Home temperature and chore wars spark conflict between couples

With our research showing that one in ten couples argue over who submits their energy meter readings, we’re delighted to have installed more than three quarters of a million self-reading smart meters for our customers so far. Technology can be a huge help around the home and that’s why we’re constantly looking for smarter solutions to offer our customers more and help make their lives that bit more harmonious.
Sarah Walker-Jones, Head of E.ON’s Smart Metering Hub
  • New research reveals that couples argue about the temperature of their home, leaving lights on and leaving heating on
  • A third of couples say smarter technologies would make living together easier
  • E.ON offers smarter solutions and partners with professional decluttering expert Juliet Landau-Pope to help power a more peaceful home

As spring cleaning season sets in, a new survey of 2,000 British couples by E.ON1 reveals that the temperature of the home and chore wars are disrupting the peace at home, with many couples feeling smarter solutions around the home would help.

When asked what the most common energy-related causes of conflict with their partners were over the past six months, the temperature of the home came top (22%) followed closely by leaving lights (22%) and the heating (18%) on, leaving windows or doors open (16%) and forgetting to unplug things (13%).

With regards to household chores, a third of couples say defrosting the freezer is their top hate (32%), followed by cleaning the house (30%), doing laundry (27%) and washing up (23%). But there are many tasks we like or love doing with cooking topping the list (41%), followed by grocery shopping (32%), looking after the garden (31%) and DIY/decorating (23%).

With almost a third of couples (32%) saying smarter technologies would help make living together easier, E.ON offers a number of solutions to help support its customers’ differing needs. For example, self-reading smart meters can help avoid disputes for the one in ten couples who argue over submitting energy meter readings (10%).

Sarah Walker-Jones, Head of E.ON’s Smart Metering Hub, says: “We all know that maintaining harmony in the home can be tricky when there are chores to be done or differences of opinion on things like how warm the living room should be.

“With our research showing that one in ten couples argue over who submits their energy meter readings, we’re delighted to have installed more than three quarters of a million self-reading smart meters for our customers so far. Technology can be a huge help around the home and that’s why we’re constantly looking for smarter solutions to offer our customers more and help make their lives that bit more harmonious.”

When asked what technologies, real or imagined, could help with household chores and reduce rifts, two in five respondents (40%) said clothes that never need ironing would be their ultimate smart technology of choice. A quarter would like a fridge that stocks itself (26%) and a fifth like the sound of a bed that makes itself (22%).

Familiarity powers contentment

The research also shows that the longer couples live together, the more peaceful their homes are. Eight in ten (83%) of those living together for more than 21 years say they never argue over changing the bed compared to half (53%) of those who are new to living together.


% of couples living together for 0-1 years who never argue over…

% of couples living together for 21+ years who never argue over…

Changing the bedsheets



Changing the loo roll



Cleaning the house



Doing the washing up



Taking energy meter readings



Factors driving friction

Most couples say they don’t have an organised system in place for dealing with household chores, with four in ten people just doing a task when it needs to be done (41%) and 16% saying whoever has more time does the job. Only 3% have a scheduled rota or a cleaner.

Dodging the chores altogether is also a cause of tension with the most frequently used excuse being “I can’t be bothered” (15%), followed by “I don’t have time” (14%), “I’ll do it later” (11%), “I forgot” (9%) and “I didn’t notice that they needed doing” (7%).

E.ON has partnered with life coach and professional decluttering expert, Juliet Landau-Pope, to provide advice to couples on handling the spring clean ‘chore-war’.

Juliet says: “Having the right type of communication between you and your partner can mean the difference between a tranquil and testing home. Couples who argue a lot rarely agree on who does what and when. As such, they’re re more likely to live in a neglected environment that spawns more arguments. But there are simple ways to transform a home into a place of peace and the key is communication and cooperation.”

Juliet’s Top Tips for Powering a Peaceful Home:

  • Teamwork: acknowledge that running a household requires teamwork. It shouldn’t be the responsibility of just one person with the other person ‘helping’ out. Even if the division of labour isn’t entirely equal, you each have an important role to play in creating a peaceful home.

  • Routines: create routines so that certain jobs are tackled on a daily or weekly basis rather than waiting for one of you to feel like doing them. Maybe designate which evenings each of you will cook dinner, for example, and decide in advance that whoever cooks, the other one will wash up.

  • Simplicity: simplify systems so that chores can be accomplished quickly and easily. For example, keep spare toilet rolls in or near the bathroom rather than under the stairs so that they can be replaced within minutes.

    Communication: be polite and specific about requests while avoiding critical generalisation and rhetorical questions which are likely to escalate disputes. Do say, for example: “Next time you leave the bathroom, please turn off the lights”. Don’t say: “You never remember to turn off the lights” or “Why do you always leave the lights on?”

  • Priorities: since you both have limited time and energy to dedicate to chores, establish priorities and choose your battles accordingly. If it irks you to waste electricity by filling the kettle with too much water, point this out but perhaps be willing to overlook a dirty mug or two in the sink.

  • Smart solutions: looking into new, smarter technologies and solutions can help avoid disputes. For example, a smart meter reads itself so avoids the need to argue over who goes to the back of the under-stairs cupboard. And tools like E.ON Marketplace help make easy decisions about buying energy efficient appliances and lighting, so even if a light does sometimes get left on when it shouldn’t do, it won’t be as wasteful as your partner might think.

To find out more about E.ON’s smarter customer solutions, such as self-reading smart meters and E.ON Marketplace, visit eonenergy.com.


Notes to editors

[1] Based on research conducted by OnePoll in March 2017 among 2,000 British adults who live with a partner.

For more information please contact:

Jag Bickham: 02476 181 308 / Jag.bickham@eon-uk.com

Roxanne Postle, 02476 195 785, roxanne.postle@eon-uk.com


The information (including any forecasts or projections) contained in this press release (the "Information") reflects the views and opinions of E.ON on the date of this press release. The Information is intended as a guide only and nothing contained within this press release is to be taken, or relied upon, as advice. E.ON makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about any of the Information (including, without limitation, any as to its quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose) and E.ON accepts no liability whatsoever for any action or omission taken by you in relation to the Information. Any reliance you place on the Information is solely at your own risk. This press release is the property of E.ON and you may not copy, modify, publish, repost or distribute it. © E.ON 2017

Media Contacts
photo:Scott Somerville
Scott Somerville
Senior Manager - PR & Issues Management
07889 771 804
photo:Andrew Barrow
Andrew Barrow
PR Manager
02476 183 677
photo:Jag Bickham
Jag Bickham
PR Manager
02476 181 308
photo:Victoria Blake
Victoria Blake
Senior PR Officer
02476 181 304
photo:Roxanne Postle
Roxanne Postle
Senior PR Officer
02476 195 785
photo:Jane Branscombe
Jane Branscombe
Senior PR Officer
02476 183 681
photo:Naomi Troy
Naomi Troy
Senior PR Officer
02476 180 523
Share this release
Share on: Twitter
Share on: Facebook
Share on: LinkedIn
Latest news