Time to replace your heating system? A look at the heating label helps

What the sign on older heating systems means and when action is needed is explained by master chimney sweep Anton Dengg in an interview with Energiewende Oberland.

Energy is expensive. In the Oberland, people use 44 percent of the energy for heating and hot water at home. Depending on how efficient the appliances are, they can cause particularly high energy consumption and thus high costs. And the age of the appliances plays a particularly important role here: in Germany, heating appliances are on average 17.6 years old, and more than a third are even older than 20 years, as the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) informs.

In order to inform consumers about the efficiency of their heating system and about energy advice and subsidies, heating systems older than 15 years have been equipped with an efficiency label since 2016. On a colour scale, green stands for very economical, red for very wasteful. The label is intended to increase the replacement rate of old heating systems and provide an incentive to save energy. With an efficient heating system, unnecessarily high energy consumption and costs can be reduced and it contributes to climate protection.

The label can be awarded by heating engineers, energy consultants and chimney sweeps. One of them is Anton Dengg, a master chimney sweep from Benediktbeuern. “The label is about motivating people to replace their old heating systems. Anyone who finds class C or D on their heating system should definitely look into replacing it with a modern heater. This can save people up to 20% on heating energy.” One option for replacement that Dengg recommends is local heating networks. “The heat pipes are short and the energy loss is thus low. Those who heat with gas can also switch to biogas or convert to hydrogen in the future.” If the classes A or B stick on the heating system, it is an efficient boiler, but there is also potential for optimisation and thus savings. For example, by adjusting the heating to suit consumption or regular hydraulic balancing, supplementing it with solar thermal energy for hot water or heating, a combination with renewable energies or combined heat and power CHP.

However, the label does not provide sufficient help when purchasing a new heating system. Since September 2019, new installations have had efficiency classes from A+++ to D. However, compared to other appliances such as dishwashers or washing machines, the actual efficiency of a heating system also depends on whether the system is adapted to the needs and conditions on site or how much the respective energy source costs. In order to choose a new heating system that suits the household and thus also saves money and CO2, it is advisable to get neutral advice, for example from the consumer advice centre.