Homeowners show “alarming” level of concern about heating costs

Published:  26 November, 2014

British homeowners are preparing to wrap up indoors this winter as the cost of heating dominates their financial concerns.

According to a recent survey of 1,000 homeowners commissioned by Daikin UK, nine in 10 homeowners are concerned about rising fuel bills and the cost of heating their home this winter. Sixty-one percent are planning to wear a coat, fleece of thick jumper indoors, while 30% say they will be going to bed early on cold nights to save money.

The findings also revealed that 76% say that rising fuel bills are of a greater concern than the cost of Christmas, meeting the monthly mortgage payments, the prospect of rising interest rates, or the cost of maintaining a family car.

In addition, 47% of respondents said they are either extremely or very concerned (17% and 30% respectively). The survey also indicates that 20% of 25-34 year olds and 17% of 25-34s are extremely concerned.

In total, 88% of homeowners say they will be supplementing their heating systems this winter in one way or another to keep them and their families warm. Sixty-one percent of women plan to drag the duvet to the sofa versus 36% of men, but only 12% of all homeowners say they will turn to top-up portable heaters when winter sets in, and just 14% will light an open fire or wood burner.

Awareness of alternative heating systems that use renewable energy sources – and are therefore not reliant on expensive fuels such as gas or oil – is good, with 61% of homeowners showing some level of knowledge. However, intimate knowledge of these technologies is slight, with just 17% saying they’ve had direct experience, and awareness of the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme is low with only 35% saying they’ve heard of it.

“It’s alarming to see the scale of concern amongst Britain’s 18 million homeowners over the cost of heating their homes this winter,” said Nancy Jonsson, Daikin’s domestic heating expert. “It’s great that people are taking practical action to reduce their use of their central heating and keep costs down, but this shouldn’t be necessary when alternatives means of heating without a reliance on expensive fossil fuels are available and affordable.

“The research does highlight a positive level of awareness of alternative heating technologies that make use of renewable resources such as air or solar energy, but also a chronic lack of direct experience and of the financial support available to make the transition. Frightening fuel bills are not going to go away, so homeowners are urged to consider a longer term solution.”