Get your fuel store ship-shape for Winter

WHA member blog by Roger Pearson, Managing Director, Forest Fuels

WHA member blog by Roger Pearson, Managing Director, Forest Fuels

It may seem strange to be talking about preparing for winter in the middle of a British summer heatwave, but there really is no better time to do so.

Now is the time to clean up your fuel store, refill it, and ensure your boiler is in good shape ahead of the arrival of much colder weather.

Whilst wood pellet fines – the fragments of broken pellets – may seem innocuous they can actually wreak quite a lot of damage. A build-up of fines can create blockages and other problems such as combustion issues in your boiler. That’s why ENplus recommend that fuel stores are cleaned out every two years or after every five deliveries.

We wouldn’t advocate that customers clean out their own stores due to health and safety risks, not least that harmful carbon monoxide emissions can build up in stores, whilst oxygen levels can be depleted. Cleaning really is best left in the hands of the professionals who will follow the correct safety procedures and have the right equipment for the job. The cleaning process involves using an industrial vacuum to remove accumulated fines on the bottom of the store and on walls, auger tray and other areas. Forest Fuels, along with other wood fuel businesses, provide this cleaning service, with in-house professional, confined-spaces trained personnel.

Solid-fuel boiler with pellet-fuel in boiler room

Of course, anything taken out of your fuel store cannot go back in, so it is worth running your store down as low as possible before cleaning it out. This also keeps your costs down and means you are potentially not wasting too high a volume of pellets.

Once cleaning is complete, refilling your store with a quality delivery of ENplus fuel is your best course of action for a nice, warm, trouble-free winter. Last winter the ‘beast from the east’ and the long spell of cold weather, created an increase in demand and led to longer delivery times, and higher prices. This is another reason to refill your clean fuel store during the quieter summer months!

Once your store is clean and refuelled it is probably worth ensuring that your boiler has been serviced ahead of the winter heating season. Many customers, including those at Forest Fuels, will already be on service and maintenance contracts which means regular servicing by expert biomass engineers is guaranteed. However, for those not on contracts, it is definitely worth checking if your boiler is due a service.

Once you have taken these steps to ensure your fuel store and boiler are in ship-shape condition, you can sit back and enjoy our hot summer, whilst feeling reassured you are prepared for what will follow next!

Full guidelines on the operation of fuel stores from the UK Pellet Council, ENplus and the European Pellet Council are here.