A decision of such sort would cause serious problems in Hungary, but Hungarian households have some alternatives, Róbert Szémán, editor-in-chief of the Víz, Gáz, Fűtéstechnika (Water, Gas, Heating Technology) magazine said. A Hungarian media outlet asked him about the issue after Russia ended gas supply to Poland and Bulgaria because Warsaw and Sofia refused to pay in roubles for it.
Mr Szémán believes that achieving complete independence from Russian gas is an unrealistic short-term goal because there is no alternative supply, 24.hu wrote. Hungary’s gas reserves are low in European comparison. On the 1st of May, the charge level of the commercial stores was only 9.29 pc. Moreover, Hungary used 1/3rd of the gas in the strategic storage in Szőreg during winter. Hungary has approximately 1.3 cubic metres of gas stored, but the consumption is 9 cubic metres per year.
Therefore, if Russians ceased gas deliveries to Hungary, domestic households would face serious challenges. There would be no gas for heating, cooking or hot water supply. Gas is needed to produce electricity, so substituting gas heating with electric heating devices would not be a solution. Thus, nobody should invest now in an electric heating system or buy an electric radiator.
An instant gas heating replacement might be solid fuel like wood or coal in houses where there is a chimney. However, only old stoves can work this way because newer ones need electricity due to the circulator pump. An environment-friendly solution can be pellet stoves.
Apartments with central heating systems are in the worst position. If they change to electric heating, the system will collapse as there are no chimneys. Therefore, they can only heat their flats with solid fuel and put the stovepipe through the wall.
Those who plan to become independent from the central heating system should invest in a heat pump. That is expensive; the device costs HUF 1.7-1.8 million (EUR 4477-4740) while installing the system is HUF 2.5-3 million (EUR 6584-7900). On the other hand, heat pumps are functional only above minus 5 °C. Below -10 °C compromises must be made, plus their electricity consumption increases.
Heat pumps combined with solar panels are the best solution, but they add an extra HUF 2 million (EUR 5267) to the expenses. Moreover, an insulation program would be also necessary in that case. Besides, producers cannot make an infinite number of solar panels and heat pumps, hence, a large demand would probably result in a shortage.
Infrapanels or electric boilers can work well in some houses. However, they are not a solution for everybody, and they do not perform as well as heat pumps. Mr Szémán said that air conditioners with heating functions could also provide solutions above -10 Celsius degrees. Furthermore, such devices are the cheapest among all the other options. Another factor is that non-renewable electric heaters will make heating more expensive than renewables (e.g. heat pumps). Mr Szémán believes that Hungarians should install solar panels with batteries and heat pumps. As a result, we could produce our own energy.