Temperatures drop and the heating season begins. But this autumn and winter there is a risk of high heating costs. Gas, electricity, heating oil and wood are more expensive than last year. FOCUS online lists everyday mistakes that become a serious cost trap and that you should definitely avoid now.

The thermometer now shows temperatures below 15 degrees throughout Germany. Because it is getting colder outside, consumers are now turning up the heating. Germany heats up especially in the evening hours. That’s a lot of money.

Because regardless of whether it is electricity, gas, oil or wood, energy costs continue to skyrocket. For comparison: On average, suppliers charge more than 15 cents per kilowatt hour for gas. In the previous year, the average value was still around six cents.

FOCUS online tells you which mistakes you should avoid now. This is the only way to heat your four walls without being stingy.

Energy has never been as expensive as it is now. But instead of panicking, you should calmly check potential savings at home. As our guide shows, there are many of them.

If furniture and large objects are in front of radiators or curtains are hanging over them, this impedes the heat dissipation into the room air. The heater then warms up the objects, the room in turn remains cool. Unnecessary energy is wasted.

According to experts from the Federal Ministry of Economics, keeping heating systems free can save up to 12 percent of the total energy costs.

The consumer centers advise that a sofa should be at least 30 centimeters away from the heater.

If it feels colder than 20 degrees at home, even though the heating is set accordingly, it may also be because the thermostatic valves are covered. Then they cannot measure the room temperature correctly and regulate the heat output incorrectly.

So don’t just keep radiators free, but also thermostatic valves. This is the only way to ensure that your heating system runs optimally.

In the summer months, the windows are continuously tilted or open all day. In the winter months you should air the rooms regularly to avoid mold in the rooms. However, you should only open the windows briefly. Ideally, do not tilt, but ventilate intermittently or completely crossways.

If the windows are left open longer during the heating months, the walls and ceilings around the windows cool down. This extracts additional heat from the rooms.

How do you optimally ventilate laterally and forcefully? Open opposite windows so that a draft blows through the rooms and supplies whole parts of the entire living space with fresh air.

The consulting company “co2online” advises airing windows three to four times a day. FOCUS online advises: set the alarm clock and close the windows quickly. The colder it is outside, the less time windows should be open.

As a guideline, windows remain open for a maximum of 15 minutes in autumn and five minutes in winter.

Keeping doors between heated and unheated rooms closed saves almost ten percent on heating costs. The savings are even greater if the doors to the hallway, basement and attic remain closed. Up to 15 percent savings are possible.

Households often do without heating, especially in the bathroom. But that drives up energy costs.

It is a bad idea to heat cold rooms such as the bathroom through open doors when it is warm in the surrounding rooms. As a result, it is not heat that gets into the cool room, but rather humidity. And that can encourage mold on the colder walls.

Digital thermostats

Digital thermostats can help save on heating bills. Because they can adjust the room temperature precisely to the needs of the user and external factors. Consumers can already save energy with an unconnected device.

The advantage compared to analog devices: With digital thermostats, you can select the temperature in degrees precisely and record and control the room temperature much more precisely.

Simple devices are available from 15 euros. From 25 euros you can even get digital thermostats that can be operated via Bluetooth on your smartphone. This makes it even easier to control the comfort temperature. However, their range is limited.

If you want to invest more money, you can even integrate additional components, such as wall thermostats or opening sensors, with significantly more expensive smart home systems.

For efficient heating and cooling

Place reflection plates behind the radiators

In order to prevent heat from escaping through the wall, aluminum reflection panels should be attached behind all radiators on the outside walls, emphasizes the German DIY Academy.

DIY stores and specialist stores offer different materials for this purpose. They cost about 12 euros to 20 euros per square meter.

Bargains can also use classic aluminum foil. This is first fixed to a thin board or piece of cardboard to make it easier to insert behind the radiator. Finally, the cardboard or the board is cut in such a way that this insulation can be hung on the two radiator wall brackets without any problems.

sealing strips for windows

To save on heating costs, you should check the windows. It must be checked whether the fittings close properly. If these are not correct, they should be adjusted. These measures are important:

For older windows that no longer close tightly even after readjustment, do-it-yourselfers use cheap sealing strips that are glued into the windows. They cost less than five euros per meter in hardware stores.

Sealing strips for the front door

If there is a gap under the front door, special sealing strips with small brushes prevent energy-guzzling drafts. These are available in hardware stores and online shops. You pay a good ten euros for the five meters.

You can also attach the sealing strips to windows.

Insulating shells for heating pipes in the basement

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

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