30 October 2014

Heat

We are weeks away from needing to turn on the heat here. Even during the four years we lived in Maine, we never turned it on before Thanksgiving week and a couple of years it wasn't until Christmas week. I expect it'll be the same here. It rarely gets very cold here, although I have heard from a few people that it can happen. We aren't there yet--it was 60-ish and stuffy today and last night we had to open the bedroom windows. If we ever do get to the point where heat is required, we will either google or ask our neighbour how we operate out electric "central heating" as it's called here. It isn't central heating as we know it, but rather wall mounted electric heaters in each room (in our case, two in the kitchen/sitting room).
We do not plan on using the heater pictured unless we end up with some very cold weather that requires us to use it. There is another one in the room and that should be sufficient. Besides that, there seems to be little point in pumping out heat right next to the refrigerator and making that work harder! We were told by the guy who gave us a ride from Oranmore to Ballinrobe when we moved in here that these are storage heaters and they are meant to be set to come on during the nighttime off-peak electricity hours and then let the heat out during the day. The two heaters in the kitchen/sitting room and the one in the hallway are different from the ones in the bedrooms. I'm sure we'll figure it out! I don't think we will need the one in the hall or the spare bedroom anyway.

There have been some people who have already been heating for a couple of months--you could smell the fires burning in August. It seems that lots of people have solid-fuel burning stoves. They burn wood, or peat bricks, or even coal (!!!). When we first arrived, I would smell this weird "something's burning and it isn't wood" smell. I wondered whether it was peat. I smelled it when we were at the B&B in Oranmore and I smelled it when we got to Ballinrobe. It was around quite frequently and while I knew that some people still go cut peat, I wondered whether there were so many of them that I would be smelling it all the time.  It took some getting used to, because it was not a smell that agreed with me. I can't honestly say I like it now, but my stomach usually doesn't get queasy anymore as it did at first. Once Tesco changed their seasonal display in the entryway, I had a "DUH!" moment. They sell the stuff in bricks here, just like people in the US buy Duraflame logs or something like that.

Lots of the places in our immediate vicinity have oil heat in addition to any solid-fuel burning stove they may have. The back gardens have these little plastic (or at least they look like plastic) oil "tanks."
The neighbours were getting a delivery the other day. The semi-detached house we looked at before we looked at and decided to rent this apartment had both solid fuel and oil heat. There were several reasons why this apartment was more appealing, and the heating situation was just one. It seemed much easier to have electric heating--especially since we never use much--than to have to mess around trying to set up an account to have oil delivered.

As with everything, I will be doing my best to conserve energy and use as little of it as possible.

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