“We lived happily for 20 years and warmed and made too little”

energy crisis
“We lived happily for 20 years and warmed and made too little”

Olaf Zimmermann: “We are full, stuffed”

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Olaf Zimmermann runs a well-established heating and sanitation company in Munich with 22 employees. But he is urgently looking for young people and specialists. Because the order books are overflowing, everyone now wants to save on heating

There are still twelve weeks until the start of the firing season. And Germany is threatened with a gas emergency. As a heating engineer, can you still keep up?

OLAF ZIMMERMANN: On average, ten people call us every day who want to get away from gas, including many property managers or homeowners. People are impatient. They are afraid of freezing in winter and will now quickly change. But it’s not going to happen that fast. We are full, crammed. Basically, I can not accept new orders. 15 weeks waiting time at least. And regular customers are our priority.

Federal network manager Klaus Müller has asked all home and apartment owners to save energy. They should have their gas condensing boilers and radiators checked quickly and adjusted efficiently to reduce gas consumption. Is it really worth it?

There are energy savings of 10 to 15 percent per. building. An unregulated heating system means that the radiators next to the heat pump become oversupplied and become hot, while the pressure in the remote radiators is no longer sufficient to circulate the required amount of hot water. A so-called hydraulic balance optimizes water flow and return flow and leads to more even temperatures. To do this, we need to calculate the required heat capacity for each room, adjust and optimize the radiators accordingly. It’s a few hours of work for an installer. Actually, such a hydraulic adjustment should be standard, but with us it is largely only on paper. In practice, very little has happened.

Does everyone now come with maintenance orders?

Yes, but I must also expose them. People are often very desperate because they have already called five other companies and have been turned down. The situation is delicate. It all comes together. We lived happily for 20 years and warmed up and made too little. Now we’re getting on our feet, we need to replace four million old heating oil boilers. Install 2000 heat pumps a day. We got sanded insulation on buildings and pipes. It is a waste of three powers.

Could large households lower temperatures to save gas?

Yes, it would make sense – and it is technically possible. But there are also property managers who would like to implement this. At 22 degrees we would regulate the temperature. But there is a lack of legal action. What if a tenant sues. He pays a lot of money and wants it nice and warm. We need appropriate laws for that – before then, the hands of the heating experts are tied. It works like this, we turn it off, the caretaker turns it on. We need to get into our shoes quickly and make people understand how serious it is: Even full gas tanks only last four to six weeks.

Are you now wasting all your energy on heating and hot water supply?

No, we are a well-established craft company in Munich. Our regular customers are getting older. There are now a few people who need care and we are in the process of renovating their bathrooms. It is also important.

What role do delivery bottlenecks play in the heat transfer? Is there anybody?

There is. The waiting time at district heating plants is now weeks. We need them in many places in Munich because the city is expanding district heating. In addition, the prices of many components have skyrocketed. We can no longer participate in public contracts because there are no price regulation clauses.

Couldn’t you just hire more people to perform the tasks?

We are desperately looking. Also on social media, but everyone is already on their way there. My only chance to get young people is to train more than is necessary and I try to do that. But it is difficult. Crafts do not have a particularly good image among high school students, but we have very exciting and challenging tasks. And the earning potential is good. A lot has happened in our profession. And we must continue to improve education. The relationship between trainee and foreman has also changed. This saying: Apprenticeship is not master year is nonsense.

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