By the end of 2016, all residential apartment blocks in Italy with communal centralised heating systems have to have thermostatic radiator valves fitted. Beware, if the valves are not fitted, apartment owners may be fined from €500 to as much as €2,500.
The average cost of fitting the thermostatic radiator valves ranges from €80 to €100 per radiator but fitting can apparently cost much, much more. Indeed, figures as high as €3000 to €4000 are being mentioned in Italy’s press. Centralised heating boilers may require upgrades – which will add to the cost.
Why Are thermostatic valves Required by Law?
Apparently, by limiting temperatures they should keep heating costs, and pollution levels, down. With thermostatic radiator valves fitted, internal temperatures will be limited to 20°C. Each valve has a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the hottest 20°C setting. As a result of these valves being fitted, the consumption of the communal boiler should be lower and that means heating bills should come down.
Before the advent of these special valves, centralised apartment block heating systems sometimes worked at full tilt effectively overheating apartments, and those in them. In the post thermostatic valve world, boilers should cost less to run because they use less fuel and apartments should not be too hot. Let’s hope they are not too cool, either.
Behind the requirement in Italy to fit thermostatic radiator valves lies EU Directive 2012/27.
Can You Avoid Having these Valves Fitted?
In short, yes. However, to escape the obligation to have thermostatic radiator valves fitted, the installation cost has to be officially certified as prohibitive and thus unlikely to generate any heating cost savings.
To obtain the necessary documentation certifying that your apartment is excluded from the obligation to have thermostatic radiator valves fitted, contact a heating engineer.
Note that if your apartment has its own independent central heating system, then thermostatic valves do not have to be fitted.
Installation Work is Tax Deductible
Depending on the extent of the work necessary to have the thermostatic radiator valves fitted, or whether the work is part of a bigger heating system upgrade project, between 50% and 65% of the cost is a tax deductible expense in Italy.
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The tax deduction, however, is spread over a 10 year period. You’ll need to speak to an accountant or tax specialist to understand the exact level of the tax deduction, although apartment block administrators should know the correct percentage.
Can You Fit the Valves Yourself?
While, with the right skill, I’d say you could fit these valves yourself, it would not be advisable. To fit the valves, you’d have to ensure your apartment block’s heating system was off and drained of all water. Organising this would be difficult. In our apartment, to fit the thermostatic radiator valves, the radiators were removed from walls which is something that may be a two-person job.
Note too, that as wells as the new valves, sensors may also be need to be installed, as has happened in our Milan apartment.
Just remember to ensure the valves are fitted before the end of 2016 so that you won’t risk being fined.
Lower Heating Costs and Pollution Levels
Heating costs for apartment dwellers in Italy should come down so the costs of installation should, eventually, be covered.
Compare your apartment block heating expenses for 2017 to those of 2016 to understand how much has been saved.
As a result of having these valves fitted, the air in Italy’s towns and cities should become a little cleaner and thus healthier too. This is positive, seeing as air pollution kills more than 200,000 every year in Europe.
Note: Links, with the exception of the link to EU Directive 2012/27. lead to articles in Italian.
Thermostatic radiator valve photo by Coyau / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link