Our first winter in Mallorca was . . . challenging. It wasn’t until the week before Christmas that we finally had electricity in our rural finca (after eight months without being able to plug in anything electrical). Although we had a traditional Mallorcan metal fireplace in our sitting room, its heat failed to reach the rest of the house (and most of the sitting room, actually).
We had to resort to using the butano-powered heaters kindly left for us by the previous owners, if we wanted additional heat. And we did. Back in the UK, we’d been used to a centrally heated cottage, with an inglenook fireplace and, hombre, did we miss those warm radiators!
Water, water, everywhere
The problem with heaters using butane gas is that they give off a lot of moisture – far more than you’d ever suspect (I did once read some alarming statistics about this but can’t now find them). It was only after we’d been using the heaters for a while that we became aware of a general dampness around the house. We decided to buy a dehumidifier.
Back in the UK, we’d once had a radiator burst upstairs while we were both out at work. I returned home to find the house full of steam, the kitchen ceiling hanging down and water everywhere downstairs. We hired an industrial-strength dehumidifier for a week or two to help dry the place out. No way did I want to live again with something that noisy or large.
A sucker for comfort
Much to our surprise, every electrical retailer in town seemed to sell dehumidifiers; we’ve since realised that they are a winter essential.
Even though we’ve long stopped using butane heaters in our home, there is still good reason to use the dehumidifer every winter day when there is enough sunshine to fuel our solar power system (ie, when we have free energy). Moisture from using the shower, cooking, and from the generally damp winter climate is all worth removing, for a warmer and drier feel indoors. I am often amazed at the amount of water that the dehumidifier sucks out from the atmosphere, even with regular use.
A five-star solution
I recently attended a press lunch at a luxury boutique hotel in the mountains, which coincided with my weekly radio broadcast about what’s on in Mallorca. The hotel manager kindly allowed me to use their best suite – and it was rather fabulous and pleasantly warm – for the 10-minute phone link to the radio station on the mainland.
As I waited for the phone call, I had a little look around and, to my surprise, found a dehumidifer (the same model as ours) in the corner of the lounge area. And it was almost full of water. Even luxury hotels and homes can fall victim to damp in the Mallorcan winter . . .