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Energy certificate question

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Posts: 21
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Topic starter
(@cogewea)
Eminent Member
Joined: 6 months ago

Hello all,

My husband and I are looking at various properties online (e.g. Idealista, OLX) and assume we should focus on flats/houses with A or A+ energy certificates. However, those seem to be few and far between. I've heard on various blogs/vlogs that flats/houses can be very cold in winter and I've also heard that hot water can be an issue.

What's your advice on the energy certification? Do you recommend looking at properties with A/A+ ratings? 

Are energy bills high on B- or C-rated properties?

What should we look for as far as water-heating?

I look forward to hearing your advice and experiences!

Thanks!
Tammy

31 Replies

Posts: 2379
Community Member
(@martin)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago

energy certificates are mostly a farce in portugal...eg heard one case of a villa with broken windows etc got a "B"  whereas a another villa with double glazing got a "C"

most properties are "cold" in winter since the materials used like tiles, concrete walls etc do not give off a warming glow.

Just use your common sense and do not concern yourself with some EU regulation which might be more relevant in a northern european area

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15 Replies
Community Member
(@martin)
Joined: 16 years ago

Noble Member
Posts: 2379

re hot water  ..your best choice for that is hot water solar panels. A lot of panels when they first came out ran on the water running thru the system which with the heavy calk in the water soon furred up and stopped working..so go for the new panels which run on an inverter system which heats a liquid which then heats a tank

in the summer you will find the water very hot and in the winter also as long as the sun is hot...so back it up with an electric immersion 

also see if you can get on the "bi hora" tarriff which means that electric is cheaper at night and at weekends

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Premium Member
(@cogewea)
Joined: 6 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 21

@martin Thanks for the info. 

Is the electric immersion part of the solar panel system or is that separate?

Do you know what the stipulations are to get on the "bi hora" tariff? Is it area-based or income-based?

Sorry to keep asking questions! This is all new to me and one answer leads me to more questions as you can see!

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Premium Member
(@cogewea)
Joined: 6 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 21

@martin I was starting to realize that. It was odd to see some rather new properties with "D" ratings but all the "under construction" properties are A or A+. I wondered if these new buildings would keep that A rating once they were completed and assumed one would definitely see a change.

So I guess it's better to look at building materials, insulation, types of heating, etc.?

Thanks for helping me out!

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Premium Member
(@wt)
Joined: 5 months ago

Active Member
Posts: 9

@martin

I bought an old property near Arganil  in Coimbra area  but have found out it doesn't have an energy certificate which  I need  , but unsure as to how to go about getting a suitable local  person

  Ill be moving there eventually but stuck in UK  under lockdown at present

 

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Ask Our Expats Consultant
(@anavieira)
Joined: 9 months ago

Member
Posts: 142

@wt Hello,

Certification is mandatory only for those who sell or rent. That is, you will only need certification if you are selling or renting your house.

I don't know anyone in this area, but I did some research and found this company with good references and who speak English.

https://www.isocertificado.pt/certificado-energetico-arganil.html

Hope it can help you!

Good luck

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Premium Member
(@cogewea)
Joined: 6 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 21

@anavieira Thank you! The website has some really useful information. I appreciate you taking the time to share it with me!

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Premium Member
(@wt)
Joined: 5 months ago

Active Member
Posts: 9

@anavieira

Brilliant thanks 😀

Ill  leave for now then though I do need to get roof insulated so will have to try to find a local firm to do it  . Are there any websites  with lists of builders ? I have been trying to sign up for electricity from the UK but doesn't seem possible but I'm coming over  end of the month if they let me in  to do a Portuguese course  sort out the house 

 

 

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Ask Our Expats Consultant
(@anavieira)
Joined: 9 months ago

Member
Posts: 142

@wt

Try to find some options here:

https://www.homify.pt/profissionais

https://www.zaask.pt/servicos-para-a-casa  

You can have several contacts - by region/ area/ type of professional and try to reach them to see if you have responses.

 

Good tip from @martin is to reach for real agents in the area.

Or maybe wait until other Expat from that area know someone 🙂

Good luck 🙂

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Premium Member
(@wt)
Joined: 5 months ago

Active Member
Posts: 9
@anavieira Thanks   for this  Ill try  it 😉   
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Premium Member
(@terrell)
Joined: 4 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 27

@anavieira , Martin and Peggy, Thank you for this and other reply posts in this thread! I am in the process of purchasing an old house (cement over blocks) in Central Portugal that has not been lived in for several years and will need significant renovations: electrical rewiring, some wood flooring replacement, windows, painting, and I'm not sure of the status of the plumbing, plus, I want to add solar as well (there may be no heat source at all at present!), so I am nervous about where to start and getting in over my head. Plus, it's in a very rural area (tiny village) so there may not be a lot of options to find professionals to help. Through a twist of fate the lawyer helping me in the purchase is in the Algarve and not in Central Portugal, either, so won't have local contacts there. If any expats have further experience with the area or recommendations for finding assistance (Gois/Lousa are the nearest large towns), please do share!

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Community Member
(@martin)
Joined: 16 years ago

Noble Member
Posts: 2379

@terrell

also a visit to diy store like leroy merlins would give you some good ideas, only thing I would ask is why you want wooden floors?

the ceramic tiles they have in Portugal are in many cases like works of art

window replacement  . double glazing is standard and if you are going for large patio door get the glass tinted. The aluminium window frames you can now get in so many colours and some with wood effect so don't go for wooden windows

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Community Member
(@jeanne)
Joined: 7 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 100

@martin.  But if you go for aluminum window s, make sure the frame has a thermal break. If it doesnt, even with double glazing you will be creating a thermal bridge. Wooden frames insulate better (less thermal bridging). Wooden Windows are easy to care for if you use the correct type of paint, which is true linseed oil paint and not plastic or latex paint from the big box stores.  Linseed oil paint does not crack or peel and it is more eco friendly

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Premium Member
(@terrell)
Joined: 4 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 27

@martin Thanks so much for the tips! To your question, the current floors are wooden and apparently only some need replacing :-0.  Sounds like tile's worth checking out if I were to replace more? BTW, the current doors are just metal so it's great you mentioned that as well. The house is in a Xisto village (although the house isn't xisto) and it would be pleasing to at least share some similarity with the beautiful wooden-framed windows in the Xisto houses, so thanks a lot for both your sets of comments. 

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Community Member
(@martin)
Joined: 16 years ago

Noble Member
Posts: 2379

@wt

perhaps a local real estate agent would have someone they know, as stated don't bother unless you want sell or rent

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Premium Member
(@wt)
Joined: 5 months ago

Active Member
Posts: 9

@martinGood  suggestion Thanks

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Posts: 2379
Community Member
(@martin)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago

bi hora is (was?) not income dependent you paid a bit more for the meter but saved a lot on usage when used on out of hours tarrif

the electric immersion part should be part of the solar panel installation

not sure where you are looking but for heat most people have wood burning stoves or aircon which acts as dehumidifier heat and air con..price of those has come down a lot over the years...but just remember with anything electronic to unplug them as when lightening comes to frazzles stuff (i know!!)

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Posts: 442
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(@peggyl)
Reputable Member
Joined: 11 months ago

Hi, We have a very large house (4 bedrooms, + office, 3 bath,s and a large pool). We purchased it last December, the house was built in 1990 and has 2-foot concrete/block walls. Our rating was a "C" at the time of purchase. We have solar hot water with an immersion heater. When just my husband & I are around, we don't use the immersion heater for the water. We just flip the breaker to turn it off. There is plenty of hot water. We have only had guests 1 time, just before COVID made headlines and we turned on the immersion heater & had more than enough hot water.  I agree that the A-D ratings are arbitrary and don't make sense. When we were looking for a house to buy the littlest thing could affect the rating. New houses with all the bells & whistles might be rated "B" or "C" and an older home that seemed to us to have a couple of issues might be rated "A". I stopped paying any attention to those ratings. When these houses with thick concrete walls get cold, they tend to stay cool. Such as when we are away from the house and drapes are closed so no sun gets in the big windows. When we are here, we only use the fireplace in winter for heat. In summer we don't use the A/C (except those 2 awful weeks in July we had the A/C on at night in the bedroom). We have awnings on all the large windows and drapes with lining. In winter the drapes are open & awnings rolled up so the sun can heat the rooms. In the summer the awnings are out & drape partially closed to keep the worst that of the sun out during peak times. You can also have UV coating put on the large windows but then you lose some of the heat potential in the winter. You have to factor in the pool pump and pool water heater (heat is only on spring & fall) Our monthly electric bill is BTW 140-150 euros. I know this is a long-winded explanation but I hope it helps you understand what kind of electric you could expect to pay under similar circumstances.

@peggyL

 

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3 Replies
Premium Member
(@cogewea)
Joined: 6 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 21

@peggyl Thank you so much for your detailed and helpful information. It does sound as though the energy certifications should be taken with a grain of salt. It seems as though we just need to look at how water is heated, what type of windows are in the house, and heating/air options. Thank you again!

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Premium Member
(@peggyl)
Joined: 11 months ago

Reputable Member
Posts: 442

@cogewea

We have fairly new double pane windows and doors. (probably 4-5 yrs. old) All the windows are large and there are huge, extra-wide sliding doors in the living room and master bedroom. (aluminum frame) In each room is a combination heat/AC unit on the wall that is connected to an outside heat pump unit. It's nice because we can turn on the AC in the bedroom for about an hour before bed on the worst nights. And turn it off in the morning (keeping the drapes pulled and awnings out) Just remember that the worst of the heat is for a very limited time in summer. Most days/nights it's just a matter of having windows open on the cool side of the house and awnings out. We don't keep drapes pulled except during the worst heat days. After all, we live near the ocean to actually see the ocean. In the coolest month of winter we usually only use the fireplace for heat. I light the fire about 4-5 pm and it's out about midnight. An all-weather duvet will be your best friend. If it has been cool & rainy for several days, my husband sometimes turns on the heat in the bedroom when he goes to bed at about 9 pm and I turn it off when I go to bed at midnight. We looked at some houses that had "heat-a-lator fans" on the fireplace that would circulate the hot air better than our plain fireplace does. We don't have any kind of fan on our unit. The living room, dining room & kitchen get nice & warm but usually not the bedrooms. But once under the duvet, I'm warm anyway. It's a personal decision about how warm you want the house (or cool). I'm sure when this COVID ever goes away and we actually have guests, they will control their own heat/AC in their rooms and the electric bill may go up some. I would not expect it to go up a lot or I won't ask those people back 🙄 😱 🤑 

@peggyL

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Premium Member
(@cogewea)
Joined: 6 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 21

@peggyl It sounds as though you have a great house! If you don't mind me asking, where are you located? Right now, we're looking at the Coimbra area and places further south on the coast. Of course, I keep changing my mind depending on what I see on YouTube!

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Posts: 442
Premium Member
(@peggyl)
Reputable Member
Joined: 11 months ago

Bom Dia,

Portugal has so many choices of different environments and opportunities, it can be hard to choose where to live. We thought that we wanted to live in Braga in the north. It's such a beautiful area up there. What worked for us was to come to Portugal at different times of the year, to the different areas that interested us. One of our reasons for choosing Portugal is because I have rheumatoid arthritis. We wanted a year-round comfortable climate but no humidity (like Florida and other US locations) A 2-week visit in February one year helped us decide on the Algarve. We got very lucky in finding our current home. A dedicated & diligent, Real estate agent made all the difference. There is no MLS in Portugal although there are a few sites that list houses from more than one agency. The necessity of checking so many real estate sites can be very tiresome & time-consuming. I have always encouraged people to make a list to give to the Agent so they have it to refer to. That also helps reduce the number of wasted trips to homes that don't meet your requirements. I encourage you to make this list with 3 columns; must have, nice to have, and deal-breakers.  We needed a minimum of 3 bedrooms plus office space for me so 4 bedrooms would be great. And the bedrooms had to be large enough for our American furniture. The ocean view was a "nice to have", we just did not want to be overlooking a dump or a quarry or a yard full of barking dogs. With written parameters, the agent was able to do a lot of the leg-work for us. 

Although house hunting in Portugal is very different than the US, You can have a select number of agents working for you who do contact other agents and ask questions saving you time & trouble. 

Take whatever time you can to look at different areas and the spot that is right for you will become evident. Everyone has different needs & wants. Try out the area and then concentrate there looking for a house. Good luck

Peggy

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Premium Member
(@cogewea)
Joined: 6 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 21

@peggyl I'm very similar to you. I also have RA and don't want a place with high humidity. I'd love to chat more with you about finding a rheumatologist, medication, etc. Maybe we could exchange email addresses? Mine is wahpeconiah@mac.com.

We'll definitely take your advice about the Agent and the list. We're already getting a sense of what we want and don't want. We plan to visit as soon as this COVID crisis is under control and we feel safe traveling again (and other countries allow Americans back in!).

Again, I really appreciate all the time you're taking to answer my questions. ExpatsPortugal is a great group and I'm so happy to have found it.

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