Reserve for winter: hurry up for whatever warms you

Status: 24/07/2022 13:00

Many Germans now buy heaters and cookers, fearing that there will be no gas in the winter. Shelves in hardware stores are empty. These alternatives are, at best, an expensive fallback solution.

Carolyn Wißing and Christian Zelle, WDR

In the Swertz hardware store in Goch, there are tender signs on the fans. But despite the summer temperatures, customers keep asking for fan heaters, heaters or stoves. “It’s weird,” says Robin Hoiboom. He works in the heating and plumbing department. At least 25 clients stand in front of him every day asking about everything that heats.

“They’re actually afraid of freezing in winter,” he says. “Customers do not want to use it to heat the entire apartment. But they want to be able to at least sit in one room that is a little warm. ” Only problem: his warehouse is almost empty now. Hoiboom has waiting lists. Expects new deliveries in mid-November – “if we’re lucky”.

“Proper Assault”

As in the Gocher hardware store, the situation is now nationwide. It shows one WDR-Inquiry in major hardware stores. Hardware stores report that the demand for alternative heating has been growing since last November, when the first gas price increases appeared. However, the beginning of the war in Ukraine accelerated development again. “After the announcement of the second phase of the gas contingency plan, there has been real rush in many markets,” writes the network.

Many customers ask about radiators as well as convectors, fan heaters, stoves and related fuels such as wood, gas, pellets and coal. One market reports: “We currently sell around 50 percent more electric heaters than last year. This high demand applies to the entire range, in all quality and price ranges ”. The warehouses are partially empty. Since hardware stores have to order goods from manufacturers months in advance, you should not expect subsequent deliveries to be made quickly.

Radiators only suitable for emergencies

“In any case, such devices are at best an emergency solution,” says Reinhard Loch, an energy expert at the consumer advice center in North Rhine-Westphalia. For example, when the gas supply actually fails. In terms of cost, continuous work with electric heaters is not a cheaper alternative.

For those who still want to be careful, oil-fired radiator heating is best: “The combination of radiant heat and warm air is generally considered the most pleasant,” says an energy expert. Convection heating and fan heaters, on the other hand, only heat cold air. The latter has the advantage that it is very small and can heat up rooms such as bathrooms very quickly. The heaters work like a large hair dryer and are the cheapest.

All three devices are mobile and can be used near any outlet. There is no “difference in efficiency” to radiators and convectors. One device is sufficient for small apartments up to 40 m2, for larger apartments we recommend two. He would not use any more appliances as this could overload the home electrical network.

The revival of the fireplace

Happy are those who already have a fireplace installed in their home. But the fuels for this are also becoming scarcer and therefore more expensive. Meanwhile, the firewood sacks are ready on a pallet outside the Tinks hardware store in Wachtberg near Bonn. “There are customers who pack their baskets of 20 bags,” says store manager Dominik Grohs. He might have seen such scenes differently in late fall or winter. “Anyone with a fireplace is now storing firewood.”

It has just received a new delivery: 60 cubic meters of hardwood mix from Eastern Europe. The possibilities of suppliers from the region have long since run out. Grohs has already sold 25 of the 60 cubic meters. It also runs waiting lists – although the wood is getting more expensive almost overnight. Before the crisis, a cubic meter cost 99 euros. Now it’s almost 200 euros. But the demand doesn’t end there. He suspects that this will continue for the time being.

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