With winter well on it´s way it´s the perfect time to get your heating up to date. If you already have all your heating system sorted, then it´s simply the time to call for services or replace filters if you are confident what to do.
If not, you may be wondering what style of heating could best suit your needs. Even though the temperature never gets so cold here as in the more northern parts of the world, many houses aren´t built with the same kind of insulation – so heating is definitely needed in the coolest months. This blog explores the most popular heating options here in the south of Spain.
1. Underfloor heating
If you are undergoing building reforms or considering changing your floors, it is the perfect time to install underfloor heating. The key benefits of underfloor heating are that it heats the space evenly, feels particularly luxurious under your cold winter feet, and keeps the whole area at a comfortable consistent temperature. We recommend underfloor heating for large spaces that will be used readily throughout the cooler months.
There are two kinds of underfloor heating to choose from- water based (hydraulic) which heats up water in pipes under your flooring, or electric, which heats a thin wire. Water systems are more expensive to set up, since the greatest cost is the boiler that heats the water. While it can take a day to warm up, it is cheaper to keep warm so are recommended when underfloor heating is used across a large surface area like an entire home that will be left on for the days or weeks on end. Electric underfloor heating is cheaper to install, faster to warm up and does not raise floor levels, but is more expensive to run. For these reasons, electric versions are recommended for smaller spaces like bathrooms.
2. Reverse cycle air conditioning
If you are a fan of using air conditioning, that responds faster to your adjustments, ducted reverse cycle air conditioning is the way to go. Then you have the option to use it for heating or cooling using the same ducted system. Most of our clients install these systems, with different controls for each bedroom and key spaces so that you are only heating or cooling the area that you are using. Splitting it by each individual room also allows everyone to adjust the temperature to suit their individual comfort levels. Most of our clients tend to use both underfloor heating and reversed cycle ducted systems so they can take advantage of both the efficiency of underfloor heating, combined with the extra flexibility of individually climatized rooms.
We all know there is nothing quite as relaxing as snuggling around the fireplace on a cool winter´s night. So if you value that kind of cosy activity, a fireplace is a fantastic addition- whether you use it as your primary source of heating or as an indulgent extra to one of the other systems discussed above. But beware, all fireplaces should be professionally serviced annually and carbon monoxide levels kept under control to ensure that they are safe.
Nowadays, pellet options rather than the traditional timber fireplace are becoming increasingly popular due to the ease in which they are ignited and not needing to constantly source and store large quantities of timber. In fact, pellet fireplaces can be started remotely, safer to use, and also easier to install since the chimney pipes are narrower can go somewhat horizontal.
However, pellet fireplaces lack the rich scent, dynamic flames and crackle that characterises the hygge experience of timber fireplaces. With fluctuant transport and production prices in recent years, it is also worth noting that firewood is easier to source locally in the event of supply shortages or rising fuel prices.
If you have natural gas connected in your home, gas fireplaces are another option that are efficient to use. While they can offer timber or stone effect, they lack the same ambience as the other forms of fireplaces. They are easier to install, as there are some options that do not require a chimney, but remember they also require proper maintenance to ensure that they are safe and not causing an increased carbon monoxide risk, or leaking gas.
Finally, ethanol and electric fireplaces are the easiest and cheapest to install, but are not recommended for heating since they are mostly for effect and do not release as much heat . Of course, with any fireplace, it is important to have them serviced annually, ensure you regularly vent the space to fresh air and install carbon monoxide detectors to keep your home safe.
4. Space heaters
Although we do not recommend them to clients doing reforms, due to the fact that they are less efficient and create a messy space with appliances and cords- the final option is space heaters. These are more of a temporary or instant fix solution to warm a particular room that is the quickest and lowest investment to heat your space, but beware that they can consume a lot of electricity and also create hot and cold spots in your home that can provide a rude shock when moving between rooms!
Of this category, gas heaters are the most efficient but require a gas supply and annual servicing to control leakages and carbon monoxide levels. For this reason, oil space heaters are the most efficient electric options since they work similar to water underfloor heating but in an easy to move appliance. Fan heaters are really inefficient for big spaces, but are convenient to instantly and temporarily warm your feet or small space if you want a quick warmth boost.
So there you have it, an overview of key heating options available here in the south of Spain. There is no doubt that some combination of these is the ultimate way to live, if you have the choice. However, what is most suitable for you depends on your space, personal preference and budget. We would love to help you get your home climatized if you are undertaking building works or reforms around Marbella, Benahavís or Mijas.