Choosing a reliable solid fuel boiler for long burning


When orga­niz­ing autonomous heat­ing, sev­er­al impor­tant issues have to be addressed at once. Before pro­ceed­ing with the design of the heat­ing sys­tem, you should decide on the choice of heat­ing equip­ment, what type and type of heat­ing devices to give pref­er­ence to. In the sit­u­a­tion with gas boil­ers, the prob­lem is solved quite sim­ply. Con­sid­er the case when it is not pos­si­ble to use house­hold gas when you have to make a choice in favor of a sol­id fuel boil­er.

We will fig­ure out which boil­er is best suit­ed in a giv­en sit­u­a­tion, which mod­el of a sol­id fuel boil­er to choose as the opti­mal heat source for heat­ing res­i­den­tial premis­es.

What is the basis for choosing a solid fuel boiler

Criteria for choosing heating equipment

Sol­id fuel boil­ers today are expe­ri­enc­ing a peak in pop­u­lar­i­ty. It’s all because of the ris­ing prices for gas and elec­tric­i­ty. The con­sumer is try­ing to look for oth­er types of fuel, solv­ing their own every­day prob­lems. In addi­tion, large-scale sub­ur­ban con­struc­tion is cur­rent­ly pro­ceed­ing at such a rapid pace that mea­sures with­in the frame­work of cen­tral­ized gasi­fi­ca­tion of set­tle­ments are not able to pro­vide poten­tial con­sumers with house­hold gas.

The choice in favor of sol­id fuel boil­ers is not acci­den­tal. For a large cat­e­go­ry of cit­i­zens, get­ting coal, peat or buy­ing fire­wood for a home heat­ing sys­tem is cheap­er and eas­i­er than orga­niz­ing an autonomous nat­ur­al gas heat­ing sys­tem. Depend­ing on the region, the avail­abil­i­ty of each type of fuel depends. In addi­tion, mod­ern mod­els of sol­id fuel heat­ing boil­ers are no less effi­cient than gas boil­ers dur­ing oper­a­tion.

Assess­ing the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, choos­ing a heater mod­el for your­self, you need to have a clear idea of ​​what selec­tion cri­te­ria exist. Whether tra­di­tion­al mod­els of sol­id fuel boil­ers will sat­is­fy you, or the choice of a long-burn­ing sol­id fuel boil­er is the best solu­tion for you.

The most impor­tant cri­te­ria to be guid­ed by when faced with a choice are the fol­low­ing:

  • fuel avail­abil­i­ty;
  • desired pow­er of the heat­ing boil­er;
  • sim­plic­i­ty and ease of use of heat­ing devices.

Boiler fuel is key

The first and most impor­tant point, which is key and on the imple­men­ta­tion of which the sub­se­quent cri­te­ria depend, is the issue of fuel. Each region has its own pri­or­i­ties in terms of fuel. In the cen­tral and north­ern regions of the coun­try, the most acces­si­ble type of fuel is wood and peat. Fire­wood, wood prod­ucts and peat can ade­quate­ly solve the prob­lem of pro­vid­ing fuel for the heat­ing sys­tem of hous­ing in the pri­vate sec­tor. The cost of such fuels also means a lot. For most cit­i­zens, fire­wood, peat bri­quettes remain a tra­di­tion­al type of heat­ing oil today.

In the south­ern regions of the coun­try, con­sumers are more focused on hard coal. This fuel has high tech­no­log­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics and, with well-func­tion­ing oper­a­tion of heat­ing boil­ers, gives excel­lent results. Sol­id fuel boil­ers of var­i­ous types, designed for the use of coal, are able to pro­vide heat and hot water to large res­i­den­tial build­ings, heat indus­tri­al build­ings and struc­tures. The cre­at­ed reserve of coal for the win­ter is quite capa­ble of guar­an­tee­ing you high-qual­i­ty heat­ing for a long peri­od.

In con­clu­sion, it is worth dwelling a lit­tle on new types of fuel that are used for sol­id fuel boil­ers. We are talk­ing about pal­lets and fuel bri­quettes. Pal­lets are a very con­ve­nient and prac­ti­cal type of fuel, which is based on the prac­ti­cal use of indus­tri­al wood prod­ucts.

On a note: The sit­u­a­tion is sim­i­lar with char­coal and peat. The required con­cen­tra­tion and form obtained as a result of enrich­ment. Coal, peat bri­quettes and pal­lets dur­ing com­bus­tion give out a huge amount of heat, 20–30% more than con­ven­tion­al fuel in its tra­di­tion­al form.

Pal­lets, coal bri­quettes are ide­al for heat­ing sys­tems in cot­tages and coun­try hous­es. The price of this fuel is some­what high­er com­pared to con­ven­tion­al coal and fire­wood, how­ev­er, in this case, ease of use comes first.

Solid fuel boiler power

When the issue with fuel is resolved, it is now clear to you what basi­cal­ly you will have to heat an autonomous boil­er, you will have to solve the prob­lem with choos­ing the mod­el of the required pow­er. In this regard, the choice is indi­vid­ual and depends on spe­cif­ic con­di­tions and fac­tors. You can get infor­ma­tion about the pow­er of boil­er equip­ment in the spec­i­fi­ca­tion. For those who are poor­ly versed in the tech­ni­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics and para­me­ters of heat­ing equip­ment, you can offer to inde­pen­dent­ly per­form the nec­es­sary cal­cu­la­tions of the pow­er of a sol­id fuel boil­er. We use the fol­low­ing data for this pur­pose:

  • the area of ​​the heat­ed room;
  • tech­ni­cal readi­ness of the premis­es in terms of ther­mal insu­la­tion;
  • the required tem­per­a­ture para­me­ters inside the room;
  • what kind of fuel is used.

For exam­ple: we cal­cu­late the pow­er of a sol­id fuel boil­er for heat­ing a man­sion on 2 floors, 10 by 7 meters in size. We take the height of the inte­ri­or at 2.5 m. As a result, we get 2 x 10 x 7 = 140 m2 is the total heat­ed area of ​​the build­ing. It is tra­di­tion­al­ly con­sid­ered to be: for heat­ing 10 m2 1 kW of pow­er is required.

Now, in order to decide on the choice of the boil­er of the required pow­er, we look at the table

pow­er, kWt ten four­teen 16 twen­ty 23 25 28 34 45
Room area, m2 85 120 135 170 200 220 245 300 400

For ref­er­ence: such a cal­cu­la­tion is approx­i­mate and is more suit­able for old-built hous­es. In mod­ern res­i­den­tial build­ings, where the lev­el of ther­mal insu­la­tion is quite high, we take the pow­er of sol­id fuel boil­ers 1 step low­er. In addi­tion, unheat­ed util­i­ty rooms are not tak­en into account, and this is anoth­er minus 15–20% of the total build­ing area.

Other parameters of boiler equipment that you should pay attention to

What should be the draft — natural or forced?

Man­u­fac­tura­bil­i­ty and high effi­cien­cy of the heat­ing sys­tem depends not only on the type of fuel and the pow­er of the sol­id fuel boil­er, but also on the ven­ti­la­tion device. Draft for any heat­ing equip­ment where the com­bus­tion effect is present is a key fac­tor.

In areas where there are fre­quent prob­lems with ener­gy sup­ply, heat­ing sys­tems with nat­ur­al ven­ti­la­tion are usu­al­ly used. Sol­id fuel boil­ers in this case work due to the nat­ur­al cir­cu­la­tion of air mass­es — accord­ing to the prin­ci­ple of stove heat­ing. Anoth­er ques­tion is that the econ­o­my and effi­cien­cy of this type of heat­ing leaves much to be desired. Mod­ern sol­id fuel units are equipped with elec­tri­cal devices respon­si­ble for the con­stant sup­ply of air to the com­bus­tion cham­ber. Forced ven­ti­la­tion sig­nif­i­cant­ly increas­es the inten­si­ty of fuel com­bus­tion, increas­ing the pro­duc­tiv­i­ty of the boil­er.

Impor­tant! Mod­ern sol­id fuel boil­ers are equipped with automa­tion, which is respon­si­ble for the work process, con­trol­ling not only the sup­ply of atmos­pher­ic air to the fur­nace, but also the lev­el of car­bon monox­ide in the boil­er room.

In this sit­u­a­tion, the choice of the boil­er mod­el deter­mines not only the effi­cien­cy of the heat­ing sys­tem, but also the safe­ty of the inhab­i­tants of the res­i­den­tial build­ing. Boil­ers with nat­ur­al ven­ti­la­tion have a sim­ple design and are eas­i­er to oper­ate. Equip­ment equipped with automa­tion takes con­trol of all the main func­tions. In this regard, such boil­ers are more con­ve­nient to oper­ate, how­ev­er, they are more expen­sive than tra­di­tion­al boil­ers.

Efficiency of a solid fuel boiler

The pow­er of the boil­er, the type of fuel, the size of the heat­ed area play key roles in terms of choos­ing. Despite tech­no­log­i­cal progress, con­sumers con­tin­ue to focus on the effi­cien­cy of heat­ing appli­ances.

For old­er mod­els, the effi­cien­cy did not exceed 75–80%, dis­ap­point­ing fig­ures. In oth­er words, 20–25% of the ther­mal ener­gy released dur­ing the com­bus­tion process goes lit­er­al­ly into the pipe. Today, many man­u­fac­tur­ers have man­aged to achieve a sig­nif­i­cant increase in effi­cien­cy for sol­id fuel boil­ers. The choice of a boil­er is now much eas­i­er if you know the design capac­i­ty of the boil­er and its effi­cien­cy.

Cur­rent­ly, sol­id fuel boil­ers have an effi­cien­cy of 90–95%. Such effi­cien­cy para­me­ters of heat­ing devices were obtained by reduc­ing the mois­ture con­tent of the fuel, using a fun­da­men­tal­ly new fuel com­bus­tion scheme and design fea­tures of the boil­er com­bus­tion cham­ber. Despite the fact that boil­er mod­els with high effi­cien­cy are expen­sive, the choice in favor of such mod­els is ful­ly jus­ti­fied and jus­ti­fied. With less fuel con­sump­tion, you will get the desired coolant tem­per­a­ture.

Heat exchanger — steel or cast iron

The tech­no­log­i­cal para­me­ters of pow­er and effi­cien­cy, record­ed in the tech­ni­cal pass­port for heat­ing equip­ment, must be sup­ple­ment­ed with data on the mate­r­i­al from which the heat exchang­er is made.

Today, steel and cast iron are main­ly used in the man­u­fac­ture of heat exchang­ers for sol­id fuel boil­ers. Mate­ri­als with high ther­mal per­for­mance, strength and dura­bil­i­ty. It is pos­si­ble to talk about which choice is bet­ter, a steel heat exchang­er or a cast iron heat exchang­er specif­i­cal­ly in each indi­vid­ual case.

For ref­er­ence: cast iron prod­ucts have sev­er­al sec­tions that can be changed indi­vid­u­al­ly if nec­es­sary. The cast iron heat exchang­er burns out faster at high tem­per­a­tures, but is less sus­cep­ti­ble to cor­ro­sive process­es. Cast iron is afraid of sig­nif­i­cant tem­per­a­ture changes, there­fore, when clean­ing boil­ers, it is nec­es­sary to wait for the heat­ing ele­ment to cool com­plete­ly.

Cast iron boil­ers are more expen­sive than sim­i­lar steel appli­ances.

Steel heat exchang­ers are more prac­ti­cal and con­ve­nient in this regard. Steel eas­i­ly tol­er­ates sig­nif­i­cant tem­per­a­ture changes. The most sig­nif­i­cant dis­ad­van­tage is the sus­cep­ti­bil­i­ty of the steel water heat­ing cir­cuit to cor­ro­sion. How­ev­er, in cas­es where steel heat exchang­ers with a wall thick­ness of 6 mm or more are used, such a boil­er will last much longer.

Combustion chamber size and fuel loading methods

Do not dis­count the vol­ume of the com­bus­tion cham­ber. Sol­id fuel boil­ers use sol­id fuels. Not only the pow­er of the boil­er, but also the lev­el of com­fort depends on how much the com­bus­tion cham­ber has a larg­er vol­ume. The prin­ci­ple applies here, the larg­er the com­bus­tion cham­ber, the more fuel can be put into the boil­er at one load. Usu­al­ly the choice of a heat­ing boil­er depends on the ratio of the use­ful vol­ume of the com­bus­tion cham­ber to the pow­er. The high­er this num­ber, the bet­ter. Such data is usu­al­ly indi­cat­ed in those equip­ment pass­ports.

For exam­ple: the com­bus­tion cham­ber of a sol­id fuel appli­ance has a vol­ume of 30 liters, the design pow­er of the heat­ing equip­ment is 60 kW. This means that the ratio of usable vol­ume to pow­er is 2l/kW. A high­er ratio means less fuel to put into your heater.

For mod­els with a cast iron heat exchang­er, this ratio is 1.1–1.4 l / kW. For mod­els with steel heat exchang­ers, the para­me­ters are high­er and amount to 1.6–2 l / kW. A good boil­er is suf­fi­cient pow­er, high effi­cien­cy and a large com­bus­tion cham­ber, but! How it will be nec­es­sary to load fuel there is an equal­ly inter­est­ing ques­tion. The main thing here is con­ve­nience.

Mod­ern mod­els are designed for mechan­i­cal load­ing of com­bustible mate­r­i­al, or for rota­tion, man­u­al­ly. Auto­mat­ic fuel sup­ply involves the oper­a­tion of oth­er addi­tion­al elec­tri­cal devices and mech­a­nisms that sig­nif­i­cant­ly affect the cost of heat­ing equip­ment. Sol­id fuel heat­ing devices with auto­mat­ic sup­ply of fur­nace mate­r­i­al are con­ve­nient for oper­a­tion, but are depen­dent on pow­er sup­ply.

Man­u­al load­ing is reli­able. You your­self con­trol the whole process, deter­mine how much fuel must be loaded into the fur­nace for the nor­mal oper­a­tion of the heater. The only neg­a­tive is that this process will have to be repeat­ed sev­er­al times. For some mod­els, with man­u­al load­ing, you will have to do phys­i­cal work 2–10 times a day.


Hav­ing assessed all the design fea­tures of sol­id fuel units, empha­siz­ing what to focus on when choos­ing a mod­el of a heat­ing device, we can pro­ceed to assess­ing mod­els tak­ing into account their type.

How to choose a long-burn­ing sol­id fuel boil­er for heat­ing a res­i­den­tial build­ing or focus on tra­di­tion­al devices in terms of choice is up to you. The mod­els that are on sale today are able to sat­is­fy the con­sumer in a vari­ety of sit­u­a­tions. From the select­ed fuel and the required pow­er, you your­self choose the best equip­ment option for your autonomous heat­ing sys­tem. Pyrol­lic boil­ers are more pow­er­ful and more effi­cient. If funds allow, we choose this type of heat­ing devices, despite the fact that they cost more than tra­di­tion­al mod­els. Long-burn­ing heat­ing units are easy to oper­ate, but require a large area for instal­la­tion, a com­plex ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem and a cer­tain amount of automa­tion.

Each type has its pros and cons. There is always a choice, espe­cial­ly if you take into account your own needs and the funds allo­cat­ed for orga­niz­ing indi­vid­ual heat­ing.


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