Energy prices are exploding, and it is still uncertain whether the supply of fossil raw materials from Russia will continue. Winter could become a challenge for millions of households. FOCUS Online tells you how to proceed now to lower the gas bill.

“We are stuck in the gas crisis,” emphasized Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck in June.

Those who purchase gas should now reduce their consumption. Gas is generally used for heating in the winter months. Outside the heating period, the hot water supply accounts for the main part of consumption.

Check your personal savings potential now

Away from blankets or electric radiators, there are other ways to save gas.

Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck has asked private households to service heating systems. “It makes sense to adjust the heating sensibly,” said Habeck. This enables savings of 15 percent. “So we are now obliged to reduce gas consumption.” Habeck spoke of a “false security” in the summer. “But winter will come. So we have to take precautions now to be prepared for the winter.”

1. Hydraulic balancing

With older heating systems, the so-called hydraulic balancing can be worthwhile. With this comparison, plumbing experts determine the heat output required for each living space. Based on this, the required amount of water and the optimum flow temperature are set.

In addition, the pump performance and the necessary resistances in the heating circuit are calculated. This ensures 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.

Savings potential: The energy consumption when heating radiators should be reduced by up to 15 percent through these new settings, according to the “Intelligent Heizen” portal of the VdZ – Economic Association for Buildings and Energy. The energy advice of the Federal Consumer Association assumes savings of up to to five percent off.

Costs: Around 925 euros for an average single-family house, according to the non-profit consulting company Co2Online.

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: Depending on the device type, 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 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: Anyone can insulate exposed heating pipes themselves. For example with insulating shells that can be placed around the pipes.

By the way: The insulation of the heating pipes in unheated rooms is even mandatory according to the Building Energy Act of 2020.

Savings potential: According to the NRW consumer advice center, up to 200 kilowatt hours of energy can be saved per meter of pipe.

Costs: Pipe insulation plus glue and insulating tape are available for three to ten euros per meter in hardware stores.

4. Venting at the next start of heating

If radiators are not really warm, especially in the upper part, or if there is gurgling in the pipes, there is air in them. It has to be out by the start of the next heating season. 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.

Savings potential  According to Co2Online, venting can save around 60 euros in gas in a 110 square meter single-family house.

Cost: Simple square wrenches are available online or at hardware stores. A corresponding offer can be found here.

5. Buy a savings shower head

If you want to reduce your energy costs effectively, you should use an energy-saving shower head. That advises the consumer advice center Bremen. Because more than ten percent of a household’s energy costs are caused by hot water.

Potential savings: The special shower head can reduce hot water consumption by up to 50 percent.

Cost: When buying, consumers should make sure that the shower head has a flow rate of less than nine liters per minute. There are cheap models for around 20 euros in hardware stores and online. You can find an example here.

Tenants who heat with gas should talk to landlords early on about a possible adjustment of the gas advance payments. If your income allows it, you should start putting money aside now.