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Ekogroszek/wood pellets or gas for heating in Poland?

Braveheart16 18 | 286
16 Aug 2016 #1
I am in the process of deciding on a heating system for my house and not sure whether I should install a boiler system or gas. I have a gas pipe to the house which has never been connected. At present I have an old inefficient boiler for heating. I have read past postings on home heating costs from a few years ago but would like to know what the current opinion is on the most economical to use...I like the idea of using wood pellets but understand that on average, over the course of a year more pellets are used compared to ekogroszek 'coal'...Obviously I would like to make savings and at present it would seem that 'coal' is the likely winner. I believe that gas could contain hidden costs and be reasonably expensive to run.

My other concern is future legislation which I understand will impose restrictions in various regions throughout Poland on using boilers and solid fuels and is likely to take effect from 2019-20. Not sure if this is likely to become law nationwide but would welcome your views on this.
terri 1 | 1,664
17 Aug 2016 #2
In Krakow centre there is a concentrated effort to get rid of all coal burning fireplaces (piece kaflowe) and money is paid to the owners for transferring to alternative means of heating. It is very likely that this legislation will be extended to surrounding districts in the future.

I would exclude coal from your plans for the future, as when the legislation kicks in for the whole country you will be stuck. Coal is becoming more expensive, there are problems within the whole coal industry, so what may appear cheaper now could prove to be more expensive in the long run.

If you use wood pellets (which are easy to store and are clean) for heating and hot water during winter you will have to have alternative means for heating hot water in the summer.

Consider gas central heating. You will have to obtain permission from the owner of the property and your gas supplier before you do anything.
In your place I would ask your neighbours what they have and calculate the costs based on that.
OP Braveheart16 18 | 286
17 Aug 2016 #3
Thank you Terri for your thoughts on this....I personally would prefer to use wood pellets but I gather from other forums etc that I would be using many more bags to heat the house over the course of the year as compared to using coal.

However I feel that by having a boiler which can run on coal and wood pellets would give me a degree of flexibility if future legislation imposes a ban on using coal. Some people have said that this type of 'uni' boiler is not as efficient as a boiler which solely runs on coal or solely runs on wood pellets, but maybe this is not such a problem as current boiler technology has improved greatly and there isn't perhaps such a difference between 'uni' boilers and those that use just one type of solid fuel.

I am quite interested in boilers provided by a company called 'Defro' and these seem to be quite popular. In particular I am looking at one called 'Defro Duo Uni' which would appear to meet my needs but it is early days. In any event I will need to decide soon before winter sets in.

I made a possible choice of boiler should be the 'Defro Sigma Uni' 5 Klasa.....not the Defro Duo Uni..
kpc21 1 | 763
17 Aug 2016 #4
"Ekogroszek" (it must have an English name, I don't believe it's so Poland-specific) is cheapest but annoying and dirty. Every few days you have to fill the tank with coal. Using your hands and a bucket or a spade. Which produces a lot of dirt and dust. If you decide for this type of heating, choose a boiler with a more advanced control unit unless you want to spend hours in your boiler room adjusting all the settings once the outside temperatures or quality of the coal changes.

Two advantages of "ekogroszek" coal heating is that it's the cheapest system (only the traditional heating systems based on a coal boiler are cheaper) and probably the most popular one in Poland, so it's easy to get help.

Wood pellets are the least popular option from all of them, and it's something between "ekogroszek" coal and gas. It's still a solid fuel, so it needs some manual work to use it, but it's much "cleaner" than coal. And, if I am not mistaken, the burning process can be controlled much better. Might be an interesting option, but it might be not so easy to get support when you have some problems, because it's just not that popular.

Gas may be a really good option if your house has (or can have) a connection to the gas network. It's clean, you don't have to do any work with it (no coal tank to refill - just take care about regular check-ups made by a specialist), you don't need a separate room for a coal storage, and the boiler room is clean, so you can use it also for other purposes. I would say it may cost 1,5 of that what "ekogroszek" heating costs. But everything depends on the current coal and gas prices, so it's difficult to compare it.

Check also other options, such as:
- trying to use your current old-fashioned boiler in a more efficient way (there are actually two possible ways of burning in such a boiler) - it's described here in Polish:
maybe you will find some English materials about that as well, the thing is to fill the boiler with coal first and then to light it up at the top instead of lighting it up at the bottom and then covering it with coal; it turns out to be much more efficient (you cannot refill the stove, but once you light it up, a full load of coal should be enough for a day, and you light it up again on the next day), however, it has some nuances that have to be taken into account

- solar heating system
- heat pump

For the two last ones you can get some funding from the state.

By the way, it seems that those "ekogroszek" boilers are called stokers in English, or, at least, in the USA:
OP Braveheart16 18 | 286
18 Aug 2016 #5
KPC21.....Thank you for your very helpful feedback and links, it has given me a good deal of useful information which will help me to decide on the way forward. I do like the idea of using wood pellets which would be a cleaner option but concerns over sufficient suppliers and perhaps having to use more than 'coal' would need to be considered. I do have a gas connection to the house (not used at present) but I am worried over potential cost and supplementary charges.

My thoughts at present are to perhaps go with a boiler which is capable of burning 'coal' and 'wood pellets' or at least has the ability to convert from one to the other. In this way it would help if legislation bans the use of coal or if I wanted to change the solid fuel if one or other becomes expensive.
kpc21 1 | 763
18 Aug 2016 #6
I have read about conversion of stoves from coal to pellets, and it seems it's possible, but it's not a good idea. A boiler designed to burn coal in it will not work good with pellets. It will never be so efficient as a boiler designed specifically for pellets.

They can equally well ban burning any solid fuels, but I think it's a really long way for them to do it, because it's just too many houses in Poland heated using coal. It will take years for all of them to convert to other fuels. Many houses in city centers still don't have connection neither to the gas network, nor to the city central heating network (district heating, it seems they call it so in English), and the apartments are heated with individual old-fashioned ceramic coal stoves. In those houses either totally new plumbing will have to be installed. Or they will have to be converted to electric heating, which is expensive to use (it's the most expensive system from all the possibilities), but this will, anyway, often demand electric wiring exchange, because the old wiring is often not capable of carrying the power necessary if you want to use the electricity for heating. And there is still many people just too poor to afford anything other than coal heating.
cjj - | 281
18 Aug 2016 #7
you can change the screw (delivering the material from the hopper) and the burning pot. we burned oats one year but moved to coal the next; same hopper, but the screw had to be changed and also the pot into which the material was delivered to be burned. we did the change ourselves - standard diy level work.
1 Oct 2022 #8
Greetings, does anyone know the process of converting an ekogroszek self feeding boiler to pellet and is it possible to use both pellets and coal?

I keep hearing about a "valve" I must install to do this, but so far can't find any info on it....
pawian 202 | 21,196
1 Oct 2022 #9
but so far can't find any info on it....

Which language sites did you try??? Coz I have just checked and there are dozens of Polish sites on it. Just type: przeróbka pieca ekogroszek na pelet.

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