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Just bought small house in Burgundy, can anyone tell me the most ecomomic heating system available. Is it mains gas, wood stove, bottled gas, electricity. Using house earliest April, latest October. Also how do I track down local Marie email address, have tried various things on net. Many thanks Rozi.
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As far as the email is concerned many small communes don't use email and if they do they only check it infrequently; and may then reply by La Poste anyway! Short of calling in person or by phone I can't think of how you could find out. I assume that you have tried google.fr with Mairie and the name of your village.

For your heating ,from our experience, if you are only going to use heating during the warmer months, then the most economical will probably the one that requires the least outlay in purchasing new equipment.

IE Use what is there already.

Which would probably be wood topped up with occasional electricity.

 

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Sorry, I should have made it clear, we are renovating, there is nothing in the way of heating at all, no chimney, radiators, fireplace. Has been empty 20+ years, ancient pre-war wiring now cut off from any supply ect. NO toilet or bathroom either but we were assured that an elderly lady lived there for many years till she went to the retirement home!Rozi
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Rozi

Fortunately you have many option to choose from. What you need to ask is do you want sustainable energy source, active only, passive/active system, load of other questions like that.

Certainly it seems that you are staring from the beginning so that you have the chance to get some major works undertaken if you ant too. It all depends on your available cash and how much you are willing to spend now to save it later.

From my point of view i have particular preferences and I don;t like much giving the oil companies more money than I already am. SO I'm for a passive/active system involving solar for hot water boosted by active pellet/chip burning which also does space heating.

Space heating is a big question and I would start with geothermal leading to underfloor (not rads) and the chip heater or whole log burner to back up and create ambiance.

but there are an abundance of questions which need to be answered before one can design a suitable system for your place. If you want any detailed advice then you should email or PM me and I'll be glad to help.

Best of luck

 

Andrew

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Congratulations !! Whatever heating system you choose do make sure you add a log burner or two!!Maybe these will suffice just for the summer use .What has surprised us this last Autumn has been the difference in windows! When we restored a house 7 years ago double glazing was too expensive and also not sympathetic with the character of the lovely old house.This time round we have plumped for double glazed windows which were only fractionally more expensive to buy and fit ( French workmen doing the work) than the old ones and look absolutely beautiful- totally in keeping!! What a revolution in a few years! Do consider them, they keep a few chills at bay!  Good luck with the restoration!

 

 

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If you go for wood which I think is probably the most cost effective for a start you need to think about supply (you can always bolt on additional underfloor heating etc as the build goes on but you want to start to keep warm now I gather).

Don't go for anything that has a long way to travel - no point in having the latest system if the fuel - wood or other - has to travel miles. Before you fit a wood-burner find out where the nearest woodyard(s) are (unless you have your own wood). Price the various way they deliver wood and buy a log-burner that will take the cheapest wood. We are lucky that we are 2 km from a woodyard and can get logs cut to size delivered or we can collect 1 metre rolls of offcuts of oak or pine (difference in type of wood reflected in price). This will keep you warm in the short term while you decide what you want to finally use for the renovation. We decided on underfloor heating etc etc only to find that the floor will not take the weight - so we have to go for a standard system with rads. You often find you have to make changes according to the build and what you can actually do against what you would rather do. We are looking at ceiling fans to circulate the heat around our large spaces, a normal house would not have that problem - things are never as simple as they seem when you first look at them.

If you are ever thinking of living in the house all the year round, make a nice cosy winter bolt-hole. We may not get winters like this very often but if you can heat and live in comfort in a small part of your house while the temperatures are below zero you will save a lot of money and also be very ecological (we are promised a night above zero tonight - the first for over 8 weeks but then down it dives again). A lot of systems which seem ecological are not very when you do your research. If you can actually cut your heating down dramatically that must be the best way forward.

If you have town gas that you can connect to - I would say your main heat source should probably be that as it is the cheapest at the moment, LPG is probably the least cost effective.

Congrats on the property and I hope you have many years to enjoy your renovation and lots of fun doing it.

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Having spent 5 years living in Burgundy I recommend:

 - the best insulation and lots of it

 - make sure you can drain all the water from your system so if you need to leave the house over winter you can drain it

it gets very cold in the winter for long periods - but it is beautiful when its so cold.

We used oil central heating, with an excellent wood burning stove in the main room.  For a large 4 bedroomed mill house we used about £400 a year for the oil and about 5 steres (cubic metres) of wood.  Wood is plentiful in most of Burgundy, and if you're renovating from scratch you'll have lots of dodgy beams you can cut up to supplement whatever you buy.

We've now moved to the Vendee (long story) and are looking into Geothermal heating - this sounds interesting but as we haven't yet bought the house I can't tell you much about that yet except what I've read on the internet.

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  • 2 years later...
From the little bit of research that I have done on pellets stoves, I remember two things specifically:

  • pellets suppliers are very unevenly distributed in France, so there will be no competition price-wise
  • you have to choose a model with automatic distribution, otherwise you'll be feeding it all the time (or so it will appear!)
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[quote user="Barrym"]

Having spent 5 years living in Burgundy I recommend:

 - the best insulation and lots of it

 - make sure you can drain all the water from your system so if you need to leave the house over winter you can drain it

it gets very cold in the winter for long periods - but it is beautiful when its so cold.

We used oil central heating, with an excellent wood burning stove in the main room.  For a large 4 bedroomed mill house we used about £400 a year for the oil and about 5 steres (cubic metres) of wood.  Wood is plentiful in most of Burgundy, and if you're renovating from scratch you'll have lots of dodgy beams you can cut up to supplement whatever you buy.

We've now moved to the Vendee (long story) and are looking into Geothermal heating - this sounds interesting but as we haven't yet bought the house I can't tell you much about that yet except what I've read on the internet.

[/quote]

I am guessing that the age of the above post (March 2005) is a contributing factor BUT we have just used  870 Euros worth of oil in 8 weeks with the central heating boiler just on minimum - to keep the pipes from freezing.  Granted it has been -8 C at night for much of the time, the house is quite big (250 sq M) and the boiler is quite old (though a good make) but nevertheless that is a hell of a lot of money going up in smoke, so to speak.  We are now seriously considering not using the house from October to April and draining everything down.

Kathie

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We have yet to find out!!  We are having a new central heating boiler installed over the summer (another 5500 to 7500 euro into the French money pit!) and renewing all the insulation so, hopefully, next winter will be a little cheaper.  If not, we'll just stay put in good ole blighty!

Kathie

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I would echo the point made about insulation.  Specially the roof.

With our first house, we thought we would be using it only for the April-Oct period that you mentioned, but gradually found reasons to go in the winter as well - and wished we had heeded the builder's advice to do that insulation at the time we replaced the roof.  It wouldn't have cost a lot more, and would have made a huge difference throughout.

Re the superfluous old beams to use for firewood, you do need to be careful when sawing them up, as they tend to be full of rusty nails that play havoc with saw teeth.  I am almost at the end of the supply of cut-up old beams resulting from doing up two houses over 20 years.  Maybe time to take on a third  !!  ;-)

Angela

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