December 2013 - Our extract from the November article in Tharros , about heating methods has generated a lot of interest so we have moved the original piece, plus a summary of further advice/comments on to this permanent information page.
November 2014 - Registering to use off-peak and other ways to reduce your electricity bill. : Households looking to reduce costs may consider registering for off-peak . It is a worthwhile option as it only takes a few steps. For details of what is involved, how to apply and possible savings , as well as other ways to save money by reducing electricity use, see living in Greece
January 2014 - More about heating methods: Extract from Ekathimerini.
It is estimated that just one in three apartment buildings in Greece has decided to turn on the central heating this winter. Fearing the size of electricity bills, coupled with the warnings about smog from burning wood, most people in Greece are facing the dilemma of how to heat their homes as effectively and economically as possible.
* Heating panels : According to a large electronics retailer, the most popular option this year appears to be the heating panel, with prices ranging from 50 to 130 euros for mid-range products and up to 200 euros for more advanced models. It is also a relatively efficient option. This is relatively new technology that appeared on the Greek market three years ago.
* Infrared heating panels: are cost significantly more to purchase - some 500 euros on average. The advantages of spending more, however, are that they use less electricity and can heat larger spaces.
* Kerosene heaters are also a popular option at an average cost of 300-500 euros, though the fact that there aren't many outlets to purchase kerosene to fuel the units puts off many buyers.
* Quartz heat lamps appeared on the market last year and are affordable at between 30 and 60 euros, but have failed to gain many fans as they are costly to run.
'The figures comparing heating methods as quoted from Tharros, (see below) need to be viewed with caution, as they do not give the full picture' (John Malcolm)
• Some older Greek style simple wood stoves can be made much more efficient. than indicated.
• You need to include the cost/efficiency of water heating, which can be done very efficiently with a back boiler, at the same time as room heating
• More on Wood burning stoves - buyers guide
• Although most electrical heating appliances are efficient and 'clean' to use, the electricity in Mani is coming from a very polluting source - lignite coal.
• The efficiency of A/C heating units drops, as the outside temperature drops. If temperatures drop below 5° , an additional source of heating may be needed.
• More on A/C inverter systems in the UK Air source heat pumps explained
'Inverters are particularly useful here in Mani when used in dehumidifier mode' (Shelley Manolea)
• By removing the moisture from the air, rooms feel warmer in winter at a given temperature, and cooler in summer, so rooms feel comfortable at much less cost than when using A/C mode
• In stone houses in this area, using in dehumidifier mode with night meters, when needed, can be very effective and save money
• Getting inverter systems installed well, can be a problem in this area, especially when purchased through larger department stores
•There is a licensed A/C installer in Stoupa - Themes. His house and office is on the right East side of the main road close to the turn into Stoupa near the bakery. He doesn't speak English - but his wife does. So far - he has been very good at service.
• Service seems to be needed more in this area because of our erratic electric supply. Brown-outs and frequent flickering of supply can create damage to inverters and other electronic devices. A HINT - if inverter is on a separate fuse, and you are not using it - or leave your electricity on in the house when not in the area for long periods of time - turn down the fuses of the inverters.
'While designing property to maximize the benefit from so much sun in this area, is probably the best way to keep the house comfortable(passive solar heating) , much can be done to improve the efficiency of existing properties. Rumford fireplaces, masonry, or better still, mass heaters can significantly improve the benefit you get from what you burn' (Phil Garrett)
• Masonry heaters just add mass (eg bricks, stone or cob) to a fireplace so heat is stored while the fire is burning, and radiated out during the night
• Mass heaters (also known as 'Rocket Mass Heaters') work by creating a super hot burn chamber which produces no smoke, very little ash and emits only water vapour and CO2 out of the chimney. They use around 10% of the wood a normal fireplace uses
• EXAMPLES OF ROCKET MASS HEATERS If you are at all handy around the house, you can make one yourself
• I am in the process of making a prototype mass heater in the backyard for interested people to view. Hopefully it will be ready soon. You can contact Phil
Due to the increase in the price of fuel, many people are making greater use of fireplaces and stoves, which is causing concern. In urban areas this is increasing the risk of smog on still days. People are being asked to avoid using open fires on still nights. Also be very careful what you burn. If the wood is varnished, the varnish burning creates compounds that may be carcinogenic. And 'green' wood with a high level of moisture produces only half the amount of heat from a similar quantity of dry wood. Also poor combustion can lead to caron monoxide poisoning.
Fine particles are an additional risk from fires.
Data published by the Environment Agency in the U.S For the same amount of heat the amount of particulates are compared
Open fire 100%
Classic wood stove 20%
Energy efficeint wood stove 5%
Pellet stove 2%
Oil stove 0.05%
Gas stove 0.03%
As emphasized Mr. Giakoumelos, "the old-style fireplace is a very bad way of heating. It has a very low energy efficiency, and uses a significant amount of fuel."
Classic open fire is only 10% efficient (ie 90% of the energy goes up the chimney)
Old wood stove about 20-40% efficient
Pellet burning stove is 75-90% efficient
Electric heaters are nearly 100% efficient
Air conditioner units are 200-300% efficient! (ie I kilowatt of electricity gives you up to 3 kilowatts of usable heat with the newer inverter type units)
Despite the high price of oil, to get the same heating benefit , burning wood in an open fire costs MORE than oil!
Extracts from an article in THARROS :-
Note:- Rather than burn wood, it is better to burn Klimis logs. These artificial logs are made from olive waste. Not only are they using up a waste product, they are less polluting, no more expensive than wood, and save the trees! They are available from Kalamata.