To have a house in Mallorca
have a house in Mallorca can be different to have a house in northern Europe.
Houses in or near villages often have mains water and sewer as well as electricity.
But in the country you are most often not connected. What do you do? Look below!
the country few houses have mains electricity and if they have, the capacity
is low. Solar electricity from solar modules is the usual solution, often
combined with a stand by gas- or diesel-powered generator.
A very good analysis of the design of a solar electric system can be found here 070626
This electricity is first used for the low voltage (12 volt) water pump and secondly for illumination with low voltage lamps (12 Volt). Halogen lamps gives more light per energy unit compared to ordinary light bulbs and fluorescent lamps are even better. LED bulbs are the most efficient and they last a whole lot longer than regular halogen bulbs, but they are still expensive. A TV and a DVD or Video player can be run with the use of an inverter which converts 12 volt DC to 220 volt AC.
The system is built with one or more solar panels, a regulator and a battery.
The size of the solar panels ( 1, 2 ) depends on your needs and the provider of the panels can help you with the necessary calculations. A solar panel of 100 watt is the minimum in most cases.
The regulator must match the peak output of the panels. It can be worth to invest in a microprocessor controlled regulator to protect the batteries against damage due to over charge or over discharge.
You must use deep cycle lead-acid batteries to store the solar energy. These batteries are more expensive but will outlast normal car-batteries several times. The battery room must be well ventilated to avoid explosive concentrations of hydrogen.
The inverter is often the modified sine wave type, which is good for most appliances.
You can also have an automatic system there the generator starts if the load is high.
A good source for finding an inverter at a fair price is Ebay. There are several good German suppliers with very good prices. Search for Spannungswandler or Wechselrichter. A 1500/3000 Watt inverter can be had for less than 200 €.
There is sometimes a possibility to get a connection to the main electricity net (GESA). You will have to share the connection cost if there is no cable at your plot. The cost varies depending on circumstances. Furthermore there is the cost of connecting your house and certifying the installation. To be able to get a connection you must have a Cedula de Habilidad, that is a paper saying that your house is a proper house for living in. This paper can be difficult to get. A way around this is to drill a legal deep well and apply for connection of the pump. Later you can connect the house. You do not have to pay for the line to your plot if it is older than five years
you do not have mains water there is most often a water reservoir (cisterna)
dug into the ground. It can be filled from your own well (pozo) or by a
tanker delivering drinking water (agua potable). If you have a well of your
own test the water quality. If the reservoir has not been used for some time
clean it and test for leaks. Bottled water is used for drinking.
Warm water is provided by a gas (butano) heater. It has to be mounted in a well ventilated place.
In older houses the sewage will run into a pozo negro, a hole in the ground lined with bricks or stones. This is now illegal. The modern way is a fosa septica, in which the sewage will pass several chambers to be cleaned.
gas (butano) cooker is the usual even then there is mains electricity.
The butano is provided by Repsol who has depots around Majorca.
To buy the larger bottles you have to have your house inspected which is not
required for the smaller bottles. The larger ones are more economical. It is
however easy to find second hand large bottles in the markets in Consell
or Magaluff. A scales can be uses for measuring the amount of gas in the bottle. Always
have a bottle in reserve. There are automatic valves connecting
two bottles, shifting
to a full bottle when one is empty. A gas alarm is recommended it can
be powered from 12 volt.
butane heater is very efficient but it is imperative with a good ventilation.
Do not leave it on overnight. A wood fired stove is also efficient and can
sometimes store some of the heat to give a prolonged warmth.
you do not live in or near a village it can be both difficult and expensive
to get a telephone installed. The alternative is a mobile phone. A cash card
can be practical specially if you get your mobile stolen. Moviestar
are the big operators. Unfortunately the technical knowledge of the sales
staff is very low. Also see below.
A mobile phone with a an inbuilt modem can also be used to connect a laptop
computer to the internet. Surfing on
Internet can be expensive. To decrease the size of data transferred you can
switch off pictures in Explorer. Another alternative is to use ONSPEED,
a program that redirects your data-flow through a separate server for
compression of text and pictures before sending them to your computer for
decompression. The cost is 40 euro for a 12-month subscription. It can be
used for all kinds of connections to the Net. I am using it myself with good
A better alternative is to connect by a radio link using WiMax technique. A company which covers most of Mallorca is freefil www.freefil.com . The cost of connection is about 300€ with a monthly rate of 29€ (+IVA) for the lowest speed 768/384 Kbps. No limit for data transfer. You can also have a telephone line via an adaptor (78€ (+IVA) can be rented) with which you also get a proper telephone number. Monthly rate is 7.50€ (+IVA) for 180 free minutes to all of Europe. The company is mostly Spanish speaking . 090212
A traditional roof of a Mallorcan house is built of wooden beams (vigas) covered with hollow brick boards (rasillones)(earlier bamboo canes). This is covered with mortar (earlier clay). On top of this roofing tiles, first laid out as rows with the concave side up (tejas de canal) and then covering the intermediate space with tiles which have the concave side downwards (tejas superior). As the intermediate channels are narrow it is important to keep them free from blockage, otherwise the rain can flow over the sides of the tiles and into the house. This because the roof under the tiles is often not waterproof. The tiles are brittle and break easily, always have new tiles in reserve. The new tile can be fastened with mortar or silicone. 051128
Building and Renovating
If you want to build a new house or renovate an old house it is essential to find a builder you can trust. The process includes a lot of paperwork so you need a builder that can take care of that and also give a proper estimate of the costs in writing. We used a German builder Dressler Construcciones Baleares S.L. which we can recommend . They speak English. Otherwise you need to ask around for personal recommendations. 080509
The Pine Processionary Moth
caterpillars of the Pine Processionary Moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa)
(Oruga procesionaria del pino) is a serious threat to the pines of
Mallorca. The caterpillar eats the pine needles at night and return to the
nest at daytime during the winter. You can easily se the nest and they look
like birds nest. In springtime you can se the fully grown caterpillars on the
ground often linked to a long chain. They are looking for suitable soil for
Do not touch the caterpillars as their hair causes skin rashes and eye irritations and susceptible individuals can also develop an allergic response. Life threatening reactions can occur in dogs.
The caterpillars bury themselves in the ground and form their cocoons. The moths begin to emerge from the soil in August and shortly thereafter mate and seek out pine trees where they place their eggs. Each female produces a single egg mass containing up to 300 eggs, which it fastens to a needle of a suitable host trees. The caterpillars typically evolve from the eggs four or more weeks after they are laid. You can combat them in different ways. Spraying with bacteria is often used in Malloca. Pheromones to lure them into traps is another solution. More information here , here and here. 100911