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18th Oct 2023

Energy expert settles debate of when Brits should put heating back on

Steve Hopkins

You can stop fighting now

It is the time of the year that the annual heating debate divides households across Britain.

When is it time to switch the heating back on?

September was the warmest on record, and October also got away to a hot start with the highest temperature in five years being recorded in Kew Gardens, Surrey, at 25.8C. The October average is 17C.

But while that was just days ago, we’re now dealing with red, amber and yellow weather warnings, with a four-day stretch of downpours and strong winds on the way. And temperatures have dropped about 10C.

The cost of living crisis and soaring energy prices meant many Brits probably froze for at least part of last Winter, where the first two weeks of December were the coldest start to meteorological winter since 2010, The Met Office reported.

And, unfortunately, according to a report by the BBC at the end of September, annual bills are expected to keep increasing.

The broadcaster quoted energy consultancy Cornwall Insight as saying that prices will rise again in January 2024. It estimates that typical annual bills will rise to £1,996. The consultancy does not expect energy prices to return to pre-covid levels before the end of the decade.

So, with all that in mind, when should Brits flick on the heating?

Andy Kerr, who works for BOXT – a leading boiler company – explained how waiting until the hour changes is probably the best strategy.

Speaking with the Liverpool Echo, he said: “While some might delay putting the heating on to save money, many are turning it on sooner rather than later to combat that chilly feeling.

“Experts recommend turning on your central heating on around the 29th of October, as this is when daylight saving time ends and temperatures begin to fall.”

Kerr said his company “always advise” keeping thermostats at a minimum of 10 degrees “to protect your pipes from freezing”.

“Frozen pipes not only stop your heating from working properly, but can lead to costly complications, including burst pipes and plumber call-out fees, and it is ideal to ensure your heating system works reliably before the really cold weather arrives.”

And if you are struggling to keep the heating on, Andy also had some tips for keeping the house warmer this winter.

First, get your boiler serviced. Kerr says that could cut 10 per cent off your heating bill.

He also recommends keeping your radiators open and unblocked, and positioning furniture a bit away from them.

Kerr also advises against drying clothes on the radiator – if that’s an option.

As for when to switch it on and off, Kerr suggests the morning and during the day while you’re at home – so programme it to come on before you wake up – then have it go off an hour after you go to sleep.

Related links:

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Heartbreaking letters on pub Christmas tree highlight cost of living crisis as kids ask for ‘clean clothes’ and ‘anything’

Expert reveals how much money you should have saved by age 30