As temperatures are expected to continue to plunge in the coming hours, going down to 4 degrees Celsius between Friday and Saturday, many would be thinking about the best method of keeping the home warm and cosy during the cold spells.
The most common items in use for home heating in the Maltese Islands include electric heaters. Although the initial outlay is not very expensive, these heaters are the biggest consumers of energy. Other favoured methods in Maltese homes are gas heaters and air-conditioning units.
tvm.com.mt spoke with an energy expert and asked about the most efficient unit for home use, without running up an expensive bill which could be more chilling than the present cold spell.
The expert replied that according to average calculations based on present electricity tariffs, one would be better off heating one’s home with air conditioners.
The expert explained that 10,000 BTU are required to heat up an average-sized room, and for an electric heater to produce this amount of heat the consumption is 3kWh, which would cost an average of 40 cents an hour at present rates.
For the same amount of heat a heater operating on an LPG cylinder would consume 0.25Kg of gas which, at the present rate, works out at 31 cents per hour.
On the other hand an air conditioner operating on heating mode consumes only 1kWh (twice less than an electric heater), which at present rates would cost 13.4 cents per hour.
The expert explained that although an air conditioning unit is much more expensive to purchase than a small electric heater or a gas heater, on the other hand an A/C is more energy-efficient when compared to the heat it generates.
Meanwhile the Health Ministry has warned in a statement that the cold weather could have a bigger effect, particularly on persons over 65 years of age, those with chronic illnesses and persons with mobility problems. The Ministry is recommending consumption of warm food, and maintaining of internal temperatures at a minimum of 18 degrees Celsius. The Ministry also appealed for a watch to be kept on relatives suffering from some condition and on elderly persons living on their own.