Why are my gas devices not working

Conversion to H gas: Which gas boilers are affected

Why is the switch from L gas to H gas?

There are still two different grades of natural gas in Germany that are transported in separate networks. H-gas ("high calorific gas") has a higher proportion of combustible hydrocarbons and thus a higher energy content than L-gas ("low calorific gas"). L-gas comes from German and Dutch deposits. Production will decline and from around 2030 no Dutch L-gas will flow to Germany at all.

In order to guarantee security of supply at all times, the network operators are now switching to H-gas, which comes mainly from Norway, Russia and Great Britain. The result: the devices also have to be adapted, explains the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW) in Berlin.

Who will be affected by the changeover?

L-gas is mainly consumed in northwest Germany, close to the German deposits and along the Dutch import pipelines. Bremen, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia are affected, but not nationwide, as well as parts of Saxony-Anhalt, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse.

Which gas appliances are affected?

Devices that are directly connected to a gas pipe. "In private households this can be gas boilers, gas stoves, condensing boilers or other boilers as well as gas stoves or fireplaces," explains Frank Ebisch from the Central Association for Sanitary, Heating, Air Conditioning. As a rule, only the gas nozzle has to be replaced and the device readjusted for heaters that are less than 20 years old. In the case of devices that are between 20 and 25 years old, it must be checked whether the heating can be converted or even has to be replaced entirely.

Who bears the retrofitting costs?

The network operator pays for the recording and retrofitting. The gas customer may not be billed for any working hours, and he does not have to pay for any replacement parts. But: "In the end, the gas customer community pays for the entire market area conversion (MRU)," explains Gerrit Volk, Head of Division at the Federal Network Agency. "For this purpose, an MRU surcharge is levied in addition to the network charge, which has been uniform nationwide since 2017."

Does H-gas cost more?

H-gas actually costs more than L-gas, but less H-gas is required for the same heating effect. Because it has a higher energy content. "The bottom line is the same price," explains Volk.

When will the change take place?

It has been running since 2015, but initially only in individual cities in Lower Saxony. Bremen will be the first big city in 2017. "In the following years, increasingly larger areas will be converted," said a BDEW spokesman. The local gas network operator will inform its customers when it is the turn of the municipality or the district.

Many devices can be converted before the first H-gas is fed into the supply network. For others, this has to happen very quickly. "The point in time at which the adjustment is made depends heavily on the type of device and can be found in the manufacturer's adjustment instructions," explains Ebisch. A few devices can be operated with both L-gas and H-gas. One then speaks of gas adaptive gas consumption devices.

How is the change going?

The fitter determines the device identity, i.e. name, manufacturer and year of manufacture, and checks whether the device is in proper condition. This is followed by adjustment and testing of the tightness of the device. The correct setting is checked with an exhaust gas measurement and the device is marked as "adapted". Every tenth device should be subjected to a quality control afterwards. The changeover will be carried out by an authorized company or by the supplier himself. Attention: Gas devices that have not been adapted to the new gas quality may no longer be used for safety reasons.

If the changeover is not possible

If an older device cannot be moved, a new one must be installed. "In principle, apartment or house owners have to take care of the replacement of the gas appliance themselves, i.e. also pay for it," explains Gerrit Volk from the Federal Network Agency. "But you can apply for a grant of 100 euros from your network operator for certain new devices." An ordinance grants further subsidies to alleviate so-called economic hardship.

According to this, households can make claims retrospectively from January 1, 2017 - depending on the age of the device. If the device affected by the exchange is less than 10 years old, owners are entitled to a € 500 reimbursement from the network operator. For devices 10 to 20 years old you will receive 250 euros, for 20 to 25 year old devices 100 euros. This only applies to heaters.