Are you ready for a ‘heated’ argument?
It’s November (unless you’re reading this during another month and it’s not – but either way, it will still make sense and is more than relevant, I promise).
The clocks have gone back (unless they haven’t) and you’ve no doubt turned the thermostat up a notch or two – if you’ve been allowed to do so.
With the drop in temperature, longer evenings and weather forecasters telling us to “wrap up warm” – you know as well as I do that ‘argue over the heating’ season is upon us.
There’ve been many studies down the years investigating why couples fall out – each about a range of different things – from who does the washing up and who’s walking the dog, to not picking up after yourself and why it’s inappropriate to wear my t-shirts to bed every night (I hate that!).
But did you know that the one thing that grinds the gears of our respective partners more than anything else, is how we make use of our heating appliances and how we stay warm?
According to a Money-supermarket study, around a third of us fall out at least twice a day over the heating, and uSwitch reckons that there will be 17 million ‘thermo-spats’ every week in the UK throughout winter, as more and more couples begin to fight for control over their home’s heating.
Our own independent research indicates that the heating is one of the very most common topics of arguments that take place in the living room especially. 9% get into slanging matches over the lounge temperature, with 11% of partners admitting to CONSTANTLY being at loggerheads regarding heating throughout the home.
From when to turn it on, how high to turn it up and whether or not it should stay on all night long, heating appears to be something that we regularly get into a spin over.
The battle for control of the thermostat
By this time of year, most of us will have taken steps to winterproof our homes and turned the heating on in an effort to combat the drop in temperature and save on energy bills.
But the level at which the heating is set, how long it’s on for and when it should be turned on and off, are the causes of such unrest in homes up and down the country that it’s easy to see why the most popular day for divorce to be filed is January 3rd – the very midst of when we use our heating the most.
Men are more likely to get their ‘mankinis-in-a-mangle’ over the prospect of rising energy bills, whereas the ladies out there tend to get their respective ‘knickers-in-a-twist’ over their other half stealing the duvet cover.
The uSwitch study shows that an amazing 80% of women admit to turning the heating up when their partner isn’t looking – with a quarter of men turning the dial due to pressure from their beloved.
The rise of new ‘smart’ home tech has also seen a steady increase in ‘sneaky’ temperature controlling, with 10% of couples saying an argument has broken out after their significant other has used an app to control the heating behind their back!
Shocking behaviour if you ask me!
We men tend to think that we’re thrifty heating experts, while our partners have no clue. Whilst women think they’re more responsible with the thermostat controls than men are – though, not in my house I can tell you.
It’s easy to see why so many millions of arguments regularly break out when you think about it.
What are we fighting for?
As you’d expect with British couples, there’s isn’t just one thing that irks us – that would be far too easy – no, we’re very adept at finding stuff to get start an argument over, and there’s quite a few points to discuss.
Men and women are riled up by very similar things, there’s just some more annoying than others depending on who you are and whether you use a razor for your face or your legs.
Top five home heating arguments for men
1 – The cost of energy bills
2 – Having the duvet stolen from them at night
3 – Partners using freestanding heaters
4 – Using the remote or an app to change the thermostat
5 – Keeping the curtains drawn to ‘keep the heat in’
1 – Hogging the duvet
2 – How much money is being spent on heating
3 – Partners just wearing a t-shirt
4 – Partners walking round barefoot
5 – Keeping the curtains closed
It’s no wonder we’re fighting!
These common battles are no surprise when you consider that women are naturally colder than men.
This temperature difference is due to extra body fat in women and the fact that the female hormone – oestrogen – has a blood thickening function that keeps a ladies core temperature warm while neglecting their extremities.
This basically means that women will feel the highs and lows in temperature much more intensely than men will.
This is probably why women are more inclined to get a onesie on, turn to thick woollen jumpers in October and overload their feet with socks and slippers, while we men are still wandering around in summer shorts and string vests when we’re opening the first door of our advent calendars.
What can you do to avoid a thermo-spat?
Short of filing for divorce, walking out and moving to Timbuktu (or straight up homicide), there are a few things you can do to smooth the passage of winter and avoid a falling out.
These are the top five measures you can take to keep yourself warm, without having to twiddle with the thermostat or stealthily turn up your heating behind the back of your beloved.
Number 1 – Have a nice cup of tea
Despite the fact that a warm drink won’t actually warm you up, it’s a good idea to stick the kettle on and have a brew. The placebo effect of drinking a warm drink will make you believe that you’re getting warmer, when in reality, it’s just your mouth and your hands that are feeling the benefits.
I’ve probably spoilt that for you now, haven’t I? Sorry.
Number 2 – Put on an extra layer
You don’t have to go as far as wearing a hat that would be fit for The Elephant Man, but putting on an extra sweater, grabbing an extra blanket or even snuggling up with your partner or pet (provided you’ve not fallen out), can mean that you can delay turning the heat up for a little while at least.
Number 3 – Stand against (or lie on) your radiator
(What’s with all these cats?!?!?)
Though we wouldn’t recommend getting too close to your radiator – as it can be dangerous – a quick way to get a big dose of lovely heat is to stand next to your radiator. We’ve all been there, you’ve come in from a long walk with the dog, the heating’s on, and you need to warm your hands and feet as quick as humanly (or as cat-like as) possible. Watch out for chilblains, though!
Number 4 – Don’t even bother getting out of bed!
Simple really. Don’t bother getting up. It’s always warmer in bed than it is when you get out of it. And I don’t ever remember John and Yoko getting in a strop over their heating…
Number 5 – Sit in front of the fire
If you’re lucky enough to have an open fire or a cast iron stove, why not just forget about your central heating and curl up in front of the logs instead? It’s romantic, hot and sure to put paid to any arguments or rows you may have had. Unless you’re both pyromaniacs, and both want to start the fire, in which case, just down tools on your relationship, you’re doomed anyway.
How do you keep the peace?
So if we accept that we’re all a bit different when it comes to keeping warm in winter and try to employ a little give and take, then we should be left with warm (or cool) couples up and down the country that are keeping their bills down and their happiness levels up.
Let me know how you keep the peace in your home in the comments below and don’t forget to share this blog with your friends, so they can all give us a laugh with tales of their own ‘Thermo-Spats’.
Stay Safe & Happy Heating!
John trained in journalism before finding his way to the BestHeating Advice Centre team. He uses his journalism skills to meticulously research heating topics and bring you the latest news and views on all things home heating related. He’ll also beat you at any sport that involves a cue!