Since the summer is mild here, no one needs air conditioning, but we do need heat for the cold wet days of winter. In Ireland, most everyone has a fire place, and the primary fuel for fires is coal. In some older houses, the fire is the only heating option. Newer houses are usually equipped with a radiator in each room and an oil furnace to heat water and pump it through the radiators. In some new houses, you can set the heat to come on automatically based on the temperature, but we don’t know anyone who actually does that. The system is much more efficient if it runs for at least an hour, the price of oil is high, and the result is that everyone sets the heat to come on once or twice a day. The same system is also used to get hot water, so if you turn on the hot water in our house, the temperature of what comes out will depend greatly on what time of day it is. That’s why most people have an electric shower. It heats water as it goes, so you don’t have to depend on the regular hot water system. We also have an electric kettle that boils water amazingly fast for that nice cup of tea while you sit by the coal fire. There’s no better way in the world to feel warm than that.