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Offline Rustychain

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Winter prep
« on: October 10, 2017, 08:40:18 AM »
After the vicious winter that we had last time around, is anybody planning to do anything different to prepare for this winter?

Friends of ours tell me that their 80yr old neighbour had never known a winter like it so it could have been a once-a-century winter but what with global warming & all that, who knows?

So, anybody investing in a generator, planning to spend January & February in Morocco or anything else radical? We've got our log store full to the brim & have had the gas tank filled so that's us sorted!
In Abruzzo since March 2013


Offline Article

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Re: Winter prep
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2017, 09:37:38 AM »
A good reminder....and we have heard tales of the "worst winter in over 40 years".

Last winter our underfloor heating was woeful. By it's very nature it's slow to get going and that transfers to its running costs.  If anyone is currently considering underfloor heating I would recommend caution....we got through 500 euros in a 4 week spell last winter.

Offline GeordieBorn

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Re: Winter prep
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2017, 09:56:19 AM »
A good reminder....and we have heard tales of the "worst winter in over 40 years".

Last winter our underfloor heating was woeful. By it's very nature it's slow to get going and that transfers to its running costs.  If anyone is currently considering underfloor heating I would recommend caution....we got through 500 euros in a 4 week spell last winter.
Just out of interest Article what kind of fuel is being used? Is it a GSHP topped up with some other heating? We missed the worst of the winter as we were in the UK at its peak, but I doubt if we would do anything different. We always have 2 years of logs for the wood burner and the same for sansa for the main heating. I still doubt it's worth while for us to consider a generator even though the electric was off here for a week (we were away ::) ). But for some where they have had on/off electric often I think it may be very different. From reading Alan Mason's posts on the matter they are one of those things where you only get what you pay for it and you need to test them out regular.
 Oh, if you don't have them, head torches are  great in a power cut.
 
« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 09:58:58 AM by GeordieBorn »

Offline levissima

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Re: Winter prep
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2017, 11:18:09 AM »
My winter check list includes :
Good stock of wood
Recharge battery driven torch, radio, battery char ger for phone/iPad
Put snow shovel somewhere I can get to it easily
Once it gets cold - bring in tender plants
Swap from summer to winter wardrobe
Stock up with candles
Put away garden furniture
Download lots of films/ programmes in case of internet connection loss

Of course if I do all of this we are almost guaranteed a mild winter!

I love the change in the seasons and Im already looking forward to hunkering down and cooking baked potatoes and sausages on the open fire and hearty stews in the pentola.

Offline Olive Oyl

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Re: Winter prep
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2017, 12:03:53 PM »
We have underfloor heating and it's brilliant - takes less than 24 hours to feel toasty although longer than that to be fully up to temperature. Gas was no good for keeping the house warm so we invested and put in a wood firing boiler which can also take nocciolino and pellets which we use for really snowy spells so that we don't have to keep loading up the boiler with logs. We are lucky enough to have a good supply of wood at the moment so last year cost us nothing at all for fuel all winter although this year we have bought a good supply of nocciolino as the wood is still drying out. 😊

I've herd it's going to be another harsh winter - time will tell 😏

Offline Olive Oyl

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Re: Winter prep
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2017, 12:07:55 PM »
We have thought about getting a generator cos when the power goes it's a real pain but they need quite a bit of fuel and we just thought it would be too much faffing about. Would prefer to have photovoltaic panels and a storage battery but too expensive sadly from enel anyway and so we just keep our fingers crossed 😬

Offline Lui

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Re: Winter prep
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2017, 12:44:20 PM »
We would definitely not be without our generator. We were off grid for 12 days last winter so it was really necessary. We didn't use too much petrol running it for say 2 hours in the morning and 4 at night. Playing cards by the wood burner by candlelight gets pretty tedious after a short while :D

Offline Sancho the Phoenix

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Re: Winter prep
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2017, 01:27:06 PM »
For anybody who has marble windowsills, it's a good idea to get in some bubblewrap (aka 'pluriball' in Italian) now, so you're ready to lay it on the sills when they get icy-cold. Makes a big difference, and saves a lot on heating expenses. This sort of thing -

https://www.amazon.it/PLURIBALL-PLASTICA-TRASLOCO-IMBALLAGGIO-182867/dp/B014MJQ4CM/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

 8)

Offline Tartufa

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Re: Winter prep
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2017, 04:40:43 PM »
We also have no problems keeping our place toasty with underfloor heating.  Suggest it's a question of general heat leakage in the property rather than the method of heating?
One thing I have noticed is a reluctance to dress properly here - amongst the non-Italians that is. A winter 'piumino' is not the same as an anorak back in the UK.  You also need proper waterproof boots.  Not dopo sci Moonboots but something fit for walking around in.  My OH also swears by longjohns under his usual trousers.  I button him in in November and cut him out in May.  Kidding...just the last bit though.  Seriously - spend some money on proper winter clothing, be comfy and warm and enjoy the winter.
www.welcometosulmona.com The only English language insiders' guide to Sulmona and the Valle Peligna.

Offline Article

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Re: Winter prep
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2017, 05:46:58 PM »
Geordie, it's Gas Central heating system, with a wood burner tucked in the corner for good measure. The point I tried to make was not about the underfloor system being "not toasty"....it is, but I just wanted to highlight to others who might be considering UFH that the cost of running it in last winter's weather was very expensive.

Offline Relaxed

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Re: Winter prep
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2017, 08:55:52 PM »
It is getting close to the time to change your car tyres to the winter ones, or to put the chains in the boot (to be legal). You need to do this by Nov 15.

I giggled at Article lamenting that the gas had cost 500 for one month. Of course I don't know how large the house is, but that sum is less than half my expectation for a really cold month, paying for gpl.

(Mains gas, metano, is much cheaper, so 500 would be seriously hefty if you have metano).

Offline Cheryl

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Re: Winter prep
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2017, 09:52:03 PM »
I have to say (ashamedely) come February this year, I had had enough and we went south looking for warmer weather, which we found in Puglia. Although it was mostly shut....we are thinking of doing the same this winter.  We have found you can get a reasonable rental for a month or two, which will take us through the bad months.

Offline Article

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Re: Winter prep
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2017, 08:59:13 AM »
Relaxed quotes

1) "I giggled at Article lamenting that the gas had cost 500 for one month"

and yet he admits

2) "I don't know how large the house is"
3) "500 would be seriously hefty if you have metano"

so I don't know why he would scoff at my comment. Anyway, that's that.





Offline Vignaverde

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Re: Winter prep
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2017, 09:43:13 AM »
I love winters here, personally I do not think we get extremes for long enough for it to be a stress, the most snow we get in maybe a week, granted when it comes it comes big style but it often goes away in no time at all, in fact I wish it would snow more. The thing I suffer with is cold bones, I was never a cold person, I was Mr T shirt all year round but now I shudder at 15 degrees.

I feel the cold so much more obviously because we live in such warm temperatures for so many months. When it drops below 20 I feel the cold. It is amusing to see clients come in winter time in T shirts and sometimes shorts while I am in a jumper and jacket.

We have a pellet burning stove, it was the best thing we bought. It connects to all the radiators and for a full winter we use between 2 & 3 pallets per winter. Each pallet costs around E300-E360 depending when you buy them. I get high quality ones as I feel they burn better. However I do find that radiators are just not enough to keep you warm whilst sat around on the sofa watching TV so for this we bought a fire which forces out warm air via a fan. It is a clever thing as it knows when the fire is blazing to speed up the fans to spread the heat around, as it cools the fan then slows so as not to push out cold air and eventually stops. We have sent tubes from the fire unit into 3 rooms (including the hallway) so when the fire is on (usually a couple of hours in the evening) we can turn off the radiators as the fire warms the ground floor and the stairs.

For me this system works perfect as we have working lives so I am not here to feed the fire, this makes the pellet burner perfect to kick in on its timer. The fireplace is used in the evening and having 2 heating sources is great should the power go off at any time. Luckily Enel have renewed all the wires in our areas so last winter, even in the snow the power went out for around an hour all winter.

Our system of heating has a winter cost (Mid to late October - end of March) of around E1200-E1400 for the whole period. This is keeping the house warm at all times, we live in a stone house so the heat stays in well and we have double glazing everywhere. We heat the house from around 12 midday to 11pm. We only tend to loose 1/2 degrees when it is off. If it is really cold or at the weekend we may turn the pellet stove on from 9am.

There is a lot of debate about pellets but I cannot find a cheaper option, considering we have it on for many hours and the house is warm I think it is much cheaper than other heating options.

I have also seen some really fancy pellet stoves recently which are made for the kitchen. They connect to the radiators like mine but they also have an oven in them. The idea being, that if it is on and heating the rads, it may as well do another job at the same time.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 09:46:53 AM by Vignaverde »
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Offline Vignaverde

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Re: Winter prep
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2017, 09:48:59 AM »
I forgot to say that the prices I gave also include the wood. We usually buy 2 pallets (between 135-165 each depending when you buy them) and we often have some left over if we use it just in the evenings.
Estate agents in Abruzzo www.vignaverde.com
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