Author Archives: The Checkatrade Team

Creating the Ultimate At-Home Gym from Floor to Ceiling

Image source: Depositphotos

 The dream of having your very own home gym is a common one – and it’s little wonder. Who wouldn’t want to work out away from all the annoying people you find at the gym? The too-loud headphones, the treadmill-hoggers, and, of course, those who are only there for the selfies…

Even if you’re one of these stereotypes, it would be nice to get away from a busy gym and exercise in the comfort of your own home. This post will provide everything you need to make sure you nail a gym-focused home renovation, paving the way for membership cancellation sooner than you’d think.

Know your budget

Before you start, you need to know how much money you’re spending on this project. A small-scale home gym can be done on the cheap, with the addition of a treadmill and some weights.

If you’re shooting for the moon and have grand ideas regarding an all-inclusive workout experience, up your budget accordingly – as there’s nothing worse than having a half-finished room in your home when the money runs out.

Use neglected space

If there’s an area of your home that you simply don’t use enough – be it your garage, a spare bedroom or a utility space – this could be the perfect home for your personal workout centre. Just make sure the floor’s tough enough to hold the weight of heavy equipment and, well, weights. A garage with a floor built to accommodate a car is the best place to set up your weightlifting area to avoid damage to carpets or flooring you’ve invested money in.

Breathing new life into your home in such a way will not only add value to your property but also make your home a more functional and pleasant place to be. An alternative to using neglected space is adding an extra element to an already existing room – if you work from home, why not stick a treadmill in your home office so you can put in an easy workout when on your break? Just make sure you’re not unduly cluttering the space, and you’ll be fine.

Know your workout type

A strong benefit of designing your own personal gym is that it can be tailored to you personally, and you can avoid having to pay for machines that you just won’t use. If you’re a cardio fan above all else, you won’t need to spend money on weights or pull-up bars and vice versa for treadmills and cross trainers.

If you like to get active in the great outdoors when you can, make sure there’s somewhere to accommodate your road bike on rainy days – either a set of rollers or something more high-tech, like a virtual cycling experience such as the ever-popular Zwift.

Add home comforts

The key here is to understand that you should exploit the fact that your gym is at home. If you’ve spent far too long staring into space in a dull-looking public gym, you’ll surely have plenty of ideas regarding what home comforts you could put in your at-home gym.

From a simple addition such as a TV or a Bluetooth speaker (no need to wear headphones, you can blast your tunes as loud as you like in your home) to something more luxe like a set of bi-fold doors that mean you can let the breeze in on a warm day, adding elements like these will surely put the ‘home’ in home gym.

Of course, be careful not to cram the space with homely touches, as the prime focus of your home gym is a successful workout.

Image source: Unsplash

If you’re designing any new room in your house, the most important thing is to indulge your own creativity first and foremost. Adding a dash of your own personality to these actionable tips will have you cancelling your direct debit membership and living the home gym workout in no time.

Alex Jones is a features writer for Start Fitness – providers of running, cycling, gym, football and outdoor products.

What is a High Integrity Consumer Unit and When Should It Be Used?

Often hidden away from view, the consumer unit is the central hub of the home’s electrical network from where all circuits are connected to the main supply and isolated when required.

Protecting circuits, appliances and crucially the occupants, it is in many ways, the single most important electrical device in the home.

Yet it’s only on those rare occasions when rewiring our homes that we give any thought to this box of wires and devices that allows us to live our comfortable modern lives.

Every home, just like the people living within, is different. There are consequently vast differences in the way that electricity is consumed and thus distributed throughout the dwelling.

However, since the rules that govern how circuits are protected in the UK are quite precise there are surprisingly few types of consumer unit. In fact, (ignoring size, enclosure type and manufacturer) there are only four:

1. ‘Main Switch’
2. ‘Dual RCD’ (also known as ‘Split Load’)
3. ‘High Integrity’
4. ‘RCD Incomer’

These four types – in combination with the circuit protection devices they house – MCBs, RCBOs and RCDs – allow for infinite configurations and circuit design.

For much of the last decade, the Main Switch and Dual RCD boards have reigned but the relative newcomer – the High Integrity consumer unit is beginning to take over. Before we look at it in detail, let’s first remind ourselves of the context in which it was born.

Context:

In seeking to improve safety, the 17th Edition Wiring Regulations, released in January 2008, introduced one of the most significant pieces of legislation determining how circuits are protected. In essence it stipulates that all circuits must be protected against earth leakage.

Earth Leakage describes the fault situation in which electricity leaks or is lost from a circuit. Electricity, like water, seeks the path of least resistance and if that pathway happens to be a human then they will receive an electric shock – which of course can be fatal.

It is also useful to remember what the protection devices are and what they do:

  1. MCB – Mini Circuit Breaker. Costing between £2 and £3. Protects cables from overload, thus preventing fire and protecting appliances. All circuits must be protected from overload…even prior to the 17th Edition.
  2. RCD – Residual Current Device – Costing between £20 and £40. Protects a group of circuits and bank of MCBs against earth leakage. When earth leakage is detected on one circuit, the RCD will cut power to all the circuits it is protecting… which may be very undesirable if afault with the garden lighting cuts power to your freezer or fire alarm.
  3. RCBO – Residual Current Breaker with Overload. Costing between £15 and £25. As the name suggests, a combination of both MCB and RCD, an RCBO protects against both overload and earth leakage.

A popular solution which answered the demands of the new 17the Edition Regulations was – and indeed still is – the ‘Dual RCD’ consumer unit. Housing two banks of MCBs protected by two RCDs, the dual RCD board is both inexpensive – so liked by the home owner – and easy to configure, so often chosen by the electrician.

The problem with dual RCD boards is that they offer virtually no circuit separation and to reiterate that which is stated above – When earth leakage is detected on one circuit, the RCD will cut power to all the circuits it is protecting, which could cause serious problems for the homeowner, depending on what circuits are under that RCD.

Dual RCD Board                                                       Main Switch Board

On the other hand one could employ a ‘Main Switch Board’, in which all circuits are protected against earth leakage independently by RCBOs. This offers total circuit separation, but since RCBOs are considerably more expensive than MCBs, this solution comes at a price.

The High Integrity Consumer Unit

A compromise was needed – a consumer unit which offered the best of both solutions at an affordable price and recognising this need the well-known British manufacturer, Wylex introduced the High Integrity Consumer Unit.

With three neutral bars the HI unit allows for two banks of RCD/MCB protected circuits and a further bank of individually protected RCBO circuits. Indeed, it may be thought of as a combination of a Dual RCD and Main Switch board.

The MCBs and RCDs are used for whatever the homeowner considers ‘standard’ circuits, for example lighting, sockets, oven and electric shower. If any of these circuits suffer earth leakage it doesn’t really matter that the RCD cuts power to all the circuits on that bank. This is a cost effective way of protecting multiple circuits from earth leakage simultaneously.

Meanwhile the RCBOs are used on circuits that are considered ‘mission critical’ and should be separated from all other circuits and potential nuisance tripping. It is important to note that what one person considers ‘standard’ and ‘mission critical’ can be very different from someone else.

The image shows an example lay out of a 10 way HI unit. (The colours are merely for illustrative purposes).

Here we can see two RCBO circuits protecting the smoke alarm and stairwell lighting circuits, and 8 MCB circuits, in two separate banks under each of the RCDs.

The more popular High Integrity consumer units tend to be larger, offering 20 to 34 ways. This is because larger properties have many more circuits and usually more varied uses of electricity.

These larger units are supplied in ‘Duplex Enclosures’ with two rows of circuits, such as the model pictured – the 26 way VML71214CU from Hager.

  1. Bottom Row
    1. 1.1.  Main Switch (red toggle)
    2. 1.2.  Next to this, 6 RCBOs, (with yellowlabels and blue fly leads)
    3. 1.3.  RCD 1
    4. 1.4.  6 x MCBs
  2. Top Row2.1. RCD 2
    2.2. 10 x MCBs
    2.3. 6 x Blanks for future circuits

Modern electricity requirements in the UK are becoming ever more demanding and varied, such as Jacuzzi baths, garden offices, home entertainment systems, tropical fish tanks, intelligent lighting systems, security and fire alarms, door entry systems etc etc.

For this reason HI units have grown rapidly in popularity, offering much greater flexibility over circuit design with the dual benefit of circuit separation and inexpensive earth leakage protection.

Information supplied by Consumer Unit World

What Does Health and Safety in Construction Look Like in 2018?

The construction sector represents 7% of the UK workforce, which equates to around 2.2 million people. As a result, the health and safety of those who work in the industry is paramount to ensuring construction sites – in terms of both large, commercial projects and smaller, residential briefs – operate in a time-efficient and secure way in order to benefit both clients and construction staff.

In today’s post, we’re delving deep into the history of health and safety within the construction industry, exploring the origins of hard hats and risk assessments and their importance in 2018.

Image source: Unsplash

 History

The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century led to a high demand for construction workers to help create roads and railways across the UK. The extreme quantity of available work that was created because of this resulted in poor living conditions for those employed in long-term, large-scale projects – which often left workers weak, ill, and therefore more susceptible to serious harm and injury. This movement lasted well into the 20th century, when cranes, power tools and heavy equipment created hazardous working conditions for site workers.

In fact, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the government finally recognised the significance of implementing solid safety regulations for those working in the sector, at which point they issued the Health and Safety at Work Act in 1974. The implementation of this act encouraged others to ask questions about the safety of themselves and others in the workplace, and would ultimately lead to other mandatory regulations, such as the 2005 Work at Height Regulations.

Advertisement

Beginning in the latter half of the 20th century, poster advertisement campaigns began the process of raising awareness of the dangers behind work in the building and construction industry with the British public. The posters created by the British Safety Council (BSC) in the 1980s targeted the use of hard hats in the workplace as a new and essential practice on construction sites, alongside warning workers against using old, broken and unsafe tools. Finally, at the end of the decade, earmuffs and hard hats became frequently used pieces of protective equipment recognised by all site managers and operational personnel.

Protective workwear

It wasn’t until the 1990s that protective workwear became a solidified, mandatory requirement for workers in the building and construction industry. In 1993, the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations, otherwise known as PPE, came into effect, and made wearing protective clothing in and around the site a necessary health and safety provision in the industry.

Today, protective gear goes far beyond the obvious hats and reflective jackets. Offsite, outdoor construction can be tough in harsh weather conditions throughout the winter period. As a result, workers need to make sure they’re dressed appropriately – ready for a variety of weather dependent circumstances.

Long, protective sleeves are often worn to shield the skin from exposure to unpleasant, irritable materials – while durable, denim men’s jeansare worn as a safeguarding measure due to their thickness and resilience – making it harder for workers to sustain cuts and small injuries from work equipment.

 Image source: Unsplash

In 2018, before a potential construction project can begin, a full health and safety risk assessment is completed in order to evaluate all potential risks to those working on the site. Risk assessments have become a normalised, common practice since the 1990s, and are so well-integrated into today’s contemporary construction culture that, without the completion of thorough site evaluations, a site cannot be worked on.

We’ve come a long way since the dangerous working conditions of the 1800s and the high fatality rate of the early 20th century to ensure construction sites are a safe and productive environment for all workers – and in the years to come, we can’t wait to see what other health and safety innovations make their way into the sector’s standard practices.

Author bio: Luke Conod is Managing Director of Buy Jeans and its parent company Denim Nation, providing competitively priced men’s jeans and other high-quality clothing from leading international labels.

5 Budget Bathroom Overhaul Ideas

Image source: Pixabay

If you’re investing some serious money into a home-wide renovation, the majority of your budget will typically be spent on living areas, the kitchen and the bedrooms. After all, you might think a bathroom overhaul would mean a full-scale rip out and replace job, eating up your budget and leaving you unable to use such a crucial room for a while.

However, this doesn’t have to be the case if you think creatively. This post will explain how your bathroom can be overhauled in a way that’s economical with both time and money – suggesting subtle tweaks that can make a big difference.

Tired of your tiles? Update them

Some of the more heinous interior design crimes of the 1990s and early 2000s involve bathroom tiles – and if you have a few downright ugly tiles from that period still clinging on in your home, now is the time to modernise. Update a band of patterned tiles with a modern geometric design while retaining the plain tiles that surround them for a budget fix that looks just as good as a total refit.

Geometric isn’t the only cutting-edge tile style blessing modern bathrooms – you could go for a Moroccan-inspired design or a sharp primary colour metro tile splashback, both of which are quality options for an up-to-date bathroom style.

Consider how you let light in

If we’re talking in terms of how your bathroom will look, sources of light are very important indeed. Natural light blesses any space it touches, so consider updating or overhauling your bathroom blinds so they’re able to better illuminate the room.

If there’s enough light coming in to sustain plant life, grab a few plants that thrive in humidity, such as ferns or begonias. A few bursts of greenery can revamp any space and don’t have to break the bank, either – so it’s well worth considering a verdant overhaul once you’ve switched up your blinds. 

Look out for little luxuries

Above all, the bathroom needs to be a space in which you can luxuriate and indulge in a bit of ‘you time’. Little luxury overhauls can help you achieve this, and they can be as simple as swapping out a tired old bath mat for something a little more comfortable for your feet.

In terms of your bathroom fixtures, there are plenty of inexpensive upgrades that you can make to dial the luxury factor up a notch. Upgrading your bathroom radiatorsto include heated towel rails can transform your post-shower experience, while swapping old bathroom taps for eco-friendly, modern designs can improve the look of your bathroom – all while helping you save money on your water bill, which is definitely a win-win in our eyes.

Make it a space to unwind in

If you’re a five-minute-shower-and-go type, you can be forgiven for not thinking of the bathroom as a place to relax in. However, by investing in a few small-scale upgrades, you can turn this around altogether.

Tea light holders and fragrance diffusers placed around the bathtub can transform a weeknight soak into a meditative relaxation session, while the simple addition of a waterproof Bluetooth speaker can help you play your favourite music for mentally unwinding.

Keep it organised

Part of what keeps a tired bathroom looking that way is clutter – and if there’s a lot of it bursting out of your cupboards and dotted about the shower floor, it’s definitely time for an overhaul. It’s easier to relax in a tidy space, and, with the implementation of a few storage hacks such as decanting shower gel into dispensers and adding toothbrush holders to the medicine cabinet, it couldn’t be easier.

This super-simple step is also very cheap, and it may well breathe new life into tiles and fixtures that were previously obscured by shower gel bottles and soap containers.

Image source: StockSnap

So, what are you waiting for? We hope this post has proven that, with a bit of lateral thinking and only a modest house renovation budget, you can utterly transform your bathroom into your new favourite place to be in the home. Indulge your creativity while following these steps to make your dream budget bathroom a reality.

This blog was provided by 1 Click Bathrooms, the UK’s online one-stop shop that helps homeowners build their dream bathroom piece by piece.

Why professional carpet cleaning?

Anyone that has attempted diy carpet cleaning in their home will know what a chore it can be and what disastrous problems can result! Even with the best intentions and enthusiastic Googling of the subject, carpets can easily be damaged and look worse than when you started, and you have probably spent money to achieve that! Carpet cleaning is a task that is best left to the professionals. Here are a few reasons why you should choose a professional local carpet cleaning service and avoid headaches and expense!

Professional equipment

Even if you decided to “do a proper job” and hired a machine from your local supermarket, you will have to part with money to cover the hire, deposit and cleaning fluid for the machine. The cleaning fluid is bought by the bottle and typical usage is a bottle per room, the price you pay soon adds up and you may not be saving as much money as you thought. These diy machines and products are bulky and typically well used and not regularly serviced. They are capable of reasonable results, but they are designed as a one size fits all approach to cleaning your carpets and do not adapt to suit the age, style, material and level of cleaning the carpet requires. These machines are underpowered when it comes to vacuum pressure, this means that your carpets will be over wet which can result in a variety of problems (more on this later).

Professional equipment cleans deep into the pile of the carpet, but the powerful vacuum removes the majority of the water immediately leaving the carpets dry in a fraction of the time and avoiding any damage from over wetting of the carpet. Most professionals will utilise a variety of machines, products and techniques to tailor make their service to the customers requirements and type of carpets.

Carpet material & construction

Carpets are constructed from a variety of different natural (eg. wool, cotton, sisal) and synthetic materials (eg. nylon & polypropylene) using different techniques (eg. tufted, woven, looped). Each carpet can react in a variety of ways to the cleaning process sometimes causing irreparable damage. Professionals are trained to identify different materials and methods used to produce carpets and how to clean correctly in order to get the best results without any risk of damage.

Stain removal

When accidents happen in the home, most householders will reach to whatever cleaning product they have in the cupboard without much thought and scrub the carpet to an inch of its life. Carpets generally should never be scrubbed in this fashion as it damages the pile noticeably and can not be repaired. Whatever product you use is then left in the carpet indefinately until it is extracted using a carpet cleaning machine. Professional carpet cleaners will use a product suitable for the type of carpet and the source of the stain before thoroughly rinsing the carpet. Using a professional to remove stains avoids the stress and will keep your carpets looking better for longer, saving you money in the long run.

Over wetting the carpet

Using too much water on a carpet can cause expansion and then shrinking as the carpet dries. This can leave the carpet sagging in places and out of shape which cannot be repaired. Older carpet and rugs from certain part of the world have a natural plant based backing, this backing when wet can cause the whole carpet go brown from a process called “cellulosic browning” where the colour of the plant material wicks onto the rest of carpet fibres making them go brown! Wet carpets take longer to dry leaving the room unusable and smelling bad.

Professional equipment and techniques minimise the moisture in the carpet, removing the water with powerful vacuums before it has a chance to do any expensive damage to your carpets.

Premier Carpet Cleaning is a professional carpet cleaning company based in the Stevenage area of Hertfordshire. They provide carpet & upholstery cleaning to both domestic and commercial customers. Please visit them on Checkatrade for free quotations & advice on the cleaning of your carpets & upholstery.

5 Functional Yet Stylish Home Redesign Tips

Whether you’ve finally got a foot on the property ladder or you’re more of a casual renter, you’ll be well aware that it takes a little effort to turn a house into a home. But from forking out for renovation fees to overhauling a property with someone else’s name on the mortgage, this is easier said than done.

In today’s post, we’re showing you how you can revolutionise your interior without having to break the bank.

  1. Get smart with storage

In an age where technology is very much a part of our everyday lives, more and more homes are seeing an increase in tech usage – and with this comes more gadgets, wires and ‘stuff’ in general. This leads to the need for extra space to store these additional possessions – so how can you find more space in an already busy home?

It pays to do some research if you’re looking for those lesser-known hacks, but we would recommend working room by room. Add clips to any desks to keep charging wires stored neatly away, utilise door hangers in bedrooms, pegboards in the kitchen and the inside of cupboard doors throughout your home to create a touch more space while also keeping things tidy.

  1. Maximise shelf space

Image: Pixabay

From chunky wooden units to sleek white cabinets, shelving can be incorporated into any room in the home, offering both style and practicality – but are you using it to full effect? While we’re not suggesting you pack your shelves with odds and ends, it’s not unlikely that you’re failing to truly maximise this space.

Before you simply remove items from every surface and transfer them to your shelves, start with a declutter. Ask yourself if your accessories are needed in that room or if they’re adding to the space’s aesthetic. If the answer to both of these questions is no, then consider repurposing them or giving them to charity – rather than storing them on a shelving unit where they’ll simply gather dust.

  1. Invest in multi-use fixtures & fittings

When it comes to standard fixtures and fittings, move away from thinking that a single furniture item has just a single function. For example, can a footstool double up as a storage unit? Do you need a large dining table or can you invest in a smaller one that folds out or allows chairs to be tucked neatly away underneath?

Beds are an obvious area for space saving, particularly if you have small children and their toys seem to multiply overnight! Mesh nets can also be an effective option for family homes, allowing you to attach them to various walls throughout the house so you can store bath toys, shoes and other objects with ease.

  1. Upcycle tired furniture

 

Image: Pixabay

 If you’re creatively minded, you’ll be able to find upcycling opportunities in just about every room in your home. Whether you’re hanging onto used wine bottles and turning them into stylish candle holders or sanding down and repainting tired-looking drawers, a little imagination will go a long way when it comes to redesigning your home.

For items that seem beyond repair, put your DIY skills to the test – you’ll soon find you can achieve more than you first thought. Rather than throwing away a table with broken legs, why not attach it to a wall? This will save space and money, as you won’t need to shell out for a new one. Old sofa cushions can be repurposed to create comfortable dining chairs, while mounted ladders can create additional wall storage – the possibilities are endless.

  1. Switch up your floor plan

In your quest for a functional yet stylish interior, don’t neglect floor space. Keep in mind that smaller spaces will benefit from less clutter, so, where possible, elevate your home accessories to free up your floor. This could be as simple as switching a floor lamp for spotlights or saying goodbye to free-standing bookcases in favour of floating shelves.

Something as seemingly insignificant as rearranging your furniture or mounting your TV onto the wall can completely alter a room’s aesthetic – so if you’re at a loss as to where to start with your redesign, consider these minor updates first.

Final tips

For homeowners: it’s wise to think in terms of long-term investments. Whether this is laminate flooring that requires little maintenance (as opposed to carpets which can become dirty and worn down more easily) or granite worktops that are designed to stand the test of time in your kitchen, keep the future in mind before you part with your hard-earned cash.

For renters: avoid splashing out on costly updates that you’ll be forced to leave behind when you move on. Consider curtains instead of blinds, (as these can be more easily tailored to fit your new windows) and use protectors on the bottom of furniture to avoid indentations in flooring. This will all serve to help you keep the property looking pristine, without any added expense when you move out.

Remember: if you are investing in some home design updates, find a tradesperson you can trust first.

Content provided by Ian Roberts, PR Executive for Stone Genie, premium quartz, Corian and granite worktop  specialists.

 

6 Reasons to Get Your Boiler Serviced Annually

Boilers are an essential part of every household. Providing hot water and heating, whenever you need it. There are many reasons as to why you should get your boiler serviced regularly. The energy that you use from your boiler represents over half of your energy bills and so it is essential for you to make sure that your boiler is maintained and that it is working as efficiently as possible. There are 6 main reasons why you should get your boiler serviced, these include:

  • Preventing Potential Problems
  • Ensure Efficiency
  • Cheaper Than Replacement Boiler
  • Save on Energy Bills
  • Guarantee Safety
  • Law for Landlords

Preventing Problems

When your boiler gets serviced, the engineers will make sure that all the required measures and regulations are up to standard to ensure that your boiler is running as safely and efficiently as possible. There are many problems that can occur within a boiler and so it is vital that you tend to any problems as soon as possible to prevent your boiler getting damaged to the point of no repair. The most common problems that are found within boilers, include:

  • Broken thermostats
  • Pressure problems
  • Valve issues
  • Problems with ignition
  • Motor failure
  • Leaking pipes

Servicing your boiler will help to source these potential problems before the state of these problems get worse. Getting your boiler serviced will save you money from the costly repairs or spending more money on a replacement boiler.

Ensure Efficiency

When a boiler isn’t working to its full capacity, it can have a huge impact on your energy bills. Regular boiler servicing can check to see if your boiler is working as efficiently as possible. An engineer will inspect all the different components within your boiler and advise on any of any ways to increase efficiency and consequently cut down your energy bills.

Being energy efficient is important for both the environment and economy. The more efficient you are, the less it costs to operate. It also reduces carbon footprint, meaning that fewer greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere.

Many old boilers aren’t very efficient and you may want to look into getting a new boiler, to save energy and money.

Guarantee Safety

Without realising you may be releasing carbon monoxide into your home, due to incorrectly installed or badly maintained boilers. To prevent any ill-health or even fatalities, it is crucial that you get your boiler serviced regularly, so that fully qualified engineers can assess the situation and find any mishaps within the assembly of your boiler.

If you do not have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in your home, then you may be unaware of the risks that you are applying to your health. The usual symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are; headaches, nausea, breathlessness, collapsing and losing consciousness. As these symptoms are similar to common illnesses, many people overlook them and don’t understand the real harm that is being caused within their body.

Replacement Boilers

Regular boiler servicing can make sure that your boiler is working as it should be. Without these checks ups, it means that there could be problems are that progressively getting worse. Sometimes, these problems may get past the point where they can be repaired and so you will have to look into getting your boiler replaced.

The approximate cost for a new boiler and the installation can cost from £1-2k. Having regular servicing can save you a lot of money as it can find possible problems before they occur.

Save on Energy Bills

If your boiler isn’t running as efficiently as possible then you could be wasted a lot of money. When your boiler isn’t working to its full capability then it could use more energy for it to function, as it is it working harder than it needs to. The more efficient your boiler is, the more money you save.

Getting your boiler serviced by professionals can ensure that your boiler is working to the best of its competence. Inspecting the boiler, checking against the necessary measures and regulations, makes sure that the boiler has no problems and that it is working as safely and efficiently problems. When there are any problems then engineers will advise on what needs to be done to make the boiler work better.

Law for Landlords

Legally, it is required for landlords to get their boilers serviced at their properties, as part of the Gas Safety Checks. Landlords are responsible for the safety of their tenants and making sure that their properties are as safe as possible.

Overall, there are many benefits as to why you should get your boiler serviced; whether it be to save money, prevent any health problems or create less problems for the environment. Make sure you get your boiler serviced as soon as possible, if you haven’t already done so.

Content provided by Heat-Tec 2000 Ltd.

Why Underfloor Heating is Better Than Radiators

When it comes to heating systems, many people stick to the conventional radiators over other forms of heating, for their homes. This could be due to lack of knowledge on other heating systems, or not wanting to spend money and keeping to what they already have.

Since the 1980s, the radiator has been the standard method of heating within homes all around the UK.  Aside from this, there have been more efficient ways of warming up the rooms in your home. The most efficient and most comfortable method of radiating heat is underfloor heating.

Underfloor Heating Vs. Radiators

There are many benefits to choosing underfloor heating, over a radiator system. These reasons include:

  • Heat Distribution
  • Comfort and Energy Efficiency
  • Cost Efficiency
  • Aesthetics

Heat Distribution

Underfloor heating emits heat to a room through the process of radiant heating. Radiant heating is the effect of which you can feel warmth from a particular component which is emitting infrared radiation. A big example of radiant heating is the warmth that you feel from the sun.

Radiators, on the other hand, heat air through convection. Convection is the process of heating the air and then transferring the heat throughout a space to warm up the environment. The heat from radiators rise, and then drop back down as they cool, to then be heated again.

With radiators being located on one wall, it generally takes longer for a whole room to heat up.  Because of this factor, it means that there will be cold spots and hot spots in a room and so the heat is never distributed evenly. Whereas with underfloor heating the warmth is distributed evenly under the room.

Comfort and Energy Efficiency

Underfloor heating can emit heat directly in your home and maintains the state of relative humidity that is naturally occurring in its environment. Alternatively, radiators reduce the humidity of the room which can make the room feel stuffy.

Many homes in the UK suffer with low humidity, especially during the winter-time. The problem with low humidity is that it can cause ‘dry air’, which results in a slightly suffocating atmosphere. It also can cause cracked, taught or itchy skin, as well as irritated eyes and nasal passages. It can also cause nosebleeds and increase static electricity. Low humidity can also make it easier for bacteria and viruses to be spread.

Underfloor heating distributes the heat in a room and so the temperature is generally the same throughout the room. As well as this, the heat doesn’t differ much depending on how high or low you are in a room. Radiators take a while to heat up and convection usually requires circulation of air, which means that some form of ventilation will occur. Opening windows usually allows this ventilation, although it means that a lot of energy is lost out in the environment.

Cost Efficiency

Radiators are susceptible to overheating and so to cool them down you will need to open windows and doors which will mean that you will waste all the energy that you have used to generate the warmth in your house. Radiators also cause cold and hot spots because of their poor heat distribution. Because of this, people tend to turn up their heating so that the heat can reach to the other side of the room. This consequently makes one side too hot in the process and used more energy than needed.

Increasing your heating by just 1% can actually increase your monthly energy bills by 8%. Without realising, your bills will increase everyday and you will be wasting your money and energy.

Aesthetics

Aesthetically, there are many benefits to having underfloor heating. As the heating system is under the floor, it means that it doesn’t take up any floor or wall space. Radiators are very bulky and take up a lot of wall space. They can get rather annoying when needing to decorate your home, as they get in the way of your skirting board and when painting behind the radiator. They are also very plain and not a very aesthetically pleasing. When furnishing your house, radiators can also take up space where you could potentially put furniture. This causes restrictions and your furniture could also act as a barrier, preventing the heat from being transferred into other areas of your rooms.

There are many benefits with underfloor heating and so it should be a top thought for consideration when it comes to deciding on what heating methods you should go for in your property. There are more benefits than losses and can be installed easily within any property. Why not delve deeper into the world of central heating and look at different forms of heat emitters, other than radiators.

Content provided by SPM Plumbing and Heating.

5 Reasons to Consider a New Bathroom Installation

Home renovations in general, take a lot of time, money and patience – even more so when its an important room in the house such as the bathroom. Your bathroom should be a place of serenity and relaxation, it should be a place where you want to go after all its more than likely the first room you visit on a morning and the last place you visit on a night.

If your bathroom fills you with dread and makes you want to be in and out as quickly as possible then it could be time for a remodel.

We’ve gathered our top five signs in which you should be on the lookout for, suggesting you should think about getting a new bathroom installed.

Worn Out?

Along with the kitchen the bathroom is one of the most used rooms in the house, it goes without saying your bathroom will be in need of some TLC. There does come a point where something has to be done, for example if your tile grout is flaking or mould and moisture damage is occurring it may be time to give your bathroom a refresh, along with these not making your bathroom look appealing there could be potential health hazards, making it important to get it sorted.

Fancy a Change?

One of the most popular reasons people visit Solutions plumbing and heating for remodelling a bathroom is due to a change in circumstances within the family. Young families with children tend to rework their bathrooms to accommodate the newer additions to their family, adding more storage space and usually a larger bath if they don’t already have one. Along with new families, a new bathroom maybe beneficial to an elderly homeowner with reduced mobility who may find it difficult to get in and out of the bath, they might benefit more from a walk-in bath or shower.

Is It Functional?

Although the aesthetics of your bathroom are important, functionality must always come first. These sorts of issues usually arise from the decisions of the previous owner, however your thoughts and circumstances maybe completely different to the previous owners. Instead of putting up with them why not do something about them? You would be surprised at some of the dysfunctional bathrooms that are out there, especially in smaller homes.

In Style?

If your bathroom hasn’t been touched for a few years, it may just need a bit of a facelift. Styles and tastes can change at a rapid rate, sometimes a room can benefit from a little revamp. You don’t have to stand for that bright flowery wallpaper the previous owners left you with, its time to make your own mark on the room. Small changes such as little fixtures, the wallpaper or even the shower curtain can make a huge difference to your bathroom.

Is the Lighting Right?

When getting ready in the morning the last thing you want is poor lighting to make things even more difficult. The lighting in a bathroom is crucial, it can be as simple as adding a couple of new fixtures or as extravagant as installing a sky light. Your bathroom should always be a bright and well-lit space, but should be dimmable allowing you to create different moods depending on the time of day and who is using the bathroom, after all your bathroom should be a relaxing place where you can unwind after a long stressful day.

I Need a New Bathroom, What Next?

If you’ve read through our top 5 considerations on a new bathroom installation, and agreed to one or more of our reasons why, it could be time to reconsider your bathroom layout. At Solutions Plumbing and Heating we give you the freedom you are looking for. We will work closely with you to ensure the finished product is everything you expected and more.

Will a New Bathroom Installation Be Expensive?

At Solutions Plumbing and Heating, we price every project based on the amount of work involved. By visiting your property and seeing first hand what you need doing, we will be able to provide you with a more accurate quote. We always recommend one of our team members to come and visit your home to assess the amount of work needing to be done, however quotes can be given through email or over the phone if we receive the layout and measurements it also helps if we have photos and if possible images of the facilities you’d like us to install.

How Long Do Bathroom Installations Take

Each bathroom installation varies on the amount of work involved, an installation can take anywhere between a couple of weeks or a few days depending on what needs to be done to complete the project. You might then be asking yourself if a new bathroom installation will cause disruptions in your home? Here at Solutions Plumbing and Heating we will try and disrupt as little as possible when installing your new bathroom, our service includes fitting dust sheets to protect your home, we are professional technicians who offer a top-quality service, we will respect your property and remove any old bathroom equipment to leave your new bathroom looking clean and brand new.

Why Choose Solutions Heating and Plumbing?

Our friendly and professional team offer a caring service that stands out, we believe that the entire project is focused on your vision of a bathroom that you will cherish. Solutions Heating and Plumbing have over 20 years’ experience, we understand what it takes to provide a bathroom installation service in which you are completely happy with.

We believe we should be your first choice when considering a new bathroom installation, here’s a few reasons why;

  • Care and attention with each installation
  • Excellent customer service
  • Reliable installations, repairs and maintenance
  • Comprehensive plumbing services
  • Experience from installing a range of bathrooms and bathroom furnishings

If you believe that your bathroom is in need of a bit of a makeover, please feel free to get in touch with us here at Solutions Plumbing and Heating let us help you turn your bathroom into a special sanctuary which you actually look forward to winding down in. Give one of our friendly team members a call today on 07825 268097.

5 Ways To Embrace Vintage Interior Design In Your Home

Image: Unsplash

All things vintage are en vogue at the moment, and this is especially true for furniture. If you’re a homeowner in need of some style inspiration for your new home (or even a place you’ve lived in for decades) then we have you covered.

 In this quick guide courtesy of the antique and furniture experts at Featonby’s, we’ll show you how to embrace this vibrant furniture trend in your home.

1. Small-scale furniture overhaul

When homeowners think of getting new furniture, they often imagine the difficulty of moving out well-loved old sofas and replacing them with new flat pack furniture that can take an age (and an engineering degree) to construct.

However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t invest in somesmall-scalefurniture options like end tables and small bookcases. These items are portable enough to move from room to room, meaning that a vintage-savvy homeowner can do a style switch-up in any room with ease.

2. Art – to make the space your own

If you’ve recently moved in to your first house, the walls can seem a little bare. Of course, there are a lot of wall decoration options out there, and the choices can be dizzying. Our solution is that you should consider diving into the vintage art market for some bespoke pieces to really make your home unique. You don’t have to be a millionaire to bid on art at an auction, as all manner of budget-friendly pieces are auctioned off every day up and down the country.

The satisfaction of owning a piece of handcrafted art, and appreciating it every day in your home, is undoubtedly one of the finer things in life.

3. Functional vintage

Of course, investing in vintage chic doesn’t have to mean investing in objects that have no purpose other than looking pretty and making your home look fantastic. If you value form and function, there are plenty of options out there for you.

Functional vintage pieces, such as old-school coffee machines or classic fine china from manufacturers such as Denby or Meissen are a great investment. Even built-to-last kitchenware such as Le Creuset pots are considered vintage chic nowadays, so the next time you’re after something functional for your home, cast the net a little wider and think about investing in a vintage piece.

4. Harness the vinyl renaissance

The recent vinyl boom shows no sign of slowing, which means that a huge amount of vintage record players and dusty old LPs are cutting-edge at the moment. This is an ideal vintage style option as you don’t have to invest in a bulky old-school turntable, just the records will do and modern turntables are fairly cheap.

Display your favourite iconic album covers in frames on your walls or just play the music out loud for a fun throwback that’ll have you loving forgotten classics all over again.

5. Glassware & Vases

Vases and other glassware in vintage styles are another type of vintage chic gaining traction, and they look good just about anywhere in the home. High-quality vintage brands to look out for include anything related to the Murano Glass of Italy and art deco British companies such as Sowerby and Bagley.

 Murano Glass is derived from the Italian island of Murano near Venice, which benefited from the area’s artistic heritage to boom in the 1950s and 60s, and pieces from the region are held in high regard today – so keep your eyes peeled for delicately crafted glass vases in riotous colours.

Of course, the best way to find vintage interior design pieces is to get out there in the markets and auctions and scan for something that’ll really make your house a home.

 

Alex Jones is a content creator at Featonby’s, a specialist antiques and collectibles auction house based in North Tyneside, England