The odd thing about the Balkans is the way that the seasons seem to stop and start the moment that there is a change in the month. It is now well into September and I have almost forgotten how unbearably hot it was just a few weeks ago and how the windows and shutters remained closed during the day to keep the heat down, and outside the house. Now it is the opposite, the idea being, to keep the heat inside the house. So, it is now time to think about realistically heating our homes and to address the practical problems facing us all; how to keep warm over the winter months.
The Greeks quite recently got the message about overcharging their indigenous population when it comes to many of their household items, but the Greek government does not always agree with this view. If you are fortunate enough to believe you are able to afford heating oil, then you will have to wait until November, before there is an announcement by the Greek government about the so called discounted price of heating fuel. Since heating oil is just normal diesel fuel - by another name - they will try and keep the retail price as close to the high street garage pump price, as they can.
Seen as a serious opportunity to collect more cash to support the ailing Greek economy, many ordinary people are not prepared these days to take this risk, or to wait for the announcement to take place. Consequently, as in the last few years, we are all planning ahead with our heating needs and ordering our logs, for the forthcoming cold months. But - and this is a big but - how has the price of logs faired, since last year?
Greeks maybe a little more adept at delivering logs than in other parts of the Balkans, and so there are three choices for delivery. Firstly, you can buy logs of various sizes strapped to a pallet, secondly logs can be delivered in glass fiber bags – in both cases, they can be craned into a convenient spot – and finally, dropped off the back of a truck in a big pile ready for your exercise regime to move into gear. This month the latter method attracts the price of 95 EUR for two cubic meters or a one tonne delivery to the pile of your choice.
Bulgaria is obviously cheaper, because most of the Greeks logs come from there anyway. But, not if like me, you live just across the border from Bulgaria. In no time at all, the Bulgarians have decided that they too can charge the same amount as the locals for delivery to my home in Greece, claiming transport costs and the like. So, what is the solution? The answer is a pellet stove!
There are many such stoves for sale in Europe which seem to vary so greatly in price, that some must be exceptional. No, they are not. They are just more expensive because they are German, Austrian, Italian, or American, etc., etc. However, the Bulgarians have now come up with their own little winner! It is called the PS9 Pony, is made by a company called Erato in Haskovo and is for sale at 30% less than the advertised price of similar units from other parts of the world.
This is their blurb:- The ERATO Pony PS9 is steel-plate hot air pellet stove, which uses solid Biomass fuel in the shape of pellets. The stove is designed for local heating domestic and office spaces. The boiler uses wood pellets, as well as other types/shapes of biomass and the resulting heat energy from thermo-chemical conversion - combustion process - is then transmitted from the heat-exchanging surfaces to the surrounding air.
Have a look at http://www.erato.bg and see for yourself. Sounds good doesn't it? Well next month I will let you know, when mine is installed, what has really happened and how well it works!