Earth Notes: On UK Central Heating SeasonUpdated 2022-05-15 21:27 GMT.
By Damon Hart-Davis.
2017-04: Heating Off in April and On in November?
UK Twitter followers' heating status was surveyed periodically from April 2017, onwards.
The poll question has changed slightly over time, but this review provides a summary of apparent intent.
Indeed it seems that ~10% of respondents leave their heating on year round! Relying purely on the thermostat like that will likely cause some demand for heat that there would not otherwise be, eg a fresh evening here or there.
At 16WW (EOU Towers) we usually turn the heating off at the end of March and back on some time in November. A cold night here or there in April or May does not warrant firing up the whole heating system in my opinion, at which point windows are probably open too, meaning that such heating would be especially inefficient or even not noticed.
Public service announcement: if you have a gas combi condensing boiler, make sure that it's actually able to condense and save you up to another 8% emissions and cash! Adjust your radiator flow temperature (not your room temperature) to be no higher than about 55°C (the lower the better). If you can get down well below 50°C and the house is still warm enough, even down to 35°C, then you should have no problem upgrading to a heat pump.
Summary of polls
|Start / Link||On %||Off %||What's Off? %||Other %||Total Votes||Duration (d)|
A by-month view of definitely-off UK central heating...
Individual Poll Results
One person said "Heating on most of the year - that's what thermostats are for, surely?"
2017-10-03: @MyRadbot asked: Who has already turned their heating on, dear UK peeps?: (n=6) 1/3rd yes, 2/3rds no, and one from northern Scotland asking "What's off?"
2018-04-09: @EarthOrgUK asked: Time for THAT question again! Which UK peeps have turned OFF their central heating now?
- Yes 22%
- No 58%
- What's off? 16%
- Other 4%
Total vote count was 112.
(Thanks for all the votes! Looks like it was just too cold for most people to hit 'off'. We did, mainly, subject to our younger one turning up his own room @MyRadbot without prior consultation!)
2018-06-21: @EarthOrgUK asked: How many Tweeps (in the UK) still have their heating switched on June 21?
- Yes 5%
- No 79%
- What's off again? 16%
- Other 0%
Total vote count was 19.
@ed_davies (Caithness, Scotland) said: "Answered "what's off"? Oil boiler sort of died, removed the other day then found that replacement was wrong type. Using electric heater in living room pending new one, rest of house at 16 °C, kitchen extension at 14.5 °C."
@Zapaman said: "No heating since some time in April but temperature fine (well insulated house, sufficient thermal mass)," and attached a chart!
2019-10-31: @EarthOrgUK asked: We don't yet have our #heating on in London (#UK): what about you tweeps?
- Our heating is off. 0%
- Our heating is on. 100%
- What's off? 0%
Total vote count was 11 by ~10pm on 1st November.
Quite a few votes then rolled in in the last half hour:
- Our heating is off. 13%
- Our heating is on. 88%
- What's off? 0%
Final vote count was 16 by 10:30pm.
(Our heating went on the morning of 2019-11-10.)
2020-04-01: @EarthOrgUK asked (2 day poll, opened afternoon of the 1st): My seasonal pop quiz... Which of you in the UK have already turned your central heating off?
- CH is now off. (16%)
- CH is still on (76%)
- Other / What's "off"? (8%)
Final vote count was 37 by ~6pm on the 3rd April; halfway through it was ~10% off.
(Note that the UK was just short of two weeks into the coronavirus lockdown at the time of this poll, which may have changed things somewhat.)
(Our heating went off during the day on the 1st.)
2020-10-19: @EarthOrgUK asked: Who has their central heating on in the UK already? (poll open for 2 days):
- Our heating is on. (75%)
- Our heating is off. (13.3%)
- What's off? (11.7%)
Total vote count: 60.
(Our bathroom MHRV went on as of the start of poll and we closed our windows, and with the heating still off we're at about 21°C inside (13°C out) as of the !)
This November has been the mildest for several years for 16WW, so our heating only went on for the morning of 1st December (~7am).
2020-12-01: @EarthOrgUK asked: SNAP POLL: Who has their central heating on in the UK already? (poll open for 2 days):
- Our heating is on. (88.5%)
- Our heating is off. (1.9%)
- What's off? (9.6%)
Total vote count: 52.
So we've dropped from ~13% (1 in 8) off mid-October, to ~2% (1 in 50) still off by the start of December, even when relatively mild for many in the UK.
2021-03-24: @EarthOrgUK asked: UK followers: which of you have already turned your central heating off? (poll open for 2 days):
All UK readers of this poll are welcome to vote in [this] poll, even if you don't currently plan to join my cult.)
- Our heating is on. (67.5%)
- Our heating is off. (25.0%)
- What's off? (7.5%)
Total vote count: 40.
Alexandra D-S commented It's 16 indoors without the heating on so I'm still turning it on for parts of the day. to which I responded that
Our normal off-day is 1st April, but I'm not sure how that'll work this year! It's only been coming on a bit anyway...
2021-05-05: @EarthOrgUK asked: SNAP POLL: Who has their central heating on in the UK right now? (poll open for 2 days):
We just had a cold April (more heating degree days than March at 16WW). It's still quite chilly with daily highs ~12°C. So this May may not be typical...
- Our heating is on. (69.2%)
- Our heating is off. (26.9%)
- What's off? (3.8%)
Total vote count: 26.
2021-08-05: @EarthOrgUK asked: POLL: Who has their central heating on in the UK right now (ie controlled by the thermostat, so it'll come on if the house gets cold)? (poll open for 2 days):
We've had quite a rainy and overcast and windy couple of weeks in the UK. Some of the rest of the world has been having heatwaves and fires...
- Our heating is on. (26.8%)
- Our heating is off. (67.6%)
- What's off? (5.6%)
Total vote count: 71.
There was an interesting comment from @MilitantHobo in London:
2021-09-17: @EarthOrgUK said: It's a funny old September so far - POLL - Who has their central heating on in the UK right now (ie controlled by the thermostat, so it'll come on if the house gets cold)? (poll open for 2 days):
It's been warm and dull and rainy in turns this month so far!
- Our heating is on. (9.1%)
- Our heating is off. (85.5%)
- What's off? (5.5%)
Total vote count: 55.
Interesting comment and engagement, thank you!
I am slightly concerned about people leaving their heating on the thermostat permanently, and thus using heating at either end of the season that they'd actually be fine without. But 'thermostat' may now be something less crude than the real-time behaviour of a bimetalic strip in a drafty corridor.
For example, @Zapaman said:
By your definition our heating is ON, but won't come ON until external temp definitely dips below 15C averaged over 24h. This unlikely for another couple of weeks at least. It has been "ON" like this all summer, but not coming ON at all.
2021-11-06: On For Us
2021-11-06: central heating now on at times 06:30--11:00, 13:00--16:00, 19:00--21:45. This should help concentrate electrical demand to run the system away from 4pm--7pm peak grid times.
2021-11-13: @EarthOrgUK said: UK Tweeps POLL: who has their central heating on in the UK right now (ie controlled by the thermostat, so it'll come on when the house gets cold)? (poll open for 2 days):
- Our heating is on. (65.7%)
- Our heating is off. (28.6%)
- What's off? (5.7%)
Total vote count: 35.
Both my systems are manually turned off. I normally keep an eye on the landing temperature reading and what the weather is doing for the next few days. Sunshine means the heating goes off because of thermal gain.
Thanks again for the votes and the feedback!
- Our heating is on. (80.6%)
- Our heating is off. (14.5%)
- What's off? (4.8%)
Total vote count: 62.
Interesting comment and engagement again, thank you!
Here's a frugal version of "on" for example:
It's on at the mo but I turn it off at the switch on the boiler, I don't just leave it on controlled by thermostat
... I just turn it on manually in the evening when it's cold then turn it back off again before I go to bed
- Our heating is on (75%)
- Our heating is off (16.7%)
- What's off? (8.3%)
Total vote count: 24.
The poll was open as storm Dudley rolled ober the UK, with Eunice hard on its heels...
- EOU UK Central Heating On/Off Date Micro-survey Results
- UK central heating on/off/other status micro-survey results from Earth.Org.UK and @EarthOrgUK Twitter account
- UK, heating, central heating, space heating, months, on, off, survey, micro, straw poll, on-line, self-reporting
- UK central heating on/off status by month
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- this dataset is licensed under CC0, ie it is effectively public domain; if you make use of this data, attribution is nice but not obligatory