Preparing for winter 2022 - Help + Health

Since we moved into our 1970 bungalow at the end of March we have taken a wait and see approach to our heating. The estate agent assured us that we had enough oil in our oil tank to last us until the autumn. When checked there was 300 litres so I ordered 500 litres costing about 700 euros. I checked the level yesterday and there is now 450 litres left. The tank hold 1200 litres. We have ten radiators including one in the utility room and one in the garage! We also have a wood burner in the living room which looks in good condition about 2 foot wide. The water is also heated by the boiler which is pretty big about double the of what we have been used to in the UK. We also have half an acre of mainly deciduous woodland mainly red oak an acacia trees. Plenty of kindling and dead wood which I have started to collect. So having noticed the locals stocking up with wood and with the unpredictable oil prices I think it’s time to make some decisions

You can never have enough wood, but anything you cut now (wrong time of year anyway) wont be ready for at least a couple of years. You maybe lucky with standing dead trees


Our house had an oil boiler when we moved in. It cost us a thousand euros just to heat the pool in the first summer. We replaced this with an air-source-heat-pump and wood-burning combination - our stove (probably no bigger than yours) heats both our water and 12 radiators (the radiators at the end of the circuit don’t get very hot, but luckily they are in rarely used bedrooms).

The heat pump costs about a euro a day; some winters we can heat entirely with our own wood (but it is a lot of work), and a neighbour gives us theirs (in return for the use of our pool nearly every day - but she only swims for a few minutes). Don’t you just love barter? When we buy wood it is from good friends of ours, who have a well-managed forest, and who would never let us down. But of course it takes time (and maybe a bit of luck) to build these local networks.

It’s rather late in the year to order wood, but you might get lucky and find someone with dry wood to burn this year. Should cost around €50/stère.

You normally order in Autumn/Spring for summer delivery.

So book a chimney sweep!

If you have used around 400 litres of oil just for water heating in 6 months you might want to think about changing your water heating?

We have oil and wood heating, but only have the oil fired boiler on from November to March now. We used to have to have it on all the time for hot water, like you. But now have installed a small heat pump water heater beside it. If you have space I recommend these.

Any recommendations?
BTW my hot water cylinder has 200 litres capacity.

It is going to be hard this winter

If you are going to collect your own wood from your mini-forêt it may be best to use something like this tool from Amazon France (there are others of course) and should be looking for about 15% - 20% moisture content for burning safely and not tarring up your chimney.

We are getting four steres of seasoned wood from our neighbours. Normally we don’t use our woodburner because I am asthmatic, but who knows how things will go this winter.
Prudent to have an alternative source of heat.

I have the exact same thing. Our supplier looked like he might have a heart attack when I used it to test his wood after he’d unloaded it. He need not have worried :rofl:

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We have one of these at 220litre capacity. They heat very slowly so when lots of people in the house we crank up the temperature.

Not the cheapest on the block, although our plumber got a discount for us, but we are saving quite a bit compared to when we used oil to heat water. Think it cost around €2k, but there are cheaper makes.

Looks cute in the pictures, but have to factor in two huge air intake/outlet pipes. We have it in our utility room, and last few weeks has been great as unhooked air outlet pipe so we have cold air flowing in.

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That looks pretty good. If it could run off the surplus energy from our solar panels, I would consider it at that price. Needs more research.
Ironically, the people we bought the house off had a heat pump driven cumulus and had it removed and a standard one put in because they thought the water wasn’t hot enough for them. Idiots.

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When we lived in the Dordogne we inherited underfloor heating a wood burner and two largish air conditioners and an electric water heater. The water tank was very large and the hot water lasted about three days when we had a power cut which was quite often. The waterwas heated with an off peak tariff. The wood burner was a disaster and we never used it. We found the underfloor heating as hard to manage as storage heaters. So we had no choice but to use the underfloor heating boosted by portable electric heaters. However we didn’t find the electricity bills excessive. So is an electrically heated water tank a viable alternative. As has been suggested we could then turn the heating off in March and back on in November

We’re looking at putting in an electric water-cylinder to replace the oil-combi boiler.
We have a log burner in the main living room and also 2 very efficient portable electric fan-assisted-radiators.
We’re hoping that these + the cylinder could ease our oil usage during the winter months.

Of course, if we have blizzard conditions, the oil boiler can be used… but it would be the exception rather than the rule…

so I’m interested in finding out what is the best elec cylinder on the go…
(heat pumps and that sort of thing are not suitable)

The thing to remember about [electric] water heaters is the importance of keeping the water temperature at a level where legionella bacteria cannot become an issue.

This is an American resource but the same principles/explanations apply throughout.

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Thanks that is just the question I was about to ask as our water is far too hot. So 54 is the recommended temp but 60 kills the bacteria. I believe the old immersions heated up to 65

Our air source water heater allows you to set the heat where you like. We generally have the tank at 60 (and the water coming in to our taps rather less, which we can also set to suit us). Since we only have a 220 tank when we have guests we set it at 65 and end up with 350 litres of hot water.

Search for the most effecient 100 litre one from the usual outlets is there’s just 2 of you taking showers?

Remember that they should be fed through their own 16A breaker.

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There’s just the 2 of us but we do have guests (no more than 2 guests at a time or I’d go mad).
Having said that, I don’t mind a houseful of friends… so long as nearly all of them go elsewhere at night… :wink:

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Siebel do have one that links to solar panels.

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You’ll want 200 litres for 4 people washing and showering daily. I have the timer set for 4-6 AM to take advantage of the off-peak rate and then on again between 6-8 PM to cover evening ablutions.