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How do you save energy?

This week is Big Energy Saving Week, an event run by Citizens Advice aimed at helping people save on their energy bills. We'd like to do a piece looking at the various ways our readers cut their energy spend. So let us know your tips below, whether big or small, mainstream or wacky!


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Find out where on your kettle you need to fill to in order to fill your teapot, coffee pot, etc. Then only fill to that point and you save time as well as energy. Mike

I make sure all the children unplug gadgets at night and when they go to school.

don't walk around in T shirt and shorts with heating on. put on a warm top and delay switching on the heating for a couple of hours.

We like 'proper' coffee. I've just got a coffee machine which only heats the water it needs as it makes the coffee. Not only does the coffee taste better than the Bialetti I used to use (it doesn't boil the water) it is faster, easier and uses less energy. I can also use it for steam-heating milk in 10 seconds flat.

My favourite is this: When I first heard that the digital clock on a microwave used more energy than the microwave itself, I thought it was an energy myth. After all, I knew that the oven uses around 1000 watts while the clock uses six. But if you do the maths: How much energy the clock uses in a day: 6 (watts) x 24 (hours) = 144 (watt-hours) How long it takes the microwave to the same amount of energy: 144 watt-hours / 1000 watts = 0.14 hours, or 8.6 minutes We rarely use the microwave for more than 2-3 minutes a few times per week so when we came to buy a microwave, we got one without a clock.

Use your power shower on the 1/2 power setting and turn up the heat control to compromise. You only get half of the water out at the same temperature but that is usually ample unless you have a shower rated at less than 7kW. And you save water. Don't have the shower on the whole time that you are in the shower. Only turn it on to make yourself wet, then shampoo and soap up with the shower off, turning it back on to rinse off. Beware that the first 5 to 10 seconds of water coming out of the shower will be hotter than normal after it has been switched off for a couple of minutes. Again this also saves water. Avoid letting a hot or cold taps run unnecessarily in winter. Even a running cold tap can cool your house down as you drag in nearly freezing water from outside into your pipes which will be heated to room temperature by the ambient temperature of your house. Running a hot tap unnecessarily is even worse because you are pouring energy down the drain at the same time as bringing near freezing water into your house and all of that water will have to be heated in the tank. Take every opportunity to dry clothes on a washing line instead of using a tumble dryer, but don't dry your clothes indoors on a line as it will make the property damp. If you have let a cup of tea/coffee go cold and then want another, try heating up the first drink in the microwave for a minute. This uses less energy than boiling a kettle, does not drag cold water into your house like filling a kettle would and saves tea, coffee, milk, sugar into the bargain and if you heat it up to just the right temperature, you don't have to wait for it to cool down again before drinking it, which is probably why you forgot to drink it in the first place.

More of a budgeting tip, but I've switched from paying monthly direct debit (with British Gas) to being billed monthly, by paper bill and in arrears (with EDF Energy). Was absolutely furious that British Gas kept changing my monthly direct debit when it was convenient for them. The final straw came in July this year when, the day after they announced an increase in profits, they tripled my monthly gas direct debit despite my gas usage having gone down! Whilst I accept I may not benefit from the so-called direct debit "discount", I at least get to pay for the gas or electricity I actually use and at a time of my choosing. That's because, if the estimated bill is too high (which it usually is), I can give the correct meter readings, wait for the correct bill to arrive and then pay. The advantage, of course, of this approach is that the money allocated to pay the bill is sitting in my bank account earning me interest until such time as I receive a satisfactory bill from them, rather than my money sitting in, say, British Gas's bank account earning them interest until ("oops!") they realise they've over-charged me and then give me a re-fund a year later.

Low energy light bulbs are an easy saving, if you only need to wash the pots then use the kettle rather than heating up a full tank of water, if you have a central heating timer that can have multiple settings for different days use it to reduce the amount of time the heating is on. Get a water butt, ok this doesn't save you energy but it reduces the amount of energy used to clean up/pump the water you would have used.

I have a low energy bulb in the upstairs bathroom (it's been in there for years). It takes a while to warm up but, having a glass panel above the door, I leave it on during the evenings. It provides me with enough light to negotiate the hallway downstairs and upstairs, use the bathroom and find my bedroom ( I don't really need a light in the bedroom to go to bed as I have a street light right outside one of the windows). Switching the lights on for the hallways and stairs amounts to about 340 watts. If you've lived somewhere long enough, you don't even need a light to find your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, saving you even more energy by not fumbling for the light switch (as long as you're not scared of spiders, etc.)

Fit thermostatic valves to your radiators and turn well down the settings on those rooms you don't use and just a bit lower for bedrooms. Mike

If your looking to cut down costs on energy for heating through out the winter a fitted air conditioning could be an option. They are fitted with new inverter technology and use less electricity consumption than a domestic fridge. So you can cut down on gas and electric bills and see the difference. For our range of air conditioning units please bisit our site here to see what can suit you. http://www.zerodegreeac.com