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Banish those icy draughts; Chronicle GO GREEN sponsored by Environment Agency energy saving trust.

THIS week our Dr Green Prof Paul Younger is taking a break, so Energy Doctor Steve Hunter has stepped in to answer a question from one of our readers:

Dear Energy Doctor, I've noticed my house is very draughty, and I seem to be running up huge energy bills as I keep needing to crank up the heating. What can I do to lower my bills?

The Energy Doctor says: Poor insulation and draughts can make a home feel uncomfortable and chilly, not to mention the wasted money.

With autumn approaching, it's a good idea to look into your insulation measures and see what can be improved.

Here are five top tips for wrapping up your home warm, and banishing the icy draughts this winter:

1. Wall in order: If your home has unfilled cavity walls, insulating them could reduce heat loss through the walls by around 60%, meaning you won't need to use as much energy to keep your home nice and warm, and you will avoid facing high energy bills in the winter months.

The cost of installation is typically less than pounds 350 and it will save you up to pounds 90 a year on your energy bills. It will therefore pay for itself in around three years.

2. Hit the roof : If your home has no loft insulation, you could be wasting around a third of your heating costs through your roof.

Fitting loft insulation at least 270mm thick can save you around pounds 110 off your heating bills every year.

3. Plug the gaps: Even the small gaps in your floorboards and skirting boards can make your home feel chilly. A quick

DIY fix of filling the gaps with a sealant could save you up to pounds 20 a year on your heating bills.

4. It's a breeze: Draughts from windows and doors will affect how warm you feel in your home. Draught-proofing is simple and cost-effective - it could shave another pounds 20 off your annual heating bill.

5. Piping hot: Keeping your water tank cosy by fitting an insulating jacket will keep water hot for longer in the winter months, washing away the problem of cold morning showers and reducing your bills by around pounds 20 a year.

Hot water pipes lose heat right the way along, so insulating them wherever you can could save around pounds 10 a year.

Steve Hunter is director of the North East Energy Saving Trust Advice Centre, where energy doctors are on hand to give you free, impartial advice on saving energy and talk about the grants available in your area to implement energy efficient measures.

The advice centre in the North East was one of the first three centres to be set up in 2005 and, following their success, the programme is now rolling out to the rest of the UK.

For help, call freephone 0800 512 012 or visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/northeast.

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IMPARTIAL ADVICE: Energy doctor Steve Hunter
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 11, 2007
Words:496
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