3 weeks ago
It’s that time of year when people across the UK are engaged in a battle of the thermostat as friends, family members, and colleagues fight about when to switch on the heating and their temperature setting of choice.
This year’s war of the radiator is likely to be even more fractious, no thanks to the rising cost of living and energy crisis, which have left many anxious about soaring heating bills and how to make ends meet.
And, while the balance in every home and workplace is different, statistics show that women, in particular, tend to feel the cold, meaning men are perhaps more content to hold out until the temperature drops to freezing before cranking up the boiler. And it’s fair to say that we see an argument brewing if this is indeed the case!
In a bid to uncover more about the optimum heating temperature for people in the UK, we at BusinessComparison have surveyed over 2,000 people. Throughout the survey, we questioned respondents on whether they argue about the heating at home or work and what they believe is the ideal temperature at home and in the office during winter’s colder months.
We wanted to examine how this differs by gender, region and UK cities to understand just what makes our heating preferences tick. So, without further ado, let's delve into the results.
When questioned about whether people argue with a family, friend, partner or flatmate when it comes to keeping cosy versus being chilly, a whopping 44% said yes.
The age group most likely to argue about the temperature is the 25 to 34 bracket at 57%, whereas the more mild-mannered 55+ age group came in at 31%.
The area most likely to kick up a fuss about the heating is Greater London at 54%, and coming in bottom was Wales at 31%. The city that most likes to tangle over temperatures is Nottingham at 54%, with Glasgow trailing in last place at 32%.
It seems that 7% of all people get themselves fired up by arguing about the heating on a daily basis, and 20% do so sometimes. The age group most likely to argue every day about the heating is the 25 to 34 bracket at 10%, with the over 55s once again coming in last at 4%.
Welsh people argue the most on a daily basis at 10%, with Scotland and the East Midlands coming in a joint close second at 9%. The city that’s arguing the most every day is Cardiff at 13%.
A rather strident 12% of people profess never to argue because they are firmly in control of the thermostat. Men slightly take the edge here, with 11.9% saying they are in charge of the heating at home versus 11.1% of women. The bossiest age group when it comes to controlling the thermostat is those aged 18 to 24 (19%), and the region that holds the most power over the heating is the North East at 16%, with Bristol topping our list of cities at 16%.
A resounding 21% of all people feel that 20 degrees C is the optimum temperature during the colder months. The second most popular temperature is 22 degrees, with 12% of people plumping for this option.
Those aged 18 to 24 were least likely to feel the cold, opting for an ideal temperature of 19 degrees at 15%. Meanwhile, those aged 25 to 34 are firmly squared in the 20 degrees zone, with the same going for those aged 35 to 44 (19%), 45 to 54 (22%) and over 55s (25%) and seemingly the most likely to feel the cold.
When it comes to regions, 21% of people in the east of England prefer 20 degrees of heat, compared to 17% in the South West, where it is possibly slightly warmer in general throughout the year. A massive 32% of people in the city of Edinburgh opted for a temperature of 20 degrees, while coming in at the least was Plymouth at 12%, again perhaps on account of its southerly location.
The hard-as-nails North West is the most likely location to plump for a rather cool 18 degrees at 15%, with those in Yorkshire and the Humber seeming not to like this lower temperature at 8%. The city that actively opts for 18 is Plymouth at 24%, perhaps again hinting at a north/south temperature divide.
When asked if they ever experience being hot or cold because of the temperature at their workplace, 45% of those asked admitted that they do, with 44% of men saying this is the case and 46% of women.
A total of 18% of men feel they are always too hot compared to 17% of women. Over a quarter (25%) of women admit to feeling too cold versus 24% of men.
The age group most likely to feel hot in the workplace is those aged 25 to 34 at 27%, while those aged 35 to 44 feel the cold more (36%).
Those located in Northern Ireland are more likely to say they are hot at work at 25% compared to just 13% in the South West.
Meanwhile, more than one-third (34%) of people in Greater London are most likely to feel too cold while at work compared to 19% in the North East. The city most likely to feel the cold in offices is Belfast at 29%, with Newcastle coming in positively balmy at 17%.
When questioned over whether people will feel the need to take control of their thermostat this winter due to energy costs rising more so than ever before, a resounding 70% said yes, with women far more inclined to state this is the case (76%) compared to men (64%).
The age group most concerned about their cash flow in relation to heating was the 45s to 54s at 74%, and the least was those aged 18 to 24 at 65%, which makes us wonder whether they might still live at home and rely on the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’.
The region most likely to worry about money when it comes to heating is the North East at 78%, with Wales lagging at 62%. The city most likely to keep a close eye on the pennies when it comes to heating is Newcastle at 77%, while Cardiff is the least likely at 62%.
This behaviour is a repeat from the previous year, with 35% of people saying that the winter of 2022 cast similar concerns, causing them to keep a keen eye on the thermostat as the bills crept up. The age group most worried about this issue last year was the 18s to 24s at 43%, while the region that cottoned on most to rising bills was Greater London at 39% - which is, of course, an area known for its higher than UK average cost of living - with the people of Norwich doing the same at 42%.
When asked what people turn the heating down/ or off for, 49% said they do so in the evening before going to bed, 33% said they do so in the morning before leaving for work, and 25% do so while cooking. Meanwhile, 11% would never turn the heating down or off at all, whatever the time of day.
Women are far more likely to turn off the heating at bedtime at 53%, with men following behind at 45%. The age group most likely to take this approach are those aged 55 and over at 62%, while those aged 18 to 24 are least likely to at 31%. The region that is most likely to turn in without the heating on is Scotland at 55%, while the North East stands at 40%. The city most likely to go to bed with no heating is Plymouth, with 60% of people hitting the off button, while in Bristol, just 38% of people do.
More than one in 10 (11%) of people admit to never turning off the heating in a bid to stay warm and toasty at all times. The split between men and women is 13% and 10%, respectively, while the age group most likely to do this at 14% is the 45s to 54s. The region most likely to keep the thermostat dial turned up at all times is the North East at 18%, and the city that comes up trumps here on 20% is Plymouth.
Our investigation into heating bore some fascinating insights into the overall UK psyche. In particular, it was intriguing to see the varying attitudes people across different age groups and geographical areas have towards heating their homes and workplaces.
With the cost of heating creeping up across the UK’s households, it was also interesting to observe how people are really hoping to take stock and gain control of their thermostats once again.
If you want to take a closer look at your business energy rates, we at BusinessComparison can help. Our free energy comparison service can help you negotiate a better energy contract to suit your workplace needs. Run an energy price comparison and see if you could pay less for gas and electricity.
We commissioned a CensusWide survey of 2,000 UK residents aged 18 and over on topics related to keeping homes and offices warm in the UK throughout winter. The survey was carried out throughout October 2023.