Surviving a Portuguese winter - Please Help

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Surviving a Portuguese winter - Please Help


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Old 25th May 2019, 12:49 PM
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Default Surviving a Portuguese winter - Please Help

Hello everyone,

I'm new here Iím considering moving to Portugal but what I have read about the winter and the lack of heating is making me hesitate, and I am looking for advice from seasoned vets like yourselves who have already had this experience.

I would be renting a flat and working from home, so I will be in the place more often than not. So staying warm and being comfortable are of utmost importance. I have a very strong anxiety about being cold because I am anemic and the thought of not having central heat plus the possibility of dampness/mold in is worrying me. My worst nightmare would be to be stuck in a cold, damp place and have to sleep in a damp bed (I've done before and gotten really ill).

The areas I am considering are:
Leiria (the city itself) and Caldas da Rainha


What are my options for heating up an apartment? I've come up with these solutions, but I don't know if they will be enough:

-Space heaters (only works for a space, and not sure if they will work well enough)
-Get an apartment with the dual ac/heating unit - but I know (from experience) they don't work that well unless you are in a small space
-I can get an apartment that faces the sun, but thatís only good for the daytime.

Iíve also read about the high cost of electricity there and since I will be working from home, I can imagine I will most likely be running a space heater (or two) in my work space all day. Can you give me a rough estimate of how much extra cost per month that would be?

What are some tips on how you stay warm? How bad is the winter, really? Itís hard to tell if my mind is over exaggerating things but Iíve slept in places without heat Ė Balkans in the dead of December for instance Ė and itís not something I want to do as a part of my long-term life.

Since I've heard the winters are windy and rainy, (I know it varies depending on the area) I'm also curious if the rain a constant for 1-2 months, or are there breaks of sunshine? I suffer from Season Affective Disorder and worry that depression might kick in if I have to deal with weeks of straight rain.

I know this post has been long-winded and I have many questions but I truly do appreciate any insight on this subject that will help me make my decision on whether to move or not to Portugal.

Thank you so much!

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Old 25th May 2019, 03:01 PM
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May I humbly suggest you look at insulation ratings rather then just heating, a single small heat pump will keep a small flat warm and dry but only if it's insulated and with good fitted windows and doors. Having heating and no insulation is pointless, so a house with 27 radiators and a wood burner looks impressive but will be cold, damp, moldy and expensive to run in the cooler months.

But what I consider as acceptable is not necessarily what you consider acceptable so you need to spend some time (in every season) in the arera you want to live here to deciding what you will accept. Different areas have different climates here..

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Old 25th May 2019, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strontium View Post
May I humbly suggest you look at insulation ratings rather then just heating, a single small heat pump will keep a small flat warm and dry but only if it's insulated and with good fitted windows and doors. Having heating and no insulation is pointless, so a house with 27 radiators and a wood burner looks impressive but will be cold, damp, moldy and expensive to run in the cooler months.

But what I consider as acceptable is not necessarily what you consider acceptable so you need to spend some time (in every season) in the arera you want to live here to deciding what you will accept. Different areas have different climates here..
Thank you for your reply. Where/how do I find out about insulation ratings? I'm guessing you mean when my feet are on the ground in Portugal and I'm doing an apartment search?

I'm not sure what a heat pump is - ?

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Old 26th May 2019, 08:16 AM
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The only real way is to experience a house/flat/area yourself, heat efficiency ratings are given to buildings but may not be available for older buildings. I was looking at a small house near Coimbra last weekend, central heating was a boiler and one radiator in a knocked through kitchen but no insulation and the owner said it used a bottle of gas every two days when it was running (didn't check the bottle size). The cheap hotel I was in had upvc exterior doors and insulation and heat pumps - room would take 10 mins to warm up then get switched off as not needed. Heat pump works like a fridge in reverse, extracts heat from the outside air (or ground or water source) and emits it inside the building so using 25% of the energy to move 75% of the heat, in summer it can be reversed called air conditioning.

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Old 26th May 2019, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strontium View Post
The only real way is to experience a house/flat/area yourself, heat efficiency ratings are given to buildings but may not be available for older buildings. I was looking at a small house near Coimbra last weekend, central heating was a boiler and one radiator in a knocked through kitchen but no insulation and the owner said it used a bottle of gas every two days when it was running (didn't check the bottle size). The cheap hotel I was in had upvc exterior doors and insulation and heat pumps - room would take 10 mins to warm up then get switched off as not needed. Heat pump works like a fridge in reverse, extracts heat from the outside air (or ground or water source) and emits it inside the building so using 25% of the energy to move 75% of the heat, in summer it can be reversed called air conditioning.
Very interesting and useful information thanks Strontium. You suggest that a heat pump is air conditioning in reverse. Does that mean that it is as expensive to run as air conditioning? Our a/c units work both to cool and to heat and I have often wondered how much they actually cost to use as heaters versus say a conventional fan heater.

Please give me a shout if you are in the Coimbra area again. We could meet up for a coffee maybe.

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Old 26th May 2019, 07:30 PM
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Quick and basic answer (ie lots of variables ignored) electric 3kW heater will use 3kW of electricity to produce 3kW of heat but a heat pump cycle of an air conditioner will extract heat from the air outside and transport it to indoors so (a random guess on efficiency) 1kW of heat pumping electricity will move 3kW of heat to indoors.

One way you pay EDP for 3kW the other you pay 1kW but get the same amount of heat.

There are several cheapish energy trackers available which give you a monitor of your electricity use - even reading the meter will give an indication - a day of fan heating vs a day of air con heating.

I did love the flowers carefully strewn down the old streets with some made into pictures and names, will be back.
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Old 26th May 2019, 09:20 PM
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Thanks Strontium. Very useful.

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