It’s been pretty cold in our part of Greece, although admittedly, not as cold as I have experienced in many parts of Canada. But where I am located, the winds can whip off the sea for days without a break at 40 kmh with gusts up to in excess of 60 kmh during this time of the year. It can feel pretty darn cold when the thermometer drops below freezing or even above, hovering mostly between 3 and 6C as it has here.
Greek houses are not insulated against the cold, which is a problem. But then, most of the time, these cold days don’t last too long most of the time. Last year though, we had cold that was not typical including winter storms that brought a long period of blizzard conditions at the end of January. But winter continued even into April, with snow arriving along with some cold days that month. Many put off their typical garden planting and planning.
This January, we’ve had a relatively mild winter compared to last year, up until now. February hit with a cold spell that has seen our temperatures drop to freezing and even below for a short period. Night time temperatures presently are are 3-4 Celsius, with day time not warming up all that much.
There is a fireplace in the house, which can add a nice atmosphere, but fireplaces are generally very inefficient at heating spaces. Sure, you are sitting close to it, you can be toasty warm – but the rest of the house is cold.
We also have electric heating but in Greece, heating with electricity is going to cost you and arm and a leg, and maybe some other body parts as well. With electricity rates on the rise, I really did not want to supplement heating with electric powered units.
So, I purchased a somewhat portable (it has wheels) Provence Gas Heater that runs on propane or butane. (Read More Below The Photos):
Provence Heater Benefits
In Greece, propane and butane has some benefits and many will use it to boil water, and as I’ve learned, heat spaces. Greek restaurant owners will even heat outdoor spaces to make their dining guests more comfortable in the cooler months!
While natural gas might be even better, there is not much natural gas infrastructure, at least to my eye and understanding, and that is still being built out. Where I am now, I doubt they’ll ever run a natural gas pipeline.
But I was interested in whether a propane/butane heater might would provide warmth to make the larger area living space of the house I’m in more comfortable. It does have a fireplace as mentioned in one corner, but there is no heating benefit to the other corners.
The room I am talking about is a big rectangle, about 10 metres x 6 metres, for a total of 60 M2. It’s an open concept with a kitchen, dining area, and two “sitting areas.”
As I researched, I came across a few propane heaters meant for indoors, with varying prices from about 150 Euros to 440 Euros. The one that I really liked was of course, the most expensive one, with a cast iron design and rustic look. Yes, The Provence.
Claims made were that it could heat a space up to 65 m2 and I noted some reviews that indicated this was a great heater for a room that size.
It comes with claims of having three different heating selections but in fact, the lowest is just a pilot light. But a pilot light is nice.
Other descriptions indicated that on the medium setting (well, the low setting if you disregard the pilot light), it can run for 105 hours on a 10 kg tank of propane.
A summary of the advertised benefits:
- Portable with castor wheels for moving it around.
- Heavy duty design and cast iron construction compared to other heating units.
- Will run for 105 hours on medium with a 10kg tank attached.
- Will heat an area up to 65 M2
- Attractive and rustic appearance
- 3 kW heat output at high setting
- Integral spark ignition means no lighting the burners with external lighters
- Can detect carbon monoxide levels and will shut itself off it detects some amount considered unsafe.
How’s It Working Out Against My Expectations And Hopes?
It’s nice but I was hoping for better. Visually, The Provence heater has a nice rustic look and reminds of my old wood stove that I heated a whole house with in some cold winters between 1995 and 1999 back in Canada. Wood back then was affordable, and I could feed that thing hardwood, get the fire inside going, and it would easily provide heat for several hours – a toasty warm heat of about the same space and the space upstairs.
As the temperature has sunk to 3 degrees C, and with a typical un-insulated house, no, this heater is not providing enough heat output to stay warm and cozy when placed in the middle of the room that is 60 m2 But I also note that I have 2.8 meter ceilings – about 9 1/2 feet tall. Possibly if I had a lower ceiling height, it would work better. Perhaps the specification that it will heat a 652 metre room should actually be cubed metres, not square.
When I use it and the fireplace at the same time, there are parts of the room that feel somewhat warm, but with the outdoor temperature hovering between 3 and 7 degrees Celsius, it never really “warms the place up.” We still need to wear a sweater and even then, it’s just basically taking the chill off.
What About Smaller Spaces?
The house has two bedrooms, both about 12 M2. In those rooms, the Provence heater works like a charm and gets them toasty warm. But there are other more smaller and possibly more economical heaters for that type of room, and especially where you won’t need something so big and stylish.
I think with lower ceilings and living space smaller than the advertised claims about the area it will heat, the Provence would work quite well. It would also be helpful if you have walls that are insulated from the outside cold temperatures.
With the casters, the Provence is fairly easy to move around on a hard surface floor although turning it around a corner is a bit awkward but not something to quibble much about. If you’re floors are carpeted, you’ll want to have some strength though to lift the unit if you want to move it around. The weight of the Provence without the 10kg tank is 34kg (75 lbs). Add the tank, and you’re moving more weight.
Should You Consider Spending The Money On A Provence Heater?
If you want something stylish and visually appealing, and your space is a total of 65 cubic meters or less, then yes, it’s probably a very good choice. If you are looking for portability but also have carpeted floors, you might want to consider that it won’t be as easy to move around as on a hard floor.
You will not need to install a chimney or a flue if you purchase The Provence.
For me personally, my disappointment is only in the fact that it’s not powerful enough for the size of the space I was hoping it would heat, which is smaller in area than what the product literature claims it will heat. If the area of your space is smaller on the other hand, I’d highly recommend considering this heating unit.
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