Press release:

8 million households have already switched the heating on as Britain shivers through the summer

  • A staggering three in 10 Brits – the equivalent of over 8 million households – have already turned their central heating on after weeks of awful weather[1]
  • A further 4.6 million households are considering turning the heating back on, but haven’t taken the plunge just yet[1]
  • Other measures taken to survive the Great British summer include wearing woolly jumpers, putting slippers on and having hot baths[2]
  • With a third of bill payers already worrying about the cost of keeping warm over the winter[3], urges consumers to stay on top of their energy accounts and check if they could move to a cheaper deal.

A staggering three in 10 Brits (30%) – the equivalent of over eight million households – have already switched their central heating on due to this summer’s terrible weather, according to new research from, the price comparison and switching service.

While much of Europe sizzles in a heatwave, the UK has been shivering through unseasonably cold and wet conditions over the summer – with some regions reaching as low as two degrees[4]. In addition to the 30% of households who have already given in to the cold and switched their heating on, a further 17% – the equivalent of over 4.6 million households – are thinking about it, to try to keep warm[1].

One in three Brits (33%) would normally wait until the end of the school summer holidays or when the clocks go back at the end of October to turn their central heating on[5]. By switching it on so early this year, millions of homes risk adding significant sums to their annual energy bill. With previous research finding that over a third of bill payers (32%) are already worried about how they’ll afford this winter’s bill[3], urges consumers to check their account balance now and shop around for a better deal which could deliver hundreds of pounds of savings.

Switching the heating on isn’t the only thing Brits have been doing to stay warm through the summer months, with more than two thirds (68%) taking other forms of action[2]. Three in 10 (30%) have worn woolly jumpers, a quarter (25%) have put their slippers back on and a fifth (20%) have been enjoying hot baths. More than one in 10 (11%) have put their winter duvet back on their bed, while 8% have unpacked their winter coat or put a fire on.

Claire Osborne, energy expert, says: “It wouldn’t be the Great British summer without a certain amount of miserable weather, but the chilly conditions this year are enough to make anyone consider cranking up the thermostat. It’s incredible that eight million homes already have their heating on before we’re even halfway through August. It’s understandable given how cold it’s been over the past few weeks, but consumers need to consider the impact it will have on their energy bills.

“Energy prices continue to rise[6], and we know that over a third of bill payers are already worrying about the cost of keeping warm over the winter[3]. With so many people giving into the cold and turning the heating on, households could find their annual bill gets a lot larger than expected. But shopping around now and switching to a better deal, before even colder weather bites, could save hundreds of pounds – enough to cover the expense of already having the heating on.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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Notes to editors

Research was conducted online by Opinium between 9th and 10th August 2017, among 2,001 nationally representative UK adults (aged 18+).


  1. When asked ‘Has your central heating been on at all in the past month?’, 30% said either ‘Yes, I’ve turned it on, on particularly cold days’, ‘Yes, I’ve set it to turn on regularly’ or ‘Yes, my thermostat is set to automatically switch the heating on when a certain temperature is reached’. 17% said ‘No, but I’ve considered switching it on’. There are 27.1 million households in the UK (ONS). Therefore 30% of 27.1 million = 8.13 million have had the heating on, and 17% of 27.1 million = 4.607 million have considered it
  2. When asked ‘Have you done any of the following as a result of the bad weather over the past month?’, 68% of respondents said they had taken at least one action. 30% said they had worn a woolly jumper, 25% said they had put their slippers back on, 20% have had a hot bath, 11% said they had put a winter duvet back on the bed, 8% said they had unpacked their winter coat and 8% said they had put a fire on
  5. When asked ‘When would you normally expect to turn your central heating back on?’, 37% said ‘the first time I feel cold inside’, 25% said ‘when the clocks go back in October’ and 8% said ‘After the school holidays (in September)’

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