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Cyprus

Seeking alternatives for heating homes

Some of the more traditional methods of heating will never die

By Angelos Anastasiou

WITH THE cost of traditional home-heating on the rise, Cypriots may start turning to more affordable options, with gas-fuelled central heating and air-conditioning (A/C) units being their best bets.

Oil-burning central heating has traditionally been a necessity in many a Cypriot home-making.

The low operating cost based on cheap oil prices in the past, and clean and effective heating, provided practical advantages, far outweighing the implementation cost in the long-run.

But oil is no longer cheap and other options provide cleaner and more effective heating at a lower cost.

Air-conditioning has traditionally been viewed as an inefficient method of heating a home, and people typically opted in favour of using portable devices. However, experts claim that air-conditioning is much more efficient than portable electric heaters, by as much as 70%. The reasons vary from technological innovations allowing air-conditioners to save energy by working as required to maintain a certain temperature, to the raw power of an air-conditioning unit relative to that of a smaller portable device, allowing it to supply heat in short bursts.

Estimates based on data published by the Electricity Authority of Cyprus suggest that a medium-sized A/C unit carries an average operating cost of €0.25 an hour – and even less during non-peak hours at night. In addition, these units also provide cooling during the hotter months.

Gas-burning central heaters work in much the same way as oil-based ones, with the notable exception that the heating up and cooling down process is expedited greatly, thus ensuring minimal waste in comparison.

But the major difference is that the cost of gas is, of course, lower than oil.

“Depending on the size of the space to be heated and a few other factors, gas will probably cost roughly €350 a year, whereas oil costs may add up to €1,000 right now,” said one expert from Paphos-based heating specialists Cyprus Homecare. “The cost of setting them up is roughly the same, but there’s no comparing the cost of running them.”

Fireplaces and wood-burning stoves have been gaining popularity in recent years, in tandem with the rise in oil prices. Minimal maintenance requirements, as well as low acquiring and operational costs (the cost of firewood is estimated at €200 to €300 a year for a moderately-sized house) make for an attractive proposition, despite its poor ecological ranking and inefficiency in some of the heat escaping through the chimney.

However, wood-burning options tend to be used mainly for ambient heating and may require supplementary heating sources, thus driving costs up.

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