Over-heaters anonymous: the cost of keeping the heating on

Written by Lisa Stanley Mann on 12th Oct 2017

Britons waste as much as £2.2 billion each year heating their homes unnecessarily.

According to new research from Direct Line Home Insurance, Britons have the heating on for six and a half hours longer than needed each week on average, and as many as 18 per cent leave it on unnecessarily for 10 hours or more.

On average, we turn the heating on for nearly 59 hours per week, for 5.4 months of the year. With an average annual heating bill of £747, that’s a lot of hot air wasted.

The most common time for people to first turn on their heating is October (42 per cent), following an average temperature drop to 6.1⁰C, yet 27 per cent hold out until the average temperature falls to 3.2⁰C.

The Direct Line research also revealed that people are wasteful with hot water, leaving lights on or even leaving on the hob or oven.

Jenny Trueman, head of connected homes at Direct Line, said: “There are smart solutions today that enable temperature and heating control from a distance, so people don’t need to waste energy unnecessarily.  The development of smart homes can help people potentially save money each year on their electricity and gas bills.

“Wasted energy doesn’t just cause financial strain but also has an environmental impact, so we all have a responsibility to make sure that we use resources responsibly. We encourage householders to consider the home technologies available to manage their homes more efficiently. These technologies can also help with safety in the home as lighting can be turned on ready for your return and cameras and alarms to remotely monitor who enters your property.”

Time for a 100% renewable tariff?

Of course, if you simply cannot avoid being one of these energy wasters, you might want to consider your current energy tariff. Whether you could save money on your annual bill, by switching, as well as choosing a renewable supplier such as Bulb or Ecotricity, to be kinder to the environment.

Check out our pick of 100% renewables providers.

Investing in renewables

And, if you wanted to take things a step further you could consider offsetting your energy wastage by investing directly in renewable energy. Companies like Thrive Renewables allow you to buy shares directly in renewable energy projects. So you are helping support a growing, environmentally positive industry, and you get the investment win/ win on the capital and potentially dividends, too.

A number of funds, such as the Foresight Solar Fund, allow you to invest in the growth of renewable energy through your stocks and shares ISA.

You could also consider investing in energy bonds or community energy projects via platforms such as Ethex or Abundance. Ethex last week launched a bond funding solar in Africa paying a rate of 5.5 per cent.

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