How to ventilate and heat your apartment properly in Germany


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Expat seemed to be shocked at the concept of “Luften” and heat reduction in Germany. If you are not careful when ventilating the apartment, you have high heating costs. There is also a risk of mold growth!

If the air in the bedroom feels used up, residents tear open the windows to let in fresh air. Oxygen is not the problem at all – ventilation is primarily about moisture.

Due to water in the air and sweating, a lot of moisture collects in the bedrooms overnight. And for this to get out of the apartment, fresh air has to come in. The same applies to kitchens and bathrooms, in which high humidity builds up when cooking, showering or bathing, and to rooms in which laundry is dried.

How to correctly heat your apartment in Germany

When heating, it is important not to let the room temperature drop below 16 degrees. In the advice of the consumer center “Moisture and mold growth in living rooms” it is recommended to leave the heating valves open evenly and not to turn them down during the day and then to open them fully in the evening.

As an exception, the radiator valves should be closed during ventilation. Otherwise one would burn energy. But be careful: cooler rooms should not be heated with warmer air from neighboring rooms. Otherwise dew (condensation) will form on walls and window panes in colder rooms.


In order for the radiators to work optimally, it is also important that they are not covered by curtains or pieces of furniture. This is the only way for the heating air to circulate freely – and the apartment becomes pleasantly warm.

The thermostatic valve should never be set too high. If the setting is too high, the temperature control is deactivated. If your thermostatic valve is equipped with setting digits, comfortable living room temperatures can generally be achieved between setting digits 3 and 4. If necessary, a lower setting number is possible depending on the use of a room. The thermostatic valves should never be completely closed (at least position * – frost protection).

When does the heating season in Germany start?

In order to provide the apartments with heat as ecologically and efficiently as possible, a rule of thumb applies to all centrally heated residential complexes: The heating season
in Germany begins in September at the earliest, but only if an average temperature of below 16 degrees is reached on three consecutive days.

The basis for this are the forecasts of the German Weather Service. If the first weeks of autumn are still relatively warm, the heat will be fired at the end of October at the latest.

Why don’t my radiators get really warm at night / in the evening?

The heating mode is reduced in the period from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., not switched off. This means that the flow temperature is reduced (night reduction).

Simple tips with a big impact

Living environment

  • A humidity of 40 to 60 percent and a temperature of 19 to 22 degrees Celsius are ideal.
  • These values ​​can be checked with a thermo-hygrometer.

Correct ventilation

  • Ventilate for a few minutes three to four times a day with the windows wide open.
  • The cooler the room temperature, the more often ventilate.
  • The colder it is outside, the shorter ventilate.

Correct heating

  • Maintain a constant temperature. Do not drop below 16 degrees Celsius.
  • Do not place furniture in front of the heater. There are no curtains hanging over the heater.
  • Always close doors between rooms that are heated to different degrees

When can you expect the heating system to be switched on?

The heating system switches on when the outside temperature is 15 degrees. If the outside temperature rises above 15 degrees, the heating system switches off automatically. This means that even if the central devices are already active, it does not mean that they are running all the time. 

This can happen, especially in the transition phase, which is unfortunately quite energy-intensive. The additional requirement can ultimately be read on the operating cost statement. Tenants with increased heat requirements should be just as satisfied as tenants who pay careful attention to operating costs.


When does the heater get really hot?

In the transition phase to winter it happens again and again that tenants complain about insufficiently warm radiators. However, the fear of a technical defect is mostly unfounded. The reason for this is that the heating water temperature is linked to the outside temperature. As the temperature rises, the heating elements remain lukewarm.

The so-called flow temperature is also reduced between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. This also slightly reduces the heating output. But nobody needs to be afraid of cool nights. The lowering usually does not lead to a significant cooling of the building, since heat
is stored in the walls and furniture. 

The influence on the room temperature is thereby very low. This process makes a contribution to climate protection and at the same time helps to reduce operating costs.

Expaturm aims to help educate Expats in Germany on key issues that they will have to deal with while living in Germany by providing everything you need to know about Banking, Healthcare, Lifestyle, and Housing in Germany


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