UP and down the country couples are grappling with soaring heating bills and wildly different body temperatures.
A third of couples argue over the central heating, but the recent energy price cap rise — taking the standard or default tariff up by £139 to £1,277 for a typical customer — has amplified the problem.
Mum of three Lianne Brown’s internal thermostat means that she is constantly cold while thrifty husband Kieran, 31, lives in shorts and T-shirts and keeps tabs on how much heat they are using.
And scientists at a university in Tel Aviv confirmed last week that Lianne is not alone — women really do feel the cold more than men. The difference in body temperature is a quirk of nature meant to keep the sexes apart so that they do not clash.
When coupled up in the same house, though, it is difficult not to disagree over the bills, especially as experts predict the price cap to reach £1,660 next April.
For cost-cutting Kieran, an operations director for a car warranty company, and Lianne, it could be a winter of discontent.
Lianne, 29, who lives with Kieran and their children Oscar, eight, Florence, six, and Esme, four, in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, says: “Kieran is obsessed with saving money on the heating and if he had his way, the thermostat would be set to zero all year round.
“If I’m cold, he tells me to stop moaning and to stick on another jumper while he’s happy in shorts and a T-shirt.
“I have more blankets in my living room than The Range.
“The only time I don’t sit under a blanket is when I’m doing the ironing. How many women iron to keep warm? It’s ridiculous.
“I’ve even taught the kids that 25 is the ‘magic’ number on the thermostat.
“If I turn it up and Kieran catches on I blame them, which then causes arguments because he calls me a liar.”
When they met in 2010, Lianne says Kieran was more relaxed about bills. But moving into a bigger house six years ago triggered the heating wars.
She says: “Neither of us had a clue how much utility bills cost when we first started living together. But when Oscar was almost four, we moved from a two-bedroom semi into a three-bed with an extra downstairs room, which meant the house cost more to heat.
“During that time Kieran worked at home to look after the kids, which meant he took responsibility for sorting the bills. That’s when the trouble started.
“He drew up a spreadsheet to keep track of how much we were spending, and the bickering began. When he complained we… Brinkwire Brief News.