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Old 07.10.2020, 11:03
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Split unit AC - Freienbach

Dear all,

I am looking to either rent or buy a house in Freienbach, and one requirement that I understood can be challenging is having a split unit AC.

Please do not explain to me that I do not need it. I have lived in much colder climates, and my body react differently than most to heat and cold. What I am unlikely to ever need here is heating, but I absolutely must have an AC in this climate, and it needs to be strong (portable won't do).

I searched the forums and got conflicting results regarding there either being a law against AC, the former being an urban legend, de facto existance of personal AC installation sales in Zurich, and claims of regulation that requires permission from the municipality, or other apartments in a building, to install one.

This is all quite confusing unfortunately.
Does anyone have personal experience actually installing private house AC in Switzerland? Does anyone know what is the process to do so in Zurich area or Freienbach specifically?
If I go for a house, rather than an apartment, is it easier (as then I don't need consent from other apartments in the building)?

Cost is not a problem. Cost of electricity is not a problem. I am looking for power in terms of cooling, and the ability to sustain a pleasant temperature of no more than 16 degrees regardless of weather outside.
If medical reasons can help, I can use my allergies as a reason, as a modern AC has air cleansing and anti allergenic properties. If having a business helps, I can operate a dummy micro business in my house.
Basically, any advise, especially from experience, on how to actually obtain a proper AC is most welcome.
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Old 07.10.2020, 11:27
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

I personally would find a real estate agent to help you with your requests. I have a feeling you may need a professional to help you find exactly what you want.
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Old 07.10.2020, 11:31
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

you will also have more joy, I would say, if you buy. Landlords, even if you can make the modification to fit AC reversible, are not going to be keen for such a mod.
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Old 07.10.2020, 11:47
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

Thank you both for your reply.

Yes, I will probably have to go through a real estate agent. I wanted first to get a sense of the expectations, especially if they are not experienced with this request, as it seems that household ACs are rare here.

And yes, one of the main reasons I am considering buying, is because I prefer to have freedom to do modifications. However, if there is a law or a regulation about this, I would prefer to know the details and get an exception before I tie myself in with a purchase.
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Old 07.10.2020, 11:47
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

Do you want to keep one room at 16 degree's or the whole property?
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Old 07.10.2020, 11:52
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

16C? I wouldn’t have thought that was even possible when ambient temperatures are above 30.

When I was still working the management of the company maintained that they were prevented (by law or regulation?) from reducing the ambient temperature by more than 5C. This was Geneva city and canton and I don’t know if it was true.

I would first ask at your local commune if regulations apply.

I would also look at other options (geothermal cooling; window protection; etc.)as well.
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Old 07.10.2020, 11:55
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

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I have a feeling you may need a professional to help you find exactly what you want.
Yes, I concur. You may need professional help.
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Old 07.10.2020, 11:56
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

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16C? I wouldn’t have thought that was even possible when ambient temperatures are above 30.

When I was still working the management of the company maintained that they were prevented (by law or regulation?) from reducing the ambient temperature by more than 5C. This was Geneva city and canton and I don’t know if it was true.

I would first ask at your local commune if regulations apply.

I would also look at other options (geothermal cooling; window protection; etc.)as well.
I suspect it's quite dangerous going from a building to outside if the temperature difference was more than 10 degrees, in winter we put on extra clothes when going outside where such differences exist.
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Old 07.10.2020, 11:57
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

First of all, I think that maintaining anything less than 18-19°C is going to be a real challenge. The building/house will capture heat in the summer and store it. A portion will "leak" into the living area. In the heating season neighbours in the building will be heating. Some of that, depending on the location of your apt. will work it's way into your apt.

Keep in mind that most fixed split systems will be about 12-15'000 btu. One system will not cool a whole apt. or house to your desired temperature.

There are a couple of possible solutions without going for the fixed split system that requires cantonal approval.

First, depending on the orientation of the windows (South) you can have them covered with a metallic film that reflects 90 % (from memory) of the heat load coming in from the windows (the greatest heat load impact in the apt/house). I would suggest that you have it done professionally as the DYI stuff can look pretty nasty. I imagine there will be people to do it in ZH as there are suppliers down at this end of the country.

Second, look at getting one or more portable split systems from Fust (Novamatic CL 990 split) that are 15,000 btu (good for 55m2 - 146m3). The compresser can be hung out the window and the window can be easily sealed (the cable is not very thick). Portable units do not need Cantonal approval. These are not cheap but they get around the approval issue and work as well or better than the fixed units.
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Old 07.10.2020, 12:10
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

Thank you for your replies.

The 16 degrees is especially for the bedroom.
I can try to manage with 18 degrees if push comes to shovel, though I prefer temperatures below that.
I am able, from experience, to use split ACs to generate a difference of over 20 degrees between inside and outside when necessary. This just requires strong ACs, and fitting each room with one. Top tier split units can go to 30000 btu and above, and I am willing to splurge on a few of those, though in this climate I think 2-3 15000 btu ones, or one 30000 btu unit, should suffice for a medium house.
Since I am aiming for a house, leakage of heat from neightboors shouldn't be a problem.

Portable ACs leak air from outside, which presents a problem both with allergy, and with decreased efficiency. I have tried these before.

Regarding canton approval - this is what I am really interested in: how does such approval work? What do I need to do? What can help me make a good case to them?

P.S. The mettalic covering is an interesting idea, thank you, I will probably do it regardless to minimise the need to use the AC when avoidable, though during the summer it will still be unavoidable I fear.
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Old 07.10.2020, 12:17
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

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I wanted first to get a sense of the expectations, especially if they are not experienced with this request, as it seems that household ACs are rare here.
Not rare. I've seen them ready to buy in an OBI this summer.

I'd guess the only problem is the noise. The compressor unit can be as noisy as a regular vacuum cleaner. So your AC working at 2AM might be an issue with the neighbors if noise control measures such insulating the compressor are not taken. I would not be surprised at all if keeping noise low is more expensive than the AC by itself.
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Old 07.10.2020, 12:24
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

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Not rare. I've seen them ready to buy in an OBI this summer.

I'd guess the only problem is the noise. The compressor unit can be as noisy as a regular vacuum cleaner. So your AC working at 2AM might be an issue with the neighbors if noise control measures such insulating the compressor are not taken. I would not be surprised at all if keeping noise low is more expensive than the AC by itself.
That's a good point. I wouldn't want to disrupt the neighbors. I can insulate the compressor, this is not a problem. Plus, during the night I will need it more rarely I guess.
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Old 07.10.2020, 12:31
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

Have you considered moving higher into the mountains? Einsiedeln might work well for you if you don't mind the commute.
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Old 07.10.2020, 12:43
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

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That's a good point. I wouldn't want to disrupt the neighbors. I can insulate the compressor, this is not a problem. Plus, during the night I will need it more rarely I guess.

I guess my intuition was right, noise is the worry https://www.sz.ch/behoerden/umwelt-n...-392-3861-3850
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Old 07.10.2020, 12:45
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

I have, since I actually enjoy high altitude climate anyway.
Unfortunately while this will decrease my annual dependancy on AC, I will still need it in the summer even there. So having a harder commute while still needing the AC anyway, doesn't seem as attractive.
I lived in St. Petersburg, Russia and I needed AC even there during the summer.

But I am glad to see that people are selling these, as it means it should be possible to install one.

Does anyone know the actual regulation or law? Also, what is the penalty? If it is just a fine, I might simply take on the fine, pay it, and live in peace.

I will certainly contact real estate agents.
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Old 07.10.2020, 12:47
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

Thank you, this is very useful.
I guess this pretty much rules out apartments then. I was trending towards a house anyway. In a more rural set house, I can pretty easily arrange for the condenser to be insulated and placed in a way that does not disturb others.
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Old 07.10.2020, 12:56
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

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Thank you, this is very useful.
I guess this pretty much rules out apartments then. I was trending towards a house anyway. In a more rural set house, I can pretty easily arrange for the condenser to be insulated and placed in a way that does not disturb others.
Rural house in Freienbach? Good luck.

Here's one in Einsiedeln: https://www.comparis.ch/immobilien/m.../show/24418165
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Old 07.10.2020, 13:08
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

My 2p/5Rp, from a fellow heat-hater living in Ausserschwyz:

I manage to keep the house under 18 degrees most of the year. It's only in the worst of summer that I need air conditioning. Some summers I don't need it at all, but it's nice to know that it's there, even if unused, to stave of panic at the thought of rising temps.

In the 16 years I have lived on this side of the lake I have installed the portable split unit maybe half the time. And even then I use the unit sporadically, maybe a day or two at a time, likely not more than a few weeks altogether for the season.

So running costs are minimal. And you'll be laughing in winter - if you like temps cool you likely only need to heat a couple months of the year, a huge savings.

Our portable compressor unit is about 18 years old now so I'd hope that newer technology has brought improvements in efficiency and cost effectiveness, as well as noise.

First things first:

It sounds as if you haven't found your house yet. If that is the case, choose with keeping cool in mind. Are you committed to Freienbach? I ask because Schindellegi, Feusisberg and the 'upper' bits of Wollerau might be options where you could find more shaded properties with bit of green around them. These are still Bezirk Höfe, so tax friendly.

Olygirl is spot-on - Freienbach, and all of Ausserscwhyz, is not rural. The area is now a Zürich suburb, most properties are crowded together as it is more efficient building to share infrastructure. If you come from a 'green and leafy' sort of place, you might be in for a bit of cultural shock. Heidiland this sure ain't.

The key is to look for a place that is not a concrete jungle... which is getting ever more difficult to find in this part of Switzerland. Ausserschwyz is built up, there isn't ll that much green space left, and for some reason that remains a mystery to me even after all these years many people here hate trees, are bent on cutting every last one down.

Shade is the best cooling system - so look for a property with mature trees if you can find one, or at least look for a property with grass and plantings rather than rock gardens. The popular no-fuss rock garden is a heat sink, as are the concrete and dark granite paving that seems to be ubitiquous here.

Look for a property that is not floor to ceiling windows. In the summer these become literal hot houses. Yes, the view of the lake is lovely... but the price of that view is heat.

Fortunately you are looking on the dark side of the lake. It really is a degre or three cooler on this side - nicknamed the 'sniffle coast' for a good reason.

If the only place you can find has room-spanning windows, invest in the film mentioned upthread, invest in outside shutters as well as indoor blinds.

As you are looking at properties, assuming you will install some sort of compressor unit, look for a place where placement of the compressor away from direct neighbors is possible.

If you are renting the easiest thing to do is to buy a second door or window with a custom panel cut to allow for the cable. Then just put the original back in when you leave.

You mention buying. While I always prefer to buy rather than rent, I would nonetheless counsel renting for a year to get to know the area first. There is very little on the market at any one time, and mistakes when buying can be painful.

---

As said, we have a portable unit with compressor. We can't put the unit in the most sensible place due to noise that would disturb the neighbor, but found an alternative. The unit would be visible to passers-by, which you don't want because of... all the usual for-de-rol. So we simply planted around that area, no one can see or hear the compressor, so no one is bothered.

---

Unless you enjoy DIY, you will likely want to consult a company specializing in air conditioning. There are several in the area, a quick google of 'Freienbach _ Klimaanlage; brings up these folks:
https://steimen.ch

I do not have personal experience, so consider this info only, not a recommendation, due diligence required and all that. There are other firms in the area, several don't seem to have websites.

Do you speak German? In Ausserschwyz you can't count on finding a tradesperson willing to speak English. You may get lucky, but should assume that some level of German is needed.

If you have complex housing needs and do not speak German and if cost is not a factor, I would suggest hiring a relocation firm who can do the legwork for you.


Good luck with the move.

tl;dr:

Look on the bright side - there isn't all that much bright on this side o' the lake. Inveterate photophobe and heat-hater that I am, even I find myself longing for a bit more warmth and sun during the long stretches of grey and rain.

Last edited by meloncollie; 08.10.2020 at 01:12.
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Old 07.10.2020, 13:14
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

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Thank you for your replies.

The 16 degrees is especially for the bedroom.
I can try to manage with 18 degrees if push comes to shovel, though I prefer temperatures below that.
Have you had your thyroid checked? A serious question...
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Old 07.10.2020, 14:19
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Re: Split unit AC - Freienbach

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My 2p/5Rp, from a fellow heat-hater living in Ausserschwyz:

I manage to keep the house under 18 degrees most of the year. It's only in the worst of summer that I need air conditioning. Some summers I don't need it at all, but it's nice to know that it's there, even if unused, to stave of panic at the thought of rising temps.

In the 16 years I have lived on this side of the lake I have installed the portable split unit maybe half the time. And even then I use the unit sporadically, maybe a day or two at a time, likely not more than a few weeks altogether for the season.

So running costs are minimal. And you'll be laughing in winter - if you like temps cool you likely only need to heat a couple months of the year, a huge savings.

Our portable compressor unit is about 18 years old now so I'd hope that newer technology has brought improvements in efficiency and cost effectiveness, as well as noise.

First things first:

It sounds as if you haven't found your house yet. If that is the case, choose with keeping cool in mind. Are you committed to Freienbach? I ask because Schindellegi, Feusisberg and the 'upper' bits of Wollerau might be options where you could find more shaded properties with bit of green around them. These are still Bezirk Höfe, so tax friendly.

Olygirl is spot-on - Freienbach, and all of Ausserscwhyz, is not rural. The area is now a Zürich suburb, most properties are crowded together as it is more efficient building to share infrastructure. If you come from a 'green and leafy' sort of place, you might be in for a bit of cultural shock. Heidiland this sure ain't.

The key is to look for a place that is not a concrete jungle... which is getting ever more difficult to find in this part of Switzerland. Ausserschwyz is built up, there isn't ll that much green space left, and for some reason that remains a mystery to me even after all these years many people here hate trees, are bent on cutting every last one down.

Shade is the best cooling system - so look for a property with mature trees if you can find one, or at least look for a property with grass and plantings rather than rock gardens. The popular no-fuss rock garden is a heat sink, as are the concrete and dark granite paving that seems to be ubitiquous here.

Look for a property that is not floor to ceiling windows. In the summer these become literal hot houses. Yes, the view of the lake is lovely... but the price of that view is heat.

Fortunately you are looking on the dark side of the lake. It really is a degre or three cooler on this side - nicknamed the 'sniffle coast' for a good reason.

If the only place you can find has room-spanning windows, invest in the film mentioned upthread, invest in outside shutters as well as indoor blinds.

As you are looking at properties, assuming you will install some sort of compressor unit, look for a place where placement of the compressor away from direct neighbors is possible.

If you are renting the easiest thing to do is to buy a second door or window with a custom panel cut to allow for the cable. Then just put the original back in when you leave.

You mention buying. While I always prefer to buy rather than rent, I would nonetheless counsel renting for a year to get to know the area first. There is very little on the market at any one time, and mistakes when buying can be painful.

---

As said, we have a portable unit with compressor. We can't put the unit in the most sensible place due to noise that would disturb the neighbor, but found an alternative. The unit would be visible to passers-by, which you don't want because of... all the usual for-de-rol. So we simply planted around that area, no one can see or hear the compressor, so no one is bothered.

---

Unless you enjoy DIY, you will likely want to consult a company specializing in air conditioning. There are several in the area, a quick google of 'Freienbach _ Klimaanlage; brings up these folks:
https://steimen.ch

I do not have personal experience, so consider this info only, not a recommendation, due diligence required and all that. There are other firms in the area, several don't seem to have websites.

Do you speak German? In Ausserschwyz you can't count on finding a tradesperson willing to speak English. You may get lucky, but should assume that some level of German is needed.

If you have complex housing needs and do not speak German and if cost is not a factor, I would suggest hiring a relocation firm who can do the legwork for you.


Good luck with the move.

tl;dr:

Look on the bright side - there isn't all much bright on this side o' the lake. Inveterate photophobe and heat-hater that I am, even I find myself longing for a bit more warmth and sun during the long stretches of grey and rain.
Thank you, this is extremely useful, and contains a lot of into.
I am only starting to learn German, but I do have help from a relocation firm.

It is good to hear from a fellow sun and heat hater that solutions exist. I have lived my live in places where I was able to sleep during the day and work in the night, as well as used parasole when going outside during the day. I have yet to reach the point of missing the rays of sun, and the heat, even when I manage to completely avoid them for months on end

The portable AC you have - I assume it's the regular unified condenser unit? I used to have long ago a portable split AC, that comes with 2 units and a flexible copper cable. But these are not sold anymore I think. It was much stronger than the unified one, and did not leak air from outsdie, as the units were separate.
It was also more energy efficient than the regular portables. A shame they stopped making them.

The idea of a double door / window and the condenser between them is genious. I can certainly use something like that to insolate noise, while separating heat.

I saw some ads of houses in Freienbach. I am not married to that town specifically though, and can look around.
It is also a fair point that renting for a while might be better. Especially with the second door idea that can allow me to install an AC without major modification of the property.

The portable split unit you used - is it still in sale today? Did you ever install a mounted one? Any applications or legal permits you had to get? Or do I just:
1. Agree with the landlord.
2. Find a fitting company.
3. Buy a unit.
4. Profit
?

And yes, the lack of trees is unfortunate. I will probably plan a few of my own if I end up buying, but that's of course a long term goal, and not a feasible temperature solution. I do like green around the house in general.
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