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Heating and ventilating correctly can save money

12. 10. 2017 | Jürgen Kriegisch | Tips & Tricks

 © Brian-Jackson -

© Brian-Jackson -

The leaves are falling from the trees, the evenings are drawing in and temperatures are dropping: Autumn is upon us and it’s time to switch the heating on. We all want to protect our apartments and houses from the damp and the cold, but at the same time make sure that our heating costs don’t spiral out of control. There are a number of simple steps that you can take to prevent mold building up and at the same time keep heating costs down. Here we will explain the most important measures.

Regular ventilation

Humidity indoors is largely created as a result of cooking, bathing and showering or simply through breathing. The simplest steps to reduce humidity and minimize the risk of mold involve regular airing and ventilation. All of the windows in an apartment or house should be opened for between five and ten minutes, three or four times per day – it is not enough to just open them a crack or leave them tilted open. This type of “cross ventilation” will dramatically reduce humidity levels, even on days when it is raining outside. Leaving windows open for extended periods, or constantly tilted open, has the negative effect of cooling the walls down, which increases the need for subsequent heating and results in a greater risk of mold. In order to reduce the amount of heat lost whilst ventilating, you should make sure to switch your radiators or other heating equipment off while your windows are open.

 © Gina-Sanders -

© Gina-Sanders -

Close the kitchen and bathroom doors

It is a good idea to keep the doors to your bathroom and kitchen closed while you are using the rooms for cooking, bathing or showering. Once you are finished, it is important to give the room a thorough airing in order to ensure that water vapor cannot spread to other rooms. It makes a lot of sense to fit an extractor in the kitchen, as this really helps to regulate indoor humidity. Water spray and residue should be collected with the aid of a squeegee and then wiped or mopped up.

The best settings for your heating

It is strongly recommended to have your heating system checked out before the heating season begins. “Gurgling” radiators tend to consume the most energy – bleeding radiators to remove air should therefore be regularly carried out. It is also important to regulate the system’s water pressure. Make sure that radiators are not covered by curtains or blocked by furniture. This prevents the warm air they create from circulating effectively around the room. It also makes sense to vary the temperatures of rooms, adjusting them to match the way in which you use the rooms. As a single measure, a reduction of the living room’s temperature to 16 degrees overnight can reduce energy costs by up to 30 per cent. If your heating system is not fitted with a timer, programmable thermostats can help to regulate room temperatures. These are easy to add to individual radiators.

 © Axel-Bueckert -

© Axel-Bueckert -

Don’t let rooms get too cool

The temperatures of rooms that are not in constant use – such as the bedroom – should not be allowed to fall below 15 degrees; otherwise the walls of the rooms will cool down. This is not just a question of comfort (heat radiating from the walls has a positive impact on overall room temperatures); it is also a major factor in the build up of mold. Unheated rooms also absorb the heat generated in adjacent heated rooms, causing them to lose heat. If rooms are heated differently, it is therefore a good idea to keep any adjoining doors between the rooms closed.

Wall insulation and shutters

Most radiators are installed directly below a window, i.e. on exterior walls that are exposed to wind and cold. In order to prevent heat loss and reduce your energy consumption and heating costs, you can add a layer of insulation behind the radiator.

window shutters

© Lolostock - Shutterstock

DIY stores sell space blanket rolls in a range of thicknesses. Space blanket material with aluminium coating is best for wall insulation, as it is particularly efficient at radiating heat back into the room.

In addition to insulating your walls, closing your shutters will keep the cold out over night. If your windows don’t have shutters, at the very least you should draw your curtains or close your blinds to save energy as well as money.

Key action points

By following a few simple steps and taking appropriate action before winter comes, you will be able to significantly reduce your heating costs, create a healthy indoor climate and prevent mould. Here are the most important points to remember:

• Have your radiators checked
• Check that your timer is set correctly, buy an adjustable thermostat if you haven’t got one
• Add extra insulation behind radiators on exterior walls
• Close your shutters, blinds or curtains over night
• Don’t let the temperature drop below 15 degree Celsius in unused rooms
• Reduce moisture by opening your windows for brief periods at regular intervals
• Keep the kitchen door closed while cooking, and make sure to let some air in afterwards

One final tip: Don’t overheat your home. For every degree increase in room temperature, energy costs go up by about 6 per cent – so for the sake of the planet and your wallet, it’s not a good idea to try and turn your home into a tropical paradise while you’re waiting for the next summer.

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