Sunday 17 February 2019

Heating issues

This is not about partisan politics.

Nor is it in response to Simon Busuttil urging people to take part in “cheese counter politics”, ready to valiantly defend their party at every turn, even at the now defunct ‘grocer’ (who even goes shopping at a grocer any more?)

It’s about a topic which is always uppermost in people’s minds the minute our weather goes from summer to winter virtually overnight.

How are we going to keep our homes warm?

All over Facebook I have been reading threads about the most economical and efficient way to heat inside our homes.  I have obtained a lot of very useful information as to the benefits of gas vs electric vs air conditioning units used as heaters. I’ve heard about Potez heaters and pellet stoves and fireplaces using various types of fuel.  There are very resourceful people out there who have taken the time to work out exactly how much each of the various options costs, and willing to share the information with all of us, which is very helpful.

The upshot is, why should it be so expensive to have homes which are decently heated in a country which has comparatively mild winters?  The quick answer, of course, is that the majority of Maltese homes have been built to withstand the harsh, scorching summers rather than for temperatures which drop to a chilly (for us) 9 degrees.  This is why I hate winter, not so much for the brisk weather outside, because that makes a welcome change from the stifling heat – it’s because indoors is always cold and miserable.

In everything else we have caught up with the rest of the world, except in this one crucial area: keeping warm is so prohibitive that people prefer to walk around wearing the contents of their winter wardrobe indoors rather than switch on their heating. It is the one area where I feel our quality of life is seriously lagging behind the rest of Europe.  They’re snowed in but walking around in T-shirts indoors, while we have winter weather which passes for Autumn, and yet we’re huddled inside like something out of Charles Dickens.

I’m not just talking about lower income families either – I think it’s safe to say that when it comes to heating our homes, everyone feels the pinch. Heating the whole house is unheard of …we choose a room where we spend most of our time, and decide that that’s the one which will be rewarded with some heating appliance or other.

So, if you will excuse me, I just have to walk through my icy hallway to make some coffee – now, where did I put my coat?

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