Heating expert reveals why you shouldn’t turn up your thermostat when it’s cold

Feeling the chill? It turns out you shouldn’t be turning up your heating…

Close up of an Ecobee smart thermostat
(Image credit: Sean D / Unsplash)

As we enter the later months of the year, the temperatures are dropping, both inside and outside. The temptation to turn up your best heater as high as it can go is great, but according to heating experts at Only Radiators, you shouldn’t be doing this if you’re trying to keep warm this autumn/winter.

Whether you have an old fashioned boiler or have opted for one of the best smart thermostats, increasing the temperature in your home keeps it perfectly heated during the colder months, and gives you more control and customisation over your heating. Now that the weather has started to chill, many people will be turning towards the thermostat to stay warm, but it turns out this is ineffective and can cost you extra on your bills.

Speaking to Dominic Lees-Bell, heating expert at Only Radiators, he stated that “most people are still in a Victorian mindset and, during cold weather, they crank up the heat. And while that is a perfectly reasonable course of action, it's not what your thermostat does. Your thermostat is, instead, a limiter, not an accelerator. A minimum and a maximum temperature limiter rolled into one.”

To further explain this, Lees-Bell said “if you're cold and you turn your thermostat up to 30 degrees in an attempt to make your home hotter, you're essentially saying to your boiler ‘you couldn't reach 20 degrees, so give 30 degrees a try’ with the rate of heating staying the same.” As your home needs time to collect and retain the heat while also spreading it around the rooms in your house, this impatience means your heater is working overtime, meaning it’ll take longer to heat your home.

According to Lees-Bell, leaving your thermostat alone and letting your central heating do its job can have a big impact on how much you’re paying on your heating bills. Each degree you increase your thermostat by can actually cost you an extra 10% on your heating bill a year.

The best smart thermostat

(Image credit: Canva)

In an effort to save money, many people will avoid turning their heating on for as long as possible, instead opting to wear extra layers or wrapping themselves in a bundle of blankets. But when the cold in your home is just too uncomfortable, switching on your heating can quickly warm you up during the winter. Although there’s no big solution to cutting down your heating bills, maintaining your thermostat at a regular temperature can help cut down on some costs.

Sources like the NHS and The Energy Saving Trust recommend heating the areas of your home that you use the most between 18 - 21°C. “The evidence that’s available points to 18°C being the most appropriate threshold, particularly for the fit and healthy,” says Lees-Bell. As the elderly are less able to detect the cold, “it’s important to consider the members of your household and their individual needs when deciding on an optimum room temperature.”

Many experts are suggesting turning on your heating on 29th October 2023. Other ways to stay warm during autumn/winter while keeping your costs down are by investing in a smart thermostat or running one of the best electric blankets. For more heating tips, check out these 5 low-cost ways to heat your home for longer.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!