Proper maintenance and efficiency of the heating system makes it possible to significantly reduce consumption: the costs incurred to heat and produce domestic hot water in fact corresponds to about 80% of the total energy we consume each year in our homes.

For some years now, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development has published a guide for the correct management of heating and cooling systems, to clarify the obligations required by national law. The guide, prepared by ENEA, was drawn up in collaboration with Adiconsum, Assoclima, Assotermica, Confartigianato, Federconsumatori, Unione consumatori and Salvagente.

With a press release dated 6 October 2022, the Italian Ministry of Ecological Transition (MITE) announces that Decree n. 383 has been signed. This incorporates the indications contained in the National Plan for the containment of natural gas consumption, to define the “new operating time limits of natural gas-fired air conditioning thermal systems and the reduction of one degree of the maximum values of the temperatures of the heated rooms, to be applied for the next winter season “.

Let’s see some key points together for Italy only and we remind all users to consult the regulations in force at the time of maintenance and always contact a local specialized technician.

What is meant by a thermal system?

By thermal system we mean all systems for environmental heating only, for environmental heating plus the production of domestic hot water, or even for the sole production of domestic hot water, if serving more than one user, and all systems for summer cooling.

In this article we will deal with domestic heating systems, which therefore include heat generators powered by gas, oil, biomass or electricity: boilers, air conditioners, heat pumps, stoves, fireplaces, radiant energy appliances whose power total is greater than or equal to 5 kW, etc.

On the other hand, single water heaters, systems for the exclusive production of domestic hot water serving a single building unit, mobile devices for heating or cooling, and even window air conditioners are not considered thermal systems.

Who is responsible for the maintenance of the system?

The responsible of the heating system is the owner of the system, or the tenant in the case of lease agreements. In the case of centralized systems, however, the manager is the condominium administrator.

In the case of buildings owned by subjects other than natural persons (companies, offices, etc.), the person in charge is the owner or the CEO. These figures may, in turn, delegate to a “responsible third party”, such as the technician of a company specializing in heating systems, who must formally receive the assignment according to the terms established by law.

The delegation to a “responsible third party”, however, is not allowed in the case of individual residential real estate units in which the generators are not installed in a specific room.

When to take care of the maintenance of the system?

A differentiation must be made here between maintenance and energy efficiency control.

Maintenance is necessary to preserve performance over time and ensure the safety of appliances and components, and also to contain energy consumption, and must only be performed by qualified companies.

The energy efficiency check is required by law and must be performed during maintenance operations, but with the frequency indicated by the legislation (which, for some appliances, is up to 4 years).

The times for which maintenance of each appliance is necessary, however, are reported by the manufacturers in the instruction booklets or in the technical instructions issued by the company installing the system, and must be respected.

Therefore, if maintenance operations are more frequent than expected, it is not always mandatory to perform the energy efficiency check.

In any case, at the end of the maintenance or energy efficiency control operations, the technician must then define and declare in writing to the person in charge or to the client which operations the system requires and is obliged to release a maintenance report, to fill in the system booklet and sign three copies of the Energy Efficiency Control Report (one for the maintenance technician himself, one for the plant manager to be attached to the booklet, one to be sent by the maintenance technician to the Competent Authority for inspections).

Energy efficiency control and extraordinary maintenance

In addition to the timing indicated by the legislation, the energy efficiency check must also be carried out in the case of replacement of the generation subsystem appliances, such as the heat generator, or in the case of interventions that are not periodic, but such to be able to change energy efficiency.

When to turn on the systems?

Even if the cold can catch us unprepared, the switching on of heating systems is allowed in a well-defined period (monthly and daily), which varies according to the 6 climatic zones in which our Country ese is divided, from the hottest to the coldest.

Outside these periods, the heating systems can be activated only in the presence of extraordinary climatic situations and, in any case, with a daily duration not exceeding half of that allowed in the ordinary way.

Furthermore, the Provision of the MITE provided for Italy:

  • the reduction of one hour a day in the start-up times of the systems;
  • a decrease in the period of operation of the winter season 2022-2023, postponing the start date by 8 days and bringing the end date of the year forward by 7.

What is the recommended temperature?

During the operation of the winter air conditioning system, the average temperatures in the individual heated rooms must not exceed:

  • 17°C + 2°C tolerance for buildings used for industrial, craft and similar activities
  • 19°C + 2°C tolerance for all other buildings

The Decree n. 383 of 6 October 2022 also provided for a reduction in temperature values of 1°C (Article 1, paragraph 7) compared to the previous legislation.

Correctly adjusting the room temperature on the thermostat or chronothermostat is very important, because for each degree more centigrade consumption can increase up to 10%. So, in winter, we suggest setting no more than 18-19°C during the day and 16°C at night.

In case you want to replace the thermostat or the chronothermostat, for a more precise temperature regulation, we refer you to our dedicated articles:

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