First, I would like to highlight that this article is mainly addressed to people who rent a flat/house for a long or short period of time. Property owners have their own energy-saving solutions, such as heat pumps, gas heating and other things including solar collectors, etc.
However, it is difficult for tenants, who every once in a while change the place they live in, to invest in house/flat heating. So, what are the methods of keeping Andalusian lodgings warm?
I have to admit that I do not know what is the situation in the middle and northern parts of Spain, where snow and low temperatures are perfectly normal. I have heard that central heating in flats is a standard there. However, in Andalusia, blocks of flats do not have heating and it is difficult to find buildings with central heating installations. The problem is that at nights temperature tends to drop to minus two degrees, and during winter days, the temperature stays between 12 and 20 degrees. Therefore, it is quite a challenge to keep a comfortable temperature in a flat/house. OK, you can occupy a single room with your whole family, but that is hardly comfortable.
In Malaga, the winter climate is very humid and it is incredibly hard to get insulation. Here, on the coast, 15 degrees is felt completely different than tens of kilometres inland. Here, cold is felt deep in your bones. It is a horrible feeling, especially during windy days.
During winter, electricity bills may cause quite a headache as they can reach 130 euro or even 250 euro (per month!) just for heating a 70 sq. metre flat. That is why it is important to heat your place in a smart way and avoid janky and cheap heating devices.
So what can you choose? If you want a portable device, you should pay special attention to functionality, heating power and energy efficiency. There are a few types of electric heaters available:
When you buy a heater, pay attention to its power, thermostat quality that should offer functions allowing to set a timer. It is useful due to its optimal energy consumption – many times, I forgot to turn off the device or lower the temperature, especially during the day, and as a result I had to pay lots of money for energy bills. Additionally, it is important to consider the power consumption and keep in mind the size of the place the device is to heat.
It is not an easy question because there are devices tempting with low prices, i.e. fan heaters which you can buy for as little as 10 euro. Unfortunately, it is superficial economy because cheap devices include a high risk of causing a catastrophic failure, not to mention low efficiency and high energy consumption. You should take into consideration the manufacturer’s reputation and other people’s opinion of the product – it should allow you to make a good decision.
There are also portable gas heaters available but I would not risk keeping a burner and a gas bottle in my living room. Especially since there is an imaginative two years old there, who would consider all kind of knobs fascinating….
Of course, you should not forget good pyjamas, warm bed sheets, adequate clothes and staying outside as often as possible since usually, it is warmer outside than inside buildings. It is also good to consider buying a carpet because many Andalusian flats have just cold stone floors. Remember to seal the windows and use blinds at nights to keep the warmth inside…
PS: The best source of heat is a 30 kg wolfdog that rolls over you all night long :)