Calgary Heating: Biomass Heating Units  

Hello all, Kyle here from Clearview Plumbing and Heating and today we’re going to take a look at biomass heating units.

What the heck are biomass heating units? It’s a fancy way of saying ‘wood burning’ or ‘organic material fuels’ ie, the humble wood stove, the pellet furnace and the wood waste furnace. Though when you put it that way, it somehow seems less exotic!

Biomass heating units (that’s the name and I’m sticking to it!) come and go in popularity. For a long time of course, the wood burner was the only way to go, but with advances in technology can the gas furnace and electric furnace. However, there are still arguments to be made for the use of biomass heating units, particularly in large commercial buildings, though many smaller homes use them now too.

In a nutshell, biomass heating works by burning wood and wood products such as chips, logs and pellets. It can be used to heat just one room (usually the living room) or it can be used to power central heating and hot water systems. The ability of the heating unit will largely depend on how big it is; the larger it is, the more fuel you can put in and the more heat it will give off. Huge biomass units have a system of conveyers to bring lots of chips and pellets to the combustion unit which then gives off enough heat to warm entire buildings. Domestic units on the other hand are usually fed by hand.

Biomass heating units have several advantages and disadvantages so weigh them carefully before you decide whether or not to install one in your home.


  • Wood burning stoves emit fewer carbon emissions than do electric or gas. If you’re environmentally minded, this is a great choice for you!
  • Biomass heating units have a higher initial expense, but pay it back quickly in utility savings.
  • Wood pellets or logs are usually more affordable than gas or electricity; when all else fails, get it yourself!
  • …You could have a fireplace in your living room! Come on, it doesn’t get more romantic than that!


  • The initial cost of the burner is high, sometimes well over a few thousand dollars, depending on how fancy it is
  • You must have plenty of room, not only for the furnace itself, but also storage of pellets to burn. (Pellets being the best for home biomass heaters).
  • You either have to store a ton of pellets or have a steady and affordable supply of them.
  • You’ll probably have to tend to the furnace by hand (at least to get it started) unless you get one that works on its own and that costs more.

Obviously biomass heating units are not going to be suitable for everyone, but they are worth considering if you have the money and space. They are better for the environment, cheaper to run, easy to maintain and there are many places to buy the fuel, including independent contractors. It’s worth looking into.

 And you can make the groan worthy: Got Wood? with a biomass heater.

Eh? Eh?

No? Guess, I should stay away from comedy and stick to what I know: heating and plumbing. See you later folks!

Clearview Plumbing and Heating is home to Calgary’s specialists in heat and water (and air conditioners!) If you need help, be sure to contact us at…

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Keywords:Calgary heating, Biomass heater , wood burning, fireplace, Initial expense, affordable

Written by chris