Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) have tried and failed to personalise their heating system to suit their household needs, such as changing the time it turns on and off.
But four in ten have simply given up when confronted with a symbol they didn’t understand.
And 71 percent think they waste money on bills due to not fully understanding their heating.
Kirsty Duffy, property expert and spokeswoman for smart heating brand, Wiser, which commissioned the research, said: “The research shows how little people know about their own home and their boiler settings.
“This can result in people spending more money than they should, and perhaps not being able to keep the home heated in the most efficient way.
“Understanding the household heating system can be overwhelming, especially if there are lots of different buttons and symbols on the control panel.
“However, at a time of rising energy bills, it is important homeowners know how to operate it in the most economical way.
“This is why we have created the Wiser Home Heating Guide, which aims to help homeowners understand their heating.”
The study also found there is some fear surrounding changing boiler settings, as 49 percent actively avoid amending the controls in case they change something they can’t reverse.
And over half (55 percent) have searched online to try and figure out what the symbols on their heating system mean.
Despite rising energy bills, 59 percent have turned their boiler on or “boosted” it, only to forget to switch it off again when they go out – which happens on average four times a month.
But leaving the heating on leads to three in ten (29 percent) worrying about wasted use of energy, while 49 percent are more concerned about frittering money on bills.
More than half (51 percent) said the recent cost-of-living increases have resulted in them making more effort to understand their central heating system.
But more than a third (36 percent) of those polled, via OnePoll, admitted that instead of trying to work out the timer setting on their boiler, they typically just leave it on 24/7 over winter.
Wiser’s spokeswoman added: “Everyone knows that this winter is going to be tough due to rising energy costs – but our worry is that homeowners lack of understanding about their heating controls will also leave them with high energy bills.
“Simple steps, such as setting timing schedules or personalising the heating to each room, can significantly reduce energy bills.
“However, investing in a smart heating system can provide even more cost-saving benefits for households – with functionality such as “insights” and “eco mode”, households can save up to £450 a year on energy bills.”