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A quarter of couples have argued about the central heating

01 October 2013

But women have the upper hand in the ‘battle of the boiler'

New research from Gocompare.com has revealed that 24% of people living with a partner have had a heated debate with their other half about how warm their home should be, with 12% having argued about their energy bills. And 8% have already had a fight this year about turning the central heating back on.

Worryingly though, fewer than one in five (17%) say they will keep their homes as warm as they would like to this winter regardless of the cost, and 25% are expecting their homes to be cold because they can't afford to heat them as much as they would like.

The research revealed that 7% of couples fight for control of the central heating, and in the ‘battle of the boiler' it seems that women have the upper hand. Almost a third (31%) of women declare themselves in charge of when the heating goes back on compared to just 22% of men. And while 15% of women don't think their heating is on enough, one in five (20%) people believe their partner is wasteful when it comes to energy use.

  • 24% have argued with their partner over the central heating
  • 12% have argued about energy bills
  • 8% have already had a fight this year about turning the central heating back on
  • 31% of women say they are in charge of when the heating goes on compared to 22% of men
  • 20% believe their partner wastes energy
  • 15% of women don't think their heating is on enough
  • 43% find energy bills confusing
  • Twice as many men say they can explain a kWh than women
  • Only 13% could estimate roughly how much it cost to heat their home for an hour

Women are also more likely to override the central heating timer with 16% saying that they often switch the central heating on earlier than it would come on with the timer, compared to just 9% of men.

Over a third (36%) of respondents declared that as a couple they were like chalk and cheese when it comes to heating, with one of them usually being too hot or too cold compared to the other.

Just over two fifths (43%) of all respondents thought that energy bills were confusing; however twice as many men (24%) than women (12%) thought they could explain what a kWh was on an electricity bill. Just over 1 in 10 (13%) thought they knew roughly how much it cost to heat their home for an hour.

Jeremy Cryer, energy spokesperson at Gocompare.com, commented: "It seems that for a lot of us the central heating can be the cause of blazing rows and icy silences, and although for some the disagreements are over how warm they like their homes, for others it's the worrying about paying the energy bills that puts a strain on their relationship.

"However, although 31% of those we asked are worried that they won't be able to heat their homes as they would like to, less than a quarter (24%) have compared their energy tariff in the last year to make sure it's the best deal for them. Finding a better energy tariff online can take a matter of minutes and you can save a decent amount, even as much as £400*.

"There's not much you can do if one of you likes to lounge around in shorts and a t-shirt while the other is decked out in jumpers and scarves. But if it's the thought of big bills that's causing tempers to reach boiling point, shopping around for a cheaper tariff could be the way to a happier home."

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Notes to editors:

On the 18th and 19th September 2013, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 1,784 randomly selected British adults and Springboard UK panelists who pay or contribute towards a household energy bill. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

*Based on customers who switched energy supplier for both gas and electricity (dual fuel) using the Energylinx powered Gocompare.com platforms during the 1st April - 30th June 2013. At least 10% of people who switched energy supplier for both gas & electricity with Gocompare.com saved £404.66