What can pellets be used for?

Heating: single wood stoves

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Wood-burning stoves and heating stoves are a popular addition to central heating, be it for cost reasons or because you don't want to miss the atmosphere of a fireplace. So that the environment also benefits, you should only choose stoves with the Austrian eco-label.

The warm summer months make it easy for every apartment and house owner to forget, but at the latest when the first morning dew is on the car, the memory has caught up with him again: The cold season takes its toll in the form of an unpleasant gas or oil bill that calls for a cheaper way of heating. Given the volatile prices for fossil fuels, the desire for an alternative is all too easy to understand.

Firewood, wood briquettes or pellets

And that's what the stove offers - fired with logs, wood briquettes or pellets, it not only creates a romantic play of flames in the living room, but also goes easy on the wallet. In contrast to gas, wood is not tied to the capricious oil price. And the Austrian eco-label guarantees that heating with wood not only helps your own finances, but also the environment.

Not every stove fits

Before you storm into the hardware store or your trusted specialist dealer and choose an oven, you should think carefully about what you actually want to use it for and whether it can even be used in your home. Only the chimney sweeper can answer the question about the correct installation. He knows which pipe you need for which stove, whether your fireplace can withstand the temperatures and whether it has the right dimensions. If these basic requirements are not met, no wood-burning stove may be connected.

Maintain a minimum distance to the wall

The chimney sweep can also help you to decide where the stove is best placed - it is not just the chimney that has to meet certain requirements. For example, a minimum distance to the wall must be maintained and the floor must be correspondingly stable; after all, the ovens can weigh up to 270 kg. The chimney sweep can also advise on connecting the smoke pipe: better at the top, at the back or on the side?

Many devices can be connected to the fireplace in several places. For safety reasons and for the sake of the floor, the stove should be placed on a plate made of glass or metal. This will prevent damage to the ground if there really should be flying sparks.

 

What do you use the oven for?

If the basic requirements are met, the question of the area of ​​application arises. It should be clarified in advance what the furnace is being purchased for. For heating in the transitional period, as a support for central heating or just as a visual design element in the living room? Depending on their output, the devices even manage to operate as a stand-alone heating system in a house - provided that there is good insulation, as can be found in low-energy and passive houses. The classic ovens are available with and without storage mass. Depending on whether the heat should be kept longer (with storage mass) or should be available quickly (without storage mass).

Energy for the central heating

Some ovens are also offered with a heat exchanger. Their characteristic: Most of the energy is not released into the room, but into the water of the central heating system. The proportion of radiant heat in these models is between 10 and 30 percent. Your advantage: you provide cozy warmth via the normal central heating. Disadvantage: Retrofitting is more complex, as the stove has to be integrated into the existing central heating system.

Wood briquettes, logs or pellets?

The customer currently has the choice between three different types of ovens with an eco-label.

Pellet stoves: Most of the stoves that have been awarded the Austrian Ecolabel are automatic pellet stoves. These devices are very convenient to use; the ignition is fully automatic, they are coupled to the thermostat and thus ensure constant heat. If necessary, the heating output can also be continuously regulated via the display on the stove or via a remote control. Some models can even be activated via SMS. Another advantage: Pellets burn very cleanly and only small amounts of ash are produced. You can also recognize high-quality pellets by the Austrian eco-label.

Log stoves: Fireplaces that are fired with split logs can do little to counter these advantages. Since they can be filled manually, they are cheaper to buy, but they cannot quite achieve the efficiency of a pellet stove. But the joy of making a fire and preparing wood can be used as an argument here.

With wood, care should be taken to ensure that it is dry (stored for at least 1 year) and not longer than 33 cm. Oak and beech heat best. Wood briquettes can also be burned in these ovens; they are offered with or without a hole, but the heating output is the same. The Austrian Ecolabel is also used here as a quality feature.

Heating stoves: If you are looking for a real additional benefit in your stove, you are well served with the heating stoves. You can not only heat, you can also roast, bake and cook with them. Firewood, wood briquettes or pellets can be used as fuel. One thing applies to all models: the fewer individual setting options a stove has, the better the heating balance, because it has already been optimally adjusted in the factory.

Eligible

Those ovens that carry the Austrian Ecolabel (UZ) start at around 300 euros. The more complex the storage system offered by the manufacturer, the more expensive the furnace. Devices with water heat exchangers generally cost more, but they also have a higher heating output and thus increase the efficiency of the central heating; best in combination with a solar system. Anyone who is willing to make this investment is funded by the federal government (climate and energy funds / Kli.en and UZ funding) and the state (housing funding) as well as by some municipalities.

Wood: oxygen and CO2 balance balanced

The reason for this: With wood, the oxygen and CO2 balance remains balanced; Wood is therefore the most environmentally friendly type of heating - and that is worth real money for the federal and state governments. Important: Funding must always be applied for before buying the stove. The range of high-quality devices at an affordable price in combination with government subsidies has a positive effect on the market: the cheapest devices with a poor environmental balance have now completely disappeared from the sales rooms.

price comparison

Wood chips are currently the cheapest to get - autumn 2011, followed by logs and pellets. - Example pellets: If you compare the price of pellets, which was 22.8 cents / kg in September, with extra-light heating oil, the difference is almost 50 percent. After all, natural gas is around 44 percent more expensive than pellets. The rise in the price of fossil fuels has caused heating costs for domestic households to rise by a total of 470 million euros over the past two years.

Why eco-labels?

Wood and pellets are considered to be the cheapest heating material currently available in Austria. The eco-label helps with the purchase.

As is so often the case, this medal also has a downside: it is not uncommon for entire villages and valleys to disappear under thick clouds of smoke in winter. To prevent this, the industry relies on modern combustion technology - controlled by the Austrian eco-label.

About 300 boilers, single stoves and tiled stoves were awarded

Around 300 boilers, single stoves and tiled stoves are currently awarded this quality mark. And they have to meet a number of criteria in order to be allowed to wear the mark. Of course, the high efficiency and emissions requirements of the device must be right, but the company's services, operating instructions or the availability of spare parts (at least 10 years) must also be right.

If all the requirements, which are checked by independent experts, are met, the furnace is certified with the Austrian Ecolabel. - You can find an overview of all certified products at www.umweltzeichen.at.

Single wood stoves: summary

  • placement. Before you get a stove, you need to contact the chimney sweep. He knows whether your fireplace meets all requirements and where the device can best be placed.
  • Model selection. A pellet stove is uncomplicated and burns very cleanly. But if you prefer to make a fire yourself, a stove for logs is better off. Ovens with water heat exchangers are used to support the central heating.
  • costs. Wood chips are cheaper than split logs, which in turn are cheaper than pellets. But even the pellets are 50 percent below the price of heating oil and 44 percent below the price of natural gas.
  • Quality criteria. You can recognize a good stove by the Austrian eco-label, by good operating instructions and by information on the suitable fuel.

Supplier of eco-labeled ovens

Information as of September 2011

Reader reactions

Particulate matter pollution

You are of course right in principle, it makes sense to become as independent as possible from fossil fuels. But in the case of pellet heating systems and wood heating systems in general, it should also be mentioned that pellet / wood heating systems emit around 1000 times more fine dust than gas heating.

The use of pellet heating in the city and in basin locations with low air exchange, which usually have to struggle with the fine dust problem anyway, should therefore be questioned somewhat critically.

Herbert Röbl
e-mail
(from KONSUMENT 1/2012)

Fine dust pollution is a major problem with older wood-burning systems and cheap small stoves. According to the German Federal Environment Agency, if the systems are up-to-date and the instructions for correct operation are followed, a largely complete combustion and thus a low level of particulate matter should be guaranteed. However, this is clearly higher than, for example, with gas heating.

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