“Oh, the humidity!” - Common refrain from people on the island in winter
Living on an island means being surrounded by water. It’s beautiful, it’s exotic, and it’s…humid. During winter time, it can get pretty cold and damp. Keeping warm in the resulting climate – both in and outdoors – therefore requires a little extra effort. This is all the more true for those of us living in the more authentic Mallorquin dwellings, i.e. old stone houses with fat stone walls and no central heating.
To get through the winter in Mallorca without freezing your toes off, here’s a few things - big and small - that will make your life easier and definitely more comfortable.
First Fire of the Season
This great wood stove has an outside vent to allow fresh air intake and not extract good oxygen from your home.
1. Dehumidifier #
Wrinkly toilet paper and damp bed sheets? Yes, the humidity can get into the most sacred parts of your home. Do yourself a huge favor and spend some money on a good dehumidifier. This will not only fend off mold, but save you the trouble of having to wipe off the inside of your windows in the mornings.
2. Heaters #
Have you ever wondered about those trucks loaded with big orange bottles driving around the Island? It’s gas. During winter, you see them everywhere, delivering their "butano" to people’s doorsteps. Since electricity is quite expensive, many people keep their houses warm with gas. One of the most common ways is to have a portable “estufa” that can be moved from room to room.
AM Tip: The heat is almost instant but these appliances consume a lot of oxygen so don’t forget to let in some air once in a while, and do not forget to turn it off when you leave your house. Another downside of gas heaters is that the combustion process produces a lot of water vapor. That takes you in the opposite direction of what you want. It humidifies the house; it doesn't dry it out. So, our recommendation is to rule this heating method out
For extra-quick warmth, fan heaters are relatively inexpensive to buy, but might be tough on your electricity bill. Better use for short periods and in small rooms, only.
Insider Tip: To get your washings dry on rainy winter days, place a fan heater underneath your drying rack. Not too close though, you won't want your clothes incinerated!
If you’re more into conventional ways of heating, you can choose among a wide variety of electric heaters. Convection heaters such as oil-filled radiators make a worthwhile low-cost investment. They are safe to use in your absence, i.e. you can set the thermostat to the desired setting and leave the heater on all day (and night) – and if you do switch it off it will keep the warmth for a while.
A good alternative – and one many locals and shivering expats have recently come to swear by – are infrared heaters, available in portable versions and for wall installation. As radiant heaters, they are hot in no time and efficiently drive the damp away. Also, the heat they give off has a lovely almost open-fire feel. There is only one downside: once switched off, infrared heaters cool down right away.
Insider Tip: If your wardrobe feels damp, open the doors and place an infrared heater in front of the opening. It really does the trick.
Natural stone heaters might be slightly more expensive, but they are well worth buying! The heavy stone slabs accumulate the heat and, like infrared heaters, also radiate a wonderful dry and natural heat.
The best of all heating methods though is the most traditional one known to mankind, but not everybody is lucky enough to have access to it. What we're talking about is the good old fireplace. Sitting in your favourite armchair with a cup of tea and a good book, a rug on your knees (better still: a cat) and the fire crackling away – what better way to spend an evening in winter?
Another option with the same effect as a fire place is a pellet stove, The biggest advantage of the pellet stove is its ease of use thanks to the automatic ignition, the power modulation and the fact that these stoves can be programmed. They also very efficient, have a high level of autonomy and are extremely environmentally-friendly thanks to the CO2-neutral fuel. The downside? You have to buy pellets. The cost and supply are an issue to keep in mind.
3. House Slippers #
When it comes to many Spanish dwellings, we’re talking stone walls, tile floors and single-pane windows. The houses are mainly built for a hot climate, i.e. to keep the heat out.
Talking about floors: As nice and cool as they might be to walk on during summer, in winter they virtually turn into indoor ice. Even on the many absolutely gorgeous perfect-weather days we see in Mallorca during the cold season, the feeling of frostbitten feet is a permanent reality on the Island. When that first chilly night makes its entry, go get yourself a nice pair of warm and snug house slippers.
4. Heated Mattress Pad and Heating Blanket #
Oh, heaven! There are not enough words to describe how this soft, heated piece of luxury will change your island life during those months when temperature drops. Can you imagine anything better than, after tiptoeing across those ice-cold tile floors (without those house slippers you haven't yet come round to get!), going feet first into a pre-heated bed? A heated mattress pad will also guarantee you never have to lay down in damp bed sheets again. Get one, get one now! And a heating blanket makes lounging on the sofa on a chill evening quite a pleasurable experience.
5. Draft Stoppers #
In many old houses the draft is literally through the roof, or at least through windows and doors. Keeping your house or apartment warm can be expensive and every little thing you can do to make the heating more efficient will help. Avoid drafty floors with draft stoppers And while you’re at it, why not put a little extra padding in those leaky windows?
6. Carry-on Jacket #
One minute you’re having a leisurely late lunch in the sun in a T-shirt. Then suddenly the sun sets, the temperature drops and you can’t believe you’re on the same Island. Do yourself a favour and buy one of those super light-weight jackets that fits in any purse or back pack, and you’re set to go from summer breeze to winter freeze, just like that. The word on the street is also that layering is the key to everything. Stay warm! Be an onion!
7. Choose the Right Lighting #
Forget about fluorescent lighting fixtures which, for some unfathomable reason, are very popular in many Spanish homes. Frankly, their unflattering blueish-greenish light is as far from mood lighting as you can get! Make sure your home gets that cozy, comfy feel during the darkest months by getting some nice warm-toned lamps and lights. And candles. Light a lot of candles!
#WinteronMallorca #Humidity #Dampness #Dehumidifier #Heating #NaturalStoneHeater #InfraredHeating #GasHeating
By Maria Strömqvist
27 December, 2020