A third of Brits argue over when to switch heating on


It's long been a source of arguments once autumn arrives: when to turn the heating on. Now proof – of sorts – has arrived with research showing a third of Brits argue with the people they live with over when to turn the thermostat up.

The research also shows that a quarter of Brits secretly turn the heating up in their home, without telling their partner or housemates - but 63% of those have been caught in the act, according to Moneysupermarket. It said men are less likely to get caught than women.

The reason for arguments is usually cost, with 44% of those who have argued admitting it is down to the energy bill they'll face as a result.

That's why over half of the people surveyed claimed they would rather put a jumper on than turn their heating on.

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Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: "With a quarter of Brits admitting to arguing about the heating of their home, it's unsurprising to hear that the main cause for concern lies in the cost. As we approach the winter months, these arguments will no doubt become more frequent.

"The fact that over half of Brits claim that they'd rather put on extra clothing than succumb to putting the heating on and endure high costs, shows the nation is still concerned with the price they pay for their energy."

The website reckons these are the clues to watch out for, if you want to catch someone in the act of furtively turning the heating on:

  • Watch out for absences too short for a visit to the loo, or to make a brew.
  • Secret heaters may avoid eye contact, or act sheepishly after turning the heating on/up.
  • Listen out for the dead-giveaway groaning of a boiler gurgling into action.
  • If you're hearing "I'm cold" or "It's freezing in here" less frequently, something's up.

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Your Comments

And don't forget to check the thermostat setting. Mine would ahve saved me a lot of money this year - it was sort as far down as it could go! Now at 19 with a sweater should keep me going this winter.

This article states that "people tend to argue over when to turn the thermostat up".  The whole point of a thermostat is that it turns the heating on and off automatically whenever the set temperature is breached, so it doesn't normally have to be turned down in summer and therefore doesn't have to be turned up when autumn arrives.
Some boiler controls have a 'water only' setting so this can be used in summer instead of fiddling with the room thermostat to prevent the heating coming on if the summer temperature was to plummet, but would one want that?
It seems that most people don't seem to understand how a thermostat functions to control a heating system, includng my wife and teenage children! When feeling cold they turn the thermostat to maximum as if expecting this to heat the house faster. Of course they never remember to turn it back to a sane level so rooms overheat. Aaaargh!!!

Many of the traditional (bi-metallic) room thermostats can have anti-tamper covers fitted at minimal cost. Or you can fit one yourself, as long as it has ventilation slots. Then no-one can change the setting without a screwdriver. So many people just don't/won't understand heating systems and do exactly what brimstone said.
There is advice on this site about changing programmer types etc. for more automated or remotely programmable options. Do your sums first, if you are able. A £250 programmer with remote control from your laptop or smartphone will take a long time just to cover the cost, let alone provide significant savings. In any case, the user will probably forget to programme remotely then come home to a cold house (or a hot house because the data link failed). Typical cost savings for these optional control systems are advertised against a full-on heating system with no controls. Virtually nobody will have one of these basic systems anymore so the payback time will usually be much longer than suggested.