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How well do you know your home?

Locating gas meters, bleeding radiators, and changing lightbulbs have become a struggle for many Brits

row of houses

There are always tasks to do around the house that are frequently put off; this could be out of laziness, hectic schedules, or because you’re not exactly sure how to do it.

When it’s the latter (and it can’t be put off any longer), it turns out Brits would now rather ask the internet than their parents for help.

New research from uSwitch shows almost one in three adults (28%) turn to Google, YouTube or virtual personal assistants like Apple’s Siri for help with tasks such as bleeding a radiator or turning off the gas supply; second to the internet came the option of asking their Dad (23%), and just one in ten (9%) would ask their Mum.

Worryingly, there are many tasks that people have never even attempted: 14% say they’ve never changed the battery in their smoke alarm, despite Government fire safety advice recommending that batteries are changed every year. Additionally, almost one in three (27%) have never cleaned the gutters, and over one in ten (15%) have never rewired a plug.

Struggles to locate household items

Not only are some tasks difficult for us to complete without help, it also seems that many homes’ household items are playing hide and seek:

Household item Percentage of adults who can’t locate it Equivalent to:
Gas main valve 24% 12.3 million people
Water meter 19% 9.8 million people
Cold water tank 18% 9.4 million people
Water stopcock 16% 8.4 million people
Immersion heater 14% 7.4 million people

 

With so many of us not being able to locate our gas valve, millions of lives could be put in danger by not being able to find this essential item in an emergency.

Young people are the worst culprits

Young adults, many of whom will be starting to live on their own for the first time, have been found to know the least about their home.

It’s not just locating things that younger generations have a problem with: the research found that almost half (47%) of 18-24 year olds don’t know how to turn off the water supply, and almost a third (31%) struggle to set the central heating timer. This could be because of the high proportion of young people renting, and frequently moving properties.

However, young adults are also struggling with some of the most basic tasks – a shocking one in eight (12%) admitted they don’t know how to change a light bulb.

The financial impact

Another item that a huge number of homeowners and renters can’t seem to locate is their energy meter — which almost a quarter (23%) of young people are also unsure how to read correctly.

Over 2.6 million don’t know where to find their energy meter, which is crucial to staying on top of bills and providing regular meter readings — so you’re not paying too much or too little.

Claire Osborne, energy expert at uSwitch, says:

“Being in full control of your household can not only make life easier, but it could also save you hundreds of pounds a year. It’s important to know the location of your energy meters and provide regular, up to date readings – it’s the only way to make sure you only pay for what you use and avoid the risk of falling into significant credit or debt.”

Full stats from this story can be found in the uSwitch media centre

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  • Bill Aitch

    So many live in fear, fear of what they may, possibly, find, also fear of what may, possibly, result from a mistake. They therefore leave it all to the “proffessionals”, who obviously welcome the opportunity to rip ’em off. Meanwhile, the British government are guilty of ruling us all by fear. they areso obviously against the necessary basic education which would, equally obvious, improve not only this immediate situation, but also the entire independence, and quality of life, for every last individual.

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