Securing Maintenance Services

The basics of this will be planned warranty based servicing of the biomass boiler (often every quarter and always annually), plus similar specialist servicing/checks of other major parts such as the flue, hydraulics, fuel transfer augers, pumps, heat exchangers, heat meters, buffer vessels and so on.

Each boiler will have its own service schedule based upon the number of operating hours.

Ash disposal and cleaning the fuel store will also be aspects of routine maintenance.

There will also be a reactive aspect to maintenance; where faults like pump failures, auger blockages, adjustments to combustion settings need a response.

The extent to which end users wish to undertake some of these tasks in-house needs to be considered case by case. The annual boiler service must be undertaken by a qualified engineer to maintain warranty cover and requires a planned shut-down of the biomass boiler and is usually a summer job.

Biomass installers usually offer a comprehensive operations and maintenance (O&M) contract.  This can cover:

  • All planned maintenance – a full service package on the entire biomass installation
  • A responsive call out service – to fix faults

Planned maintenance services can be paid for in a fixed annual amount. The call out services are based upon agreed labour rates and a parts cost plus margin.

The interface between separate fuel suppliers and maintenance contractors can generate friction and requires significant management input from the end user, so solutions that integrate wood fuel supply and an O&M contract can help avoid these issues.