Press release:

11 million Brits to overheat homes above summer temperature of Barcelona

  • 11 million consumers[1] will overheat their homes this winter above the average June temperatures of Barcelona[2], adding at least £1.4 billion to energy bills[3]
  • Londoners are the UK’s heating addicts with nearly two in five (39%) admitting that they’ll crank their thermostat above 21 degrees, while those in the East Midlands are the most temperature-conscious[4]
  • More than half (52%) of consumers mistakenly believe that ramping up the thermostat to above the desired temperature will heat their home more quickly[5].

11 million Brits are overheating their homes to above the average summer temperatures of Barcelona, adding at least £1.4 billion to their annual energy bills, according to new data from uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service.

The recommended temperature for homes in the winter is between 18 and 21 degrees – and turning up the dial by just one degree can increase annual energy bills by ten per cent [6]. With forecasters warning that El Niño could bring the UK its coldest winter in 50 years, 11 million (17%) consumers are set to unnecessarily crank their thermostats above 21 degrees, adding at least £129 a year to already sky-high energy bills.

Londoners could be adding the most to bills this winter, with nearly two in five (39%) admitting they will turn their thermostat up above 21 degrees, compared with 22% in Wales and 20% in the East Midlands[7].

More than half of Brits (52%) incorrectly believe that ramping up the thermostat to above the desired temperature is an effective way to heat the home faster. In fact, this myth is inefficient, wastes energy and burns money. Women are the worst culprits when it comes to cranking up the thermostat (56%), compared to 48 per cent of men[8].

Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch.com, says: “It might be tempting to crank up the thermostat and overheat your home to combat the cold this winter, but it’s unnecessarily adding millions to already exorbitant energy bills. There are simple measures that consumers can take this winter to keep warm while using less, wasting less and paying less for energy.

“Using, or installing, a timer to control your heating is a good way to match the temperature with your schedule at home; for example programming it for when you’re coming back from work, or getting up in the morning. Now, before winter sets in, is also a good opportunity to consider switching to a cheaper energy deal. This takes a matter of minutes and could cut annual bills by as much as £300.”

The UK’s heating addicts:

Region Proportion of consumers who will turn the thermostat above 21 degrees this winter
London 39%
North East England 32%
Yorkshire & Humber 31%
Northern Ireland 30%
South East England 29%
West Midlands 29%
South West England 25%
Scotland 25%
East Anglia 25%
North West England 23%
Wales 22%
East Midlands 20%

Source: uSwitch.com

Five winter energy saving myth busters:

  1. Myth: Ramping up your thermostat when it’s cold outside

Your thermostat is programmed to conserve a steady temperature in your home whatever the weather. A thermostat doesn’t control the speed at which your home heats up so you’ll only be wasting energy and burning money. 

  1. Myth: Turning up the thermostat to heat the room more quickly

A thermostat will try to heat the entire home to a warmer temperature, so if you’re trying to get a single room warmer, this isn’t the most efficient way.

  1. Myth: It’s cheaper to use electric heaters rather than radiators

Electric heaters can be one of the most expensive forms of heating. It’s much cheaper to use an efficient central heating system with thermostat and timers.

  1. Myth: Leaving the heating on low constantly is more efficient than turning it on and off

Leaving the heating on when no one is home is of no benefit to anyone. Instead, turn the heating on when you’re home. It’s not more efficient to leave it on all day.

  1. Myth: You need to keep your water heater on all day to make sure hot water doesn’t run out

Keeping the heater on all day will mean using copious amounts of energy when no one wants to use hot water. It’s much better to put the heater on half an hour before you want to shower. After heating in the morning, your tank should stay warm until midday.

— ends —

Notes to editors

Five money saving tips to avoid being left out in the cold this winter:

  1. Find out if your energy supplier owes you money

In September, the big six pledged to return £153m to past customers who had switched away whilst they were in credit. In some cases, companies have been unable to refund customers so contact your previous supplier to check if you’re owed any money. 

  1. Switch to a cheaper energy deal

The easiest way to find a cheap energy provider is to run an energy comparison. All you need to do is grab a recent energy bill and enter your details along with your postcode. 

  1. Get a smarter thermostat

These grant you with an unprecedented amount of control over your homes heating system. Simply provide them with data around your consumption and access to your heating system, and by learning your behaviour they adapt the home temperature accordingly. 

  1. Create zones in your home

Instead of having just one thermostat – especially in a room you rarely occupy – install a number of thermostats allowing you to zone the temperature in different areas of your house. 

  1. Time your heating

A timer allows you to schedule when your heating turns on and off over a 24-hour period. Some programmers give you even more options, allowing you to set different times and temperatures throughout the week. When you’re setting up your heating schedule, don’t forget to keep it switched off at times when you might be home and not need the heating on (e.g. overnight).

* Research was conducted online by OnePoll between 21st October and 23rd October 2015, among 2,000 UK adults.

  1. *When asked ‘What temperature do you typically set your thermostat to?’ 17% of respondents gave answers over 21 degrees Celsius. There are 64.1 million people in the UK so 17% equates to 11 million people
  2. Based on Met Office average summer temperature of Barcelona
  3. The calculation is based on current average energy bills including at least a 10% increase due to higher setting on thermostats. Current average annual energy bill = £1,292 (ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/charts-outlook-costs-make-energy-bills). So 10% of £1,292 = £129. £129 x 11 million = £1.4 billion
  4. *When asked ‘What temperature do you typically set your thermostat to?’ 39% of Londoners gave answers over 21 degrees Celsius
  5. *When asked ‘When you’re cold, do you ever turn the thermostat up really high so it warms your home quicker?’ 6% of respondents said ‘Yes – all the time’ and 46% of respondents said ‘Yes – sometimes’. 6% + 46% = 52%
  6. Figures from Energy Saving Trust http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/domestic/thermostats-and-controls
  7. *When asked ‘What temperature do you typically set your thermostat to?’ 20% of those in the East Midlands and 22% of respondents in Wales gave answers over 21 degrees Celsius
  8. *When asked ‘When you’re cold, do you ever turn the thermostat up really high so it warms your home quicker?’, 56% of women said yes in comparison to 48% of men.

About us

Launched in September 2000, uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, broadband, TV services, mobiles and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, car and home insurance. Last year we saved UK consumers over £278 million on their energy bills alone.

Customers can sign up to an account that automatically monitors the energy market and notifies them when they can move to a cheaper tariff, while broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and identify the best deal for their postcode.

The multi award-winning 'Switching Made Simple' app allows customers to compare energy, broadband, credit card, mobile and SIM-only deals – and uSwitch also has a UK contact centre manned by energy and broadband experts. Customers can post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH to receive a free call back and be guided through the comparison process, or they can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details.

uSwitch is owned by ZPG, which operates some of the UK’s most trusted digital brands that help empower smarter property and household decisions including Zoopla, Money, PrimeLocation and SmartNewHomes.

If you would no longer like to receive our press releases please email prteam@uswitch.com with 'unsubscribe'.