Get useful expat articles, health and financial news, social media recommendations and more in your inbox each month - free!

We respect your privacy - we don't spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

±Compare Expat Providers

Expat Health Insurance Quotes

Foreign Currency Exchange Quotes

International Moving Quotes

We're very social! Follow Expat Focus on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+

Expat Focus Facebook PageExpat Focus on TwitterExpat Focus Pinterest PageExpat Focus Google+ Page

Notify me when new content is added about a country

±Expat Focus Partners

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.

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners


Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.


Health is your number one priority. At Aviva we understand this, which is why we’re focused on helping you and your family access high quality healthcare at home or overseas. Our award winning medical insurance will help you get the treatment you need or simply provide guidance and advice wherever you are, 24/7.

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.