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What you need to know before installing an air-conditioner in your home in Spain

The Local Spain
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What you need to know before installing an air-conditioner in your home in Spain
You can't just install an air-conditioning unit in your home without first checking the rules. (Photo by SAM PANTHAKY / AFP)

It’s becoming clear how hot Spain gets during summer and for many pulling down the shutters down or using a fan doesn't cut it. So what should homeowners and renters consider before thinking of installing an air-conditioner?

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So you've probably realised that the only way you are going to survive the next two-and-a-half months is by installing an air conditioning unit. And quick.

But what are the rules?  Is there anything stopping you and why on earth didn’t the previous occupants install one?

Well, for starters, they may have done and then decided to take it with them to their next residence. So don’t jump to the conclusion that just because there isn’t one, air-conditioning is banned.

However, there are rules and regulations in every building so you need to check.

If you rent the property:

If you are renting, first of all check your contract and see if there are any clauses about air-conditioning units. If there is no clause expressly forbidding air conditioning units there may be something about making any kind of alterations to the property.

Article 23 of the Spanish Urban Leasing Law (Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos or LAU) establishes that the tenant may not carry out works that modify the property without the written consent of the landlord.

It’s not clear exactly whether installing an air conditioner is classified as a “modification” by law but the only way to avoid problems is to check with your landlord. Try to reason with them that the property is too hot and becoming unliveable, and that future tenants are likely to experience the same issues.

To avoid problems and potentially having to remove the air conditioner and return the property to its original state at the end of the tenancy, write a written request, providing details of air-conditioning unit, its brand, dimensions, etc and where you plan to install it and ensure you get written consent.

READ MORE: Renting property in Spain - Know your rights as a tenant


If you own the property:

You might think it would be easier if you own the property but you will still have to check what rules apply to air conditioning units in your building and seek permission from the comunidad – residents community.


Comunidad rules and regulations:

Unfortunately, these differ from building to building depending on the whim of the homeowner’s association.

Sometimes, air conditioning units are banned from the façade of the building for reasons of aesthetics. Other times there are rules in placed as to where exactly the units can be place in order to limit noise.

 If there are no particular ‘statutes’ laid down by the homeowners’ association then you will still need permission and this can be sought with a request put to an “owners’ meeting”. Usually, a majority vote is all that is needed for consent.

READ ALSO: What property owners in Spain need to know about homeowners’ associations


Rules set by your town hall

Some local councils lay down laws about air conditioning units, the type that can be installed and their location.

There could be rules about the distance they should be from a neighbours window and also about how noisy they are and what hours they can be used.

So always check with your ayuntamiento to avoid sanctions.

What next?

Once you have the consent you need and have checked the rules in your local area then find the air conditioning unit you want.

Air-conditioning units cost from around €600 (plus installation) for a 2,000 BTU (frigorías) unit, which is sufficient to cool an average size room.

READ MORE: How much does it cost to have air conditioning at home in Spain?

Air-conditioners can be noisy, so check the noise level before choosing one.

If you discover it’s just too complicated to install an air conditioning unit, then you may want to opt for a pingüino – or a penguin as portable air conditioning units are dubbed in Spain. Basically the bigger they are, the more effective but some require an outlet hose that can go through a window.

Bear in mind too that they can be expensive to run.

If all else fails, just do what the Spanish do. Roll down the shutters, turn off the lights and siesta through the hottest part of the day.


Aire acondicionado – air conditioner

Instalación del aparato – installation of the unit

Comunidad de propietarios / comunidades de vecinos – Homeowners association / Residents committee

Estatutos de la Comunidad: Rules of the Building

Ola de calor  - heat wave

La normativa – the rules/regulations

Pingüino – penguin – portable air conditioner


READ ALSO: Ceiling fan vs air con in Spain -  Which offers the better price-coolness ratio?


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