24 January, 2015

The best choice for heating your home (updated 2014)

How do I heat my house cheaply and with greater comfort? This same question I became in the summer of 2006. And now I discuss in this article that will update as circumstances change.
Before heating, is 10 times cheaper and more effective to isolate; in this post or  this one's more information on this topic.
Having analyzed and changed the heating my house I have acquired some knowledge that I share with my readers, since heat your home is a major expense that if we do not choose it may prevent us to make ends meet during the cold winter months ; - ). Nor find myself in possession of absolute truth, so take my advice and reasons for yourself.

Catalytic gas stove. (Image: Neoferr )
Heat in times of crisis : If our budget is very limited, the option to consider are the catalytic gas stoves; are economic, performance is 100%, are double security system, heat only where necessary and just need to vent 5 minutes every 8 hours for comfortable, quick and economically warm. There are also fuels such as kerosene, but is more expensive.
There are two variables to consider when heat our house, comfort and economy. Or warm in the most comfortable way possible or sacrificing comfort (with a catalytic stove, or put some of our work in heating and use renewable fuels like wood or pellets). Previously, I have spoken of biomass heating in other entries ( see this issue ), it's sometimes only feasible in single family houses or villages because a vent at high temperature is required. There  biomass boilers  as effective as pellet smokeless to feed them. 
The pellet take less work than wood because they often have greater autonomy, two days to months, depending on the capacity of the hopper that feeds . If we have free wood, biomass, if we have problem doing some exercise, are a good choice. 
Especially comfortable and easy to install are the stoves recessed wood have fans to extract heat (and through tubes We can lead to other rooms). 
Consider the costs.

The energy origin
¿ Heat Pump (and thermodynamic system ), Electricity gas oil , or wood (pellets)?
Obviously, diesel and ruling it because its price will be sky high (and is doing).

A basic principle of physics must be taken into account:  The energy is neither created nor destroyed, only becomes . When moving car, all the energy is lost as heat; which comes out the tailpipe, the friction of the wheels with the ground, in the air friction, which heats the engine ... the movement of the car finally converted into heat in the car brakes when stops.
Doing some calculations: Fuel cost on Spain (Europe) actually
If we order from lowest to highest cost fuels, as the cost per kW of heat generated: 
pine chips : € 0.015 / kWh . The advantage is that if you have the budget, ultimately it is cheaper, installing a self-powered and automatic. 
chopped wood (pine and the like) : € 0.02 / Kw
Hardwood chopped (oak, beech) : 0.037 € / kW  (Considering a yield of 60% and a cost of € 120 / TN with 5,4KWh of oak kg). Less comfortable, load the boiler every x hours, depending on the capacity of the boiler. 
boiler Pellets : A report of the IDEA , is approximately (depending on the area) of € 0.04 / kWh (15 kg to 5kWh the kilo, and 3 € 15 kg).
piped natural gas (the city). Medium-high consumption rate: € 10.08 per month fixed over the € 0.042 KWh . 
Heat pump . Depending on the model, approx. € 0.056 / KWh. Uses electricity, but its performance is 1.5 to 3 times (depending temp. Ext.) The quantity of electricity used (ie spent for every kW, 2.5 kW produces heat to obtain street) . 
Propane . Excluding transportation comes to € 0.895 per kilo, which at the rate of 14.01 kWh per kilo, comes to € 0.0639 the KWh . 
Gasoil heating . The subsidized, excluding transport comes to € 0.871 per liter, which at the rate of 8,685 KWh per liter, comes to € 0.100 the KWh . 
Electricity (electric or blue heat radiators). For a power of 10 KW, € 17.19 per month fixed over the € 0.14 KWh . 

The thermal efficiency must be taken into account after that depending on the boiler or heat utilization system, may result in the end A cheaper than other system. For example, using wood, the cheapest fuel, but we use it in a closed fireplace classics like the right in the picture below, the performance will be minimal, since the heat Most will go into the chimney.

Depending on the system used, performance can
vary (80% vs 20% yield). Source
When using electricity , performance may be around 30%, since in origin fuels used in Spain may be gas, coal and nuclear energy by 50%, that for transforming into electricity is lost as heat averaging 60% also in the transport and transformation can lose another 10%, of why it is the most expensive heat when used directly (in a heat pump electricity is not converted into heat, but moves an engine compressor for heat elsewhere).

System underfloor heating: coils embedded in concrete.  (Photo: DR)
If we use floor heating instead of radiators, we will increase between 20 and 30% thermal efficiency when working the system with water at low temperature. Furthermore increases comfort by eliminating the radiators, and the whole house heated uniformly and quickly. Another example; if we use a catalytic propane stove, it is going to cheaper than city gas if the boiler is normal to leave, but if it is a condensing boiler, heating costs would go up to par, but otherwise a condensing boiler goes by 2,000 euros regardless of maintenance, so just eventually we get equally comfortable and economical. Given all this, for example, for an example of monthly consumption approx. about 5000 kWh in a house (a cold winter month) would (in 2011) :

  •  pellets, chips or wood: Approx. . € 100 
  • Natural Gas: € 220. (With condensing boiler would drop by 20%, and if we also underfloor , still 15% less consumption).
  • Electricity (Heat Pump): About 300 €, consuming about 2.5 times less than a hotplate or radiator "low power". 
  • Propane: € 319 (We'll get a 30% cheaper if we use a stove butane or propane catalytic). 
  • Diesel. € 500 
  • Electricity: € 717: If using normal radiators or of "low power" (although this is false, they are not eco-friendly).
Economy and ecology as the source of fuel 
Get heat from electricity ( heat emitters ) is the smaller outlay entails a priori but that eventually we will more money. Please note that some of our country's electricity is generated from gas turbines , and in the process lost a lot of energy (up to 50%) in the form of heat, so is not it more efficiently carry heat directly to our house to transform the gas heat into electricity , transport hundreds of kms. and finally back to transform it into heat?
Electricity "green" generation in Spain (wind and hydro mainly) still only represents 20% of the total, so we can not rely solely on it. With electricity work radiators ( not recommend "low power") and air conditioners with heat pump, with the difference that the pumps consume less than half the radiators, because the heat collected from the air outside with a compressor on the façade (as . a refrigerator in reverse) A heat pump air / air has an average yield of 250% of its energy compared to an electric radiator; They are more expensive equipment, but their heat is cheaper than the radiators false "low power" or "blue heat". Also occupy little, only require a small transmitter inside and outside compressor (somewhat cumbersome). More information about heat pumps in Serdna website . Also there are laptops that require only take a tube to the outside. 

The thermodynamic systems are based on the same as heat pumps, only that besides taking heat from the air, also get it from sunlight, rain and wind which help to get better returns (fewer worn electricity energy obtained). 

Therefore, if we compare only the electric radiators "low-power" with gas heating if you installnatural gas eg. you're saving about 500 euros a year at least in the electricity bill for an apartment of 50 mts. square (I speak of the difference between the cost of heating with gas heating with electricity), and I figured for my home and the initial cost of 3,000 euros in the installation of a boiler quality and radiators the'm amortized quickly. 

But it is heating the house cheaply, and if the winters are not too hard in your area (with temperatures above 5 ° C per day), the heat pump or thermodynamic system is the option to consider, although the boiler condensing gas is also quite economical in terms of fuel (for now).
If, however, you live further north of France , in those latitudes systems heat pump air / air may not be sufficient, should be supported by other systems ( gas boilers, biomass, or solar thermal) or get the heat accumulated in the soil , as they do in some northern countries.
However, regarding the generation of CO2 , heat pump or thermodynamic system is much more beneficial since, in addition to harness the heat from the environment, part of the electricity needed comes from renewable energy such as wind, hydro and solar, among others. The ecological cost gas is a fossil, limited fuel and produces gas flaring . Greenhouse install heat pumps whenever possible or thermodynamic systems whenever possible; your economy, the Spanish economy and the planet will thank you.

And if you use biomass for heating, it has 0 CO2 emissions (because trees recycle existing CO2). Besides being the most economical, it is more environmentally friendly. 
It limits the temperature of your house at 21, the next generations will thank you. 

Isolating the house: more comfort and savings 
Prior to spend on heating, goes considerably cheaper spend on isolating the house . This is money that is spent only once and then recovered by the energy saved on heating. There is a very economical way to insulate the house. Normally the old apartments have a camera on the wall with or without him, which is not filling the chamber some insulating material. In construction trades sacks are sold with insulating material in the form of small balls that can enter the chamber just making a hole Ø60 mm. in the top wall through which we will introduce the contents of the bags by means of a pressure pump or by gravity. Just be sure to close the holes where you can leave the insulation (important to isolate the ventilation holes camera tubes and boxes). In this way we prevent the air have mobility (convection) and quickly transmit heat between cold air and warm. This way we avoid further that between the heat out in summer and in winter, hindering heat transmission (with insulation as fiberglass , expanded polystyrene or polyurethane foam , or by coating the walls wood or plaster, which are worse transmitters of heat than air). If the ceilings are provided to be downloaded, or you can put them drywall or wood , we will gain much in isolation, as is the main place where the heat is lost in a house (hot air, weigh less, rises and focuses on the top of the rooms). 

Conclusions: The most ecological and economic system is the heating biomass (wood, pellets, charcoal) , followed by heat pump heating or natural gas (condensing boiler installed; The savings are considerable in the long run), and finally heating is by far the diesel and electric radiators, they should be banned ( in Denmark and in some Swiss cantons is prohibited by its low thermal efficiency). For a flat, a underfloor heating system with heat pump or condensing boiler, with the option to support solar thermal and thermodynamic is, ultimately, most comfortable, economical and ecological now, at least in the medium term. For a house or villa a pellet boiler or stove (with automatic system for several days autonomy) with underfloor heating, is a long-term, cheaper by far. Besides it is an investment in the local economy, and long-term savings with an ecological and economical fuel without losing comfort. For the handyman who want to get the most out of its timber, another option is the Russian stove ; one  . wood stove high performance and comfortable by keeping the heat And it goes without saying that for water heating can put solar thermal panels . thus saving half the electricity or gas bill for this duty 

Full article on heating systems and their prices (translated from French)
condensing boiler: The ideal boiler 
Heated floor: The ideal radiator 
Heat Pump: How to work with interactive graphics 
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