British heating habits


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Every season encourages certain rituals or habits. In Spring it might be having breakfast on the balcony, Summer a Saturday afternoon swim, Autumn might mean you’re sure to step on every crunchy leaf, and Winter is often the season for Ugg boots and bonfires.

While seasonal habits are often practical and nostalgic, there are some, like cranking the heating in Winter, which could see Brits wasting significant amounts of money as we head into Spring and temperatures start to rise.

We spoke to 2,000 Brits across the country to find out more about their heating habits and how they could save money.

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.

Leaving the heating on is easily done, but the costs can quickly add up. We estimate that an hour of heating costs an average of £0.39, meaning an unnecessary day’s worth of heating could waste £3.13 or £21.91 a week.

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

Methodology 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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