Frequently Asked Questions

ECOMAX Wood Pellet Boiler Unit

How does a wood pellet boiler heat my home?

An ECOMAX Wood Pellet Boiler augers wood pellets from a hopper and burns them in a combustion chamber, which heats hot water in the boiler. The hot water is then pumped to radiators or underfloor heating pipes.

Can I heat the hot water cylinder with the boiler?

Yes, the hot water from the boiler is pumped through a heat exchanger in the ‘hot water cylinder’ so all your hot water can be heated by the boiler.

How many pellets does the boiler use?

On full power, (21kW) the boiler uses 5 kg per hour. On medium power (15 kW) the boiler uses 3 kg per hour . Usually pellet consumption is calculated on tons per year. One ton of pellets will generate 5000 kW units of heat. The number of kW units a year required to centrally heat a house has too many variables to give an accurate number but usually a large house will use up to 30 000 kW units per year. A modern well-insulated house will use 20 000 kW units per year. The Ecomax boiler is rated at 78% efficiency by Applied Research Ltd New Zealand. It has Ministry for the Environment and ECAN clean air approval, authorisation No 101313

Will the boiler start up automatically when heat is required?

The boiler has an electric start and will start up and shut down on a timer. Once started, the boiler will slowly accelerate to high. When the house is up to temperature the boiler will decelerate to a level that maintains the preset temperature in the house so the boiler does not use any more pellets then required. The boiler will automatically shut down once no more heat is required.

How do I know they will keep making wood pellets?

Increasing numbers of wood pellet plants are starting up, increasing competition and supply. Because the wood is grown locally and the pellets are processed locally the price is set by the free market and not set by Central Government or OPEC. Also it is a renewable fuel and will not run out.

What about all the work with wood pellets?

You have the option of an 80kg hopper or a very large 1000kg hopper to reduce the time between loading. The boiler incorporates a large 15-litre ash pan that only requires emptying every few weeks.

What about all the smoke you get from burning wood?

The ECOMAX Wood Pellet Boiler burns at a very high combustion temperature and is set to have the correct ‘fuel to air’ ratio so you achieve complete combustion with smokeless operation.

ECOMAX Coal Boiler Unit

How do I know how many kilowatts I will need to heat my home properly?

100 watts per square metre of floor area is a rough guide for a modern house. The ECOMAX Auto Stoker Coal Boiler unit is heating modern homes of up to 300 square metres. For older homes with high ceilings 150-200 watts per square metre is required, but most heating installers will do the heat loss calculations for you..

How much does it cost to run?

It depends on how much you are paying for your coal and how much heat you put in to your house. The cost can also vary depending on the grade and the quantity of coal purchased. The cost can range from 1.5 cents per kilowatt unit to 3.5 cents; we can do exact calculations if the type and cost of coal is known.

What about all the work shovelling coal and ashes?

If you put a one ton hopper on your ECOMAX Auto Stoker Coal Boiler and get a yearly supply contract from your local coal merchant, then they will fill the hopper for you. There is a 15-litre ash pan that the ashes will fall into, which requires empting every 1-7 days depending on demand.

What about all the smoke you get from Coal fires?

The ECOMAX Auto Stoker Coal Boiler burns at a very high combustion temperature, and is set to have the correct ‘fuel to air’ ratio, so that you have complete combustion with smokeless operation.

Will I have to keep lighting the Boiler?

Once you have ignited the boiler at the start of the season, the boiler will run without the need to re-light. The boiler will shut off when there is enough heat in the house, and the embers will stay dormant for more than 24 hours. When you require more heat, the boiler will restart again automatically.

I want to turn the electricity off to the hot water cylinder and use the Boiler to heat my hot water all year round. Can I do this?

Yes you can, a copper heat exchanger in the hot water cylinder keeps the water from the boiler separate from the tap water. The boiler will run one hour a day in the summer to heat your hot water without the need to relight.

My house does not have radiators. How do I go about getting Central Heating?

If you are building a new house, then you have the option of using either radiators or under-floor heating, using water pipes in the concrete slab foundation. You can get a quote for this off your house plans from heating installers, plumbers, or in-floor heating specialists. Seeking assistance from a specialist central heating installer is highly recommended.

If you have an existing house, radiators can be bought from heating retailers, they will usually size the radiators for each individual room free of charge. It will then be necessary for a plumber to price the plumbing of the pipes and boiler installation. ECOMAX can advise on installers for different areas.

Can I run different types of coal?

The ECOMAX Auto Stoker Coal Boiler is supplied with a standard electrical control, which is used to adjust the speed of coal consumption, so that you can run low grade or high grade coal. It is essential that the boiler is ONLY supplied with the correct ‘pea’ sized coal.

How much coal does the boiler use?

The ECOMAX Auto Stoker Coal Boiler unit uses around 4kg of Ohai coal per hour and between 4.4 and 7 kg of lower grade coals. Usually coal consumption is worked out by the ton. Typical consumption to centrally heat a large house and all your hot water is a ton a month in the winter.

What is the life expectancy of the Boiler?

ECOMAX Boilers have been in service for over 25 years and there are still parts and servicing available for the early models. The present model is designed to last at least 25 to 30 years. Central Heating Systems with radiators are still running 50 years after they were installed.

What distance away from the house can I have the Boiler?

As long as the flow and return pipes are insulated properly to minimise heat loss, you can locate the boiler up to 20 metres from your house.

What about the coal hopper, does it come with the Boiler?

People have different sized hoppers to suit their needs, so a hopper is not supplied with the boiler. Full working drawings of standard 500kg, 1000kg, 2000kg or 3500kg hoppers are available on request, you can organise the construction yourself, or ECOMAX can organise it for you.