Over winter heating

Hi, We have a house in 17 and we are not normally there from Nov to March. I want to have background heating on over that period. At the moment we have electrical panel heaters in each room which have a frost setting on, but I wondered if there was a better system from an energy consumption point of view?

Thanks in advance.


Hi Mark…

What (if any) sort of insulation/double glazing/draught-proofing have you got in place??

What are your Bills like at present, over the winter period??

I’m sure someone will chime in with useful info…

Hi Stella,

Thanks for the response, the walls and roof are insulated but the windows are single glazed. At the moment we leave the electricity off, so there are no bills.

However, we have found pools of water on the wooden first floor when we arrive back after winter, and it has been suggested that it is ‘thermic shock’. it is not a leak as we have been there during some terrible weather and all is fine.

I would be interested to know if anyone knows of this system : https://www.solarventi.com/ Link

Mmmmm… I keep a vague eye on an unheated 2-storey stone house with single glazing… they are only here for 10 weeks in the Summer.

At first, there was a lot of dampness, mould on the kitchen table and chairs etc… general humidity… yuk… oh… and with mice everywhere… :fearful::anguished:

They sorted out the damp cellar… and that helped 90%…

Now, we tend to leave the single-glazed windows open, but shut the shutters… letting a draught flow through… unless it is really, really soaking wet weather…

Water on the wooden floors… I never saw… mould, yes, but never water as such… and we go down to -25c on occasions…a few years back it was -15c for 3 weeks.

Thermic shock?? Perhaps someone can chime in about that…

thinking about our own little 2nd house… single-glazed no insulation anywhere… there, I have found water on the windowsills, from where it runs down the glass. Of course, it would run onto the floor eventually if I let it…

Is the water you find… under the windows ??

It will be interesting to hear from folk who have used this, with so many folk having 2nd homes… left empty most of the year…

When we first came to France 10 years ago, we were shown a stone property renovated by a Dutch family which had oil central heating.
The interesting thing about this property was that they left the oil central heating on 24/7 but extremely low so that the rads were barely warm. This didn’t use very much in the way of heating fuel as once the heat had taken to the walls, they acted as a heat store.
He convinced me that that his system worked and I can see the logic behind it.
Of course, that was 10 years ago when fieul was much cheaper than it is today…

Edited - thanks Stella

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In one area it is under a window, but in he main no. I had thought of putting expanded polystyrene sheeting between the windows and the shutters to act as secondary insulation.

Hi Graham,

Our walls are also stone with an insulated cloison seche, and yes i’m sure could act as a thermal store

Just a thought… do you have a chimney??

In another house, we found water on the kitchen floor, in the middle… OH checked all the plumbing (all OK)… after a few years, we discovered it was coming down the chimney (but only on certain occasions depending on wind/rain strength/direction) … and the slope of the floor was letting the water run and pool in the middle of the room… so The Mystery was solved … yippee…

The chimney got the chop…

Now, that’s a thought - yes we have. Although not sure how it would pool on the 1st floor; but i may go up on the roof and check the chimney pot…

My house was a second home and i locked it up and drained the water when I left it. I never suffered any damp problems. I do however experience damp problems on a boat over the winter. I’ve virtually solved that by buying a large solar powered fan that keeps the air circulating. I think they are designed for use in greenhouses.


Thanks David,

Another useful, inexpensive idea, the battery backup looks useful as well.

If we don’t solve the problem… I suppose you do realize that I may be forced to camp in your house … for as long as it takes… :zipper_mouth_face::worried::relaxed::fearful:

Naturally. And if it does solve the problem i owe you a case of wine :smile:

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I bought and installed a massive new storage heater - had it sent over from the UK end of last year - it cost me a fortune. It heats it to about 16 degrees but was completely useless in the serious cold we experienced at the beginning of March - I had hoped it would replace the wood burner but eventually worked out that I would need another at the same size however the cost of power would be way too high - so back to the drawing board…I love the log fires but hate the hassle - ie the novelty has worn off.

Get a good pellet burner. Much less hassle and programmable heat. I use what is basically an electric storage heater in one room and a wood burner in another. They work well together. My neighbour has two pellet burners.