Are you worried about the next heating season? Use the time until then to prepare. A little fine-tuning of the heating system and a little DIY in the basement will reduce heating costs next winter.
After the heating season is before the heating season. And that has always meant that anyone who needs or wants to have their system overhauled should work from spring to early autumn. Otherwise you run the risk that nothing will work on cold days.
Now there is another consideration: the rising costs of gas, oil and electricity. And a little preventive care on the heating system can be a savings option. Here's what you can do to make your heating more efficient:
1. Hydraulic balancing
With older heating systems, the so-called hydraulic balancing can be worthwhile - to reduce heating costs and also to increase comfort. With this comparison, plumbing experts determine the heat output required for each living space. Based on this, the required amount of water for the heating system and the optimum flow temperature are set.
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.
Signs that the heating could do with hydraulic balancing: Rooms do not get warm, some radiators in the house stay cooler than others with the same thermostat setting, or they heat up later. Gurgling noises are also a sign of inefficiency.
Saving potential: The energy consumption for heating radiators should be reduced by up to 15 percent through these new settings, according to the "Intelligent heating" portal of the VdZ - Economic Association for Buildings and Energy. Energy advice from the Federation of Consumer Organizations assumes savings of up to five percent.
Costs: Around 925 euros for an average single-family house, according to the non-profit consulting company Co2online. A subsidy from the state is only available if the heating pump is replaced at the same time.
2. Have the heater serviced and cleaned
The boiler should be free of dirt, because that affects the combustion processes - and that costs money. Regular maintenance and cleaning is therefore recommended. "Intelligent heating" recommends doing this annually after each heating season.
Savings potential: According to "Intelligent heating" around ten percent
Costs: According to the Central Association for Sanitary, Heating and Air Conditioning, the costs depend on the type of device, the age of the system and the scope of the inspection services. Co2online gives the average maintenance costs at around 160 euros.
3. Insulate exposed heating pipes
Exposed and uninsulated heating pipes and valves in unheated rooms such as in the basement give off heat - which they should actually transport to the living areas. But there is something you can do about it - and you don't even need to have DIY experience for that: Anyone can insulate exposed heating pipes themselves. For example with insulation shells that can be easily placed around the pipes. The consumer advice center NRW explains in a video on YouTube how this works.
By the way: The insulation of the heating pipes, lines and fittings in unheated rooms is even mandatory according to the Building Energy Act of 2020.
Savings potential: According to the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer advice center, up to 200 kilowatt hours of energy per meter of pipe in unheated areas can be used for living spaces that would otherwise be lost on the way there.
Costs: Pipe insulation plus glue and insulating tape are available for three to ten euros per meter in hardware stores.
Extra tip: In older buildings, especially in buildings from the 1960s and 1970s, the niches for the radiators can still be uninsulated. According to calculations by the North Rhine-Westphalia Consumer Advice Center, up to 15 euros of heat can be wasted per square meter per year. Insulation panels and mats are a solution, they are airtight on the wall. An aluminum lamination can be placed on top of it, which should also help to save money.
4. Venting at the next start of heating
You should remember this savings tip until the next time you turn on your radiators. If it doesn't get really warm, especially in the upper area, there is air in the lines. She has to go. Gurgling noises are also a sign of this.
This is how it works in a nutshell: When venting, the valve on the side of the radiator is opened with a square wrench and left open until only water comes out. The DIY Academy advises that only a little water can escape. Otherwise you may have to refill some of the system. More detailed instructions can be found at "Intelligent Heizen", the DIY Academy also explains how to refill heating water.
Savings potential: According to Co2online, venting can save around 60 euros in gas in a 110 square meter single-family house, for example, and around 30 euros in a 70 square meter apartment in an apartment building.
Costs: Simple square keys are available online or in hardware stores for less than two euros.
(This article was first published on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.)