Press release:

Thermostat wars: couples set to have over 17 million ‘thermo-spats’ each week this winter

  • More than half of couples (52%) will argue over the temperature at home this winter[1]
  • Eight in ten women (79%) admit turning up the thermostat behind their partner’s back[2]
  • A quarter of men (23%) admit they crank up the heating due to pressure from their other half[3]
  • 42% of men pass complete control of the heating to their significant other[4]
  • Women are most likely to grumble about their partner stealing the duvet, while men get most annoyed about the prospect of high energy bills[5].

More than half of UK couples (52%) are set to argue over the heating in the home this winter in more than 17 million ‘thermo-spats’ a week, according to a survey by uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service[6].

Ahead of what’s set to be the coldest winter in 50 years, the new findings also reveal that women are ruling the roost when it comes to home temperatures. Eight in ten (79%) women admit to cranking up the thermostat when their partner isn’t looking to help keep warm[2]. Meanwhile, a quarter of men (23%) admit they turn up the dial due to pressure from their other half[3] and four in ten (42%) pass complete control of the heating to their partner[5].

This winter, women are most likely to start an argument when their other half hogs the duvet (26%), while men will get most riled about the prospect of energy bills (20%)[5].

The choice of clothing in the home is another common battle according to the survey findings. Women are twice as likely as men to get mad at their other half for wearing a t-shirt around the house in the depths of winter[7]. When the heating is on low, women are most likely to turn to thick jumpers (58%), woolly socks (57%) or clothes they wouldn’t be seen in out of the house (39%), such as onesies, to stay warm[8]. On the other hand, men are less practical in their winter fashion choices and are twice as likely than women to wear a t-shirt (31%) or shorts (10%) around the house[9, 10].

Technology is also providing a discreet way to take control of the thermostat, with almost one in ten couples (9%) arguing with their significant other after they’ve use an app to sneakily control the heating behind their back[11]. 

Top five winter arguments Brits have with their partner:

  Men Women
1 The cost of energy bills Hogging the duvet at night
2 Hogging the duvet at night The cost of energy bills
3 Using a free standing heater Wearing a t-shirt instead of a jumper
4 Controlling the thermostat remotely Walking barefoot rather than putting on socks or slippers
5 Keeping the curtains drawn to keep the heat in Keeping the curtains drawn to keep the heat in

Top five measures couples take to keep warm:

1. Put an extra layer on
2. Have a cup of tea
3. Stand against radiators
4. Stay in bed
5. Sit in front of the fire

Louise Williams from Dorset, who regularly argues with her partner over the temperature of the house, says: “My partner and I are always at each other’s throats over the temperature at home – I’m such a cold person and he is always hot! I’m quite high maintenance and can get quite angry when cold. It’s got to the point where at least once a week we’ll be arguing over the temperature, usually ending up in him finding me a hot water bottle, electric heater and hot chocolate to warm up. Sometimes I find myself waiting for him to leave the house in the morning so I can adjust the temperature without him knowing!”

Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch.com, says: “Thermo-spats are set to hit boiling point this winter as millions of couples battle for control of the temperature. Sneakily changing the thermostat, hogging the duvet, and fearing sky-high energy bills are likely to lead to frosty atmospheres in homes across the country.

“Everyone feels the cold differently, but there are simple ways to avoid those winter grumbles. For example, agree to keep your thermostat at a constant temperature, rather than cranking it up or down, and get a timer to schedule when the heating turns on and off each day. You should also look to switch your energy tariff to one of the many cheap deals on offer, before the cold weather begins to bite.”

— ends —

Notes to editors

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

  1. *When asked ‘During the winter, how often, if at all, will you argue with your partner about the temperature in your property?’ 51.09% of respondents gave answers other than ‘N/A – We don’t ever argue about the temperature’
  2. *When asked ‘If you ever change the temperature of your thermostat, do you ever ask your partner’s permission?’ 79.34% of female respondents answered ‘No’
  3. *When asked ‘What typically makes you turn the heating on?’ 22.57% of respondents answered ‘Peer pressure from who I live with’
  4. *When asked ‘Who usually sets the temperature of the thermostat in your home?’ 41.98% of male respondents answered ‘Husband/Wife’ or ‘Boy/Girlfriend’
  5. *When asked ‘Have you ever argued with your partner about any of the following?’ 20% of male respondents answered ‘How much the heating is costing or how big the bills will be’ while 26.06% of female respondents answered ‘Hogging the duvet during winter’
  6. *The calculation is based on answers to the question ‘During the winter, how often, if at all, will you argue with your partner/family/housemate about the temperature in your property?’ Total arguments per week for 2000 people surveyed = 2,113. Total per person (2113/2000) = 1.05 per person. 1.05 x 12 weeks of winter x 16,340,000 (ONS population of married and cohabiting couples) = 206 million / 12 = 17.1 million arguments a week.
  7. *When asked ‘Have you ever argued with your partner about any of the following?’ 12.63% of female and 7.16% of male respondents answered ‘Wearing a t-shirt instead of wearing a jumper’
  8. *When asked ‘Which of the following do you frequently wear in the house during winter?’ female respondents answered thick jumpers (58%), woolly socks (57%) clothes they wouldn’t be seen in out of the house (39%), and onesies (17%)
  9. *When asked ‘Which of the following do you frequently wear in the house during winter?’ 31.13% of male respondents answered t-shirt compared to 14.71% female respondents
  10. *When asked ‘Which of the following do you frequently wear in the house during winter?’ 9.93% of male respondents answered shorts compared to 4.07% female respondents
  11. *When asked ‘Have you ever argued with your partner about any of the following?’ 8.96% of female respondents answered ‘Turning the thermostat up or down using a remote device e.g. app , without asking’

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