Following a recent incident involving a biomass boiler fire at a commercial premises in Gloucestershire, HETAS, the leading biomass and solid fuel heating organisation, wishes to emphasis to consumers the importance of safety when operating these systems.
Biomass boilers are an increasingly popular choice for homeowners and businesses, providing an efficient and sustainable heating solution. However, whilst a rare but extreme example, the incident does highlight the significance of following the correct safety precautions.
Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue service attended the incident in Westbury-on-Severn to find the commercial building engulfed in flames and one man injured. HETAS is now urging all biomass boiler owners and operators to be extra cautious and adhere to the following safety advice.
Bruce Allen, chief executive officer of HETAS and Woodsure, advises: “While cases this extreme are uncommon, it is devastating for those impacted. It pains us to see incidents like this where the damage could potentially have been avoided. We would like to take this opportunity to raise awareness about households and business owners alike can stay safe when operating biomass boilers.
- Always be sure to keep up with regular maintenance of their system. By ensuring the system is serviced and maintained by a qualified professional at least once a year, they can help to identify and address any potential issues before they escalate.
- Biomass boilers must be sized accordingly. As some are designed to ‘offload’ their heat in cycles, they are normally accompanied by a store of water which is used to dissipate the heat as required. Installation by a professional such as a HETAS registered installer will guarantee the safe and efficient functioning of the system.
- Adequate ventilation and air supply in the boiler room or designated area is also vital to ensure sufficient airflow and to ensure safe operation
- When working inside any store, be it pellet or grain, caution and safety proceeds must be followed at all times and specialist training is required.
- Only use high-quality, approved biomass fuel sources. Poor-quality fuel can lead to reduced efficiency and increased emissions, compromising both safety and performance. To claim Renewable Heat Incentives (RHI) payments, the fuel must be on the Biomass Suppliers List.
- Finally, familiarise themselves with the manufacturer’s instructions and operating manual for the specific biomass boiler model. Where available, we recommend attending training sessions or workshops to enhance the understanding of the system’s operation and maintenance.
“At HETAS we remain committed to ensuring the highest standards of safety within the biomass industry.”