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Spain - Heating and Air-Conditioning

It is not common for a Spanish home to be equipped with central heating, although this is an option which is available. In many areas the Spanish winter is very mild or short, so the need for central heating is reduced, but northern and central parts of the country do experience very cold winters and heating is essential.

Many home owners opt for portable heaters such as Calor gas fires. These run on gas bottles which can be changed as needed. It is a requirement that a window is open at all times while the heater is on as ventilation is essential. These heaters are fairly reasonably priced with a higher outlay at the beginning. The only downside with this type of heating is that the bottles can be very heavy, making it difficult for some people to change them on their own.

One of the most popular heating options is the open fire. This is a cost effective option and these are more often used in the inland areas of the country. Most Spanish homes have tiled floors so there are no dangers with carpets catching light. Wood burning stoves are also becoming popular as these offer the same heating benefits and wood and other fuels are in plentiful supply. A multi fuel stove can also be connected to the hot water and radiator systems so running central heating in this way can be very cost effective.

A central heating system can be installed if you would prefer to have radiators and there is a choice of fuels to operate the system. Mains gas is only available in the larger urban areas so if you want gas central heating this will be run from bottled gas. Alternatively central heating can be run from an oil tank, although this is an expensive option due to fluctuating oil prices and will require a storage tank, so a certain amount of outdoor land is required. The same applies to those who choose to have bulk propane as a tank is required in the grounds. There are regulations about how far away from the building that these tanks need to be, so it is not an option for those with small gardens.

Those who have opted for an apartment in Spain will often find that they have little choice about the type of type of heating that is installed as many buildings have communal systems and each tenant is charged for their share.

Electric heating is another option but there are very few homeowners that use this due to the high cost of electricity. Some homes have night storage heaters installed which operate on a cheaper system. Alternatively there are plug-in electric heaters which can be purchased separately for each room and which may be filled with oil or gel.

Solar power is a relatively new form of energy generation in Spain but new build homes often have solar panels installed for heating water and which can be added to in order to provide energy for a heating system too. This can be an expensive option for installation but it is a system that can pay for itself over a number of years, particularly given the many hours of sunshine that Spain has each year.

An air conditioning system is the most popular way of controlling the temperature in a house. This can be used all year round to keep the temperature at a level which is suited to the weather. There are several different air conditioning systems which are available and a ducted air system is considered to be one of the best, although this is generally for larger houses. This needs a single compressor as well as an evaporator which filters air and sends it around the house at the required temperature. Most homes in Spain using this type of system will have individual controls in each room. There are some systems available in Spain which are able to add moisture to the air using a device known as a ‘kettle’.

Portable air conditioning units are popular in smaller homes as they can be moved from room to room as needed. In addition, ceiling fans are an option for cooling the air.

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Expat Health Insurance Partners

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