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Spanish Eyes, English Words

A blended blog - Spanish life and culture meets English freelancer who often gets mistaken for Spanish senora. It's the eyes that do it, rather than the command of the language. Anything can and probably will happen here.

Can you save money on heating in Spain? Yes you can!
10 December 2014 @ 23:11

Depending on where you live, Spain in the winter is generally warmer than England, although obviously you're not going to experience summer temperatures. The days are generally sunny, but the early mornings and  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 than cool it, I prefer to heat the place in the winter and enjoy the coolness for the rest of the year.

If your property comes with 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. For us, that's a no-no, as Tony has Asbestosis, and I have Lupus, which affects my lungs and therefore my breathing.

You can buy slim, panel radiators which are fairly economical to run, but they are mainly for background heat. Oil filled radiators are more efficient, and again are economical to run, but they are rather bulky and unattractive.

Although electricity in Spain is cheaper than in England, if you have a large property, you could find yourself with a hefty bill when March comes around. It might make more sense - particularly if you are on a fixed income - to look at ‘pay as you heat’ options.

One solution is bottled gas heaters. These are on castors, so they can be moved from room to room. There are some attractive models available,  ranging from around €70, although you’ll have to pay more if you want a heater with variable temperature controls. At the time of writing (December 2014) Aki in the Haberneras Centre in Torrevieja are offering a basic bottled gas heater for just €49.

Calor gas in England is expensive at around £29 for a 12 or 13kg bottle, but here in Spain it’s only around €17. A bottle should last between 10 days and 3 weeks, so it’s an economical option. The main advantage though, is that you're paying for your heat as you go, so there will be no nasty surprises when the bills come in. Buy your first bottle from your local ferreteria. You’ll have to pay around €40 deposit on your first bottle, 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 might fancy having a log fire. Wood burning stoves in Spain are very reasonable, starting from around €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 €30 for something basic to €300 or more for a custom made cast iron log basket.

Ask your neighbours where you can buy logs; maybe several of you can club together to share a bulk delivery and save some money. We buy our logs at Ballaster’s, off the CV951 between San Miguel de Salinas and Torremendo. It’s self service, so you can pick the logs you want. And a nice bonus is that we can also pick up some orange blossom honey. The system is simple - just drive onto their weighbridge before and after loading your logs, then pay around 1 Euro per 10 kilos for the difference. If we take out the parcel shelf, our Ford Fiesta holds around €15 - €20 of logs, which lasts up to two weeks, depending on if we light the fire every day, and what time we light it.

Better still, collect your logs from a forest near you and dry them out ready for burning. And in many areas, people tend to dump wooden pallets and other waste wood on waste ground and near rubbish skips, so there’s another source of free firewood.

Just remember the buzz words 'pay as you heat' and you should be able to keep your home warm and cosy in winter. And you won't be facing electricity bills in spring that will make you hot under the collar.

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Enjoy reading this? Then check out my blog Sandra In Spain

Like 1


DavidLud said:
14 December 2014 @ 08:01

Great article, Sandra. We scavenge logs from the side of the road after they cut down the overhanging trees! Also just having solar installed, seems a shame to waste all that free energy!

denisl said:
14 December 2014 @ 08:49

I'm no expert but I think you are confusing efficiency and effectivenes (not the same). The air conditioning is not a particularly effective way of heating your house as the heat output is limited but it is, as i understan it, an efficient way of producing heat from electricity.
As for breathing problems, air conditioning will dry the air when used for cooling, but this sholdnt be happening when used for heating.

If you heat your room with on open fire, I think you will be dissappointed with the results. Wood burners are far more efficient, more controllable, and start from around 300 Euros for a small one

johnzx said:
14 December 2014 @ 09:08

I go along with David,

Heat Pump v Conventional Electrical Heating
With heat pump air conditioning, as an alternative form of electrical heating, it can give you more than 3 times the efficiency of a conventional electrical heating (i.e. pane radiators etc) . This means, if you put one kilowatt of electricity into a heat pump, you get at least 3 kilowatt of heat out.

Inverter Heat Pump

Even better is the Inverter air conditioning with heat pump which pumps out over three times more energy than the traditional heat pumps, in the form of heat, than they consume. Impossible? Not at all. The pump simply transfers the heat from somewhere else. They pump warm air from the air outside into the house - hence the term 'heat pump'.

Andygman said:
14 December 2014 @ 10:57

Hi There, hope this might help some people. Last year I invested in an arrow eco25 wood burning boiler stove. Up to that point I was using gasoil for my heating requirements and it was expensive especially as there are 17 radiators in the house. What a difference this has made to my wallet lol. First of all my costs for heating the house have gone down by 60% and secondly the heating is on for 3 times as long. Also it nice to sit in front of a nice fire.

Downside of the fire is cleaning it our every morning, but sorted that out with a vac specially made to vac fires out. The cost of fitting was 1400 euros and the cost of the fire was 1900 pounds. To some people that might seem a lot but the savings it brings a phenomenal.

Living in Cantabria near the mountains it can get very chilly, we have already had some snow. So for my situation I think I have found the best solution to keep warm and cosy and keep the costs down.

midasgold said:
14 December 2014 @ 11:41

Gas bottles Can be purchased at any car boot sale for about 10 euros empty. Once you have the bottle you are " in the system" - then able to get your supply - no I/d or paperwork.

eltel1 said:
14 December 2014 @ 12:12

Air conditioning with a new Inverter type air conditioner is quite economical, reliable and if you buy a good one with an internal unit sound level of around 30 decibels it is also very quiet. The old models use about 50% more electricity. If you cannot afford an air conditioner I reccomend a halogen heater. Orbegozo one of the better Spanish companies offer one for less tha 50€ It ideally will have 4 x 400watt elements. Each element costs about 10 cents an hour to run. Ideally what you would do is switch on 3 or 4 bars for up to an hour until the room is warm. Then it will usually maintain the temperature with 1 bar. It is much more effective and economical than an oil filled radiator or convector heater. It also provides instant heat. The problem with gas heaters is that they give off fumes and humidity which can lead to black mould spots on the ceiling in your house during very cold weather. Personally I don't like the smell they create and carrying the very heavy bottles is no fun. Typically depending on how much you use it the bottle needs changing every 4 or 5 days. I have lived in Spain for 16 years and have tried most types of heating including wood burners etc. They are very effective but a lot of work humping logs and cleaning them plus disposing of the ashes. Perhaps good for a very spacious house.

johnzx said:
14 December 2014 @ 14:03

Halogen Heaters are often cleverly marketed as being a cheaper form of heating in respect of electricity running costs, and whilst Halogen Heaters – thanks to their basic and simple design, are relatively cheap to buy, their running costs are no different to any other Electric Heater with the same electricity consumption. So whether you have a 1200W oil filled radiator or a 1200w Halogen Heater, THE RUNNING COSTS FOR BOTH WILL BE EXACTLY THE SAME, as will the useful heat output from both of these heaters. In other words, for 1200 watts input, you will get 1200 watts of heat output whatever type of Electric Heater you use, as they are all 100% efficient.

NB They cost the SAME to run

potblack said:
14 December 2014 @ 19:05

I have about 5 spare gas bottles, they are the red heavy one's, 10 euro each. Located in Benferri.

johnzx said:
15 December 2014 @ 08:33

Where I live they have been 15 € at the boot sales for as long as I remember, so 10€ is a good deal.

I would be surprised though if there is some rule that makes it illegal just to buy, as of course in 'normal circumstances' one must have a contract which involves a safety check of the installation.

camposol said:
11 February 2015 @ 15:48

Electricity cheaper in Spain? Pull the other one
Heating bills in Spain are enormous compared to the UK.

johnzx said:
11 February 2015 @ 16:16

I am with you Camposol.

I know it is hard to make a real comparison with the miscellaneous extra charges and taxes added on, but from a comparison site which claims to have made adjustments for those, it seems Electricity in Spain is just under 30 % higher than in UK.

potblack said:
11 February 2015 @ 19:24

Well that might be the case, but booze and fags are more expensive in the UK. So Spain is just trying to balance the books. It's no good giving value for money to Joe Public, he cannot be trusted with spare cash, only the big companies and politicians are entitled to that privilege.

johnzx said:
11 February 2015 @ 19:32

potblack what you say may be true but does not appear to address the question, Can you save money on heating in Spain? Yes you can!

potblack said:
14 February 2015 @ 18:51

My apologizes to you johnyzx, I was just trying to join in the conversation, I did not realize I was violating the terms of use of EOS.

Are you the CEO of EOS?.

SandrainAlgorfa said:
14 February 2015 @ 21:05

Okay folks - all I can say is what I know. No pulling the other one or anything like that. However, I can tell you that in the first year we lived here, the total running costs of our apartment in Spain - utilities, insurance, taxes, logs and gas bottles - came to less than what we paid for gas and electric in England in the last year we lived there.

And whatever you're paying, whether in England or Spain, you can save money if you know how to.

camposol said:
14 February 2015 @ 22:25

But did you live in a house or apartment in the UK.?
It matters as you can't compare a n apartment in Spain with a house in the UK.
As far as I am aware it is illegal to buy spare gas bottles privately, though many do so
The proper procedure is to purchase them from Repsol, or Cepsa, along with a contract. You are then obliged by law to have a 5 yearly gas inspection.
When you move into a house and have a gas water heater installed, by a Repsol approved gas heater, you contact Repsol, then you will have.2 gas bottles along with your contract. If you have a gas fire fitted, same procedure but you already have the contract.
It's for your own safety.
You wouldn't dream of installing your own gas water heater in UK , would you?

SandrainAlgorfa said:
15 February 2015 @ 00:14

@camposol Yes, I can compare my apartment in Spain with my house in the UK, because the house was insulated, the apartment isn't. And I know all about the law, and common sense regarding gas installations. Our water heating is supplied via metered underground supplies, and no, we wouldn't install our own gas supply in the UK or here, so don't be so patronising or so negative.

camposol said:
15 February 2015 @ 14:40

No need to get shirty!
As for comparing the house with the apartment, I would imagine the house was bigger, and cost more to heat anyway.
The electricity / gas bill for my My daughters 3 bed house ( 4 people)with gas central heating and gas cooker,
Is a lot less than mine (2people) for the same period
The comments on gas bottles were not aimed at you, but the others generally such as midasgold, who said about no need for ID and paperwork
A lot of people do think they or a handy friend can put in a gas water heater and are not aware of the regulations. A

fireblade900-1 said:
01 August 2015 @ 10:32

Electricity in Spain in my view has gotten much more expensive ..whether you use eco friendly heaters or air con with inverters...this is mainly because of the STANDING CHARGE !!! My standing charge works out to be 25 euros a month (used to be 12 euros a month 18 months a go)...counting the pennies you might save with switching the lights on / off every time you enter a room or not does not help any more ..Iberdola know how to make money from 'savers of electricity' by just charging more for standing charges.

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