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Old 04.01.2021, 12:04
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Heat Pump help

Dear all

We are still somewhat new to Switzerland (Geneva) however as we have long term plans here we decided to buy a house. We will move in 1st of May however as the house is from 1985, it needs renovation.

We are contemplating if we should change the existing electrical heating system to a heat pump, popularly known here as "Pompe a Chaleur".

Of course the initial costs are quite exhorbitant (not sure of the future maintainence costs). As my knowledge in the area of heat pumps are close to none, I am seeking some advise from you if it is indeed a good decision to change it on the long run? Considering the high initial costs, how much reduction do I expect in terms of the bills - 20%, 30%, 40%..?

I have a low budget, can anyone please recommend me some companies on low price range?

thanks a lot.
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Old 04.01.2021, 12:18
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Re: Heat Pump help

Please inquire with your local utility company. Almost all of them now have calculators for the business case. Some also offer financing.

I would expect you need to invest something like 30-35k CHF for a heat pump system. Vs. full electric heating you will probably save 1500-2000 CHF of electrcity per year. So it is not a 5 year payback. Don't forget that with your existing heating that old, you may have to invest anyway at some point.
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Old 04.01.2021, 12:31
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Re: Heat Pump help

Something you may also need to consider is the size of your radiators. If you have an old heating system, these may also need to be exchanged for more modern ones with a larger surface area, better still, underfloor heating.

Heat pumps aren't very efficient with old radiators that are heated to a higher temperature.
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Old 04.01.2021, 13:07
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Re: Heat Pump help

SIG GenŤve AKA the company that sells you electricity, water and maybe something else offers support to homeowners on heat pumps.

https://ww2.sig-ge.ch/particuliers/c...tion-chauffage

They offer that a heating technician visits your home and makes a budget for free. With the budget for the heat pump system in hand you can make a better decision. If you go for the heat pump the GE canton offers some subsidies, but....check the numbers first.
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Old 04.01.2021, 14:06
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Re: Heat Pump help

In Vaud our annual electricity bills dropped from +7K to about 3k. The PAC provides both heating and hot water.
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Old 04.01.2021, 14:33
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Re: Heat Pump help

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In Vaud our annual electricity bills dropped from +7K to about 3k. The PAC provides both heating and hot water.
Same here. We installed a photovoltaic array first, which dropped our electric consumption bill to half. And the year after we installed the heat pump, which dropped our electric consumption bill to just a few hundred francs a year (negative for most of the year, but a few hundred in winter). I mention electric consumption because there's a Fr. 150/quarter fee for "Fixed usage fees" which is a flat rate for just being connected to the grid. So those Fr. 600 are not part of the business case.
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Old 04.01.2021, 14:35
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Re: Heat Pump help

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In Vaud our annual electricity bills dropped from +7K to about 3k. The PAC provides both heating and hot water.
Weíve only had the PAC in a new build but our costs (including maintenance) are quite low 6 years on
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Old 04.01.2021, 14:55
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Re: Heat Pump help

I replaced an old oil heating system with heating pump and Iím super happy having done it.
My previous consumption was around 2500 liters per year (aka 2500chf) to which you have to add whatever kind of control, maintenance and so on, this probably doesnít apply to your electric heating.

Regarding the costs, much depends what kind of pump youíre going to have:
- air/water is the cheapest solution (excluding air-air which doesnít really fit). In my case costed about 40k, used for heating and hot water). Pro: cost less than next option, cons: you will have a quite voluminous fan outside or in your basement. Cost of bill went down to about 1k and virtually zero other costs
- geothermal (water-water): itís the most efficient but you need to dig a deep hole. Price and benefits depends on how deep is the water under your house, in my case very deep and budget was a rocketing 80k, which made no sense (unless avoiding the big fan, but since I have a secluded enough place for it...I didnít really care.

True as being just said is that heating pumps do not work at their best with radiators...but I have such system and the pump works like a charm...with floor heating it would just work better!

My suggestion is anyway not to do it on the cheap side, a significant element of heating pumps vs traditional heating is an estimated life of 40 years (about twice longer than a oil or gas heating), so, itís an investment that has to run for long.

If you are somehow short on budget, check if you may have other low hanging fruits that could make the deal in shorter terms (eg: a big poorly isolated window?)
Rather than changing radiators, look for if and where the dispersion may happen, that is the most effective investment possible
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Old 04.01.2021, 16:43
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Re: Heat Pump help

Our Geothermal cost about 85K (for some reason we need two bores)! The Canton threw in about 10%. So we will pay it off in about 15 years.

But it changed the sale situation on our house from literally being unsalable, to actually being in demand. Nobody wants to buy electric heated houses.
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Old 04.01.2021, 20:00
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Re: Heat Pump help

If outside temperatures for your region don't really go below -7 grades Celsius more than a week per year, I would recommend an Air to Water heat pump. The principle is the same as in air conditioners, but instead of blowing hot/cold air they recirculate hot or cold water in the system. Below -7 it will become inefficient, so a backup electrical heater kicks on.

My system uses around 5MW of electricity per season, heating a not so well insulated detached house of 100sqm, almost 4 times less than the heating needs calculated for this house, so they are quite efficient. Costs were around 4000CHF including installation when installed over existing underfloor/radiator system.

Note that it's external unit makes a constant fan noise, so you may want to check with the neighbors too.
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Old 04.01.2021, 21:01
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Re: Heat Pump help

40000 (4K) or 40í000 (40k)?!
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Old 04.01.2021, 21:18
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Re: Heat Pump help

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SIG GenŤve AKA the company that sells you electricity, water and maybe something else offers support to homeowners on heat pumps.

https://ww2.sig-ge.ch/particuliers/c...tion-chauffage

They offer that a heating technician visits your home and makes a budget for free. With the budget for the heat pump system in hand you can make a better decision. If you go for the heat pump the GE canton offers some subsidies, but....check the numbers first.
Thanks. Do you know the equivalent of SIG in canton Vaud? I forgot to mention that our house is in Terre-Sainte in Canton Vaud, very close to Geneva. Although sounds like SIG deals with Geneva Canton only.
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Old 04.01.2021, 21:21
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Re: Heat Pump help

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In Vaud our annual electricity bills dropped from +7K to about 3k. The PAC provides both heating and hot water.
Thanks, does sound like a solid business case to change to PAC. Our house is in Canton Vaud too, do you have any recommendations for companies that provide PAC?

Also I believe it must be from Swiss company right to meet the standards and to get the commune subsidy? We cannot (for instance) go to nearby France and look for PAC there? (just checking..)
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Old 04.01.2021, 21:28
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Re: Heat Pump help

Also check with your commune whether you'll need planning permission for the change. When our old central heating oil boiler gave out and we were going to install a new one I suddenly thought I'd better check with the commune whether we needed permission or not. The answer was no, because it was the same type of heating system.
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Old 04.01.2021, 21:31
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Re: Heat Pump help

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Same here. We installed a photovoltaic array first, which dropped our electric consumption bill to half. And the year after we installed the heat pump, which dropped our electric consumption bill to just a few hundred francs a year (negative for most of the year, but a few hundred in winter). I mention electric consumption because there's a Fr. 150/quarter fee for "Fixed usage fees" which is a flat rate for just being connected to the grid. So those Fr. 600 are not part of the business case.
Thanks, very goods insights. Couple of follow-up questions:

So the photovoltaic array in laymen terms are the solar panels right? What was the budget needed to install these? And did you need commune permission before?

I am just wondering if before moving into the house, I install these solar panels and then an year after I install the PAC, just to take it easy with the budget.. But installing a PAC with new radiators would mean a lot of breaking the walls, etc. so perhaps may be better to do all in once. What do you reckon?

Btw any recommendations on heat pump brands and companies, esp. the ones that provide financing?
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Old 04.01.2021, 21:32
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Re: Heat Pump help

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Thanks. Do you know the equivalent of SIG in canton Vaud? I forgot to mention that our house is in Terre-Sainte in Canton Vaud, very close to Geneva. Although sounds like SIG deals with Geneva Canton only.
Romande energie is the company we used. They gave us a turnkey proposal.
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Old 04.01.2021, 21:32
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Re: Heat Pump help

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Thanks. Do you know the equivalent of SIG in canton Vaud? I forgot to mention that our house is in Terre-Sainte in Canton Vaud, very close to Geneva. Although sounds like SIG deals with Geneva Canton only.
Romande Energie is the equivalent in Vaud, but.....they don't mention at all free quotes for geothermal heat pumps :/ I guess ask first what's the price for a quote https://www.romande-energie.ch/parti...mpes-a-chaleur
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Old 04.01.2021, 21:33
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Re: Heat Pump help

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Thanks, does sound like a solid business case to change to PAC. Our house is in Canton Vaud too, do you have any recommendations for companies that provide PAC?

Also I believe it must be from Swiss company right to meet the standards and to get the commune subsidy? We cannot (for instance) go to nearby France and look for PAC there? (just checking..)
Part of the turnkey proposal, we didnít even check France. Subsidy was from the Canton, not our Commune.
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Old 04.01.2021, 21:35
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Re: Heat Pump help

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Same here. We installed a photovoltaic array first, which dropped our electric consumption bill to half. And the year after we installed the heat pump, which dropped our electric consumption bill to just a few hundred francs a year (negative for most of the year, but a few hundred in winter). I mention electric consumption because there's a Fr. 150/quarter fee for "Fixed usage fees" which is a flat rate for just being connected to the grid. So those Fr. 600 are not part of the business case.
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Weíve only had the PAC in a new build but our costs (including maintenance) are quite low 6 years on
Thanks, interesting. So the I presume you had your new PAC working on the old radiators that were with the electric system earlier? How old were the radiators and what made you decide you can have the PAC working well and efficiently with the old radiators - as in, did the company itself recommended you to stay with the old radiators?

And can you share the brand of PAC and the company you used?

thanks a lot.
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Old 04.01.2021, 21:43
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Re: Heat Pump help

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I replaced an old oil heating system with heating pump and Iím super happy having done it.
My previous consumption was around 2500 liters per year (aka 2500chf) to which you have to add whatever kind of control, maintenance and so on, this probably doesnít apply to your electric heating.

Regarding the costs, much depends what kind of pump youíre going to have:
- air/water is the cheapest solution (excluding air-air which doesnít really fit). In my case costed about 40k, used for heating and hot water). Pro: cost less than next option, cons: you will have a quite voluminous fan outside or in your basement. Cost of bill went down to about 1k and virtually zero other costs
- geothermal (water-water): itís the most efficient but you need to dig a deep hole. Price and benefits depends on how deep is the water under your house, in my case very deep and budget was a rocketing 80k, which made no sense (unless avoiding the big fan, but since I have a secluded enough place for it...I didnít really care.

True as being just said is that heating pumps do not work at their best with radiators...but I have such system and the pump works like a charm...with floor heating it would just work better!

My suggestion is anyway not to do it on the cheap side, a significant element of heating pumps vs traditional heating is an estimated life of 40 years (about twice longer than a oil or gas heating), so, itís an investment that has to run for long.

If you are somehow short on budget, check if you may have other low hanging fruits that could make the deal in shorter terms (eg: a big poorly isolated window?)
Rather than changing radiators, look for if and where the dispersion may happen, that is the most effective investment possible
Thanks, very good insights. Much appreciated.

I am consider air-water too - if I may ask, which brand of heat pump and which company did you use? Sounds like you used the old radiators with the new heat pump? If yes, how old were you radiators and what prompted you to use them with a new heat pump, as in what was the business case of not changing to new radiators, did the company recommended to stay with the old radiators? Sorry, I am quite a rookie in this "heat pump" business so perhaps a bit of stupid questions.

Btw I don't quite understand this statement "Rather than changing radiators, look for if and where the dispersion may happen, that is the most effective investment possible" - do you mean leave the old radiators and change the windows or..?
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