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Biomass Heating for Homes & Businesses

Over the last decade we have developed an in depth knowledge and skills base to fully understand, design and install biomass heating systems.

As an established and family-run business we understand our responsibility to maintain a sustainable and ethical business practice model.  We have the resources and ability to provide robust and practical pre-sales impartial advice, through the product installation to after sales service and support.

We are MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) and RECC (Renewable Energy Consumer Code) accredited for biomass heating system installations.

 

From the installation of a domestic biomass system to a large scale commercial system, we have the knowledge and experience to complete any size and complexity of installation.

We choose to fit only biomass systems from leading manufactures which have a proven track record of reliability and sustainability, providing peace of mind and maximum confidence.

We have biomass boiler systems on live display in our showroom, one of which enables us to benefit from the RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive).  Come in or call  us to find out more.

Why Consider a Biomass Heating System?

Environmental Impact

Renewable heat means greater energy security for the UK at a time when a “business-as-usual scenario” will leave the UK dependent on imports of 80% of our natural gas requirement by 2020.

The UK’s entire Renewable Energy Strategy, covering heat, electricity and transport is estimated to reduce fossil gas imports by 20-30% by 2020.

Biomass will play a major role in this reduction. The technologies involved are proven and available, and in most cases have been used for many years.

Cost Implications and Considerations

We understand that the investment required in installing a biomass system can be substantial, therefore we only supply and install biomass products which have a proven track record of reliability and sustainability.

Domestic and Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
Heat your home for less, go green and receive quarterly payments for 7 years!

RHI is a government incentive which will pay a fixed amount per year to those who install renewable heat equipment, such as wood fuel boilers, which must be MCS approved. Payments will be made either on the exact amount of heat produced, or on the amount it is anticipated the installation will provide. 

Diversity of Application
The great diversity of renewable heat technologies means that renewable heat can work in almost any situation, making it an attractive option for the 2 million homes off the gas grid, where heating options are more limited and significantly more costly.

Renewable heat avoids emissions and costs associated with the generation of heat energy from fossil fuels. The increasing demand for sustainable wood fuel will also provide an incentive for active investment and management of UK woodlands, allowing for greater biodiversity.

Ambient technologies such as solar thermal are already popular, making up the great majority of micro-renewable installations in the UK today, and integrating easily into biomass systems.

Find out more about our biomass boilers

The Bliss of Double-Sided Stoves

We’re keen to show you an example of an installation we frequently carry out even though many home owners rarely consider this design initially.  They see double woodburners in the pub or restaurant but don’t realise they can have one too.

We visit homes to advise on stove installations and we make suggestions to the owners. When we believe it’s the right design for them we suggest a double-sided woodburner which provides heat and focal points into two rooms or both sides of a larger area.

 

The Story

One chilly day we went to a lovely local home and discussed their new fire with the owners, who were delighted with the idea of a double-sided woodburner.  They were also pleased to learn that we carry out all the building work ourselves, with no sub-contractors, so projects are kept to schedule and there are fewer people intruding on their privacy.

Here is a selection of before, during and after images showing the reconstruction of the fireplace and the installation of a Chesney Salisbury double-sided woodburner.

 

Time to Sweep!

It’s time to have your chimney swept, which needs to be done at least twice a year – or four times for a thatched property.

We provide this service at this time of year and we carry out all the sweeping ourselves, following our usual philosophy of no sub-contractors.

It’s dangerous not to have your chimney swept and it is no longer the messy job it used to be, so contact us today and arrange for us to visit your home or business.

Landlord Fined

Landlord Fined for Fitting Unsafe Stove

A landlord who installed an unsafe log burner into a South Gloucestershire home has appeared in court.

The landlord put the burner into a home that caused the tenants to become “concerned for their safety”. On inspection it was revealed that it breached six building regulations – including there being no carbon monoxide detector, insufficient air supply and an unsafe flue connection.

South Gloucestershire Council said due to the severity of the situation it had “no alternative but to prosecute the 55-year-old He pleaded guilty to breaching building regulations at North Avon Magistrates’ Court.

He was fined £600 and ordered to pay £500 in costs following the complaint from tenants in January this year. It was stated that “Many people are installing wood burners and may not realise that they need building regulations approval.

“It’s important to contact your local authority to check if your installation requires building regulation permission.

“This investigation involved the collaboration of South Gloucestershire Council’s housing and building control teams and demonstrates our commitment to protect the safety of residents in their homes.”

Unfortunately we are often made aware of installations that are non-compliant on a far too regular basis. It is not just landlords that are endangering lives. It is home owners and tenants that think it’s acceptable to install a wood burner without realising the potential danger to the property and more importantly the risk to human life. If you think that your stove may be non-compliant, please contact us for an inspection.

Glass Cutting Service

We are able to supply standard and bespoke glass panels for most wood and multi-fuel appliances, 4mm and 5mm Robax heat resistant glass.

Please enter the dimensions of the required panel in the form below to calculate the costs.

Why Should You Replace Your Old Stove?

Why install a new modern and efficient wood burning stove?

Man has used fire for over a million years, and mastered it for the last 100,000 years. Fire still takes a central role in our homes and a million home-owners have already chosen to install a wood burning stove in their house. Developments in stoves have been enormous in recent years and a modern stove is 60 percent more efficient and 90 percent cleaner than a 30 year old wood stove.

With soaring electricity prices, more and more people are reconsidering the heating systems in their homes – and more and more are installing wood burning stoves. It is not possible to compare the efficiency of an old wood stove with a modern wood stove, because they have become so much more efficient.

Regardless of whether the house is heated by district heating or its own heating system, a stove is a good supplement which is also a fully independent, non-electric heat source.

 

Modern wood stoves provide complete combustion – and perfect ash for the garden

When it comes to combustion, a modern wood stove cannot be compared with an old open fireplace or older stoves. Newer stoves have technology that ensures complete combustion, gives excellent heating economy and environmentally friendly firing. If the wood burning stove is fired correctly, the heat that is produced is carbon dioxide neutral and does not contribute to the greenhouse effect.

Complete combustion just produces carbon dioxide, water vapour and ash. The ash is fine and grey and is ideal for use as a fertiliser in the garden. An added bonus is that using wood as fuel is both renewable and locally sourced.

 

Tips on how to use your wood burning stove to save money and the environment:

  • Choose a modern stove.
  • Only use dry wood.
  • Sweep the chimney regularly.
  • Do not burn household waste, plastic, painted, impregnated timber or similar, as these produce hazardous fumes.
  • Use broad leaf wood, which produces more heat than conifer wood. It also burns more slowly.
  • Check the smoke. If it is white, almost transparent, then you know that you are using the wood stove correctly.

Don’t Rely on Electricity for Heat this Winter

The news is full of warnings that the National Grid has just 4% of spare electricity capacity for the UK this winter, sparking stories of potential power cuts throughout the winter months.

While power cuts aren’t ideal at any time, in winter they pose a particular threat as many of us rely on electricity for heat – without it we’ll soon feel the chill.

With a wood burning stove there’s no need to worry about your home’s heat being cut off by a lack of electricity. As long as you have wood to burn and a match to hand, you can enjoy energy-efficient heat throughout the winter months. 

Electricity-Free Log Burning and multi fuel Stoves

 We have a huge selection of wood burning and multi fuel stoves to choose from including freestanding and fireplace inserts. Complement your home with a stunning log burning stove that fills your home with comfortable heat while reducing your reliance on electricity – therefore reducing your bills!

At Sarsen Energy we know that one of the main reasons people choose to have a stove in their home is to enjoy watching the flames within. That’s why we supply and install wood burning stoves with large glass windows so you see the wood burn without compromising the efficiency of the stove. Each log burning stove that we supply burns wood at approximately 80% efficiency.

Contemporary and Traditional Fireplace Inserts

Soapstone and cast iron are the material of choice for wood burning stoves that provide heat for hours without the need for re-filling, which is why we at Sarsen Energy have a selection of stoves made from these heat retaining materials. We also have a collection of freestanding stoves that can be installed pretty much anywhere in your home – who says stoves have to be traditional?

For more information please contact Sarsen Energy on 01264 850 742 and check out the range of electricity-free wood burning and multi fuel stoves we have to offer.

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for Self-Build Homes

Good news!  This is from the YouGen blog posted by Gabby Mallett:

We all know that the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is designed to encourage the retrofit of renewable heat (RH) technologies into existing properties. However, there is a clever little exception which will help more RH technologies to be installed and it relates to new build.

Generally new build properties are not eligible for the RHI, but individual ‘custom builds’ are.  So where an individual pays for the construction of a new property, or commissions an architect or builder to do so on their behalf, or gets their hands dirty and actually does it themselves (DIY self-build) then this is classed as a ‘custom build’ and the RH system will be eligible for the RHI.

There are two clear criteria for eligibility. Firstly ‘the property must have been built principally using the labour or resources of the first owner’. They could have paid for it with a mortgage, but they have to have financed it themselves.  Secondly ‘the first owner and all subsequent owners of the property must be individuals’.  This means that it couldn’t be a development company building the house and then selling it on.

This custom build rule only appliers where the RH system was installed before the property was first occupied.

It is worth also noting that a conversion, such as a barn conversion, would normally count as a custom build. This is because it would not have been occupied previously. Therefore an individual could put in a completely new RH system as part of the conversion and commission the system prior to occupation.

On the other hand a renovation, where a building may be stripped right back to a shell, may have been occupied previously and the RH system would therefore count as retrofit and the usual RHI eligibility criteria and application process would apply.

For more information about RHI please click here

Carbon Monoxide: What is it and what does it do?

The brain injury charity Headway is warning about carbon monoxide poisoning as the Autumn chill hits us, but what is carbon monoxide and what exactly does it do?

According to NHS Choices, carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that has no smell or taste. Breathing it in can make you unwell, and it can kill if you’re exposed to high levels.

Every year in the UK, more than 200 people go to hospital with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, which leads to around 50 deaths.

After carbon monoxide is breathed in, it enters your bloodstream and mixes with haemoglobin (the part of red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body), to form carboxyhaemoglobin.

When this happens, the blood is no longer able to carry oxygen, and this lack of oxygen causes the body’s cells and tissue to fail and die.

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning aren’t always obvious, particularly during low-level exposure. A tension-type headache is the most common symptom of mild carbon monoxide poisoning.

Other symptoms include:

• dizziness
• nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting
• tiredness and confusion
• stomach pain
• shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.

The symptoms of exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can be similar to those of food poisoning and flu. But unlike flu, carbon monoxide poisoning doesn’t cause a high temperature (fever).

The symptoms can gradually get worse with prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide, leading to a delay in diagnosis.

Your symptoms may be less severe when you’re away from the source of the carbon monoxide. If this is the case you should investigate the possibility of a carbon monoxide leak, and ask a suitably qualified professional to check any appliances you think may be faulty and leaking gas.

The longer you inhale the gas, the worse your symptoms will be. You may lose balance, vision and memory and, eventually, you may lose consciousness. This can happen within two hours if there’s a lot of carbon monoxide in the air.

Long-term exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can also lead to neurological symptoms, such as difficulty thinking or concentrating and frequent emotional changes – for example, becoming easily irritated, depressed or making impulsive or irrational decisions.

Breathing in high levels of carbon monoxide gas can cause more severe symptoms. These may include:

• impaired mental state and personality changes (intoxication)
• vertigo – the feeling that you or the environment around you is spinning
• ataxia – loss of physical co-ordination caused by underlying damage to the brain and nervous system
• breathlessness and tachycardia (a heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute)
• chest pain caused by angina or a heart attack
• seizures – an uncontrollable burst of electrical activity in the brain that causes muscle spasms
• loss of consciousness – in cases where there are very high levels of carbon monoxide, death may occur within minutes.

What causes carbon monoxide to leak?

Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, coal and wood don’t burn fully. Burning charcoal, running cars and the smoke from cigarettes also produce carbon monoxide gas.

Gas, oil, coal and wood are sources of fuel used in many household appliances, including:

• boilers
• gas fires
• central heating systems
• water heaters
• cookers
• open fires.

Incorrectly installed, poorly maintained or poorly ventilated household appliances – such as cookers, heaters and central heating boilers – are the most common causes of accidental exposure to carbon monoxide.

The risk of exposure to carbon monoxide from portable devices may also be higher in caravans, boats and mobile homes. Other possible causes of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

• blocked flues and chimneys – this can stop carbon monoxide escaping, allowing it to reach dangerous levels.
• burning fuel in an enclosed or unventilated space – for example, running a car engine, petrol-powered generator or barbecue inside a garage, or a faulty boiler in an enclosed kitchen.
• faulty or blocked car exhausts – a leak or blockage in the exhaust pipe, such as after heavy snowfall, could lead to a build-up of carbon monoxide.
• paint fumes – some cleaning fluids and paint removers contain methylene chloride (dichloromethane), which can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if breathed in.
• smoking shisha pipes indoors – shisha pipes burn charcoal and tobacco, which can lead to a build-up of carbon monoxide in enclosed or unventilated rooms.

Treating carbon monoxide poisoning

Seek medical advice from your GP if you think you’ve been exposed to low levels of carbon monoxide. Go immediately to your local accident and emergency (A&E) department if you think you’ve been exposed to high levels.

Your symptoms will often indicate whether you have carbon monoxide poisoning, but a blood test will confirm the amount of carboxyhaemoglobin in your blood. A level of 30% indicates severe exposure.

People who smoke can often have higher than norma l levels of carboxyhaemoglobin in their blood, which can sometimes make it difficult to interpret the results.

Mild carbon monoxide poisoning doesn’t usually need hospital treatment, but it’s still important that you seek medical advice.

Your house will also need to be checked for safety before anyone returns. Read more about what to do if you suspect a leak.

Standard oxygen therapy
Standard oxygen therapy in hospital will be needed if you’ve been exposed to a high level of carbon monoxide, or you have symptoms that suggest exposure.

You’ll be given 100% oxygen through a tight-fitting mask (normal air contains around 21% oxygen). Breathing in concentrated oxygen enables your body to quickly replace carboxyhaemoglobin. Therapy will continue until your carboxyhaemoglobin levels decrease to less than 10%.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) floods the body with pure oxygen, helping it overcome the oxygen shortage caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.

There’s currently insufficient evidence regarding the long-term effectiveness of HBOT for treating severe cases of carbon monoxide poisoning. Therefore, standard oxygen therapy is usually the recommended treatment option.

HBOT may be recommended in certain situations – for example, if there’s been extensive exposure to carbon monoxide and nerve damage is suspected. The use of HBOT will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Recovery

The length of time it takes to recover from carbon monoxide poisoning will depend on how much carbon monoxide you’ve been exposed to and how long you’ve been exposed to it.

Complications of carbon monoxide poisoning

Prolonged significant exposure to carbon monoxide can cause serious complications, including brain damage and heart problems. In very severe cases, it can result in death.  Effects of severe carbon monoxide poisoning include:

• breathlessness
• chest pains
• seizures (fits)
• loss of consciousness.

Around 10-15% of people who have severe carbon monoxide poisoning develop long-term complications.

Brain damage

Prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can cause memory problems and difficulty concentrating. It can also cause vision loss and hearing loss.

In rare cases, severe carbon monoxide poisoning can cause Parkinsonism, which is characterised by tremors, stiffness and slow movement.

Parkinsonism isn’t the same as Parkinson’s disease, which is a degenerative neurological condition linked to ageing.

Heart disease

Coronary heart disease is another serious condition that can develop as a result of long-term carbon monoxide exposure.

Coronary heart disease is where the heart’s blood supply is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances (atheroma) in the coronary arteries.

If the blood supply is restricted, it can cause angina (chest pains). If the coronary arteries become completely blocked, it can cause a heart attack.

Harm to unborn babies

Long-term exposure to carbon monoxide gas can also damage an unborn baby. Babies exposed to carbon monoxide during pregnancy are at risk of:

• low birth weight
• perinatal death (stillbirth and death that occurs within the first four weeks of birth)
• behavioural problems.

Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning

It’s important to be aware of the dangers and identify any appliances in your house that could potentially leak carbon monoxide.

Maintaining and servicing appliances

Boilers, cookers, heating systems and appliances should be installed and regularly serviced by a reputable, registered engineer. Don’t attempt to install or service appliances yourself.  Anyone carrying out work on installations and appliances in your home must be registered with a relevant association, such as the:

• Gas Safe Register (for gas appliances)
• Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme (HETAS) (for solid fuel appliances)
• Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) (for oil appliances).

Maintaining chimneys and flues

Make sure all chimneys and flues are swept regularly by a qualified sweep who’s a member of the:

• National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS)
• Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps
• Association of Professional Independent Chimney Sweeps (APICS).

Engine exhaust fumes

To protect you from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by exhaust fumes:

• don’t leave petrol-fuelled lawnmowers or cars running in the garage
• make sure your car’s exhaust is checked every year for leaks
• make sure your exhaust isn’t blocked before turning the engine on – for example, after heavy snowfall.

Carbon monoxide alarms

Install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home to alert you if there’s a carbon monoxide leak. However, an alarm isn’t a substitute for maintaining and regularly servicing household appliances.

You can buy a carbon monoxide alarm from a DIY or hardware store. Make sure it’s approved to the latest British or European Standard (BS Kitemark or EN50291).  Call Sarsen Energy on 01264 850 742 if you are unsure and we will advise you.

Other safety tips at home and in the workplace

Follow the safety tips below to help protect yourself at home and in the workplace:

• Never use ovens or gas ranges to heat your home.
• Never use oversized pots on your gas stove, or place foil around the burners.
• Make sure rooms are well-ventilated and don’t block air vents. If your home is double-glazed or draught-proofed, make sure there’s still enough air circulating for any heaters that are in the room.
• Don’t use gas-powered equipment and tools inside your home if you can avoid it. Only use them in a well-ventilated area, and put the engine unit and exhaust outside.
• Always wear a safety mask when using chemicals that contain methylene chloride.
• Don’t burn charcoal in an enclosed space, such as on an indoor barbecue.
• Don’t sleep in a room that has an unflued gas fire or paraffin heater.
• Fit an extractor fan in your kitchen (if it doesn’t already have one).

What to do if you suspect a carbon monoxide leak

If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds or you suspect a leak:

• stop using all appliances, switch them off, and open doors and windows to ventilate the property
• evacuate the property immediately – stay calm and avoid raising your heart rate
• call the gas emergency number on 0800 111 999 to report the incident,or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Gas Safety Advice Line on 0800 300 363
• don’t go back into the property – wait for advice from the emergency services
• seek immediate medical help – you may not realise you’ve been affected by the carbon monoxide, and going outside into fresh air won’t treat any exposure by itself.

Being aware of the signs

It’s very important to be aware of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and to look out for warning signs.  You should suspect carbon monoxide poisoning if:

• other people in your house, flat or workplace fall ill with similar symptoms
• your symptoms disappear when you go away – for example, on holiday – and return when you come back
• your symptoms tend to be seasonal – for example, if you get headaches more often during the winter when the central heating is used more frequently
• your pets also become ill.

Other possible clues of a carbon monoxide leak include:

• black, sooty marks on the front covers of gas fires
• sooty or yellow/brown stains on or around boilers, stoves or fires
• smoke building up in rooms due to a faulty flue
• yellow instead of blue flames coming from gas appliances
• pilot lights frequently blowing out.

At-risk groups

Carbon monoxide is a danger to everyone, but certain groups are more vulnerable than others. These include:
• babies and young children
• pregnant women
• people with chronic heart disease
• people with respiratory problems, such as asthma.

Pets are often the first to show signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. The smaller an animal or a person is, the faster they’ll be affected.

Investigate the possibility of a carbon monoxide leak if your pet suddenly becomes ill or dies unexpectedly, and their death isn’t related to old age or an existing health condition.

Call Sarsen Energy

If you have any questions or worries about carbon monoxide please call Sarsen Energy on 01264 850 742 and we will do our best to advise you.

Warm and safe winter.