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Switzerland - Heating and Air-Conditioning

Every Swiss house and apartment will require some kind of heating, and under-floor heating is common. On the other hand, air-conditioning is unusual in private homes in Switzerland. If you have an apartment dating from the 1950s or 60s you may even have ceiling heating.

Many homes are oil heated but with the rising costs of oil homeowners are looking for alternatives that are more pocket and earth-friendly. Oil-based heating also involves an annual service and will need to be tested every 1 to 2 years, depending on your canton. The renewable energy drives across Switzerland mean that with a new house, or if needing to replace the existing furnace, you may not be permitted to install oil-based heating at all.

Changing from one heating system to another is predictably expensive and can easily involve a five-figure sum, but some cantons do offer grants for green heating initiatives and for better insulating your property.

Heat pumps can be installed as an alternative to an oil system and will use underground geothermal heat or an intake of outside air, in conjunction with the electricity that they need to run. These are becoming a popular choice for new homes. The advantage of heat pumps is that they can also be used to cool a house in the summer.

Gas may be another option but this depends entirely on whether the infrastructure is in place and how affordable it would be to extend it to your property. You will also need planning permission to extend a gas pipeline.

Wood pellet stoves are sometimes chosen as an alternative to oil, though take-up of pellet stoves has been lower in Switzerland than in European neighbours. Solar panels are a common sight and can help supply the power for heat pumps, but will require planning permission if not already in place, and this is not always granted.

Some homes are able to supplement central heating with log fires. If you have a chimney you will need to have it swept on a regular basis. The Fire Police may insist on having a chimney checked even if it is not in use.

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