Earth Notes: On UK Central Heating On/Off Date Micro-survey Results

Updated 2021-07-05 18:38 GMT.
By Damon Hart-Davis.
Which months do people in the UK turn their central heating off, if at all?
Micro-polls on Twitter probing the UK central heating season. Mainly off in June and mainly on in December as one might hope!

2017-04: Heating Off in April and On in November?

UK Twitter followers' heating status was surveyed periodically from April 2017.

The poll question has changed slightly over time, but this is a summary of apparent intent.

Indeed it seems that ~10% of respondents leave their heating on year round! Relaying 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.

Summary of polls

UK Twitterati central heating state snapshots.
Start / LinkOn %Off %What's Off? %Other %Total VotesDuration (d)

A by-month view of definitely-off UK central heating...

UK Twitterati central heating percent off by month.
% Off
  • 25
  • 25
  • 27
  • 79
  • 17

2017-04: Off?

20170403 Twitter poll final result UKCHOnOff

When I asked 2017-04-03 on Twitter who had turned off their heating (ie in/by April), a majority had, but not as big a majority as I'd hoped.

One person said "Heating on most of the year - that's what thermostats are for, surely?"

2017-10: On?

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: 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: Off?

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!

2019-11: On?

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: Off?

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: On?

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.

20201021 16WWmultisensortemp

(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 !)

When @SwitchedOnPorts (Switched On Portsmouth) asked on 8th October its poll got 2 votes either way. Maybe the 8th is indeed "the average big switch on day" as claimed.

2020-12: On?

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: Off?

20210324 Twitter poll final result UKCHOnOff

2021-03-24: @EarthOrgUK asked: UK followers: which of you have already turned your central heating off? (poll open for 2 days):

(I added: 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.

20210326 16WWbc

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: Off?

20210505 Twitter poll final result UKCHOnOff

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...


EOU UK Central Heating On/Off Date Micro-survey Results
UK central heating 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 heating season
date created
date published
date modified
temporal coverage
canonical URL
this descriptive text with markup
data content of HTML article
poll data CSV
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
~1081 words.