- New research from uSwitch.com reveals that Brits are more likely to ask Google, YouTube or Siri for help with basic household tasks like bleeding radiators than Mum or Dad
- The equivalent of over 12 million people don’t know where their gas main valve is located and almost ten million can’t locate their water meter
- Some basic household tasks are neglected entirely – almost one in five (18%) have never bled a radiator and over one in ten (15%) have never rewired a plug
- Worryingly, over in one in ten (14%) admit they’ve never changed the batteries in their smoke alarm
- Young adults are the least confident when carrying out household tasks, with almost one in eight (12%) admitting they struggle to change a light bulb.
Brits would rather ask the Internet than their parents for help with key household tasks like bleeding the radiator and turning off the gas supply, according to new research from uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service.
Almost one in three adults (28%) turn to Google, YouTube or virtual personal assistants like Apple’s Siri for help, compared to one in five (23%) who take the more traditional route of asking their Dad and one in ten (9%) who ask their Mum.
According to the findings, millions of consumers could also be putting themselves in danger by not being able to locate essential items in an emergency. Almost a quarter (24%) of adults – equivalent to 12 million people – don’t know where to find their gas main valve, while almost a fifth (19%) – equivalent to almost ten million people – can’t locate their water meter.
Table: Top five household items Brits struggle to find
|Item||Percentage of adults who can’t locate||Equivalent to|
|1||Gas main valve||24%||12.3 million people|
|2||Water meter||19%||9.8 million people|
|3||Cold water tank||18%||9.4 million people|
|4||Water stopcock||16%||8.4 million people|
|5||Immersion heater||14%||7.4 million people|
Source: uSwitch survey, August 2016
Being unaware of the location of essential household items can also negatively impact consumers’ pockets. The research found that over 2.6 million people don’t know where their electricity meter is and over three million can’t find their gas meter. Providing up to date meter readings is the best way for customers to ensure they’re only charged for the energy they actually use. Not knowing the location of energy meters increases the risk of inaccurate bills and consumers finding themselves in significant debt or credit with their suppliers.
In addition, there are several essential basic household tasks that many Brits admit to having never attempted. Most worryingly, 14% say they’ve never changed the battery in their smoke alarm, despite Government fire safety advice recommending that batteries are changed every year. Almost one in three (27%) have never cleaned the gutters, almost one in five (18%) haven’t bled a radiator and over one in ten (15%) have never rewired a plug.
According to the findings, young adults – many of whom will be starting to live on their own for the first time – have the poorest knowledge of the home. The research found that almost half (47%) of 18-24 year olds don’t know how to turn off the water supply, almost a third (31%) struggle to set the central heating timer and almost a quarter (23%) are unsure how to read an energy meter. Young adults are also struggling with some of the most basic tasks – with almost one in eight (12%) admitting they don’t know how to change a light bulb.
Claire Osborne, energy expert at uSwitch.com, says: “It’s important that Brits feel confident when managing their home. Today’s findings highlight just how many of us don’t know how to locate or shut off utilities, which can be dangerous in an emergency. We are often deterred from carrying out essential tasks because they seem complicated and tedious, but they are usually quick to do and there’s lots of help available to show you how.
“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.”