One of the things that usually takes the most getting used to in a new country of residence is the climate. International travel takes a matter of hours nowadays, and so it is possible to change seasons in one flight. Also, architecture in a country is determined largely by the climate, so this is something that one needs to adapt to in constructing, designing or selecting a property.
One of the main differences between South Africa and countries in the northern hemisphere is that there is no central heating in South African houses and buildings. In South Africa, central heating is the preserve of the seriously wealthy. It’s regarded as a luxury addition to a house, and strictly speaking it isn’t even necessary. “Cold” in South Africa means about 10 degree Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). Colder than that, and you’ll need a heater and some extra blankets, but central heating is a major expense if you’re only going to use it for two months of the year.
Well, maybe a little more than two months. Remember that summer in South Africa can be very hot, so air-conditioning is far more common. Many buildings in South African cities have some form of air-conditioning, and some private homes as well. But the aircon can be adjusted to either hot or cold, depending on the season, so it isn’t exclusively a heating system.
Probably because central heating is so uncommon in South Africa, it can be very pricey. The cost of initial installation will depend on the size and dimensions of your building or house, but monthly heating costs can amount to in excess of ZAR500 per room. Consider that the price of electricity is constantly increasing in South Africa. You can also make use of gas for heating, but then the question is – why install a central heating system when a few large heaters will do the trick?
Ultimately, it’s a cost-effect analysis that needs to be done on each individual structure, and if your preference is for central heating then there are companies in South Africa who can do the installation. It is definitely an option. Central heating will greatly add to the value of your property if you decide to sell, but generally speaking it is seen as a luxury feature in South Africa, and so if you are looking for a property to buy you should keep this in mind, as it can influence the asking price.