Suffice to say, all things eco are really having their moment, and rightly so! We all know the state of the environment right now, and anything we can do to help out is good, right? That’s why eco friendly homes are now becoming more and more common.
One of the main things that can be done to improve the eco friendliness of your home is the installation of an eco friendly boiler. They are becoming increasingly common replacements for older boilers when they stop working. One of the reasons for this is that traditional boilers are actually some of the biggest contributors towards pollution. We don’t blame you for wanting to switch to something that is more eco-friendly.
However, the most eco-friendly things are not always the most cost effective.
The first thing to take note of is the fact that there are some different options when it comes to choosing an eco boiler, with each of them having slightly different installation and running costs.
Before we explore just how cost effective these eco boilers are, we should explain a little more about them.
Biomass boilers use materials from agriculture – most commonly wood pellets – to heat your home efficiently and in a way that is as eco friendly as possible. It is a sustainable source of heating, with the wood pellets being very cost effective as they are made from leftover wood materials, rather than new trees.
Because the wood pellets are natural, they will not produce harmful carbon dioxide emissions, making them an excellent eco friendly choice. As well as this, they are a fully renewable energy source!
Another option would be the classic wood burning stove that we may be more familiar with. Believe it or not, these can actually be used to heat your whole home, and can even heat water if they are used with an integrated boiler.
Condensing boilers are one of the most popular choices for an eco boiler. All boilers emit some sort of water vapour. On a traditional boiler, this vapour goes to waste as it gets exhausted out.
However, these clever little condenser boilers actually make use of this water vapour, recovering the heat and repurposing it. This means that overall, a condenser boiler uses less fuel, but without compromising on the heat.
There are three main types of condenser boilers: combi boilers (with electric-combi boilers being the most popular choice); heat only boilers; and oil boilers.
So, let’s talk costs
Now that we know the main types of eco boilers, we can properly assess whether they are cost effective, and if so how cost effective they are.
First, we should note that the installation of boilers is a costly process, whether it is a traditional boiler or a newfangled eco model. Installation of your boiler is not something that should be scrimped and saved on!
Wood pellet or wood chip boilers have the highest installation costs, as well as being more expensive for the boiler itself. Condenser boilers, such as the popular electric-combi boilers, can be cheaper to install than traditional gas boilers. Gas boilers, due to the risks associated with them, tend to have pricy installation costs too. However, these installation costs should be taken with a pinch of salt because the true difference will be seen over time.
The truth of the matter is, that because of the nature of traditional boilers being run using fossil fuels, the price is ever-changing. We’ve all heard the term ‘fuel crisis’, haven’t we? This means that shortages happen, causing prices to rise. Fossil fuels are also not renewable, which has an effect on the long term cost-effectiveness of using them.
As well as this, traditional gas boilers need regular service checks, which often require more money, especially if they need repairs. This is additional to the monthly or yearly costs you already pay on it.
Electric-combi boilers are slightly more expensive to run on a yearly basis due to electricity generally costing more per unit than gas, but they do not incur the same additional costs as gas boilers.
Similarly, on a yearly basis, the prices of a biomass boiler could be cheaper as the prices will be fixed. Purchasing wood pellets or chips does not rely on exogenous factors in the same way as gas boilers, as they are not fossil fuels.
Overall, it certainly seems that over time, an eco-boiler could be more cost effective, particularly if the biomass option is chosen. Eco boilers are not subject to the same constant price changes as gas, and so the costs are generally more stable. Although the initial cost may be more expensive, over time this may weigh out. That being said, it does seem that some eco boilers are more on the pricey side each month. For example, an eclectic-combi boiler does cost slightly more than a traditional gas model.