Achieving a Comfortable Temperature in Your Spanish Home

Published on 15/11/2006 in Your Spanish Home

Escaping the Winter

For many people, especially retirees buying a second home in Spain gives them a chance to escape from the dreaded winter at home. It stays lighter for later, even when it is cold it isn’t unbearable outside and the sky is always much brighter. In fact, it is not unusual to see couples having a coffee or meal outside enjoying the winter sun. Depending on the aspect of your home, you might even be able to catch a tan from your own terrace. Many people claim that they are buying a house in Spain for health reasons e.g. arthritis and the like. It is true that the sun is a much needed remedy for many people during the long, dreary winter.

It’s Cold Indoors!

However, do not be deceived into thinking that you have entirely escaped the discomfort of freezing temperatures. On the contrary, anyone who has spent the winter in an apartment in Spain can vouch that it gets perishingly cold indoors to the extent that you can feel stiff and uncomfortable without the luxury of central heated that we take for granted back home.

Be Prepared

When you furnish your apartment you equip it for the hot summer sun. It is not until late October that you are taken by surprise by the drop in room temperature. Although you may not feel inclined to shop for mohair and radiators in August, it is best to be prepared.

Try some of the following:

  • Thick blankets and throws –imperative if you have leather sofas.
  • Portable electric heaters, try Leroy Merlin- be careful as the cheaper they are to buy, the more expensive they are to run. Look out for the power consumption which is stated in watts. I can’t stress this enough as many people have been caught out with shocking electricity bills especially when they leave them on and go out all day.
  • Gas heaters- you have to be approved by Repsol before they will supply you with gas.
  • Air conditioning- which has a heating system- not the most cost effective option.
  • A dehumidifier is useful as the apartments can be prone to damp.
  • Electric blankets- useful for warming the beds up that often feel damp to the touch during the winter.
  • Rugs- store them in a cupboard, or trastero (store room) so they are ready to roll out for winter.
  • Quilts- be careful when you buy Spanish quilts as standard British quilt covers often do not fit properly. Look for “funda nórdica” in the shops. These come in the following sizes:
  1. 90-105cm – Single
  2. 135cm - Double
  3. 150cm – King size
  4. 180cm – Super king size
  • Curtains – If only for winter use to be replaced by something lighter in the winter.
  • Hot water bottles.
  • Slippers
  • Thick pyjamas –believe me you will be grateful for them.
  • Thermal underwear
  • Dressing gown
  • Thick jumpers for during the daytime indoors.

The Heat is on!

Hot temperatures in SpainJust when you thought it was safe to throw away all your winter clothes, you discover that you will need them as much as you did in the UK for indoors rather than outdoors! But do not despair; there will be heat like you’ve never known before that seems everlasting. In fact some people just can’t tolerate the months of July and August and fly out to the UK to cool down. It is true that it can get unbearable. It really depends upon the location of your home as to how easily you can escape it and your lifestyle.

Try some of the following:

  • Fans- electric for in the home and hand ones (albanico) for when you are out and about.
  • Keep your blinds down- this is what the Spanish in the villages do to keep the house cool and it really works.
  • Paint the walls indoors in cool pastel colours which can sometimes be more effective than white.
  • Buy lots of cotton fitted and flats sheets for the bed and banish the quilt to winter storage.
  • Air conditioning- not cheap to run but wonderfully refreshing. If you want to be really indulgent leave it on whilst you go to the shops and it will feel wonderful when you return from the heat.
  • Quick, cool showers at least two or three times per day.
  • Lift the rugs.
  • Stack the fridge with water. There’s no need to play the Lindos donkey in the heat as Mercadona supermarket (also in English) will take your order online and deliver. You can even order some beers whilst you are at it so leave some space in the fridge.
  • Sleep away the hottest part of the day, from 3pm until 5pm and enjoy the cooler temperatures sat on your terrace in the evening.
  • Fill the freezer with ice lollies home made or shop bought.
  • Keep the windows open whilst you are at home. *Jump in the pool at regular intervals.
  • Wear natural fibres such as cotton ,especially undies. You may find that you need a size bigger due to fluid retention in the heat.
  • Leather, open toe sandals and flip flops are a must for the feet around the house.
  • A flight ticket for the UK or Ireland for when the temperature surpasses 40 degrees Celsius!

Written by: Susan Pedalino

About the author:

Women In Spain

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John Wolfendale said:
30 March 2010 @ 17:33

Lots of good tips here.

The best way to really tackle the extremes of temperature over the year is to design and build the house properly in the first place. It neednt be expensive, your running costs are lower because you consume less energy, and if you build from scratch you end up with your perfect house rather than one which was designed by an architect who was instructed by the developer to design as cheaply as possible while making the building look superficially decorative.

The acrhitect may have also been instructed to cover the mountainside with swathe upon swathe of identikit apartment blocks with no supporting infrasructure orientated for maximum solar gain in the sweltering heat of the summer and no insulation for the winter. In all of them the total abscence of sound insulation means you are fully aquainted with your neighbiours ablutive habits which you can do without.

Of course building your own home is entirely impractical for people who already have their apartment / house so please forgive me but I feel passionate about changing the way we build in the future. It is a huge waste of energy and money to turn up the heating / aircon and its just not necessary (or wasnt necessary when the building was erected). And you really can have it all now, a comfortable building which costs less to run and doesnt damage the environment.

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