Are you living with a secret heater?

Does your home experience unpredictable and inexplicable changes in temperature? Do you suspect an unseen force is trying to chill your bones or boil your blood?


Well, October – the month of Halloween – may be the spookiest time of the year, but the truth behind these strange goings on may be less than supernatural…

In reality, legions of Brits are secretly interfering with thermostats across the country, with as many as a quarter of us adjusting the heating without telling anyone else in the house – according to MoneySuperMarket research.

Heat of the moment

It’ll come as no surprise to many of us. The same research found almost a third (29%) of UK adults admit to arguing with (or being annoyed by) the people they live with over temperature tampering.

The secret heaters aren’t the stealthiest bunch though: 63% have been caught in the act – 37% of whom were women. Almost a third of men (29%) deny ever touching the thermostat, while one in 10 women refuse to take the blame.

And what does it all boil down to? Bills, of course: 44% of those who have argued about it said it was because they were worried about the cost of putting the heating on.

In fact, we’re so fearful of running up big bills that more than half of us would sooner put on an extra jumper than line the pockets of our energy supplier.

‘Avoid overpaying’

Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “With a quarter of Brits admitting to arguing about the heating of their home, it’s unsurprising to hear that the main cause for concern lies in the cost. As we approach the winter months, these arguments will no doubt become more frequent.

“The fact that over half of Brits claim that they’d rather put on extra clothing than succumb to putting the heating on and endure high costs, shows the nation is still concerned with the price they pay for their energy.

“Avoiding the heating and adding extra layers can obviously bring down bills, but it is also that crucial consumers take steps to ensure they aren’t overpaying for their energy. Using a comparison tool allows you to compare the best tariff for you, and households using MoneySuperMarket can save up to £184 by doing so.”

Thumb war

The secret heaters might find future temperature fiddling easier, as smartphone-connected smart thermostats such as Nest and Hive grow in popularity.

The devices let users remotely control the temperature via smartphone apps, which could see the battle for heating control become a thumb war fought on sofas.

In the meantime, here are some tips to help you catch a secret heater:

  • Watch out for absences too short for a visit to the loo, or to make a brew.
  • Secret heaters may avoid eye contact, or act sheepishly after turning the heating on/up. 
  • Listen out for the dead-giveaway groaning of a boiler gurgling into action.
  • If you’re hearing “I’m cold” or “It’s freezing in here” less frequently, something’s up.

And if you can’t catch them in the act, at least get onto our energy channel and make sure you’re on the cheapest possible tariff available to you, so that when a secret heater does strike, you’ve done your damage control.

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

* 51% could save at least £180, MoneySuperMarket Data, June 2014


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