Are pet owners spending too much on heating?14th May 2015
We all like our home comforts, but it's particularly important if we have pets living with us in our house. But keeping them nice and warm all year round can come at a price, as a survey by Rightgas recently found.
The organisation polled homeowners in Harrow and found that a quarter of them leave their heating on when they are out of the house. Figures published by GetWestLondon also revealed that this is pushing up the size of their utility bills by around 20 per cent.
And it's not just the fact that they're leaving the heating on that is costing these people money. A fifth of those polled said they would crank it up a little if they believe the house is too cold for their animals.
Surprisingly, it isn't just owners of pets that are free to roam around the house – like cats and dogs – who are happy to go to such lengths. Rightgas's research revealed that many people with guinea pigs, rabbits and birds are also happy to make sure their house is at an optimum temperature when they're out at work. And – perhaps bizarrely – some goldfish owners are doing the same!
Of course it's admirable to want the best for your pets, but the fact these people are spending so much money on keeping their pets comfortable might be a concern.
Dave Wright, managing director of Rightgas, commented: "While I commend the love and care Brits give to their pets, it is worth thinking about how leaving the heating on all day for pets will significantly increase your heating bills.
"The average London heating bill is £768 a year. If you are committed to heating your home for your pet while you are out of the house, then it is worth considering other ways of saving money on your heating bills, such as ensuring your boiler is running efficiently.”
Perhaps the solution is switching to a smarter heating system, such as products in Energenie's MiHome range. This platform uses Internet of Things technology to enable devices in the home to interact with each other, while their connected nature means devices like your heater and boiler can be controlled remotely.
Using an app on your smartphone and tablet, you can prioritise important tasks, set times you want functions to be performed and cancel, edit or create new commands whenever you wish. The energy monitoring facility should be particularly useful to you, as it shows how much power you are consuming and makes sure you know exactly how much you are spending on energy in the home.
By running key systems in the home in a more intelligent and intuitive way, you'll be able to keep a lid on your spending and make sure conditions in every room are appropriate at all times of the day – including when you're out at work.
And it's not just with heating where MiHome can be useful, as the Rightgas survey showed homeowners are also using many other electronic devices to keep their pets happy when they're not around. For instance, some were found to leave the TV and radio on during their working day. This isn't necessarily a big expense in itself, but when you factor in the heating too, it all adds up.
Of course, the Rightgas survey was carried out in a relatively small area, but it's safe to assume that plenty of pet owners in other parts of the country go to similar lengths for their animals. Perhaps we could estimate by projecting these findings on a national scale.
Figures from the Pet Food Manufacturers Association show that around 13 million households in the UK have pets. So if a quarter of them are leaving their heating on when they're out at work, this means that around 3.25 million households across the country are spending more than they need to on powering their homes.
It's therefore staggering to think just how much money could be saved if these people switched to smart technology and adopted a more intuitive and responsive heating system.