When we purchased the house in August 2015 we knew that we had a house without central heating but this was Spain so it is always hot yes? During our 1st winter as the solar system failed, the single glazing windows leaked condensation, the temperatures averaged 15C, we had long weeks inside hill fog and the experienced the Tarragona autumn and spring winds. So after after a winter wearing lots of clothes and burning a lot of gas in quickly purchased gas heaters we prioritised a new log burning stove with back boiler to feed radiators to at least have downstairs heated. This priority came after re-installing the solar system....
The three pictures above show the original open fireplace, the installation of the new system in September 2016 and then in November 2016 the 1st use of the log burner. The 2016 winter was much more comfortable. This then drove the attention to having the right quality and amount of firewood - see the previous article on how we dealt with that. The stove fed 2 radiators in the lounge/dining room, 1 in each of the 3 bedrooms, the bathroom and kitchen.
As we saved more money we then invested in a log burning stove for upstairs, installed in June 2019. This did not feed radiators but heats the lounge, dining and kitchen area well. The pictures below show the before during and after. When doing this work and removing the old wall surrounding the two chimney´s we discovered that smoke was entering the house due to poor construction and quite a hazard so we were very happy we never had a serious issue. We also kept the downstairs chimney exposed to the upstairs lounge so we could use that as a radiator when the downstairs fire was on. This idea seemed unusual to our contractor and we had to insist - we are very happy with the result.
Then we were able to both build in the fireplace downstairs (July 2019) in addition to replacing all the single glazed windows over time and by the winter of 2018 we had double glazing throughout the house. The building in of the fireplace insulated that North facing wall of the house and in September 2020 we were able to complete the other part of the wall old wall and add shelves. I also added tiles to the fireplace surrounds in April 2020 and have in the plan for August 2022 to to tile the chimney breast as well.
Some of these improvements are directly improving the heating while others are cosmetic but this is all about improving how we feel in the house. So, if while renovating we can provide side benefits and improve our well being then this is to be recommended and helps us achieve our aim of living in a house that also our fantastic holiday location as well.
Frances and Barry Copping bought Xalet Pigall in 2015. They are working towards resilience and self-sufficiency.