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Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Water, Household Waste)

Zurich - Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Water, Household Waste)

The electric current used throughout Switzerland is 220 Volts, alternating current (AC) 50 cycles. Some stereos, computers and home electronics bought outside the EU will not work properly without the use of a transformer.

Common washers and dryers for laundry can be found in the basement of larger apartment buildings. Usually, tenants will be allocated one or one half day per week to do their laundry, and all good residents are expected to follow the schedule diligently. In executive apartments, washers and dryers for exclusive use in the apartment are provided.

Central heating is calculated based on usage. In most apartments, you can adjust the temperature of your own living space. Natural gas is increasingly used for central heating, but the price of natural gas follows the prices of oil. Most cooking stoves in Zurich are electrical, but there is a trend towards having a small gas stove section.

Zurich's tap water has high calcium levels, so expect to see a lot of calcification in areas or items that come in regular contact with water. Stock up on decalcifying tablets for shower fittings, steam irons, wine glasses and so on.

All waste disposal must be placed in the appropriate garbage bags (Zueri-Sack). The bags are available in different sizes (from 17 to 110 liters), and are available in all supermarkets. There are different categories of waste, and all residents are expected to separate their trash into the respective bags – from combustible waste (packaging, plastic or wood) to kitchen waste (vegetable peelings, food leftovers). Note that there are fines for incorrect disposal of waste.

Waste collection in Zurich is scheduled – usually twice a week, but depends on where you live. The Zurich Collection calendar marks the days when different kinds of garbage is collected – click here to download a copy of the 2008 calendar (in German only). For more information, you may wish to call the Disposal and Recycling Department (ERZ Entsorgung + Recycling Zürich) at 004 645 77 77, or contact your property owner or neighbors for more details. In most areas, garbage is left outside your apartment or in the basement. There are 24-hour garbage drop-off points (underground waste collection units) located throughout the city.

Recycling of paper (newspapers, magazines) and bundled cardboard are collected separately at no cost. Clothes and shoes in good condition are collected by charities in special bags that are distributed free via mail. Bundled paper (newspapers, magazines, envelopes, letters, etc.) is collected free of charge every two weeks. Charges apply for the disposal of bulky items like furniture. Call 044 645 77 55 to make a request. There are also many public collection points for recyclable materials all over Zurich. The containers clearly mark the type of materials (e.g. glass or metal). Hazardous waste, such as paint and varnish, must be returned to the point of sale (from the drug stores or chemists), or directly to the hazardous waste collection point (Hagenholz at Hagenholzstrasse 110, Zurich. Tel: 044 645 77 77).


Electricity meters are read once every 6 months, so expect your first electricity bill to be an estimate based on the previous tenant. Local electricity, gas and water companies are responsible for quarterly electricity, gas, water and sewage bills. Electricity costs are based on metered usage, the cheapest being available between 9 p.m. and 6 am Mondays to Fridays, Saturdays after 1 p.m. and all day Sunday. The cost of your water bill is calculated either based on the metered amount of water consumed, or as a fixed rate, based on the size of your property and the number of faucets. The cost of water is generally low in Switzerland compared to other European countries.

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Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

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