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Free advice on slashing power bills.

Now the days are getting shorter it's time to tackle those DIY jobs you forgot about over the summer. But did you know that making energy-efficiency improvements could save up to pounds 200 on your annual bills and help make your home warmer this winter?

If everyone did their share, the North-East saving would be pounds 151m.

To mark Energy Efficiency Week next week, the Energy Saving Trust has developed a 10-point autumn energy plan to guide home owners through the season's energy-efficiency essentials.

* Look at cavities

UP to 33pc of the heat lost in your home is through the walls, so insulating them can be the most cost-effective way to save energy in the home - you could save pounds 100 a year.

Like double-glazing, cavity wall insulation will keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. It's a straightforward, inexpensive and hassle-free job. If every household in the North-East had their cavity walls filled tomorrow, together we'd save pounds 29m of energy every year.

* Boilers - if it ain't broke, it still might need fixing

BOILERS usually break down in winter so it's essential you make sure yours is up to scratch.

If your boiler is more than 15 years old, it's probably time you gave it the elbow and replaced it with a nice new energy-efficient one. Condensing boilers are the most energy-efficient and will save about a third on heating bills straight away, and even more if you upgrade to modern controls. If we all switched to a condensing boiler, the North-East would save a mammoth pounds 59m every year. To compare boilers old and new, log on to www.sedbuk.com.

* Be nice to your icebox - and it will be nice to you

FRIDGE freezers are the most hardworking appliances in our kitchens - in fact, UK households use pounds 1.2bn-worth of electricity on refrigeration alone every year.

To help cut costs, don't leave the door open longer than necessary as cold air will escape. If you open the fridge door for just a minute, it takes another three for it to regain its temperature. Avoid putting hot food into the fridge, defrost the freezer regularly and check the door seals are working properly.

* Look for the logo

LOOK out for the Energy Efficiency Recommended Logo when buying electrical appliances.

The logo appears on a growing range of products. If every household in the North-East replaced their old fridge-freezers with new energy efficiency-recommended ones, together we'd save a another pounds 26m every year.

* Treat your tank, give it a jacket

AN insulating jacket for hot water tanks costs only a few pounds and pays for itself in months. Fit one that's at least 7.6cm (3in) thick and you could save pounds 20 a year.

If everyone in the North-East fitted a boiler jacket, we'd save pounds 1m a year or enough energy to make more than a billion cups of coffee.

* Draw at dusk - close your curtains

AS the days get chillier, closing your curtains at dusk will stop heat escaping through windows and save you pounds 15 a year. That's more than pounds 16m the North-East could save.

* A bright idea - buy an energy-efficient lightbulb

AS the days get dimmer, we'll be relying on lights more, so now's the time to trade up ordinary lightbulbs to energy-saving ones.

Costing from just pounds 4, energy-efficient lightbulbs last 12 times longer and each bulb fitted can save up to pounds 10 on the annual bill. If every household in the North-East installed just one bulb, we'd save pounds 4m a year.

* Take to the floor - defeating draughts

STOP draughts and heat escaping by filling gaps under skirting boards with newspaper, beading or mastic sealant. That's another pounds 10 shaved off bills every year. Together, that's a saving of more than pounds 3m in the North-East alone.

* See double - and cut heat loss by 50pc

DOUBLE-GLAZING cuts heat loss through windows by 50pc and could cut heating bills by pounds 40 a year. If everyone in the region double-glazed their houses tomorrow, together we'd save pounds 13m a year.

* Be switched on - take a Home Energy Check

FOR a personal report on how much energy can be saved in your own home, log on to www.saveenergy.co.uk/eew and take a Virtual Energy Wastage Tour.

Alternatively, call your local Energy Efficiency Advice Centre on 0800 512 012 for free, impartial advice.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 20, 2003
Words:736
Previous Article:Stripping away the old ready for apartments.
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