Wood pellets provide an environmental and economic energy solution for private and commercial properties.
Wood pellets are perfect for use as a fuel as they are renewable and cost effective. The densely packed pellets offer a high energy output and help provide renewable energy for homes and buildings.
How long will wood pellets burn for?
An approximate guideline is that 1 tonne of wood pellets will produce 4,800kWh of heat. This assumes the wood pellets are being burnt efficiently. This means that a small house in the UK may only need 2-3 tonnes of pellets per year.
The best way to work out how many wood pellets you’ll need is to look at how many kWh you are currently using from your energy bill per year.
The figures below provide some guidance:
(1) Small House / Flat – gas usage of 8,000kWh and an electricity usage of 2,000kWh
(2) Medium House – gas usage of 12,500kWh and an electricity usage of 3,100kWh
(3) Large House – gas usage of 18,000kWh and an electricity usage of 4,600kWh
Comparing Running costs of Wood Pellets Against Other Energy Sources
The average cost per unit of fuel energy of wood pellets is 4.2p / kWh. This is lower than that of both heating oil (6p / kWh) and bulk LPG (7.6 / kWh).
Below shows the running costs of some of the main energy sources. The economic advantages of wood pellets are clear.
- Wood Chips (30% Moisture Content) 2.9 pence per kWh
- Wood Pellets 4.2 pence per kWh
- Natural Gas 4.8 pence per kWh
- Heating Oil 6 pence per kWh
- LPG (bulk) 7.6 pence per kWh
- Electricity 14.5 pence per kWh
Getting the Most out of your Wood Pellets
Wood Pellets will burn at a rate set by the stove. Wood Pellet stoves can have different heat settings (e.g. 1-5), and this will impact how much heat is produced.
The weather, insulation and personal preferences will all impact how quickly you use wood pellets. The energy efficiency of your house will play a big part in how many wood pellets are needed to sufficiently heat a home.
Draft excluders and wall insulation are worthwhile investments and can help ensure the heat produced by the wood pellets goes further. Heat lost through poor insulation means you’ll need to produce more energy through burning wood pellets.
Most wood pellet stoves can also operate on a thermostat whereby you change the heat setting depending on the time of day. This can help ensure you are only heating your home when you need to.
How Many Bags of Wood Pellets Should You Buy?
Once you have worked out how much energy you need, you can start to get an idea of how long a bag of wood pellets will last. For moderate use and an average sized property in the UK, you may expect a 15kg bag to last about 4-5 days. This will change depending on the season but this may be a starting point for buying wood pellets.
15kg bags are a good size and if you prefer to buy in bulk, you can think about storage. Wood pellets will last indefinitely as long as they are well kept and don’t get wet.