UK Pellet Council – Trade Association for the UK Pellet industry

Cleaning Your Fuel Store

The UK Pellet Council recommends that only suitably trained and competent personnel enter a wood pellet fuel store.

 The following guidance applies to stores <15 tonnes only.

 The frequency of cleaning is based on the number of deliveries but should be a minimum of once every two years. The store must have been completely cleaned after every 5 deliveries even if this is after less than two years.

 Before entering a pellet store, the heating system, including the fuel transport system, must be switched off. If fuel transport augers rotate when someone is inside the store, they can trap body parts and there is a danger of serious injury or loss of life. If the fuel in the burn chamber is still smouldering, fumes can work their way into the fuel store causing risk of suffocation and danger of loss of life.

 As a general rule, the boiler should be switched off for at least one hour before entering the store to ensure that combustion in the burn chamber has completely stopped. Any specific boiler manufacturer instructions must be followed.

Pellet stores can be a low oxygen, high carbon monoxide (CO) environment, both of which it is impossible to detect by smell, and both of which can result in loss of life.

It is important to adequately ventilate the pellet store before entering. After a 15-minute cross-ventilation via a fully open access door, a permanently naturally ventilated store can usually be entered. For safety reasons, another person should be present outside the store and in visual or at least vocal contact with the person in the storage room (the second person should under no circumstances enter the store, and is there purely to get help if there is an issue).

The store must not be entered in the first four weeks after filling. If this is absolutely necessary, the CO content must be measured beforehand using a mobile CO warning device. It is particularly important that only specialist personnel, such as suitably trained staff from the pellet supplier or maintenance company, enter the store during this period.

If the pellet store holds more than 15 tonnes it may only be entered with a CO warning device. The CO warning device must be switched on and worn on the body. A CO warning device in the storage room gets dirty too quickly and does not work reliably due to the terpenes contained in the wood, which damage the CO sensors.

Please contact your ENplus® certified pellet supplier for details of professional storage cleaning services in your area.