When to put the heating on in the UK

How to save money on heating bills and other statistics you need to know

As the clocks go back and the dark, cold nights creep in, people all over the UK crank up the heat. However, when is the best time to start turning the heat on, and off, in the UK? Our expert suggests the beginning of October, but read on to find out more.

We also spoke to 2,000 Brits across the country to find out more about their heating habits and whether they understand how much their energy bills cost.

Quick overview

  • Almost a quarter (24%) of Brits regularly leave the heating on when it’s not needed
  • This includes 18% of Brits who accidentally leave the heating on when they don’t need it and 6% who have the heating on or turn it up out of habit
  • Despite this, 3 in 10 (30%) people put extra layers on instead of turning the heating up
  • 14% of Brits turn the heating up without understanding what it costs them

When to put the heating on

The simple answer here is that you should put the heating on when you feel like you really need to! However, our energy expert, Matt Boyle, suggests turning the heating on at the beginning of October for a few hours in the morning and evening. You can then turn it on for longer each day as and when you need to.

Other experts suggest turning it up when the clocks go back each year (usually at the end of October) so you will need to make a judgement on what works for you. Make sure you understand the costs before you do though and consider heat-proofing your home as well.

Heating habits

Almost a quarter (24%) of Brits regularly leave the heating on when it’s not needed, either by accident or ‘out of habit’. That could mean there will be almost 16 million Brits with unnecessarily toasty homes in the lead up to Spring. Over 7.3 million people are also turning the heating up without understanding the cost, something that could leave them with unexpected bills at the end of the month.

While some expenses are guilt free, for many Brits heating isn’t one of them. More than a quarter (25.55%) admitted it worries them how much they had to pay to warm their home over the winter period. Interestingly, this was consistent across most demographics, with a similar amount of Millennials (31%), Gen Xers (25%), Baby Boomers (27%) and members of the Silent Generation (25%) falling into this category.

Fear of scorching hot bills also means many Brits actually skimp on heating. A fifth (20%) of Brits confessed to not turning up the heating to their desired temperature because they’re worried about the extra cost. Almost one in three (30%) reported that they often decide to put more layers on instead of turning up the thermostat to a comfortable level. While this can be a handy way to keep the bills down, it could also indicate that some people are struggling to afford their heating and energy.

However, there’s also a portion of the population who are completely at peace with paying for warmth. Almost 24% of respondents said they turn up the heat without worrying about the costs. There are also those for whom ignorance is a warm bliss, with almost 15% admitting they turn the heating up without understanding how much extra it costs them.

UK regional heatmap (no pun intended)

The Scots are the least likely to waste heating, with only 15% saying they leave it on by accident or “out of habit”. In contrast to this, those from the West Midlands are almost twice as likely to leave the heating on when it’s not needed – 29% admitted they do this.

“Awareness of energy costs is needed more than ever as the majority of the ‘big six’ firms have recently raised their tariffs in response to Ofgem’s price cap rise. This is set to cost most consumers over £100 more per year, so forgetting to turn the heating off on warmer days could set you back a surprising amount.

“Another simple way to save money is turning your heating down by just a degree or two. We found almost a fifth (18%) of Brits have had an argument with a partner or flatmate about their home being too warm – if you find yourself having this disagreement, try explaining that turning the heat down by one degree could save up to 10% on your heating bill!

“If you haven’t switched energy suppliers recently, check to see if you can get a better deal elsewhere. Switching online can be done in under 15 minutes and potentially save over £300 a year, so it’s really worth doing.”

Jon Ostler, UK CEO at finder.com


Finder.com commissioned Onepoll to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+.
A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.
The research was conducted in late 2018.

For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
Head of UK Communications
M: +44 747 921 7816
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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