Save energy and cut your heating costs

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Saving energy and cutting your heating costs go hand in hand. This is because government figures show that heating the living space accounts for more than two thirds of the final energy consumption of private households. The energy required for DHW heating is not included in this figure. So for this reason alone, it's worth introducing some energy saving measures. Other reasons for reducing heating costs are also emerging, not least the worsening levels of environmental pollution, the objectives for energy transition and, most especially, rising fuel prices. With the right measures and the appropriate practices, it's quite easy to make energy saving part of your everyday routine.

For instance, you can bleed your heating system in just a few simple steps. Once all the air bubbles are removed from the heating system, the heating water is able to flow smoothly through the heating pipes and transfer its heat to the rooms unhindered. This not only brings greater thermal comfort but also eliminates annoying noises such as humming or gurgling.

You can also lower the temperature in a room, depending on the room's function and the time of day. This will enable you to use energy much more efficiently. Proper ventilation also helps to save energy. You can find out how this is done in the section below. And the best thing of all is that all these measures cost you nothing and can be easily integrated into everyday life.

To reap the benefits of further savings, technical measures need to be implemented. Hydronic balancing and regular maintenance of your heating system by your local heating contractor are the most effective ways of saving energy and reducing your heating costs in the long term. Last but not least, it also worth reducing your water and electricity consumption to save energy right across the board.

How can you save energy?

One effective way of saving energy is to change your heating practices, which can also reduce your heating costs. However, this does not mean compromising on comfort or freezing within your own four walls. The following three tips can be easily integrated into your everyday life with little effort:

A heating system is a closed system in which the heating water heated by the heat generator circulates. In practice, however, air can get into the system, for example through diffusion or when work is carried out on the heat generator. Air bubbles are formed which prevent the heat being distributed evenly in the radiator. It's not uncommon for strange to annoying noises to occur as a result. If this happens, the radiator needs to be bled. Our guide to bleeding the heating system shows you how to go about this and what to look out for.

Bleeding the radiators is not the only method to reduce heating costs. Proper ventilation of rooms is also considered one of the most effective means of saving energy. Important: when ventilating the room, open windows fully for a short time (about five minutes) instead of leaving them slightly open for a long time. Windows that are slightly open bring in little fresh air, but allow a lot of heat out. Turn down your heating while you are airing the room. Repeat the process up to three times a day if possible. Depending on the season, you can also ventilate for longer than 5 minutes.

The perception of heat is always subjective. One person may like it very warm, the other a little cooler. However, one thing is certain: it does not have to be the same temperature everywhere in the house or apartment. After all, the rooms are used in different ways and are also indirectly heated, for example by the people in them or running electrical appliances.

Keep temperatures at the following levels:

In the playroom, study and living room 20 to 22 degrees Celsius, in the kitchen and bedroom approx. 18 degrees Celsius and in the hallway 15 degrees Celsius. The savings potential shows how important the right room temperature is: if you lower the room temperature by just one degree Celsius, this reduces heating costs by up to six percent – at least in an older building. For new buildings, the savings may be smaller.

Technical measures to reduce heating costs

To save energy and reduce heating costs in the long term, the tips already mentioned are not enough. In practice, the best possible savings potential comes from a combination of correct heating practices and technical optimisation. The latter includes hydronic balancing and regular heating system maintenance by a specialist.

Hydronic balancing for optimum heat distribution

Radiators in a building do not often warm up evenly. The greater the distance from the heat generator or the thinner the heating pipes, the greater the resistance encountered by the heating water as it flows through the system. This means that not everywhere gets the same amount of water resulting in some radiators getting warmer than others. This means that a lot of energy is needed to heat every room to the required temperature.

To ensure that all radiators in a particular system are supplied with the exact amount of heat required for each room in question, a procedure known as hydronic balancing needs to be carried out.

Independent studies have proven that hydronic balancing of a heating system increases energy efficiency by up to 15 percent. This not only saves energy, but also reduces heating costs. If a heating system is to be installed in accordance with the German heating system regulations in DIN 4701 and the German Construction Contract Procedures (VOB), hydronic balancing is mandatory anyway. However, there is no legal requirement for any heating system owner.

Save energy with regular and expert maintenance

Regular heating system maintenance extends the service life of your heating system and ensures reliable, trouble-free operation. This is the only way to make sure that the energy from the fuel is used efficiently and cleanly, thus protecting the environment and saving on heating bills – without compromising high heating and DHW convenience.

The boiler, burner and control unit form a system like that of a car engine. If your car was in operation for the same amount of time as your boiler, it would cover more than 60,000 miles in a year. And all car owners know that they need to have a service carried out at regular intervals. Therefore your heating system should be serviced at least once a year, much like your car.

In Germany, more than five million heating systems are either not serviced at all or only when something goes wrong, even though regular servicing is one of the obligations of operators of heating and hot water systems (para. 3, sect. 3 German Energy Saving Ordinance – EnEV).

The benefits of regular servicing

Regular servicing not only saves energy, but also reduces heating costs. According to experts, potential input energy savings of five to seven percent can be achieved when compared with the energy usage of a heating system which is not serviced. This means that considerably fewer resources have to be used for heating. Having your heating system serviced, therefore, ensures environmentally responsible operation.

Greater efficiency and extended service life of the heating system
Reduced heating costs
Greater operational reliability of the heating system
Constant high level of heating and DHW convenience
Heat generated with reduced CO2 emissions due to economical and environmentally responsible operation
Conservation of resources through efficient use of the input energy

Reduce your heating costs with energy saving tips from the professionals

Tips for saving energy do not have to be difficult to implement. You can also do a lot yourself in just a few steps. This will help you save energy and reduce future heating bills.

Airtight joints on windows and doors are indispensable for heating economically. Before the heating season, you should check the seals and replace them if necessary.

Insulating heating pipes is simple and does not involve a lot of work or expense. It also allows you to save energy.

Check the function of the thermostatic valves regularly. A sluggish or even stuck thermostat will reduce heating output. To save energy, it's advisable to rectify any issues.

Combine all measures together to reduce heating costs to a minimum. In addition to the three tips described, there are other useful measures that are quick to implement and have great energy saving potential:

  • At night, you should only reduce the temperature at the radiators rather than switch them off completely; this will prevent the room cooling down too much. If the room cools down completely, a higher heating water flow rate will be required to heat it up again. This in turn increases the energy demand.
  • Curtains hanging in front of radiators or furniture right in front of them will hinder the circulation of heat throughout the room. The heating system cannot achieve its full effect and must deliver more heat to ensure the required room temperature. Therefore, keep radiators clear of obstructions.
  • Curtains and shutters should be closed at night. This will reduce rapid heat loss and keep out the cold and draughts.

Use less water and save energy

Efficient heating is not the only way to energy and reduce your heating costs. Economical water consumption also reduces energy use. The following tips for saving water in the bathroom and when washing clothes can be easily and inexpensively integrated into your life.

Saving water in the bathroom

The use of water saving flush valves in toilet cisterns reduces water consumption. A conventional cistern consumes three times as much water as a cistern with a water saving flush button (1x flush consumes about 9 litres of water).

Repair dripping taps immediately, otherwise your water consumption will become very high.

Water saving shower heads and taps are highly recommended.

Filling a bath tub uses three times as much water and energy. In addition to heating energy, the provision of hot water is an important factor in household energy consumption.

Use a cup when brushing your teeth and turn off the tap while doing so.

Save water when washing laundry

Always wash with a full load. Avoid pre-washing and wash at 60 °C instead of 90 °C. Prewashing is only necessary for heavily soiled laundry.

Use economy cycles if your washing machine or dishwasher has them. They sometimes require a little more time, but help to save water and thus energy.

A tumble dryer uses twice as much energy as a washing machine for the same amount of laundry. So if possible, it's best to let the laundry dry in a drying room or outside.

Save electricity and ease the strain on the climate

In addition to heating energy and hot water, a home needs electricity. Even though its percentage of total energy consumption is relatively small, there are many reasons for saving electricity. Firstly, because the price of electricity is constantly rising and secondly, because electricity is still largely generated in conventional power stations. Fossil fuels such as coal or gas are often used as energy sources and these release environmentally harmful CO2 when burned.

 

Switch off electrical appliances completely instead of using stand-by mode

Saving electricity is child's play in many aspects of our lives. For example, switch off your electrical appliances such as music systems, televisions and computers completely if they are not going to be used for a while. Though many devices have a standby mode from which they can be quickly awakened, they nevertheless continue to consume power while in this standby mode. For consistent savings, consider a switched multiple socket strip. This enables you to disconnect several electrical appliances from the mains in one go.

 

Dispense with power-hungry air conditioners

Air conditioning ensures pleasant temperatures on hot summer days. However, the appliances are real power guzzlers. If they are used several days a year, they will increase electricity costs. A significantly cleaner alternative is the heat pump with cooling function. In winter, it reliably and economically heats rooms. In summer, it cools rooms in a pleasant way. For more information, see Natural and active cooling.

 

Generate your own electricity with a photovoltaic system

Photovoltaic systems are now available in many designs and output sizes. If the orientation and position of your house roof are right, a system can be installed quickly and economically. You can feed the electricity generated from it into the local grid and you will even be paid for doing so. Or you can simply use it yourself. In this case, you no longer have to worry about how to save electricity.

You can also find more information on saving energy in our FAQs on heating et al.

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