Only a couple of weeks ago I was writing articles on how to keep cool a Spanish home and all of the sudden the "Gota fria" is here. We are having torrential rain all along the Coast, a well known prelude for the cold winter to appear.
We are already in autumn, and temperatures will come down dramatically without notice in much of the country during the day and at night. But in this sixth year of crisis, with rising prices of key households' supplies this autumn and winter will be extra tough for most pensioners and many other people.
So here are a few tips to avoid cold temperatures to penetrate our dwellings and, at the same time, saving money on heating.
It is necessary to use resources effectively and take hold of traditional remedies that was well established among the Spanish population years ago. So let's take a look at different ways to cope with the cold this winter without increasing our heating bill.
To heat or not heat....
Not everyone has the possibility of saving on heating by lowering the thermostat. In large buildings communities in which everyone pays the same, even if some of the residents reduce the temperature within their houses, they still pay the same amount because some selfish neighbours do not lower their temperatures. So unless all of them agree at a meeting of owners to put off the heating for longer numbers of hours, the total amount of energy will not be reduced.
There are a number of tips that can help those with communal and individual central heating that will effectively cut down the heating cost.
Keep the house at 20 degrees.
It is the recommended temperature by the Institute for the diversification and saving of energy (IDAE) to be comfortable at home during the day and avoid wasting money. For each degree that we raise the temperature, our heating bill increases by 7%.
Throughout the night, when we are in bed under quilts and blankets, the temperature can drop to 15 or 17 degrees without much problem. Or even better during this time you can turn off the central heating and turned on again early in the morning.
Install programmable thermostats.
If the house is empty for many hours or owners spend several days out, this type of regulators should install. They can be programmed in the hours in which nobody is in the property; temperatures can be lower at say 15 degrees and the rest of the time rise up to 20 degrees. Thus making a saving of between 8% and 13% in energy.
Do not cover the radiators.
Sometimes heating appliances are considered ugly elements and are covered or put away in the least effective places; sometimes objects or furniture are placed right in front of them. This makes heat not to be distributed properly and obviously to increase the temperature of the room we need to use more energy and consequently more money.
Thermal insulate the building.
I should have started writing this article on this point really, as this is perhaps the most effective measure one can take to make a substantial saving in heating. Heat loss through windows can be very high indeed, even though they are closed, especially if they have simple glass or bad joinery.
To cover any crack or holes with simple putty can be a low-cost solution so that heat is not thrown down the drain.
If we are carrying out a reform, it is important to take advantage of the situation an put in double glazing or double windows with good air tight joinery.
But as it is not always possible to disburse large sums of money, there are other ways to prevent heat from escaping.
Close the blinds at dusk.
In this way, the heat remains longer within the house when outdoor temperatures drop. Curtains, especially if they are thick, also are good thermal insulators, so it is best to keep them extended at night. Similarly, it is important to have blinds and awnings closed throughout the day to keep the sun rays heat the house for free before dusk.
Ventilate the home during an appropriate time.
Ten minutes is more than enough to allow fresh air in. It would be better not to do it first thing in the morning, when it is very cold, but later on during the day when the temperature is higher.