Fact check for savings: How good is the hydraulic balancing energy tip?

Energy experts particularly emphasize a tip for saving heating heat: hydraulic balancing for heating systems.

Fact check for savings: How good is the hydraulic balancing energy tip?

Energy experts particularly emphasize a tip for saving heating heat: hydraulic balancing for heating systems. What is behind it - and how much do you actually save with it?

Many of the energy-saving tips that are currently being mentioned are of some use - no question about it. But anyone who is struggling to save every euro in view of the rising prices must be aware that these tips are often associated with high investments. This also includes hydraulic balancing. An overview:

What is hydronic balancing?

During this comparison, an expert determines how much heat output is actually required to heat the individual living rooms of a house. Based on this, he adjusts the required amount of water for the heating system and the optimal flow temperature.

In addition, the pump performance and the necessary resistances in the heating circuit are calculated. This ensures, for example, that exactly the required amount of water always flows from the circulation pump to the radiators and back. Because if too much or too little water flows, not all rooms in the house are heated evenly. The result: colder radiators are turned on more. This causes unnecessary costs.

The measure is carried out by heating contractors and, depending on the size of the system, takes several hours, perhaps with an interruption of two days for the calculation.

Can the hydraulic balance be carried out on every heating system?

The hydraulic balance can be made on almost all water-bearing heating systems - whether with radiators, wall or underfloor heating, according to Stefan Materne from the energy advice service in the Federal Consumer Association. Excluded are older systems with radiators without presettable radiator valves. These would first have to be exchanged for 100 to 150 euros per piece.

Stefan Materne recommends balancing on every heating system that is newly installed. This is even a prerequisite for promotional loans.

But hydronic balancing is also useful in existing systems, where it can bring about high energy savings - especially if you can't afford a more expensive heating replacement at the moment. "And there is good news: If you then replace the boiler a few years after the hydronic adjustment, the result is retained," adds Materne. Because during the adjustment, the entire system that follows the boiler is permanently fine-tuned.

Signs that the heater is working inefficiently and could do with hydraulic balancing include:

- the rooms do not get warm

- Some radiators stay cooler than others with the same thermostat setting or heat up later

- gurgling noises

How much does hydraulic balancing cost?

"Around 600 to 1200 euros depending on the size of the property or the heating system" you have to spend on this measure, according to energy consultant Stefan Materne.

There is government funding via the "Heating Optimization" program at the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (Bafa): For the costs of such measures to improve the efficiency of heating systems, you get 20 percent back after applying. In the case of a hydraulic balance, however, the circulating pump must be replaced at the same time, which entails additional costs.

How much can you save?

The energy consumption when heating radiators can be reduced by up to 15 percent through hydraulic balancing, according to the "Intelligent heating" portal of the VdZ - Economic Association for Building and Energy and the non-profit consulting company co2online. Energy advice from the Federation of Consumer Organizations assumes savings of up to five percent.

The information varies greatly - there are reasons. "The savings depend on the available energy sources and the condition of the system," says Stefan Materne.

It gets more concrete with a calculation example: The Braunschweig/Wolfenbüttel University of Applied Sciences proved for the Optimus study of the German Federal Environmental Foundation that on average all buildings achieve a savings potential of seven kilowatt hours per square meter of area per year.

If this figure is transferred to a sample house with 130 square meters, at a cost of 16 cents per kilowatt hour of gas, savings of 910 kilowatt hours and 145 euros per year are possible (as of the end of June). According to Materne, there is a further saving after the adjustment: due to the good setting of the pump performance, it consumes less electricity.

Is it worth it?

From a financial point of view - not at first glance. The investment costs are higher than you could get out of savings this winter. But heating costs were high even before the supply crisis and they are likely to remain so for gas and oil heating systems. In this respect, hydraulic balancing is an investment in the future. Depending on the heating system, the costs for the adjustment will be amortized in a few years.

The heat check from the non-profit consulting company co2online is suitable for a rough calculation of when this will be the case in a household or for the respective heating system.

Materne also warns that his calculations are conservative. This measure may result in higher relief. In addition, the pump requires less power as a result of the settings, noise pollution in the living room is possibly reduced and comfort is increased through faster and more efficient heat distribution. Despite the high investment costs, his verdict is: "It's definitely worth it."

But there is currently even more to consider: those who can afford this investment are making a contribution to a goal for society as a whole. Among other things, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck has called for joint energy saving in order to maintain security of supply in Germany: "We are in a situation where I have to say clearly that every kilowatt hour of energy saved helps." (quote from 30.3.2022). And hydraulic balancing reduces the CO2 emissions of a heating system. You are also making a contribution to climate protection.

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