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Central Heating in The Algarve

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Posts: 2
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(@stephinnc)
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Joined: 2 weeks ago

Hello all,
I am a U.S. citizen considering moving to The Algarve. I read that it is difficult to find a long term rental that offers central heating. And that it is expensive. Please let me know if you have information for such.
Thank you.
Stephanie:)

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Posts: 247
Premium Member
(@jeanne)
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Joined: 12 months ago

Just wondering- can underfloor heating be retrofitted in to a property?  I would be interested in hearing what measures homeowners have decided to take to insulate existing properties (without causing knock-on problems) or to install a heating system. 

I currently live in a place with extremely cold winters, but houses here are generally well insolated. 

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(@martin)
Joined: 16 years ago

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@jeanne 

 

be hard to retrofit underfloor heating  as it would mean breaking all the tiles and concrete base...the mess that would cause would be a MESS. I have heard over the years of the tubes leaking or not working and then its almost impossible to fix

better to get an aircon unit fitted in each room which only means making a hole in the wall. not only will this get you aircon in summer and heat in winter but they also act as dehumidifiers

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(@thomasribatejo)
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@jeanne It can certainly be retrofitted, but the work involved would vary hugely depending on the construction (what the floor is made of and supported by) and the existing floor surface.

The traditional way here is to only heat one or two rooms, not entire properties - but this isn't the way people moving to Portugal typically choose to live, of course.

Whatever means is selected, it's worth ensuring the insulation is appropriate to the construction, and sufficient to retain the heat.  Older buildings (pre-1950s, generally) had traditional construction techniques which created natural insulation from heat and cold.  Then, once concrete and blockwork took over, it was pretty dreadful until the last 10 years, when regs mean properly built properties should have adequate insulation... BUT many small contractors still don't do this properly, especially when working on the cheap...

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(@aspidistra)
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Joined: 3 months ago

That's what I am going for Martin. i discussed underfloor and the builder said yes, you'd have to dig up all the tiles and bits of the concrete base. Big job. Also it depends how you power it. The place I stayed, they had the whole solar caboodle with batteries so the energy was saved. Took up masses of room and must have cost a fortune to install. If you don’t have all that, presumably it is very costly to run on electricity.

So I will see how the air con solution works. Only going for it in the bedrooms at the moment as cold, damp bedrooms are the worst and will see how we fare with a gas heater and wood fire in the living room.

Another option I have encountered is people running a kind of limited central heating system, with gas, using the big gas bottles. Presumably the gas heats some kind of boiler, According to the owner who had that system, you were forever changing gas bottles as it ran out so fast.

My bathroom has those electric bar heaters which blast out the heat, look dangerous and probably cost a fortune to run. I am wondering whether electric towel radiators would be enough, keep the towels dry in winter and maybe a teeny bit of heat, instead of the electric bar heater. Also for safety, presumably, the bar heaters are over the door, I can’t see how that warms the room much.

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(@thomasribatejo)
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@aspidistra Beware heating with standalond gas bottle heaters - they release a lot of humidity, so you'll need to ventilate the spaces in which you use them, or you'll be storing up a damp problem which may not be immediately obvious...  This can happen with wood stoves, too, but less so if they're properly fitted/with decent flues - the standalone gas bottle heaters let all their humidity out into the room they're heating...

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(@tygger)
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@thomasribatejo I think @aspidistra was referring to a gas fired heating system with a central boiler, so no condensation from the actual gas, not to be confused with the cabinet heaters with their individual gas bottles. It is possible to have a 1 tonne propane gas tank, which could last all year. If capital costs are not a major issue, then I would recommend a hybrid (bivalent) system, which combines a ASHP with a gas boiler.

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(@thomasribatejo)
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@tygger I was responding to 

Posted by: @aspidistra

see how we fare with a gas heater and wood fire in the living room.

and I took "a gas heater... in the living room" to mean a freestanding gas bottle heater (as one wouldn't have a gas boiler in a living room).  I have amended my response to be more specific that it is those heaters which are problematic in terms of humidity.

Other parts of the chain certainly talk about gas central heating (where if properly installed, there should be minimal associated humidity).

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(@tygger)
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(@aspidistra)
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@thomasribatejo I did indeed mean the type with a gas bottle as the previous owner is leaving one for us.

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(@tygger)
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@aspidistra In that case I agree with Thomas, these are not a healthy way to heat a house, or room in the house.

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(@aspidistra)
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@tygger I agree. But as we are being left one and haven’t sorted out heating properly yet, I think it might be useful for a couple of months to tide us over.

I will report in when I have decided what to have and whether it will work adequately for our situation. 

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(@martin)
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@aspidistra 

my advice is do not hard wire the a/c units but have a plug and socket which you unplug as and when

many times I have had electronic items frizzled by power surges during thunderstorms etc...remember in one office when a thunderstorm was starting the staff ran around the office unplugging everything they could so it would not be  damaged

the large gas bottles is one way but my mother had those and used to go thru them very quickly and they are pricey

best solution is to what you are doing   - wood burner in living area (best with fan assist) and a/c units in bedroom areas 

 

 

 

 

 

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(@aspidistra)
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Thanks Thomas and Martin. At the moment it is an open fire place, not actually a wood burner. I guess at some point I will convert it as I assume an open fire is the least efficient thing. That's interesting about the gas heater, Thomas. I wonder if I should get air con for heating in the living room too. It's rather a large area, though, so not sure how efficient that would be.

Also what a good tip, Martin, I was planning to have the air cons hard wired. In fact, I  had wondered if I should get some sort of lightning conductor as I am on top of a hill, but the surveyor said that didn’t matter as there were taller hills around me. 

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Community Member
(@martin)
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Posts: 2481

@aspidistra 

 

you might also consider a wood burner with a back boiler, wood burners are very good and easily can heat radiators as well. I had one of these and it worked well although remember to get radiators hot you need to keep the fire "HOT" ie needing lots of wood

eg

Hunter Stoves. Aspect 80B

 

 

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Premium Member
(@jeanne)
Joined: 12 months ago

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I'm not familiar with these.  Do they burn wood in order to boil water, which then gets circulated through radiators? 

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(@martin)
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@jeanne 

yes they do  simply stated there is a tank behind the fire which heats the water and which is then pumped around the radiators

check out the link I gave

only thing is that portuguese plumbers are not used to the system and you need someone from northern europe - also if the electric goes off and the pump stops then there is a risk the fire /boiler will overheat  so you would need to dampen the fire down

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(@martin)
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@aspidistra 

 

the problem is not usually from a lightening strike to the house but on the edp lines and sends the surge down the line to your villa and fries anything electronic ( I know this to be true!!!)

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(@aspidistra)
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@martin I see, worth knowing that!

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(@x-camone)
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Posted by: @aspidistra

I wonder if I should get air con for heating in the living room too. It's rather a large area, though, so not sure how efficient that would be.

I would strongly recommend it. You might find the wood burner not as efficient as you'd like, and the aircon in the background boosting it will really help. Also, there'll be times when you might not want to light a fire for whatever reason, or not find it necessary in the early part of the evening etc. Be very useful for the cooling in summer when necessary, too.

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(@aspidistra)
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@x-camone thanks. It may be something for the future. I certainly find lighting a fire daily a bit of a hassle, although lovely when going.

The living room has two open doorways to other areas, so I need to address putting doors in them first so that the area is more sealed. The other thing to address is whether holidaymakers renting it in the summer will just then blast away with all the air cons, whereas if they are only in the bedrooms it does limit them on that. The living room has French windows to outside, I can imagine people having them open and leaving the air con on inside.

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(@martin)
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Posts: 2481

@aspidistra 

yes that's exactly what they do...put the air con on and then go out for the day

there was a device which if it didn't detect any movement for xxx minutes switched the a/c off...good for you and the environment

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(@martin)
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Posts: 2481
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(@martin)
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do you recall the story of President Nixon who with all the air con blasting away in the White House he lit a log fire to get warm 😆 

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