conditions, in the summer the consumption is as low as 150 kg per month. Rough annual estimate is 4 000 kg. The fuel is fetched from a local supplier in large sacks and is loaded into the silo with a tub. Filling the silo takes about half an hour. The yearly electricity consumption in this household is approx. 7000 kWh.

“When planning the heating system I decided on the pellet. Of course I thought about other options too, wood chips and ground heat. But our consumption is so small that chips are not a good choice. Luckily an expert system supplier helped us to make the final decision and choose a system that meets our needs.  Our principle has always been that a house is heated with a living fire,” Pasi tells.

“The price of the system was about 5 000 euros, plus the installation work. We did a lot ourselves. We save a nice sum of money, compared for example with oil heating, about 1 380 euros every year. The system has already paid for itself.”

“When planning and building the boiler room, make it big enough. Some day you will have to do service and maintenance. Too often I’ve seen too packed boiler rooms, where the service space is too small,” guides the professional builder and continues: “if the boiler room is situated inside the main building, it would be wise to arrange so that you can go there from inside the house. So you can easily go and check that everything is okay, without having to go out.”

“I sweep once in every second month. At the same time I clean the burner. It takes about one hour. Pellet heating takes only little effort, and it’s a good, carefree and affordable way of heating.”

“I warmly recommend it to everyone. We’ve had no problems, if you don’t count in the time when I adjusted the equipment wrongly. Something went wrong when I was installing the screw conveyor, but after it was corrected everything has worked fine,” Pasi smiles.   

Pellet Users Sami and Katja

  • Heating targets: detached house
  • Area: 120  m²
  • Fuel: pellet
  • Heating system: central heating boiler, pellet burner

Sami and Katja’s detached house has been heated up affordably with pellet for three years already. Before switching to pellet, oil was consumed approximately 2 000 litres. Sami buys the pellets from the supplier who has the best offer and fetches them with a trailer. The consumption is around 3 000 kg per year. The couple’s house has 120 m².

“The old oil heating cost us 2 300 euros, today we pay 750 euros for the pellets. It’s a nice saving every year. I build a simple silo which holds 1 000 kilos of pellet. It needs filling three times a year. The filling takes about half an hour by hand, when the trailer is next to the silo. Most of the pellets we use during winter, about 2 500 kilos, when in the summer the consumption is only 500 kilos,” Sami tells.

It is Katja’s duty to take care of the boiler room, to maintain and service it, because she is a professional. “It’s a natural solution,” Katja says. “We’ve been happy with the pellet equipment. We have an Ariterm burner and boiler. We’ve had no problems because I know what I’m doing. I’ve only had to renew some parts that wear. Regular monthly maintenance includes removing the burner and cleaning the bowl.”

“Everyone can change the parts that wear, you just have to read the instructions well. Also manufacturers are able to help and give support. The biggest problem are the users self, who don’t know how to use the equipment or don’t care about servicing the system. Remember to clean the burner, it will save you a lot of trouble!” reminds the expert, Katja.

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