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As people become increasingly aware of their impact on the planet both locally and globally, there is a need for quick and useful tips on how we can all become more energy efficient in the course of our day-to-day lives. The following is a list that offers a range of quick and useful tips which will help you to target your efforts more effectively and ultimately assist you in becoming energy efficient.If you are too warm at home, turn down your thermostat by 1ºC. This could save you up to 10 per cent on your heating bill. If you are planning to go away over the winter for any extended period of time, turn the thermostat down to a low level. You can turn it down as far as you want, but be sure to leave it high enough that the house doesn’t freeze. Your total saving could be as much as £30 a year.There is no need to have the hot water come out of your taps at scalding temperatures. For most people a setting of 60ºC/140ºF on their cylinder thermostat will be more than enough for taking baths and the washing-up. Doing this can save you as much as £10 a year.Never leave the taps running and the plughole unblocked. If you are washing up using hot water, try not to do it with the plughole open. The cost for hot water can soon mount up and leaving the plughole open can flush money away with the waste water.Always close your curtains in the evening. Your curtains are a valuable form of insulation. If you close the curtains you can stop extra heat escaping out through the window into the cold night air.Try not to use electric lights when there is a good source of natural light available. Open your curtains or blinds fully rather than switching on an electric light. If you do use an electric light make sure you remember to switch it off when you leave the room.Electrical devices such as televisions and computers consume almost as much electricity in their standby mode as when switched on. Try to switch off all devices of this nature if you can. Obviously if this will have an effect on the appliance’s memory settings then leaving it on standby can be unavoidable, so check the manual before you switch it off.Defrosting your fridge or freezer can help it run more efficiently; try to do this as often as possible. Also try not to leave the fridge or freezer door open for more than a few seconds as the cold air will escape, meaning the appliance will have to work harder to cool the air inside down again when you close the door.It’s important to try to make sure you run a full load in your washing machine and tumble dryer. If this is impossible, use the economy wash settings or run at a low heat. Modern washing powders will work just as effectively at 40ºC as at 60ºC. These rules can apply to dishwashers too; try to run a full load every time and use the lowest temperature setting available.When cooking try to use the best pot or pan available for the job, and match this with the right cooking ring. Ideally the base of the pot should just cover the edges of the ring. If you are using a gas hob the flames should only heat the bottom of the pot, as any flames that rise up the sides of the pot will be wasting heat.When boiling water in a kettle, there is no need to fill it all the way to the top if you are not going to use all the water. Fill the kettle with enough water to cover the element, but not more than you plan to use.A tap left dripping for a day can waste as much water as it would take to run a good sized bath. This is needless waste, especially if the water is hot. Make sure you firmly close all taps when you have finished with them.If you are used to taking baths, consider switching to a shower. An ordinary shower uses less than half of the water that a bath does. You can easily buy devices that convert your bath taps into a shower.[/list]

Also see: ‘Up in Smoke (How much energy is lost and what you can do about it)’

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