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Winter’s coming as Scots race ahead in the official heating ‘switch on’

  • Data based on Hive Active Heating use shows switch on habits across Britain
  • Majority of Scots have already switched on their heating
  • Heating has been switched on two weeks earlier this year
  • Less than a third of households in the South East kept their heating on for more than one hour 

Data based on the use of Hive Active Heating, which enables heating and hot water to be controlled remotely from a smartphone with the Hive app, highlights how people have been switching on their heating at the start of autumn.

The data, which looks at the period from 7th-30th September, shows that people in Scotland have already started to feel the autumn chill, with more than three-quarters turning on their heating during September – more than anywhere else in Britain. 

With temperatures dropping as low as 3°C north of the border in September, almost an extra third of households in Scotland fired up their boilers when compared to the balmy South East, which has not seen the temperature drop below 7°C during the month.

This may also explain why less than a third of people in the South East kept their heating on for one hour or more in September, whilst in the North West this figure more than doubled to six in ten. 

The data highlights that the ‘official switch on’ was two weeks earlier this year than in 2016, due to an unusual cold spell in September which saw temperatures drop as low as two degrees. 

Data from Hive Active Heating highlights heating switch on figures across the county*: 




Percentage of people who switched on their heating in September

Percentage of people who kept their heating on for one hour or more in September






North West




North East




West Midlands








East Midlands




Greater London




South West




South East



British Gas engineer Sheena Anker said: “Our data based on Hive Active Heating use shows that most households across the country have already switched on their heating, but there’s still an opportunity to keep a step ahead of winter by following some useful home care tips. 

 1. Bleed your radiators: to make sure they are working properly. If your radiators have cold spots at the top, this means you have air in the system, so you will need to bleed them to get them working efficiently. 

  a. To do this, turn the system off and when cool turn the radiator key until the air stops and water runs consistently. Once you have turned the system back on, the problem should be solved.

  b. Cold spots in the bottom or centre of the radiator may be an indication of sludge build up and the need for system flushing.

  c. Bleeding your radiator may result in pressure dropping. If you have a pressure gauge, make sure the boiler is at the right pressure and top up as necessary.

 2. Block the breeze: Make sure all your windows and doors seal properly to stop warm air escaping. For those that don’t, fitting draught excluders, which you can buy from most DIY stores, is a quick and cheap way to cut down on your energy bills. 

 3. Stay safe: It’s vital to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted and that you test it regularly.

 4. Love your boiler: Check to make sure that your boiler is working properly before winter sets in. The older your boiler, the more inefficient it will be. If you have a pressure gauge, make sure the boiler is at the right pressure and top up as necessary. 

 5. Wrap up your water tank and insulate hot water: The materials can be purchased from most DIY stores and help to conserve heat and save you money. 

 6. Insulate your pipes: Burst pipes are a huge issue during winter months. To help prevent burst pipes, ensure all pipes are properly insulated by using lagging, which can be bought cheaply from most DIY shops.

 7. Be energy smart: Why not speak to your energy supplier about a smart meter? You’ll be able to see how much energy you’re using, in pounds and pence, with a smart meter monitor. In turn this helps you to better understand your energy consumption and identify where you can make savings. Find out more: 

 8. Maintain your drains: If you're trying to keep your drains outside well maintained, it's a good idea to make sure they are clear of debris at the point at which they enter the ground. This involves checking your gullies for autumnal leaves and twigs to ensure that they don't restrict water flow at any point.

 9. Control your heating remotely with Hive Active Heating: Using Hive Active Heating means you can control your heating and hot water remotely from your smartphone with the Hive app, so you can ensure your home is warm when you need it to be. Find out more: 

 10. Peace of mind: British Gas has a range of HomeCare products to help keep your home a step ahead of winter with protection for your boiler, heating, electrics and plumbing. With HomeCare you can have your boiler serviced every year for less than 40p a day. Find out more: “

Notes to editors

*The data is based on a nationwide sample of 5,458 customers with Hive Active Heating for the period 7th-30th September 2017.

For more information contact:

Bieneosa Ebite
Senior PR Manager
British Gas
01784 84 3000

British Gas is Britain’s leading energy and services company, serving more than 10 million homes and over 400,000 businesses across the country. More than 8,000 highly-trained engineers guarantee the highest quality of service for our residential and business customers. We also provide a range of innovative offers and services including connected home Hive™ products, smart meters, and the online tradesman service, Local Heroes.

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