Homes for winter use

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katharine
Posts: 86
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 3:48 pm
Location: central England

Homes for winter use

Postby katharine » Tue May 08, 2007 8:03 pm

I've just been browsing through Crete estate agency pages, when, to be honest I've actually got more pressing things to do, but what the heck, it's fun and the pictures are nice.
Anyway, to my query. When I have spoken to Crete property people one of the first questions is, "do you want somewhere for all year round use?" When I rent, or buy, I will definitely want somewhere suitable for winter. Are there different building standards with respect to wall thickness, roof insulation, double glazing etc, or is it just a case of making sure that there is sufficient heating and that the doors and windows actually close! Any advice would be very welcome.
Katharine.

filippos
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Postby filippos » Tue May 08, 2007 8:28 pm

It's largely a question of having adequate heating of the right type and appropriate ventilation. As in other places insulation standards vary.

Many holiday homes have been built for summer occupation so don't have any form of central heating. Some of the less scrupulous developers assure people the dual aircon/heating units will be fine but they aren't. They are designed as aircon units and are mounted high in the room. When used as heaters a) the heat output may not be that great and, of course, hot air rises so it takes a long time to heat the room to floor level. You probably end up with a warm head and cold feet. They are very expensive to run.

Winters here can be very damp, especially anywhere near the coast so you need something to keep that at bay, namely, something that produces dry heat. Electric or oil-fired central heating works well as do sombas (wood burning stoves) although, depending on the size and layout of the house it may be difficult to heat the whole property. Open fires are quite good but a lot of heat goes up the chimney.

I'd advise not using gas heaters as they generate moisture and will just aggravate the damp problems.

Central heating systems here are relatively cheap and sombas are very cheap and even the best wood to burn is pretty economical. One big bonus of a somba is that most other forms of heating fail during power cuts but the somba keeps on going and you can heat up food and water for drinks.

We have oil fired CH and a somba in the living room (and we often use that on autumn or spring evenings when we don't want to use the CH.

Filippos.

Wayne d
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Joined: Tue May 08, 2007 11:04 am
Location: East Midlands

Postby Wayne d » Tue May 08, 2007 8:38 pm

I would echo fillipos with the wood burner.
We spent a couple of weeks (our first winter experience on Crete) in our relatively small apartment (about 64m2) and the wood burner was excellent. The dry heat saw no moisture. It was okay for us as all the other room are directly off the living room, so the heat circulates easily by simply leaving doors open. If however you have different floors and hallways to negotiate I would say they would be much less effective.
A handy tip is to open the flu when you light the damn thing then smoke doesn't billow into the newly painted room!! :oops:

filippos
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Postby filippos » Tue May 08, 2007 8:50 pm

Wayne d wrote:A handy tip is to open the flu when you light the damn thing then smoke doesn't billow into the newly painted room!! :oops:

And before you light it for the first time in autumn/winter check the top of the flue for birds' nests.

Filippos.

Kilkis
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Location: Near Chania

Postby Kilkis » Tue May 08, 2007 10:17 pm

If you want some comparative costs, we were not here for the whole winter, arrived 20 November, and spent nearly 1,000 Euro on heating oil. Friends in the next village have no CH and use an open fire. Cost around 150 Euro for wood. I'm not saying their house was as warm as ours but liveable. Ours is built with insulated double brick walls and double glazing so it's not a question of poor build standard. They probably spent something on electricity to take the chill off the bedrooms with the aircon but certainly not as much as the cost of the heating oil.

Warwick

Retired in Crete

Postby Retired in Crete » Tue May 08, 2007 11:57 pm

We have a single story house (bungalow) of 85 sq m, all rooms open off the living area where we have an open fire. Last winter we burnt 300 Euros worth of wood although this was augmented with driftwood from the beach which we collect all year round. Unfortunately driftwood is prone to "spit" (because of the salt in it?) and one of the hidden costs is that we now have to replace a rug because of the burn marks in it.

With insulated walls and aluminium double glazing another of the problems we have is that the house is airtight and so we have to have a window open which would not be needed with central heating.

John

katharine
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Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 3:48 pm
Location: central England

Postby katharine » Wed May 09, 2007 7:28 pm

Thank you everyone. Seems like a properly built house and dry heat are the answer to comfortable winter living.
I am used to a wood burning stove in England and have had some interesting problems with birds. When we first came to this house there was no cap on the chimney top, just a round open hole, and on warm summer mornings, starlings, sunning themselves on the chimney pot rim, would fall asleep and fall down the chimney. This is quite a tall house so the fall would take some time, making strange fluttering and banging noises, with no obvious source, which would echoe around the house. Once we were used to these noises, there was a set routine. Close all curtains and doors, except the back door and get the cats out of the way, then open the stove door. Suddenly there would be a swish of high speed black across the sitting room as the startled bird shot to the nearest and only bright outdoor light. Quite simple when you know what to do, but the first time there were cats, soot and feathers everywhere!
Katharine.

Ray
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Postby Ray » Thu May 10, 2007 9:27 pm



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