Heating in new home


I am new to the forum. I have yet to add my photo but will do soon. Excited to be on the forum. Would like very much some advice. I have just bought a house, moving in august. The house is heated by fuel and has radiators. I am told the chaudiere is twenty years old. I have also been told that I can be connected to gaz de ville which I have been told is cheaper to run but costs about 10,000 to install. I am not sure how much it will cost to heat water and heat the house with fuel but I believe it is a lot. I can't afford pomp a chaleur and there are no chimneys. The house is well insulated - band c, and was built in 1960. I thought that this winter I would just live it out with electric fires and enough fuel to heat the water. Would love some ideas or other peoples views on my circumstances.

All the best


Thanks so much Mike

That is great advice!


My best advice would be not to decide anything in a hurry.

I suggest you try living there for a year, heating the place with three cheap portable electric fan heaters. With a year's electricity bills, you will then have a basis against which to assess the costs and benefits of the various options available to you.

Whatever you do, avoid the temptation to use portable gas or liquid fuel heaters. These produce water vapour as a by-product of combustion, resulting in black mould and other nasty unwanted effects.

You will be amazed at how much you find out in a year. You will also give yourself time to discover what systems others in the area have installed and how happy they are with the result - and the installers.

Hi Suzanne

Thanks for the tip. I'll try installing Firefox when I am with my computer literate boyfriend. I think Under my profile for some reason or other I have a photo uploaded of myself so at least somewhere on the site you can see me!

Mandy - I think a lot also depends on the aspect of the house - south facing in Winter is best as you get lots of lovely free heat through the windows. In our previous house our summer kitchen/salon onto the roof was always lovely and toasty all year round and had no heating at all as it had huge windows and was South facing.

The lower down the house you went (it was 4 stories) the cooler it got especially if you were sitting down then you'd feel the difference. We do get cold nights and mornings but it usually goes to double figures by early afternoon.

Of course we don't get heavy snow at all (4 years ago about an inch) but you do still need to take heating seriously from Nov to April or be happy wearing so many layers you can't easily move (which I think some of the old people do).

For anyone who is interested you can follow my SFN blog on the work we are doing to our old vigneron house. I should be putting photos of the geothermie installation on there soon...

Hi Suzanne

I lived in Herault for a year (St Andre de Sangonis) and the weather there was very mild in the winter. We managed with an open fire in the living room and a small electric heater in the bathroom. The upstairs bedrooms were warm enough the whold winter without heating. Although I do remember snow during the Christmas market in Montpellier (2007) which was so unusual it made the national news! Completely different story in the Southern Tarn. This is the first year we have not had a deep layer of snow for several weeks since we moved here in 2008.

Wow! You are really going high-tech for your new house. Don't understand most of what you wrote (!) but it's great that you will be snug and warm in the winter. Hope it all works out as you planned.

Hi Mandy,

I'm in Herault and whilst this year was incredibly mild, I recall a couple of years ago minus temperatures and we lost loads of plants to frost. The electricity bill that year was high. We had reversible pompe a chaleur/clime which struggled at such low temps, electric radiators (cost a fortune) and a woodburner. Our house was 133m2 West facing.

The Woodburner was great but only really heated the large living space not the bedrooms. Our house was well insulated but the tiled floors are cold in Winter...we did put rugs down but I don't do cold very well. Our next house is south facing and we're putting in underfloor heating with a wood gasification boiler as well as a double flux ventilation system linked to a canadien well (which will act like geothermie fresh air and retaining lost energy from the waste air). our new place is somewhat of an extreme eco renovation!

Thanks Mandy.

The Drome where I live can be very cold in winter. I am hoping now to get gaz de ville as bois is a difficult option for me, fuel is very expensive and as you said so is electricity.

Piles of jumpers and wooly socks have been the norm for me in winter. I long to be a bit more comfortable.

Kind Regards


Hi Fiona - the prime is a grant offered by the government for energy efficiency work.

For your photo Firefox is the best brower to use, IE just doesn't work very well with the SFN site for photo uploads. I had this problem as I always used to use IE. Chrome works sometimes but I've found Firefox the best.

If you are on Windows try this https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-download-and-install-firefox-windows

Hi Fiona

Welcome to the site. I hope you find it useful as I have.

You don't say what part of France you will be living in. Some areas have reasonably mild winters and some can be pretty savage. I had never seen so much snow until I came to live in the Tarn! If you are moving somewhere which has a long, cold winter then you will find heating the house with electricity incredibly expensive. I can remember an eye-watering 700€ bill in the past. I'm sure you've already considered this but thought I would throw this into the mix just in case.

Best of luck with the move.

Thanks Suzanne

thats helped me to think outside the box a bit and not be just limited to fuel or gaz. The house is 130m2. What is 'prime for 1350' ?

It is my principal residence and I have duel nationality - French, British.

I Am having a few problems with my photo. I have been uploading a JPG 3mb with no luck. It gives me an error message. I dont want to change server and have tried Google chrome before but it has messed up my internet so not sure what to do!

Thanks again


Hi - have you thought about installing solar thermal and or a wood gasification boiler? Problem with Electricity is it is expensive to run - we used to pay 2000 euro a year electricity with a reversible pompe a chaleur and electric rads. How many m2 is your house?

We are installing both Solar Thermal for domestic Hot water and a Wood Gasification boiler for the heating. It sounds like yours could be connected to your existing radiators which is a saving on ours (we are doing full renovation so installing underfloor heating which is the majority of the cost). It's definitely worth looking into because you might also qualify for the up to a 25% credit impot. Another thing to consider is the Eco Pret Taux 0 - which is an interest free loan of up to 30,000 euro to help fund energy efficiency works.

have a look at the ademe website. http://ecocitoyens.ademe.fr/

There is lots of help available to move away from old fioul chaudieres. You can also get a prime for 1350 euros depending on your financial resources.

All of these assume of course you are fiscally french resident and it is your principal residence.

Hope this helps...and yes please to the photo - we like to see who we're chatting to. Let me know if you need any help with this.