Heating Solutions and Advice

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Heating Solutions and Advice

Post by Geotherm on Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:49 pm

First topic message reminder :

One of the most important questions, that seem to appear on most forums in Italy, are the type of winter heating, costs, for different living styles. As we are coming up to that time of year, then this is a dedicated thread for questions and answers.

For new readers, then perhaps we can help and advise on solutions. Sagraiasolar, knows so much about woodburners, heat stores, and more, My knowledge is in heat pumps. I am sure there are many more who can also contribute to the thread and hope that they do in the near future.

I do hope that we do not confuse Ghiro and Flip too much, so their wine consumption will stay low Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation

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Magic!!!!! Box

Post by Sagraiasolar on Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:08 pm

stevegwmonkseaton wrote:Right, who knows anything about these WIKI LINK magic boxes. There was a post on Abruzzolutely that mentioned them and I found the above wiki link and thought someone here may know all about them.

I've taken a good look - never heard of them before but I can see that the boss deserves his entrepreneur of the year award for ... marketing achievements etc.
What it is: You might recall how I have said an immersion heater can be retrofitted to any tank by putting it an outside loop - so €100 and minimal work gives you 3kW but direct cost of the electricity.  The Magic box is a tiny heat pump (with what looks like fridge components) that works like the aforementioned only more efficiently because it's a heat pump but with VERY low power circa 2kW delivered. You have to plumb in a panel outside so there is a lot of fuss to save a few quid on hot water production, which is pretty cheap anyway, but nevertheless it would work well and deliver lots of domestic hot water.
If I was going on the roof to fix a panel I'd have a proper solar job.
If I was going to have a heat pump then I'd do it with a bit more power to pull in heating as well.
  They do a heating management box as well which, along with masses of other claims, guarantees the return flow to a condensing boiler low enough to make it condense. That's sound engineering too and common practice.
The tanks I supply have a return flow blender as standard but we don't put it in a box and make a big fuss about it.
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Re: Heating Solutions and Advice

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Wed Nov 19, 2014 2:24 pm

Thanks Sagraiasolar, it was more curiosity for me as I did not think I had ever heard such things mentioned before. Great info, I'll put this link to on Abruzzolutely if tht's ok.

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Re: Heating Solutions and Advice

Post by Sagraiasolar on Wed Nov 19, 2014 3:56 pm

stevegwmonkseaton wrote:Thanks Sagraiasolar, it was more curiosity for me as I did not think I had ever heard such things mentioned before. Great info, I'll put this link to on Abruzzolutely if tht's ok.

By all means .... crack on
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Re: Heating Solutions and Advice

Post by Prairiegal on Mon May 18, 2015 2:54 am

I have to admit, this discussion of heating costs is quite alarming to me. I'm considering retiring to Italy, but the cost of heating had not crossed my mind. I'm seeing numbers tossed around that could eat up most of my budget! Are utilities really so expensive in Italy?

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Re: Heating Solutions and Advice

Post by Admin on Mon May 18, 2015 6:16 am

Firstly welcome to the forum. Utilities are very expensive in Italy I'm afraid. However, how much you will need heating in winter depends very much upon where you will be living.

We have lived in 2 different regions and a few different towns and villages and it has varied greatly. What you use to heat your house also makes a big difference. You will see lots of advice on this thread. If you tell us where you are planning to move to then maybe someone nearby can give you some more accurate advice.
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Re: Heating Solutions and Advice

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Mon May 18, 2015 8:19 am

Yes, welcome Prairiegal.
I suppose it depends on where you are coming from and what percentage you currently pay out in fuel. Certainly the cost per unit of energy is greater here if this BBC LINK is anything to go by (Europe only I'm afraid). But electric is not much greater than London, however gas is as you will read very expensive. You also have to factor in the comparison of like for like weather, we pay a lot more in the UK for fuel than we do here due to the type of heating we use and the more favourable weather here in Italy. That is with a house twice the size of that in the UK and no insulation whatsoever, whereas in the UK we have super total insulation...

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Re: Heating Solutions and Advice

Post by Flip on Mon May 18, 2015 10:41 am

Welcome Prairiegal. a lot of the expense depends on what you use (Gas,Electricity, Wood, Pellets.... etc) but most of the cost will rest on what heating appliance you have (experts in lots of fields on here). We use a wood burner and a pellet stove which blows hot air and our annual bill is around €250 for the wood and €250 for the pellets which I personally think is not bad, if one plumps for Gas then it will be about 3 times that ammount or more.
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Re: Heating Solutions and Advice

Post by Prairiegal on Mon May 18, 2015 5:53 pm

Thank you for the warm welcomes, Admin, Steve, and Flip. I'm coming from Texas, so I suppose I'm used to relatively inexpensive fuel. Gas is the least expensive heating fuel in Texas. Many newer homes here are all electric, but that can become expensive and there can be power outtages when we have storms and tornadoes and flooding, which we have had this year.

I'm considering the Abruzzo area, thinking that the weather and cost of living would be good. Also, I was hoping to garden, and it seemed a good place.

I'm tentatively planning a trip there next year. Any suggestions of towns to visit would be appreciated, although I suppose I should post that question elsewhere. I'm looking for best of both worlds, with easy access to restaurants and medical care, but also room for a garden.

Again, thank you for your kind welcome! Julie

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Re: Heating Solutions and Advice

Post by ghiro on Mon May 18, 2015 10:25 pm

Hi Julie - and welcome. Smile 

We heat our home and water with LPG (and wood of course!).  2 years ago it cost us €1900 to fill our tank whereas this year it was a mere €1250.  So, although utility costs in Italy are high, they also respond to some degree to world prices.

There are many great places to live in Italy, including Abruzzo.  But before you finally decide can I recommend Lunigiana on the North Tuscana/Ligura border?  Great countryside, wonderful restaurants, skiing, the Bay of Poets, lovely people and easy access ( Pisa, Genova and Parma airports).  Further info here: http://ciaolunigiana.com/
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Geothermal Heat as an option

Post by mlinsin on Sat Nov 21, 2015 1:45 am

Prairiegal wrote:I have to admit, this discussion of heating costs is quite alarming to me. I'm considering retiring to Italy, but the cost of heating had not crossed my mind. I'm seeing numbers tossed around that could eat up most of my budget! Are utilities really so expensive in Italy?



Hi, I am also new to this board and I completely agree. We are in the process (just starting) of restoring a farm house (220 sqm) in Umbria. We basically have a shell so we have many options (I think).
We want use it first as a summer vacation home (we live in the US) but want to retire there in 8-10 years.
I want to do the right thing in terms of environmentally friendly heat but of course cost (initial ond ongoing) is somewhat important too.
We feel that our architect is going the safe way (what he knows) and is not really considering other alternative options.
And since we are not experts, we kind of feel lost

He is thinking we should go with a GPL tank and we already made the decision to put a wood stove on the ground floor for heat and also "cozyness".
I read that GPL is so much more expensive but it is not really clear where the natural gas pipes are, the house is right at the border of the village and was not not used for over 10 years.


I understand that we should do a thermotechnical study. Is this a "progetto energetico-termico (Legge 90/2013".
Our italian is not good so we struggle with some of this ...

Thanks!
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Re: Heating Solutions and Advice

Post by Flip on Sat Nov 21, 2015 8:57 am

Hi and welcome mlinsin. Firstly I would personally look into the suitability of a large GPL tank as there are many regulations concerning testing,siting and maintenance of these, which could prove a headache in later years, let alone the cost of gas. Send a PM to either Geotherm or Sagriasolar as they are experts in this sustainable heating malarky, also post a new thread with specific questions, as there is a lot of hidden expertise on here, but I'm not one of those.
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Re: Heating Solutions and Advice

Post by Geotherm on Sat Nov 21, 2015 10:45 am

Welcome mlinsin.

Your architect should be able to complete the energy certificate, so not something you should worry about.
As you are only going to be using the property mainly in the summer for the next few years, then you will also need some type of frost protection for the winter months.
Are you going for underfloor heating or rads?
What altitude is the house?
Insulation levels after the renovation?

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Re: Heating Solutions and Advice

Post by ourtoscana on Sat Nov 21, 2015 1:16 pm

Hi Mlinsin. Heating is going to become an important consideration for you as time goes on. Retiring normally means year-round use and more importantly, you'll be needing more heat as you get older. Right now, you have an opportuntity to reduce the heat loss to an absolute minumum. In fact the law prescribes that you must stay below specific heat loss limits for a given climatic area. LPG is by far the most expensive way to heat a house (especially in Umbria) and I would consider an air-water heat pump for convenience, combined with under-floor heating and solar for domestic hot water. Wood or pellets are two other low cost heating sources if you don't mind handing, cleaning and plan to spend a considerable part of the day in your new house. Good luck!

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Re: Heating Solutions and Advice

Post by Geotherm on Sat Nov 21, 2015 2:03 pm

In my opinion, then it may be worth looking at the Ariston Nuos just for your domestic hot water for the summer months at the moment.
http://www.ariston.com/ww/Air_sourced_water_heaters/NUOS_EVO_WH
If you go for a normal ASHP, then you will be under using it for 6-8 years. You would also not be able to use the lower cost special tariff for electricity, as a none resident.
In your specific case of a house 220 sqm, you could be looking at a 14Kw output unit, but could come down to one of 11kw with higher insulation. ( this is for either a GSHP or ASHP).
With LPG, we have installed quite a number of retrofits on those systems, so it is worth looking in depth at what comfort levels and expense you are thinking of at this stage in time.

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