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Immersion Heaters in Italy

If you are English, you will know that an immersion heater is that dome topped tank that often lives in an airing cupboard.  Well, in Italy airing cupboards do not seem to exist for a start, and the Italian equivalent of an immersion heater is the ‘scalda bagno’ (or ‘boiler’, I think), which is generally a long white insulated cylinder, and sits either vertically or horizontally, and often lives in a bathroom, where it may well lurk directly above the bathtub.

These things are electrically powered, which means they can cost a small fortune to run, especially when they are, as ours was, left on all the time. I remember when ours was put in because I actually asked the plumber about adding a timer. The reaction I got was a rather blank look followed by a ‘Yes’. However both the plumber and my other half left me under the distict impression that I was asking about something that most Italians would never even think of. And the timer was not added. Well, I thought at the time, this thing is going to cost a lot to run.

Then, a short time ago we received an eye wateringly high electricity bill. Other half was shocked, and was not too happy when I brought up the subject of the timer. I think she thought I was trying to say ‘Well, I told you so.’, which means she got the message.

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Rising electricity prices mean that these Italian style electric water heaters, if left on all the time, will run up large electricity bills. However, with a little insistence at the time of installation, a timer can be added to the installation. It may cost a few Euros more, but your wallet will be heavier in the long term, of that I’m sure.

As for our energy burner, I’ve yet to find the requisite timer, and the fact that the thing is wired to the wall does not make it easy to put one of those plug in timers, without messing about with wiring. This is not my forte, so at some point, I suppose I have to fork out for an electrician. Oh well, such is life.

Moral of the story: If you are buying a home in Italy, and would rather not donate cash to the electricity companies or spend your time forgetting to switch the water heater on, get a timer put in.

Even better, of course, would be to use solar power to heat your water. But that is another story…

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