The Hotpoint Aqualtis Tumble Dryer


This tumble dryer claims to provide you with 9 kg of dry clothes, not only quickly and quietly, but also efficiently with a staggering A+++ rating. This makes it one of the most all round, energy efficient tumble dryers out there.


This condensing tumble dryer aims to lessen the environmental impact of drying your clothes. Due to the condensing nature of the product, there are no restrictions on where it can be placed. Unlike vented dryers, which require a vent in order for the condensation to escape, the Aqualtis has a water vapour collector within, which is simply removed once full.


The other month I decided to buy a tumble dryer. Now previously I have been put off by the extent to which they use electricity. Obviously I thought this would have a detrimental effect on both my wallet and the environment. However, I recently saw this Hotpoint Aqualtis and along with being fed up of walking into batches of wet clothes drying 5 feet in the air, I decided to go for it.

I was firstly surprised at how quiet and still it is during the drying time, essential, as it seems I’m always drying my clothes when the football comes on (we all know how important the commentary is). Aside from this, the efficiency of the Hotpoint is remarkable and with 16 different settings and variable heat control, everything is covered.

From my calculations, drying a load three times a week will only cost me £35. A pretty good deal for both my wallet and the environment.

    Efergy e2 Classic 2.0 electricity monitor

The Claim?

The E2 is a comprehensive energy monitor, with a whole range of functions that let you better monitor your energy use. It boasts a high wireless range and lots of display options so that you can choose exactly how you wish to view your data and you can even upload the data to your computer for storage and detailed viewing.

How does it work?

The E2 Classic 2.0 follows the same style as many energy monitors. A sensor is placed next to your electricity meter, and the data this collects is wirelessly transmitted in real time to a small gadget that you can view the consumption on. This model however, has a range of additional functions: a range of up to 70 meters from the sensor, viewing in KWh, cost (with a range of 5 currencies) or CO2, historical data stored for months and software that lets you upload the data to a pc or mac and view the data in a number of forms.

How did it work for me?

This really is supposed to be one of the most comprehensive energy monitors out there. So it is great to be able to put it to the test. The installation is fairly straight forward and the interface looks fairly similar to other energy monitors, but it was pretty cool to be able to switch between the different outputs.

Where this gadget really comes alive however is when you upload the data to your computer. You can view all your data stretching back to when you first switched it on, in a number of innovative graphs and charts. It really brings the raw numbers to life and lets you get to grips with where you really use your energy.

There is also an alarm function on the device that lets you set targets for your energy use. When you go over the limit, the alarm will sound. It’s the sort of thing you can use to try and challenge yourself to use less.

So how well does it work? It seems to be a pretty reliable monitor, and I would certainly take this over some of the cheaper monitors, which lack accuracy and reliability. It also boasts a better than 90% accuracy, which is fairly good for a monitor like this, considering that measurements are indirect, unlike the electricity meter, which takes a direct measurement. It’s certainly good enough to get a really good picture of your energy use.


The Claim

DraughtEx claims to be a real improvement over previous draught proofing technology for your floorboards. The material fits between boards and contracts and expands with the floorboards, creating a perfect seam. The product claims that the extreme expand and contractibility of the product means it stays in place and does the job better than other materials.

How does it work?

The material is manufactured with lots of concealed air pockets, that means it can be compressed by 90% of its volume. This means that the product can contact and expand as the floorboards change through the cold and warmer weather, preventing gaps from forming. The product is also coloured to make it aesthetically pleasing, mimicking a shadow, in case you are using it on bare floorboards.

How did it work for me?

I have a house with original floorboards and it can get a little draughty. Floor insulation seemed like such a big job, but draught proofing seems much more straight forward and is supposed to pay back much more quickly, so I thought it was worth giving a product like DraughtEx a go. It has big claims, and is a little more expensive than other more basic draught proofing, but I thought that if it does the job it says, it would be worth it.

The installation was fairly straight forward, and there was little mess. The material fits to the width of the crack and it is really compactible, so that was never a problem, even though the gap between boards varied significantly.

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The look of the finished product is impressive. It fits nicely between the boards and does not distract from the look of the floor. I also notice that the boards don’t squeak as much as well. The proofing is acting as a cushion cutting down on the movement of the boards.

Is it noticeably warmer? Well, it is summer time at the moment, but I can feel less draught in the room, so it should improve the situation in the winter and help cut my heating bills.

    Chimney Balloons

The Claim

Simple and effective, The Chimney Balloon is the must-have for every energy-conscious home. Specially engineered, it stops warm air going up your chimney and draughts coming back down. What’s more, it’ll pay for itself within 3 months.

How does it work?

A chimney balloon is an incredibly simple concept, it is simply a balloon is inflated up within the chimney flue where it sits in position preventing the draughts. Normally chimneys allow cold draughts to enter properties and hot air (produced expensively by your heating system) to leave the home. The chimney balloon limits the movement of air through the chimney, helping to keep cold air above it and preventing warm air rise up out of the chimney.

How did it work for me?

When we moved into our new homes we had two open chimneys. One was in the lounge where we decided to put a wood burner, however the other one was located in the bedroom. Although unlikely we are ever going to light a fire in the bedroom, never say never so we thought it would be more prudent to temporarily block the chimney with plastic bags to help keep the draughts out.

After complaining for the hundredth time to my wife that the chimney was still draughty I tool to the internet to try to find a better solution. I quickly came across the chimney balloon and thought I would give it a try.

So the balloon arrived and I opted to get the inflation tube as well since I had little interest in putting my head right up into the chimney. Obviously chimneys come in all different shapes and sizes so they do a whole range of balloons to fit different sizes. After measuring the flue with a tape measure we opted for the middle size (60cm x 30cm).

Attaching the inflation tube to the balloon you need to inflate it a little which allows you to get a rough feel of the shape it will eventually become. Once partially inflated, I positioned the balloon into the flue and fully inflated it, which holds it into position and then simply turned the tap to prevent the air leaving the balloon. They mentioned in the instructions that it might need a bit of topping up once the air had cooled down, but actually we didn’t find this at all.

They give you a little reminder card to make sure you don’t light the fire with the balloon still in place. I haven’t tested the result of lighting a fire with the chimney balloon in place, but not sure the result would be pretty to be honest!

We have had the chimney balloon in place since February and it has made an massive difference to the warmth of our bedroom, gone are the days of the howling gales flying down the chimney. It is difficult to gauge the bill savings from just this measure, as we are also putting lots of other measures into practise, but despite the extended cold winter we used 10% less energy than last year for the like for like quarter.

    Efergy Media Standby Eliminator

The Claim?

This device claims to extend the lifespan of your appliances by 15%, reduce our energy use and carbon emissions, and make it possible to turn all your entertainment system off by the remote.

How does it work?

The Media standby eliminator is placed between the television and the wall socket, or a multi-adaptor. The Media standby eliminator works by sensing when the device has been turned off via the remote control, then after approximately twenty seconds the Media standby eliminator cuts out power. To set up the user presses the button on the Media standby eliminator twice and presses the off button on his remote control. The Standby Eliminator then learns this device.

How did it work for me?

There are plenty of these sorts of devices out there, but the Efergy is one with a decent reputation, so I thought it would be a good way to go. It is relatively straight forward to set up.

Working with the remote is a bit of a curse and a blessing. On the one hand, it makes turning the TV on and off straight-forward, without the need to go and flick the switch on (which for me is right behind the back of the TV). On the other hand, the remote goes walkabout often and it is a bit of a pain to turn everything on if you don’t have it.

You have to compare this to similar products like the footswitch I suppose, and whilst this has he added benefit of turning everything off with the remote, the footswitch is a lot easier to get to grips with.

For those of you with multiple rooms with television equipment, you can get a device for each room, but beware that the device has a bit of a habit of syncing up with the other rooms when you hit the remote, which could get pretty irritating.

    The Energy Egg

The Claim

When used with an energyEGG, high end home entertainment systems can achieve savings of up to £119. If, on top of this, lights are added, then the energyEGG could achieve an additional £20 of savings. This brings the potential annual savings of an energyEGG device to £139, at current electricity prices. This saving is set to increase significantly in line with rises in electricity costs.

How does it work?

The energyEGG is comprised of two parts, the first is an adapter that sits between your power strip plug and the electrical socket. The other part is a controller that detects when the room is empty and sends a message to the adapter shutting off any power running through it, obviously anything connected to the adapter (i.e. the power strip) is therefore also switched off.

It has a time delay built in, so you can set the time before the controller sends the adapter a message when it knows the room is empty, to ensure that if you nip to make a cup of tea you can come back and everything will still be on.

How did it work for me?

About 7 years ago I sold my car and bought a big 42inch TV for the world cup. Looking back this was an extremely extravagant purchase, but it has bought me a lot of joy since! Over the years numerous gadgets have been added to add to my ‘home entertainment’ system, including a sky box, PlayStation, DVD player and a home phone. All of these items are plugged into an electrical strip, drawing power off one mains plug socket.

I received my EnergyEGG (solo) through the post 2 months ago and so installed it on my home entertainment system. It was really simple to install, you simply plug the electrical strip through the adapter into the mains socket.

Once this is done you position the energy egg unit so that the detector is pointing towards the room. This is what tracks the movement to ensure it only goes off if you have left the room for a certain amount of time. I set the timer on the bottom of the device to half an hour to ensure if I nipped out of the room it wouldn’t turn off everything. The half hour is the maximum setting you can choose to ensure it still automatically turns off. I was worried that me sitting on the couch for half an hour might turn it off, but in the two months I’ve used the Egg, it has never turned off whilst I was in the room.

So the device does exactly what it offers – it turns off everything at the socket as soon as it detects no motion for the chosen amount of time. It starts quietly beeping to let you know that it is about to turn off.  For me the major thing here was to ensure that everything was turned off from when we go to bed at night to when we come home the next evening from work. It works really well, doing exactly that. Once I get home, I have to press the button on top of the energyEGG and everything comes back to life.

The only issue is that if you do go away for over 30 mins, (e.g. nipping to the shop) then you will come back to everything switched off. It then takes time for the sky box to boot up – this is obviously not the fault of the energyEgg, but worth noting nevertheless. Also if you are recording programs via your Sky+ during the middle of the night or during times when you are away it won’t work so you may want to plug this one appliance into the electrical socket independently from the rest of your gadgets.

Another thing I avoided was plugging the broadband router through the energy egg, since I like having this connection on all the time – but again this was a personal thing!

On the whole the energyEGG does work fantastically well; since I am yet to get my quarterly bill, it is difficult to judge the exact savings, but I assume since everything is now off for 18 hours a day as opposed to on (albeit in standby) all day – I should see some nice savings. You can also control up-to 12 socket adapters from one egg.

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