As energy prices skyrocket and winter approaches, more and more people are wondering what is the most efficient and profitable way to heat their homes this year.
The equation, experts say, is harder than ever this year. Starting prices for heating oil increased by 45% compared to last year, for natural gas – up to 200%, plus electricity tariffs are not lagging behind them. But how do you translate “price increases” into euros? How much will heating cost on average for a household this year?
“Heating oil and natural gas are still the two main fuels for the vast majority of buildings in Greece. This year has seen two important events. The first is the increase in value in absolute terms. Secondly, although until last year the difference in heating costs between fuel oil and natural gas was 20%, in favor of natural gas, at current prices, this difference is almost zero, ”says Mr. Agis Papadopoulos, professor at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the University Aristotle in Thessaloniki and President of EYATH.
Heating oil versus natural gas
According to Mr. Papadopoulos, the comparison of heating means should be based on kilowatt-hours of heating. Last year, “for a kilowatt / hour of heating on fuel oil, it took about 8 minutes, and on natural gas, 6.5 minutes. That is, for an average house in Thessaloniki, relatively thermally insulated and with an area of 85 sq.m., you will need 450 euros for natural gas and about 550 euros for fuel oil. “
However, with prices this year, the picture is changing. “This year, for the same apartment, you need to give 650 euros for heating with fuel oil and more than 650 euros for natural gas. Thus, the difference of 20% and 21% that existed last year in favor of gas does not apply this year. These are equivalent prices, ”emphasizes Agis Papadopoulos.
According to statements made a few days ago by the President of the Association of Petroleum Trading Companies (SEEPE) Yannis Aligizakis, the latest data shows that the price of natural gas is € 0.974 per kilowatt / hour, compared to € 0.955 for heating oil.
Alternative: how much will heating with an air conditioner cost?
The above data can cause “horror” among consumers. And the first thought for some is to turn to the old proven method, the air conditioner. According to Mr. Papadopoulos, this is the only viable alternative to other heating sources. However, “with the rise in energy prices, I am afraid that next month there will be a similar increase in the cost of using electricity.”
An air-conditioned home heating solution would be great if the cost of electricity remained at the 2020 level. “At last year’s prices, to heat two or three main areas of the house with two air conditioners, the cost will be 400 euros,” says Agis Papadopoulos. “And although we cannot predict exactly how far prices will rise, we can say that the cost of heating this year for the same air-conditioned house will be 550 euros,” he explains. This is a very “explosive” growth, about 35%.
Should I turn on a fireplace or stove?
The resulting impasse worries experts, since it is possible that many people with low incomes turn to unreliable heating means, such as improvised stoves. This trend has led to the deaths of people in the harsh memorandum years, and also caused damage to the environment. However, you can “remember” other alternative means, such as a fireplace, stoves or even cheap – only in terms of purchase price – fan heaters.
“A typical fireplace has a rather poor performance, possibly the worst possible. Citizens should also remember that firewood prices follow oil prices because it takes fuel to transport wood. Therefore, I would say that a fireplace is not the best choice and can only be considered by someone with very cheap access to firewood. Again, if we are talking about energy fireplaces (ενεργειακό τζάκι), then yes, they have a much better degree of efficiency, ”says Mr Papadopoulos.
Furnaces are one “step” higher in terms of thermal efficiency. “Stoves, especially cast iron ones, emit a lot of heat and heat up the space very pleasantly. And cast iron is enough for hours. And in this case, however, as in the fireplace, these carriers suffer significant losses. Heat escapes from the chimney and, in addition, these are local heating systems. That is, you heat up less space, ”he adds.
Air heaters, electrical panels and radiators versus air conditioners
According to Mr. Papadopoulos, there is no significant difference whether someone has an electric heater, a fan heater or a halogen panel: “If the power of the device is 2000 watts, then we calculate two kilowatt-hours. If even taking into account summer prices, the cost of one kilowatt-hour with regulated payment is from 14 to 15 cents, then for such a device the cost of operating one hour will be 30 cents or more. “
For air conditioners, the average power of 12,000 btu is 900 to 1,000 watts. “For example, let’s say its consumption is 1 kW. In this case, it burns one kilowatt hour, that is, it costs us 15 cents an hour. However, this air conditioner heats an area of 25 square meters, and the fan heater is limited to a radius of one or one and a half meters, ”concludes Mr. Agis Papadopoulos.
In general, it’s up to you to choose. But the fact that this winter will be incredibly “hard” is already clear.