Could putting away the hoover or drinking less tea get your electricity bill down and help the environment? Claire Byrne invites Dr. Tara Shine, Director of Change by Degrees, on air on RTÉ Radio 1 to discuss the ways in which we use our appliances and why we should change our habits.

The energy rating of your appliances and how you use them will always play a factor on your household costs but, overall, one of the biggest electricity-sucking appliances is the tumble dryer.

"When I was researching my book I found this amazing statistic that if every home in the United Kingdom that has a tumble dryer, dried just one of the loads per week on the line instead of the dryer, it would save one million tons of carbon dioxide per year," says Tara.

According to Dr. Shine, one million tons of carbon dioxide is enough electricity to power one hundred and seventy thousand homes per year. And although the weather in Ireland won't always allow for good drying, she insists that we should put our clothes on the line or the clothes horse as much as possible - for both the environment and our purse strings.

We Irish love a good cup of tea (or ten) throughout the day, but did you know that your kettle is burning through your energy?

"We are impatient, we want our cup of tea quickly so they put a lot of energy into heating the water fast for us. In fact, for your average cup of tea or coffee, 85% of the carbon footprint is actually just from boiling the kettle."

So, how can we make our morning cuppa more eco-friendly? Only boil the water you need and don't be a "serial re-boiler". We're all guilty of putting the kettle on and then wandering off only to have to pop it on again a few minutes later.

Do yourself (and your wallet) a favour and only boil it once or pop your hot water straight into a flask and come back to it when you need it.

There are approximately two hundred million hoovers in the European Union, and together they use 0.6% of all of the electricity in the EU - the equivalent of five gas powered electricity plants a year.

"Most of the carbon footprint of the hoover is when you use it," explains Tara. "Don't leave it running to go and move the furniture around, or answer the door or have a chat on the phone - actually do turn it off."

Thanks to new EU regulations around eco-design, when it's time to update your hoover, you will be buying a machine that will be using 20% - 57% less energy than older models.

However, that doesn't mean we should all run out and buy new vacuum cleaners, as Dr. Shine reminds us: "The most sustainable thing is the thing you already own. Look after your stuff."

To find out what time to put on the washing machine and how to fill the dish washer properly, listen back to Dr. Tara Shine on Today with Claire Byrne here or at the top of the page.