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ENERGY

EXPLAINED: When should I turn on my heating in Denmark this year?

Energy costs in Denmark are set to reach sky-high levels this winter, which will leave many people wondering when they should start heating their homes and by how much. Here's what you need to bear in mind.

A radiator with a vent valve
Denmark is soon entering the "heating season" or fyringssæson where heating systems are switched on. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

What’s happening?

As a result of supply stoppages for cheap Russian gas, on top of inflation; energy prices in Denmark have been at record levels for months.

Due to the situation, the Danish government has sent money to some homes impacted by high gas prices and parliament is discussing other measures for households. Public buildings are set to see thermostats turned down and outside illumination switched off.

As the temperature starts to drop throughout the country, the heating season is getting underway and many people are wondering about the best way to heat their homes, and if they have to follow any rules. 

READ ALSO: How much will Danish energy bills go up this winter?

Does it make a difference what type of accommodation I live in?

The right time to start heating up your home depends on several factors including your own personal preference, the weather, whether you live in rented accommodation or own your home, and on the heating system in your property.

How does the heating system work in Danish homes?

Around 65 percent of homes in Denmark use district heating. This system distributes hot water from heating plants to houses and apartments through underground water pipes. The system is designed to be able to heat a room to 20 degrees when there’s an outdoor temperature of 12 degrees.

This is known as fyringssæson meaning “heating season”, which usually runs from the 1st October to April 30th and is calculated when the outside daily average temperature drops to 12 degrees Celsius and below for at least three consecutive days, and ends in the spring when it reaches 10 degrees or above for at least 3 consecutive days.

Does my landlord control my heating?

A lot of rented accommodation will use fyringssæson and under Danish tenancy laws, landlords are required to supply adequate heating and hot water at all times. A daytime temperature of at least 21 degrees, sometimes 22-25 degrees, is generally recommended in all rooms via the heating system.

However due to energy costs this year, the government has announced that the temperature in public buildings will be set to 19 degrees, unless there are special circumstances requiring it to be higher. Hospitals, care homes and preschool care are exempted. The temperature in public buildings is usually set between 21 and 23 degrees.

The government has also recommended that people reduce their own heating at home by 1 to 2 degrees.

READ ALSO: How people in Denmark are changing their energy use to keep bills down

How can I keep track of my heating bill?

Earlier this year, the Danish Parliament made a rule that heating companies are obliged to provide information on energy consumption which is sent to consumers seven times a year during the heating season, where you can see how much heat is used. 

It is worth keeping an eye on energy prices and asking the property owner whether the heating system is optimally adjusted.

How can I use the radiators effectively?

“It’s a common a mistake that people sit in one heated room and leave other rooms with the radiator turned off and the door closed,” Michael Nielsen, product manager with Danish cleantech engineering company Danfoss, told The Local.

“But it’s actually more important to use all radiators at same time to heat the whole house and maybe set them a little lower. You will save energy and get more comfort this way,” he said.

Nielsen also recommends not going below a temperature of 14 degrees inside the home.

“Such a low temperature may lead to unpleasant conditions such as condensation on surfaces and mould on the walls and carpet,” Nielsen said.

Setting your radiator to the right temperature will help it work more efficiently. “In Denmark this is usually 21 to 22 degrees but the public advice is to lower this by 1 to 2 degrees this winter, to save on energy costs,” Nielsen added.

Another important thing is to check your thermostat is working and change it if it’s more than 15 years old.

“You can save around 8 percent of energy consumption on each radiator by installing a new thermostat,” Nielsen told The Local.

READ ALSO: ‘Semi off-grid’: Readers’ tips for coping with expensive energy bills in Denmark

How else can I save on heating costs?

There are plenty of ways you can help to keep your heating costs down, the most simple of which are keeping doors and windows insulated with draft excluders, and regularly airing out rooms.

“We recommend airing your house twice a day by opening the windows and turning down the thermostat.
 
“At other times it is better not to turn the heating off completely as it may take more energy to heat up the room again. Instead you should reduce the temperature by 3 to 4 degrees at night,” Nielsen said.

The Danish Energy Agency also recommends the following:

  • Check your house or apartment for any cracks where heat could be escaping.
  • Check your radiators are working efficiently and don’t put furniture right in front of them.
  • Check your windows and doors are keeping heat in or whether they need upgrading.
  • Check the insulation in the outer walls, attic, roof, floors and pipes.
  • Check your heating system is running as efficiently as possible.
 
 

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COST OF LIVING

At what time of the day is electricity cheapest in Denmark?

The electricity rate for customers in Denmark may vary hour-to-hour due to several factors and can fall way below the average price. So when is it cheapest?

At what time of the day is electricity cheapest in Denmark?

The price of electricity could defy the current era of soaring energy costs and fall to around 0 kroner (before transport and taxes are applied) for a short period around 2pm on Wednesday.

The electricity price per kilowatt hour could fall to zero on October 5th because of windy weather across Europe, which will result in huge electricity production from both on- and offshore wind turbines, broadcaster DR reports.

Combined with solar energy, which doesn’t factor in when electricity prices fall at night but does in the afternoon, this will force the market price of electricity close to zero, according to the report.

Additionally, heavy rain in Norway and Sweden, both of which have large hydropower production, can also help reduce the price of electricity in Denmark.

Before you connect everything to the grid at 2pm, keep in mind that electricity won’t be completely free to consumers. Transport costs and taxes of around 1.40 kroner still apply, DR notes.

The cost of electricity will nevertheless be low throughout Wednesday afternoon.

That sounds unexpected at a time when electricity costs this winter are expected to be far higher than they were in 2021 and the government has announced measures to help households pay bills. Cities are introducing their own saving measures to reduce electricity use.

“We actually expect [low daytime rates on Wednesday] to persist for a while. At the moment it looks like there will be wind until the weekend and we anticipate a lot of rain will fall,” Jack Kristensen, functions manager with Denmark’s largest energy company Andel Energi, told news wire Ritzau.

“It is predictably the hours where there’s not much consumption that it will be cheapest,” he said.

“Preceding days have been much higher in price,” he said.

Kristensen said he predicted hourly prices on Wednesday of 3 øre (0.03 kroner) per kilowatt hour from 1pm-2pm, followed by 0.2 øre (0.002 kroner) per kilowatt hour from 2pm-3pm.

The most expensive times of day – when people are waking up and around dinner time – have recently seen prices at around 1.10-1.20 kroner per kilowatt hour, Kristensen told Ritzau.

Taxes and transport costs should be added to these figures to get the overall price. In August, the total price of electricity per kilowatt hour hit a peak of 9.47 kroner on August 30th, according to data reported by DR.

People searching for electricity savings should also keep in mind that the rate falls at night.

Because drops in the hourly electricity price caused by increased wind production are highly dependent on weather conditions, they are not easy to predict.

However, apps can be used to monitor electricity prices. These include the ‘Min strøm’ app, which has been downloaded by tens of thousands of people in Denmark. Popular alternatives are the ‘Elpriser’ and ‘Andel Energi’ apps.

Lower nighttime prices can be taken advantage of by setting timers on thirsty appliances like dishwashers and tumble dryers and running them at night.

The autumn could bring about a general fall in Danish electricity prices compared to August and September because of windier weather, according to an industry analyst who spoke to DR.

“With robustly windy weather over Denmark, Sweden and Germany, we and our neighbours will be able to produce lots of cheap electricity and we will have hours with very low electricity prices during the course of the autumn,” said Kristian Rune Poulsen, senior consultant with industry interest organisation Green Power Denmark, in comments to the broadcaster.

High levels of sustainable energy production make electricity prices less dependent on gas prices because less gas is needed to produce the electricity Denmark needs.

The war in Ukraine is a major factor causing gas prices to go up, also affecting the electricity price.

READ ALSO: How people in Denmark are changing their energy use to keep bills down

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