Even if you delayed switching on your central heating for as long as possible this winter, there’s a high chance you’re not alone in counting down the days until you can turn it off again. Contending with staggeringly high energy bills has made it difficult for the majority of homes across the UK to stay warm without feeling the pinch, despite many people taking a more frugal approach to their thermostat and boiler settings. While the warmer spring weather isn’t too far off, property expert Clive Holland has warned against rushing to adjust your heating habits just yet. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, he shared the exact dates and temperatures you can safely turn your heating off.
Clive Holland, property expert and broadcaster at Fix Radio said: “People are coming up with some very ingenious ways to circumnavigate energy prices. In normal times, no one would consider turning off their heating in February, it’s still too cold.
“We have had some mighty cold Februarys recently in the UK recently, the Beast from the East occurred in February 2018 so it can have extreme weather. If you are taking it on today’s temperatures, it’s around 10-13C throughout the UK so it does depend on the area you are in.
“I would say it’s about how you feel – if you feel like you are warm enough I would certainly say you can turn the heating off, but I wouldn’t recommend doing this for long periods.
“Usually, the time to switch it off is the end of March when the clocks go forward – I think reducing the hours that the heating is on gradually leading up to this is good – I wouldn’t advise turning it off completely.”
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While this may come as bad news to those facing what Clive described as “monster-sized bills”, he noted that making one simple adjustment to your heating from today can help to reduce your expenses.
He explained that you can gradually turn your thermostat down until the time comes to completely switch the heating off later in spring. The Fix Radio presenter said: “I would only go down in one-degree increments – you have to almost plan this to see how many times your boiler is triggering on and off.
“There are certain studies showing that reducing it just by one degree a day can save hundreds of pounds over the course of a year. You have to make sure you’re not compromising the boiler which is why I would suggest testing it out before you do it, it’s tough because you can only really compare bill-to-bill.
“I do think people are starting to manage it better and doing various tests, but I would steer clear of turning your heating off completely.”
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If you are eager to turn off your heating before the end of March, there are other ways to judge a safe time to do this.
According to Clive, doing something as simple as monitoring the weather can be helpful if you’re contemplating the decision – you just need to know what to look for.
The Fix Radio broadcaster told Express.co.uk: “Looking at long-range weather forecasts, I would say once the temperature regularly to gets to 12C outside, that would give you a good indication to turn off your boiler. Of course, you may need to re-introduce your boiler on and off for those cold days and nights.
“I think that when the clocks go forward on March 26, it seems to change people’s thoughts and think that it changes their mentality to switch off their heating as they believe that summer is approaching – I think they’ll follow that rule more than ever because they need to save.”
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Waiting a little longer to turn off your heating may sound daunting financially, but the benefits of keeping your home adequately heated are hard to deny.
Clive noted that if a house is cold, it can “severely affect people’s mindsets”, including both their mental and physical health.
He said: “If you can afford it, it’s important to keep yourself warm and if you turn your heating off completely it can affect your property negatively.
“It can affect dampness and different things that can negatively affect your property. There are some great tips and tricks out there, I think Brits should utilise this as it’s so important.”
When the time does come to turn off your heating, it is important to note that you will likely build credit on your account if you pay a fixed direct debit amount each month.
The Money Saving Expert said: “Energy usage is seasonal, so it’s expected that between summer and winter, you may have racked up some credit. Yet if you’re heavily and disproportionately in credit, then before asking your supplier to lower the direct debit, try to get a chunk of the amount you’ve overpaid back.”
According to regulator Ofgem, suppliers must refund accumulated credit, though it doesn’t say how much it thinks is fair. The financial support experts noted that if you think you are owed money, you can call your supplier and ask for your cashback.
They said: “Quote condition 27 of the Gas Supply Licence, which states credits must be refunded and direct debits fair. If it won’t reset it, you’re entitled to a full explanation, and you can complain to the ombudsman.”
— to news.google.com