Heating up your Spanish house in winter
There is a range of heating options besides electricity that can keep your house cosy and warm, says Sandra Piddock.
Spain in the winter is warmer than England. The days are generally sunny, although the evenings can be cold. If you have a north or east facing home, you’ll probably need some form of heating between November and March.
South-facing properties are cosy in the winter, but can be unbearably hot in the summer, even with air conditioning. As it’s easier to warm a house up than cool it down, I prefer to heat the place in the winter and enjoy the coolness for the rest of the year.
If your property has air conditioning, this can also be used as a heater. However, it’s not all that efficient in a large room, and it can be expensive to run. And if you have breathing problems or suffer from asthma, air conditioning can exacerbate your difficulties.
You can buy slim, panel radiators which are economical to run, but they are mainly for background heat. Oil filled radiators are more efficient, and again are economical to run, but are rather bulky and unattractive.
Electricity in Spain is much cheaper than in England, but if you have a large property, you could find yourself with a hefty bill in March. It may make more sense, particularly if you are on a pension which has already suffered from the weakness of Sterling against the euro, to look at ‘pay as you heat’ options.
Why not try a paraffin heater? If the thought of the rusty, smelly old heaters of your grandparents’ days puts you off, think again. Go to Brico House, or any other hardware chain, and you’ll find a stylish range of heaters from as little as EUR 90. Twenty litres of paraffin will cost between EUR 38 and 45. It burns with little or no smell, and we anticipate 20 litres will last us for a month. Our living room is quite large, and we like to be cosy, so I’m more than happy with that outlay.
Bottled gas heaters
Another option is bottled gas heaters. These are on castors, so can be moved from room to room. Again, there are some attractive models available for around EUR 70, though you’ll have to pay more if you want a heater with variable heat controls.
Calor gas in England is expensive, but cost only around EUR 15 in Spain. A bottle should last at least 4 weeks, so it’s an economical option. Buy your first bottle from a Ferreteria (Ironmongers). You’ll have to pay about EUR 40 deposit on it, and you’ll also need to show your passport or some other form of identity. (No, I don’t know why, so don’t ask!)
Many Spanish homes, even new builds, have open fireplaces, so you may fancy having a log fire. Wood burning stoves in Spain are very reasonable, starting from around EUR 600, but I would recommend trying a log basket and open fire first, as a wood burner may make your room too hot. Depending on your taste, you can pay anything from EUR 30 up to EUR 300 or more for an individually made cast iron log basket.
Ask your neighbours where you can buy logs; maybe several of you can club together to share a delivery and save some money? Ballaster’s, on the CV951 between San Miguel de Salinas and Torremendro is self service. Drive onto their weighbridge before and after loading your logs, and pay around EUR 1 per 10 kilos. Check local community website business directories and the classifieds in the English press for your nearest suppliers.
Better still, collect your logs from a forest near you and dry them out ready for burning. In Spain, people tend to dump wooden pallets on waste ground, and you can help yourself, so there’s another source of free firewood.
I hope I’ve given you some options for keeping warm in Spain without having heating bills which make you hot under the collar. Keep cosy!
text: Sandra Piddock / Expatica
The writer, Sandra Piddock, is originally from the UK. She moved from Cornwall to Costa Blanca in March and maintains a website
in her spare time.