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Replacing oil run central heating system for flat

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Our flat has underfloor heating which is powered by a heating system boiler which runs off oil in the winter. The oil is used to power the system that heats the hot water for our daily use as well as the underfloor heating. 

In the summer we plug the system in so that it runs off electricity to heat hot water only and at the same time flick a switch to turn off the oil-run part of the system as we don't use the heating in the summer and it is much cheaper to run it off electricity only rather than oil which we save for the following winter.  

 

Our aim though medium term is to come off oil entirely. There are three 1'000 litre oil tanks and already one is out of service as we simply don't need or want o buy 3'000 litres of oil at a time. 

 

My first query is, can we with this combined heating system somehow use electricity to heat the water for hot water as well as the water for the underfloor heating? I know this would probably be a bit more expensive, but we have a good price for electricity and we want to eliminate oil and the necessity for deliveries. The oil smells and gives me headaches. 

 

Secondly, we want to eventually replace the current heating system and boiler entirely. 

Bearing in mind the underfloor heating system does not need replacing and we have a boiler room where the system sits, what are out options for heating the water (for both hot water and heating) in the future, other than oil? We assume we can only choose between wood or pellet burners and a heat pump? 

 

Specifically though, are electric-run heating systems already prohibited in Germany or does that only apply to new-builds? 

 

I should add that the building is a house divided into two flats and some years ago, owing to a huge disagreement between the former owners of our flat and the current neighbours of the other flat, those owners installed their own new heating system independent of what is now ours and in a separate boiler room. 

So our current system was originally designed to serve two flats but now only serves ours and has done for the last 10 years, however it is 20 years old. I am just worried that it will break down one winter, in which case we will freeze and have no hot water unless an emergency solution can be rigged up.

 

 

 

 

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Is gas not an option?

 

When we moved into our place then we paid for Gas to be installed as the pipes were in the street, but we were not connected.  It was expensive, but much cheaper than running old electric storage heaters for a few years, and also easier and better to run.  

 

 

With the new climate laws coming into place then I know that they want to ban Oil heating systems.  Although this will just be for new installations and not existing ones.   I know for example that for the tax year 2020 they will allow you to claim back more costs related to increasing the efficiency of your home, so it might be worth investigating if you can benefit from this for other incentives for replacing old oil heating systems, so you should look into this. 

 

It might therefore be worth waiting before you do anything to see if you can benefit from this. 

 

 

Also, it is worth getting people in to actually see your property and give you suggestions and what to do for your specific circumstances and given your type of property.  You can even hire companies to give you neutral advice in this area.

 

 

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Thank you dj_jay_smith for your reply. 

Our neighbours installed a Wärmepumpe system and received an incentive for doing this, however not as much as they had hoped for. 

 

Gas apparently is an option, it is in the street, but was not connected to the property as neither party at the time were interested. Our neighbours had already installed their new heating and our predecessors weren't entirely 'with it' - we understand that they missed the opportunity to have the connection brought up to and into the property at no extra cost. We will be unable to benefit from this as it is too late. It had to be done at the time. This is one of two things putting me off gas - the cost of the connection, as well as the risk that gas also brings with it. 

May I ask how much was the outlay to have the connection done and how much of an upheaval this was? 

 

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11 minutes ago, lunaCH said:

Thank you dj_jay_smith for your reply. 

Our neighbours installed a Wärmepumpe system and received an incentive for doing this, however not as much as they had hoped for. 

 

Gas apparently is an option, it is in the street, but was not connected to the property as neither party at the time were interested. Our neighbours had already installed their new heating and our predecessors weren't entirely 'with it' - we understand that they missed the opportunity to have the connection brought up to and into the property at no extra cost. We will be unable to benefit from this as it is too late. It had to be done at the time. This is one of two things putting me off gas - the cost of the connection, as well as the risk that gas also brings with it. 

May I ask how much was the outlay to have the connection done and how much of an upheaval this was? 

 

 

We had a similar situation.  The previous owner was offered a gas connection at a cheap price but declined, so we had to get it connected from the middle of the street into the property.

 

I can't recall the exact costs.  But I think it was something like 3k -> 3.5k Euros (~11 years ago) but we got a good discount (1k -> 1.5k ?) if we committed to purchasing the Gas for at least 2 years from the company which done the installation.  Although their prices were much more expensive, it still made sense to do this.  And then we switched as soon as possible after this date.

 

The upheaval for us was basically nothing.  The way in which our house is constructed means that the cellar is only 60% - 70% underground with the rest protruding above the street level. So it was very easy for them to feed the gas pipes into the cellar and connect it up to a meter.  And then feed the pipes from one cellar room to another (where we had the heating system and tank installed).

At the time we were renovating the complete house before we moved in fully.  So we had the advantage of not having anything in the cellar rooms.

 

 

It was not cheap, but in the long term this was a very good decision by us, as mentioned it is also supplemented by solar.  This was also suggested by a family friend who used to worked in the heating supply business at the time (so we got also a lot of equipment cheaper).  Wärmepumpe at the time I think was too expensive and inefficient, but now of course things have changed and if doing it again I would seriously consider it.

 

 

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Thank you again for your response on this. Our heating room is on the ground floor. 

The price you quoted for the connection does not appear to be expensive. So it seems gas is also a real option for us. 

 

Our neighbours spent more than €30'000 on installing their own Wärmepumpe heating system 10 years ago, including rerouting all of their pipes etc. They have also spent money on it regularly since when it has gone wrong! It is also an older model which uses a bit of electricity as well. All this has put me off this option for good I can tell you. 

 

I don't mind spending more in the long run on monthly bills, say electricity, it is the initial outlay I want to avoid.

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Friends of ours who built a house in Dresden around 10 years ago installed a heat pump system. I can assure you that the amount of electricity required to run the pump is negligible compared to the amount you'd need to actually heat the water directly. There were some problems with the initial installation that resulted in an excessive electricity bill for a brief period, but the contractor covered it all under the warranty.

 

If the topography and geology of your place support a heat pump, it will be the cheapest, most environmentally friendly alternative in the medium to long term. Gas is next.

 

 

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27 minutes ago, lunaCH said:

...

 

I don't mind spending more in the long run on monthly bills, say electricity, it is the initial outlay I want to avoid.

 

Normally it should be the other way around!  So that you save money long term.

 

 

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Our situation is a bit similar, we bought our house 11 years ago and it has an oll heating system that was already 18 years old and we planned to get rid of in the midterm, but before other higher priority renovations were done.   The "problem" was that a couple of years later the price of the oil went down, like really down (from 1€ per liter to around 0,60€ per liter).   So for us financially it doesn't really make sense to do the change at the moment.  We have been waiting for a better opportunity, but oil has kept its low price for many years, I just bought 2000l for 0,65€ per liter last week.

 

At least our tanks are still properly insulated and we have no smells in the heating room.   We will continue waiting for a better time to change to gas, or until the heating machine breaks down, but with proper maintenance they are very reliable.

 

 

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You need to get a few offers so that you know the costs and what is possible. Contact your local gas and electricity supplier for quotes as well as a couple of private companies. At the moment, you get 40% of the cost reimbursed if you change from oil-fired central heating but that could very well change quite quickly and it would be a shame to miss out. It is also correct that oil-fired central heating is going to be banned in the near future which will also drive the prices up for anyone waiting too long... good luck!

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Thank you Linda, as I understand it will be banned for new builds initially, but yes we want to move away from oil, so we are going to be looking at the various options now.

 

On a separate note, we would also like to know if electric heating systems are already banned. In some countries I believe they are already banned in new builds. What is the situation in Germany? 

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10 minutes ago, Krieg said:

We have been waiting for a better opportunity, but oil has kept its low price for many years, I just bought 2000l 

At least our tanks are still properly insulated and we have no smells in the heating room.   We will continue waiting for a better time to change to gas, or until the heating machine breaks down, but with proper maintenance they are very reliable.

 

We also bought 2'000 litres last winter and stil have most of it. We could have bought 3'000 but because we don't know how much longer this heating system is going to last or stay, We dont want it packing up for good and then we are lumbered with oil we can't use.

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1 hour ago, lunaCH said:

We also bought 2'000 litres last winter and stil have most of it. We could have bought 3'000 but because we don't know how much longer this heating system is going to last or stay, We dont want it packing up for good and then we are lumbered with oil we can't use.

 

Why do you think it will break at any moment?  And in case it breaks you can sell the remaining oil to someone else if you do not want to use oil anymore.  I myself bought oil from a colleague when they changed to gas.

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3 hours ago, Krieg said:

 

Why do you think it will break at any moment?  And in case it breaks you can sell the remaining oil to someone else if you do not want to use oil anymore.  I myself bought oil from a colleague when they changed to gas.

Over anxious about it I guess. Thank you for the tip regarding the oil. 

When we eventually replace the system (providing it doesn't break down in winter), we will do it in the summer and just use up the oil before switching to electric.

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On 7.10.2019, 11:55:13, lunaCH said:

Thank you Linda, as I understand it will be banned for new builds initially, but yes we want to move away from oil, so we are going to be looking at the various options now.

 

On a separate note, we would also like to know if electric heating systems are already banned. In some countries I believe they are already banned in new builds. What is the situation in Germany? 

Hi lunaCH

Perhaps you could look if you have such a service as the one below as any private person or company can make an appointment and an energy consultant will visit your home and explain what is possible and what not. They are specialists and often engineers and price for this consultation is usually not so high... they also know all about regulations and costs etc.

 

https://www.energieagentur.nrw/english/the_energyagency.nrw

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