Express & Star

The Big Debate: Time to turn off the heating?

Now spring is here and the winter months are over, is it time to switch off the heating? Andy Richardson and Heather Large battle it out...

Is it time to switch off?

Andy Richardson: The heat is on and staying on

The cost of energy has gone down. You now only need to sell a vehicle to keep the central heating on, rather than put the kids’ Christmas presents fund towards it as well. Which is great. Though, in the sad case of this writer, I wouldn’t know what heating’s like.

We live in a draughty old house, a feature I’ve made a habit of, during a long and unglamorous career, and sadly we employed a plumber in November who rather than bleeding the radiators and recommissioning the boiler – to you and me, that’s turning it on – he turned the damned thing off and left, never to return. Which meant we shivered through winter, save for the occasional real fire, when we burned enough coal and wood to kill a polar bear. Heating. We had none. Until last week. And now we’re walking round in shorts and t-shirts., though we’re not as sad as the ageing wannabe rock stars who wear sunnies when they’re indoors. Why do people do that?

Anyway, the heating’s back on – just at the time it ought to be off. So in our case, we’re doing the only thing that’s sensible at a time of continual downpours and cold winds – we’re leaving it on. I know the clocks have changed. I know it’s spring. And I know we all have to make cutbacks where we can. But cutting back on having warm, dry air isn’t one we’re willing to make. It’s a no. A plain no. A simple no. We. Won’t. Do. It. The heating is working and we’re making the most of it, waking up to a nice warm house, rather than shivering our way into the day and avoiding avoidable colds that come from having chilly, damp air racing through our draughty old house. It’s not just that we’re leaving it on – as spring comes and the weather gets warmer, we’re planning to turn the damned thing up.

Heather Large: It's time to switch off

According to the experts, I was a little late switching off the heating. Apparently, March 22 was the date when temperatures were expected to consistently exceed 14°C and I no longer needed to rely on my boiler to heat my house.

This was 10 days earlier than last year due to this year’s warmer temperatures, the experts said.

The end of March has always been my preferred time to switch it off.

It’s usually when the house feels likes it’s at comfortable temperature.

As we move into spring, our winter hibernation comes to an end and the lighter nights mean we’re more active.

Our evenings and weekends are busier and we’re spending less time at home.

There seems little point heating the whole house when we’re not there.

Although our cat, who loves to sleep on top of the warm boiler, might disagree.

But we still need it for hot water so she will still get the opportunity to curl up in her favourite spot every couple of days.

And she’s got a nice warm bed and a blanket for the days it’s not in action.

Now I will admit, we have a few electric heaters still in use but I expect to use these less and less as the temperatures start to creep up.

For us switching off the heating now, means we are using less oil and our supply will last longer.

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