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Householders can’t afford to turn up the heat

Householders can’t afford to turn up the heat

Category: Gas and electricity

Updated: 14/02/2014
First Published: 14/02/2014

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The nation might be in the grip of some of the worst weather seen for some time, but that doesn't mean householders are turning up the heat. In fact, according to a survey carried out by, 64% of consumers won't turn the heating on or up for fear of spending too much – whilst a worrying 39% can't even afford to.

That means a lot of householders could be experiencing a particularly chilly winter, with 37% of those surveyed admitting that they'd need to be very cold or freezing before they'd even think about adjusting the heating.

Almost half of respondents (42%) were especially worried about their elderly relatives being too cold, a fear that could be justified considering figures from the World Health Organisation have revealed that an estimated 30% of winter deaths are caused by cold housing.

However, it isn't just the older generation that are suffering. The survey found that, whilst 58% of those over 55 would be reluctant to turn up the heating for fear of excess bills, that figure rises to 76% of 16-24 year olds – with 55% needing to be freezing before they'd even consider it.

Mark Todd, co-founder of, said:

"This research paints a very stark picture of the real issues arising from years of sharp energy price rises and the UK's poorly insulated homes.

"Clearly millions of Britons are putting their health on the line as they fear that they cannot afford to heat their homes. 64% of us are saying that we don't turn up the heating when we feel cold for fear of how high the bill will be."

Although there are other things that can be done to warm up – such as putting on an extra layer, making a hot drink or getting a hot water bottle – it shouldn't be the case that people can't actually afford to escape extreme cold.

That's why comparing energy tariffs and switching to a low-cost alternative should be high on the list of priorities, as well as looking for ways to bring bills down overall.

"If we want to make a difference as a country we need to get more energy efficient," said Mark Todd. "That means better insulation, more efficient boilers, and smarter use of heating – and we also need to shop around more for our energy to force suppliers' prices down."

For insight into the result of the survey 'too cold at home' check out Energy Helpline's infographic below:

Click here to enlarge image

What Next?

With there being fears that even colder weather could be set to come it's even more important to make sure you're on the right tariff, so use our comparison tool to see how much you could save – and ensure you can turn the heating up without needing to worry.

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.