The Exact Date You Should Turn Your Heating On This October

The Winter Dread is real.
Human hand adjusting heating regulator to save energy
Ekaterina Vasileva-Bagler via Getty Images
Human hand adjusting heating regulator to save energy

If you live in the UK, chances are you’ve learned to fear the damp, chilly reality of British winter. But, because apparently the powers that be love a good joke, you’ve likely also been hit by the devastating cost of living crisis.

So, choosing when to switch the heating on is a loaded decision for many of us.

Of course, the UK weather is unpredictable, and all of us have our own preferred temps (did you know there are scientific reasons why most women tend to like it warmer than most men?).

Still, there’s a pretty universal sweet spot when the weather becomes just cold enough to justify a bit of central heating without leaving most of us feeling like we’re wasting warmth.

And thankfully, heating specialists at BestHeating have analysed Met Office data from the past five years to work out the exact date you should stick your radiators on ― along with other money-saving heating tips.

So when’s that date, then?

The pros calculated the best date to turn your heating on based on NHS advice and Met Office stats.

“Whilst there isn’t an optimum time to switch heating on, our research shows that once temperatures are below 15°C, usually in the middle of October, it is best to turn the heating on as we feel the chill more. By the end of the month, even the hardiest among us will have our heating on to keep warm as temperatures are predicted to drop further,” Jess Steele, heating technology expert, says.

“If it is below 13°C outside then serious health issues can arise, especially in vulnerable people. With many worried about their finances, it can be tempting to hold off putting the heating on but be careful delaying this too long as this can hurt your body,” she adds.

The exact date that they expect many of us will need to get out boilers bubblin’ is the 20th of October. After this point, temperatures aren’t expected to rise above 15°C for the rest of the year ― though we saw temps of up to 23°C on the 29th of October last year.

If similar weather patterns continue, the experts reckon our switch-on days might be delayed to November 2nd.

Ugh... bills.

I know! They’re never fun ― but while it won’t completely slash your bills, Steele does have a couple of handy tips to help limit your heat consumption without putting you at risk of actual consumption. Which is on the rise in the UK, btw (oh, good).

For one, she says there’s no need to heat rooms you don’t use. “One of the simplest mistakes people make during winter is heating an unused space. Make sure to turn radiators off in rooms that are not in use such as bedrooms throughout the day,” Steele says.

“The one caveat to this is not to turn the radiators off in the room where the thermostat is located, or it could cause issues with the temperature of the rest of the home. Doing this will improve the boiler’s efficiency, allowing rooms you are in to warm quicker and saving over £100 for heating if used daily.”

Steele also suggests turning the thermostat down by one teeny-tiny degree. “Research shows that by reducing a home’s temperature by a little, good savings can be made on energy bills. 20.8°C is the average thermostat setting in the UK, but 18°C should keep you comfortably warm throughout the colder months,” she says ― though if you have health needs that require higher temps, keep those in mind.

“This can save up to 10% on a fuel bill or an estimated £80. A clever way to assess if the heating is too warm is to turn the thermostat down by one °C and see how you feel,” she adds.

Finally, you might want to be more strategic with when you turn the heating on.

“To keep bills low, be clever with when your heating is turned on. If the temperature is going to be lower than 10°C, set it to come on an hour before your alarm to take away the chill,” she says.

“If you are out all day, then do the same in the evening. Anyone with a Smart thermostat will be able to control their heating more easily, as they can make sure there is no wasted energy when out at work or shopping and can also set it so that they return to a warm house that is cost-effective.”

It’s good advice, but if you straight-up can’t pay, Steele advises “For those struggling, we recommend contacting your local council or energy supplier as there are often grants and help available to keep you safe throughout winter.”

Ah, the joys of UK living.