Wednesday 12/8/21

Centrally heated buildings forced to install meters for each home soon

With a few exceptions, the owners of buildings that still have central heating will have to adapt their systems
radiator cat by Unsplash.
Photo: Unsplash.

The central heating of buildings in Spain has its days numbered. It will soon disappear and give way to a new system in which each home will have to install its own meter and the owners will pay the bill for the energy they have consumed.

The reason for this change is a decree approved by the government headed by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. The government estimates that the new regulation will affect 1.4 million homes across the country, who will have to change their heating systems before the deadline imposed by the authorities.

With a few exceptions, the owners of buildings that still have central heating will have to adapt their systems, installing individual meters or distributors that measure the consumption of each house. The user will thus be able to know their consumption and the authorities estimate that this will promote energy savings.

Before May 2023

The new regulation is not the result of a recent idea, in fact its debate and development began several years ago.

But its approval has been delayed and it took six years for the government to give it the green light: the decree came into force on 7 August and establishes a deadline until May 2023 to carry out the system changes in the buildings.

Homes exempt from change

The decree allows some exceptions and establishes three cases in which buildings will not be obliged to switch from central heating to individual heating:

  • Due to the climatic zone: The decree says that buildings located on the islands, the Levante area, Guadalquivir, Ceuta and Melilla are exempt from installation. The rest of the territories would be obliged to install the meters or cost distributors if their installation is profitable.
  • For economic reasons: "When the amortization period of the investment is greater than four years, the building would be exempt from installing the measurement devices. That is, when the cost of the installation and reading to be carried out is not offset by the savings generated. in the next four years," says the decree.
  • By the type of heating installation: "If the building's thermal installation is of the 'monotube in series' type, it will be exempt from installing counters or heating cost distributors. And if the installation is with fan coil units or air heaters, it will be exempt from installing distributors of heating costs, but would still be required to install heating meters.

Experts recommend requesting prior technical and economic studies from the maintenance company to review the viability and economic profitability of the change. If both are favorable, then the installation is mandatory.


The coalition government headed by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez estimates that this change will achieve an average saving of 24% in heating.

The reason, according to experts, is that when customers are aware that they must pay their own bill, they tend to adopt a more favorable attitude to saving energy.

For example, they adjust the time of use of the heater to their schedules and regulate the temperature in the house more often.

Currently, a 1960 decree is in force that allows each community of owners to decide the date to turn the central heating on and off. For ignition, November is generally chosen.