Millions crank up the heating to above the summer temperature of Barcelona

25th November 2015


Eleven 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, new data reveals.

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 10%, the analysis by reveals.

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.

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% of men.

Tom Lyon, energy expert at, 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:


Proportion of consumers who will turn the thermostat above 21 degrees this winter



North East England


Yorkshire & Humber


Northern Ireland


South East England


West Midlands


South West England




East Anglia


North West England




East Midlands



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.

2.    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.

3.    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.

4.    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.

5.    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.

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