We easily get so used to the wonderful climate of the Algarve that we often forget temperatures can suddenly drop in the cooler months and ruin our comfort.
Actually, it is not the cold that makes life difficult in winter – it is humidity.
The Algarve experiences up to 80%-90% humidity during the winter nights.
Humidity goes inwards and soon we notice the damp and mould inside our homes, particularly in the first couple of months of the year.
Not only is this uncomfortable and visually unappealing but also extremely unhealthy.
During the colder season, poor insulation, temperature differences between rooms and humidity are the main culprits behind the increase in our electricity bills.
Electric heating can be a very expensive luxury, especially in Portugal.
Conventional heating will only heat the air, which rises up. It also quickly cools down again as soon as we stop heating the air. So it can cost a small fortune to keep our home’s temperature comfortable.
But there is another technology to consider nowadays. Infrared Heating which offers a very different solution.
Already well known in the West and North of Europe where it has been used for many years, in the Algarve Infrared Heating is not so well known but is rapidly gaining in popularity.
Infrared is actually a concept copied from the sun. The sun is not just heating the air but all objects.
We can experience this effect when passing a south wall on a chilly evening; the wall still radiates the warmth collected during the day.
Infrared Heating panels will work by heating the very fabric of the room and all objects inside it, including yourself, which will in turn radiate back into the home and will hold the temperature for much longer.
The results can be very impressive with savings of around 50% on your heating bill compared to conventional heating.
But there are many more advantages:
■ Infrared is very healthy to the human body (ideal for clinics and schools)
■ No air circulation, so ideal for people with allergies
■ 100% environmentally friendly. No CO² emissions
■ Instant heating, preventing mould and damp
■ Easy to install, at walls and ceilings
■ Offered in white, black, metal, glass, mirrors and even with your own photos.
Infrared Heating is suitable for homes, restaurants, offices, clinics, yoga rooms, storage areas and even greenhouses.
A study comparing Infrared Heating with conventional electric systems reveals:
■ A room of 30m² will need about two electrical heaters of 2Kw/hour each to keep it comfortable.
– Consumption Electrical heaters: 2x 2000w = 4000w
– Hours needed per day: 6-8 hours x 4kw = 24-32kw
– EDP costs per day: 24-32kw x €0,24 = €5.76 – €7.68
– EDP costs per month: 31 days = €178 – €238
– EDP costs per year (4 months winter): between €700 and €950
■ With Infrared Heating panels only 2x 1000w are enough for the same area!
– Consumption Infrared Heating: 2x 1000w = 2000w
– Hours needed per day: 6-8 hours x 2kw = 12-16kw
– EDP costs per day: 12-16kw x €0,24 = €2.88 – €3.84
– EDP costs per month: 31 days = €89 – €119
– EDP costs per year (4 months winter): Only between €356 and €476
Offering savings of around €475 per year. Payback time is about 3-4 years.
If you like to sit outside on the terrace, the Infrared Patio Heaters are very efficient and provide a wonderful outdoor experience even in the cooler months.
If you prefer to have better control over your heating, Smart Thermostats offer a great number of options to control your environment better:
■ You can control each room individually with Smart Wireless Thermostats, for infrared, conventional and even underfloor heating
■ You can centrally control and override with a main touch screen control panel
■ And you even have a phone app to remotely control and monitor ambient and setpoint temperatures in each room.
By Kenneth Grondijs
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Kenneth Grondijs is founder and member of the Sustainable Superstore and owner of SHS Solar Solutions. He has been involved in sustainable energy since 2009 in Algarve, offering advice on various energy saving concepts
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