Whenever you look at making some changes to your home, there is almost always some confusion about where you should start and how to go about it.
Thankfully, the team at Sainsburys Bank have put together a very helpful Guide to Home Improvements.
This handy little document has hints and tips on everything from improving your existing areas to creating brand new spaces.
There’s also some information on how to make your home more energy efficient.
We hope you find this guide useful but if you discover a job that might be a bit too big to tackle yourself, why not find a reliable trader on Checkatrade.com?
With over 24,000 recommended, vetted and monitored trades…we’re bound to have the right one for you!
We are WPJ Heating , a boiler installation company based in London and proud members of Checkatrade. In this article, we will cover different types of boilers to give you a better understanding of what boiler type suits your property.
Nowadays, all boilers are condensing boilers regardless of the categories listed below. Condensing boilers are more energy efficient and have been made mandatory by the Government since 2005. Gas boilers can be separated into 3 main types. These suit different-sized properties and differing heating and hot water requirements.
Types of Boilers
Combination boilers are perhaps the most prevalent type of boiler in London. These are just “one solitary white box” on the wall. Combination boilers heat up hot water for your taps and showers on demand (i.e. the burner kicks in whenever a hot tap is opened) and they also produce the hot water that circulates around your radiators. Because they don’t take up much space and are perfectly suited to smaller properties and flats, they are often the right choice for London homes.
System boilers can look the same as a combination boiler but must be paired up with a separate hot water cylinder (often in an airing cupboard or tucked away somewhere). This type of set-up takes up more space and may be better suited to multiple bathroom properties or busy family households where there is a larger demand for hot water with baths, showers, washing machines etc. System boilers will also have more independent controls – zone valves to separate different radiator and hot water cylinder circuits, programmers to set timings for these circuits and thermostats to control desired temperatures.
Regular boilers (or sometimes called heat only boilers) also need to be paired up with a hot water cylinder. In addition to the extra zone valves, thermostat and programmer, they also require a circulating pump and sometimes an expansion vessel depending on the circumstances. Regular boilers are often best suited to larger properties also and may be paired up to create larger heat loads.
WPJ Heating have spent 15 years fitting these boiler types into properties of all shapes and sizes.
Get in touch with us for more information and we can offer advice on what is the best solution for your needs.
Three top tips when getting a new boiler
1. Get 2-3 boiler quotes from local boiler installer companies. Price, diagnosis and quality of workmanship can vary drastically.
2. Check the guarantee on your new boiler. Guarantee on a boiler often depends on the installer, not only on the boiler manufacturer or type of boiler. Compare installers in your area and their accreditations to get the longest guarantee.
3. Check the company’s reviews. Reviews don’t lie and it’s the one tool you as a customer have to assess if the company is reliable. Companies with bad or no reviews are more likely to give a disappointing service than companies with good reviews. We all operate in different ways and have different standards.
You can find reviews for WPJ Heating by visiting their Checkatrade page.
When you are planning on undertaking a project within your home, the excitement about seeing the end result can soon become overshadowed by the task of choosing the right tradesperson. Worrying about shoddy work, being ripped off or hidden costs can easily lead to anxiety and for some of us, this can even put us off getting the project started!
To help you choose the right person for your next project, check out my top seven questions to ask any prospective tradesperson…
- Can I get a written quote?
Always get the price in writing from your prospective tradesperson, the price should be fairly accurate, though do bear in mind that it is just a quote and should the job escalate, the price will too. Have a chat with the tradesperson and agree that should costs start to change from the agreed price, you will be notified before work continues.
- Can you supply customer recommendations?
Word of mouth is the best advertising there is and if your prospective tradesperson can’t supply customers that are happy to recommend their work, then think twice about using them.
- What recent projects have you worked on?
Try to get a feel for the size and scale of projects the tradesperson has worked on previously. If your project is large or complex, ask how they would manage it and try to find out the approach they would take to tackling the job. The majority of tradesmen also have smart phones and take photos of examples ask to see them.
- What will I need to do before work begins?
At the very least you will most likely need to clear the area of your stuff but check if there is anything else they are expecting you to do before work begins.
- Will this be your only project?
Tradespeople often balance several projects at once, moving from one to the other while waiting for materials or other trades to their bit. If this is the case with your project, chat it through with your prospective tradesperson. If managed properly the process should not interfere with your work, but do find out whether there will be periods where your project will be inactive.
- How long will the job take?
While you will need a level of flexibility (even the best planned projects can throw up surprises), try to ascertain a rough timeline for your project. This is especially important if you need to take time off work.
- What if I am not happy with the work?
Any tradesperson worth their salt will only ever want their customers to be happy with the work they do. If, however, the work done isn’t up to scratch or doesn’t match your brief, you need to know that your tradesperson will remedy the works to both your satisfaction.
Whether it is a new bathroom or a two-storey extension, if you are inviting a tradesperson into your property, you want to be sure they can be trusted, that their work is of the highest standard and that the price quoted is accurate.
An easy way to find a trusted and vetted tradesperson is to find them using Checkatrade’s free and easy to use search facility. Simply type in the trade you are looking for, i.e. plumber or the company name if you know it, along with your postcode and hit search. A comprehensive range of reputable tradespeople local to your search will appear – helping you to easily find the right tradesperson for your project!
This blog was written by Checkatrade Ambassador, Craig Phillips.
ExCel, London 29th April – 7th May 2017
Grand Designs Live, proudly sponsored by Anglian Home Improvements, returns to London’s ExCel from 29th April – 7th May 2017. Running for nine days, the show offers visitors a unique opportunity to see all the latest trends for the home as well as many products never seen before. Based on the Channel 4 TV series, and presented by design guru Kevin McCloud, the event will be packed with over 500 exhibitors, across six different sections where you can take away ideas and inspiration for your very own GRAND design.
Claim your FREE tickets now*
We have teamed up with Grand Designs Live to offer you FREE weekday or weekend tickets to the event!
Simply visit www.granddesignslive.com, follow the link to book your tickets and enter the code CHECKFREE to claim!
2 for 1 tickets**
We have another great deal on offer! Get 2 tickets for the price of 1! Simply visit www.granddesignslive.com, follow the link to book your tickets and enter the code CHECK241 to claim. Or call the ticket hotline on 0844 854 1348.
*T&C’s Offer valid on standard admission tickets only, offer ends 06/05/2017, tickets must be booked in advance, max 2 tickets per household, non-transferable, print at home tickets only, tickets valid on any one day, subject to limited availability, tickets allocated on a first come-first served basis.
**T&C’s – Transaction fee of £1.70 applies per order. Tickets must be booked in advance. Offer ends 06/05/2017. Offer valid on standard admission tickets only. Saving based on the door rate.
Cleaning associates filth and dirt with the presence of debris and stains.
While garbage can be swept or vacuumed, stains do not give up so easily. To clean a stain properly, you should keep in mind – what material is the stain on, the type of the stain and if it is soluble or not.
There are different types of stains and each type should be approached with caution and with the right detergent – firstly to have an effect and secondly in order not to damage the surface on which the stain is. It is recommended that most stains must be cleaned as quickly as possible because they soak into the tissue and leave a lasting mark. The longer the spot stays, the greater is the probability that it would not easily be cleaned. Under the influence of air, some stains oxidize while others gets darken because of the sun and heat etc.
There are many problems with stains and you should not neglect them. You should be aware that there are no universal preparations despite the ads, which can be used equally successfully for cleaning all kinds of spots so stains should be treated with caution and different kind of stain needs different special treatment.
One of the most difficult to clean is grease. They are absorbed very quickly by the tissues and are quite stubborn. Fresh greasy stain can be recognised – it is darker than the fabric on which fallen but over time, grease becomes more opaque. However they penetrate more deeply into the tissue and if the surface is thinner, they appear on the reverse side.
The spots on carpet or upholstery are the most difficult to repair and must be cleaned fresh. Try to wash it with cold water several times, and then with hot water. But care must be taken on what fabric you want to clean up, because sometimes spots are obtained from water. For this reason, we recommend you to do a wet test on a more inconspicuous area.
Spots of animal and vegetable fats are cleaned with an organic solvent. These are alcohol and gasoline, which do not dissolve in water. These stains can be cleaned with a brush, but not as a rub, but as a pat. The brush must be soaked with solvent.
For white fabrics safest way to remove stains is to use bleach, but it can be applied only in very few cases. For colored fabrics you can try with a weak solution of bleach, but again, we recommend trying this in a small corner or covered area to check how it reacts with the fabric first. Bleach can be used only for flax, cotton and rayon. For woollens, you can use hydrogen peroxide.
Artificial fabrics should not be processed with bleach, nor with hydrogen peroxide.
After treatment with solvent, you should then repeatedly wash with cold water, to remove it completely and then quickly dry the wet spot.
However if all that looks difficult, you can always turn to a Professional Carpet & Upholstery Cleaners. We guarantee they can treat all type of stains and marks much more efficiently than – “do it yourself project”.
One highly reputable company with more than 260 great Checkatrade reviews is Go For Cleaning LTD – http://www.goforcleaning.co.uk
This is a recommended Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning Company operating in London and provides the highest level cleaning services. The technicians are friendly and certified. We like to use modern equipment and explain our work confidently and understandable. 100% Satisfaction is Guaranteed!
You can find out more about Go For Cleaning at http://www.checkatrade.com/GoForCleaningLtd/
The Checkatrade Foundation and Spirit FM have teamed up again and are promoting their annual charity jailbreak challenge on Sunday, 7 May which is launching today! They are encouraging teams of four to enter and raise money for the Sussex Snowdrop Trust. So why not get some friends, family or colleagues together and have some fun while raising money!
The event starts at Fontwell Racecourse near Chichester whereby teams will be asked to dress to impress and will be handcuffed together before boarding a Richardson’s coach to take them to prison. Last year, we had fairies, jailbird chicks, golfers, safari gear, traffic cones, sailors, neon ravers and more!
Teams will then ‘escape’ and be dropped off at a secret and unknown location. You then have to make your way to the ‘hideout’ back at the studios without spending any money or using their mobile phone. The distance is challenging if walking so teams will need to use their wit and powers of persuasion to blag some free transport. Previously, teams travelled back on buses, trains, a boat, quad bikes, motorbikes, classic cars, police & fire vehicles to name a few. Some walked more than others but they all did so well.
All prisoners will also be given a swag bag to help them on their way which will include hints and tips on how to get to the hideout.
Spirit FM will also be presenting live throughout the day, following teams and finding out about your progress. Listeners will be encouraged to give teams some help and phone in when the spot them too! Teams are also advised to use social media too #jailbreak.
The winners will be the first ones back to the ‘hideout’ and prizes are also on offer; Best Route Back, Best Dressed Team, Fastest Team Back and one for the Last Team Back!
It’s just £20 to register and then you are asked to raise £200 per team with all proceeds going to the Checkatrade Foundation which was founded to help those in need, in particular children whether they are abroad, based nationally or closer to home. The Sussex Snowdrop Trusts is a fantastic cause, based locally that provide care at home for children with life threatening illnesses providing nurses and financial help for their families.
Di Levantine, Co-Founder of Snowdrop said ‘we were so delighted to receive so much last year from Checkatrade and it made a huge difference to local families. We were able to take 57 of the families we support out for a family day out to a theme park, which made some wonderful memories. These days are unforgettable for the children, their parents and siblings who also have to cope with so much. It’s the chance to all be together and have fun, something they all really look forward to doing.’
What does a new boiler cost & how can you get best value for money?
We are WPJ Heating, a boiler installation company based in London and proud members of Checkatrade.
We have been installing boilers for over 15 years and would like to share some of our tips and recommendations with you.
There are many boiler manufacturers and boiler prices can vary depending on the boiler type, size, performance, quality and guarantee. Typically the price for a new boiler ranges from £800 – £2000. It is a long term investment so it’s important to find out which is the right boiler for your home. Prices can also vary on who you choose to install your boiler.
We choose to work with Worcester Bosch and Valliant as our main suppliers because of the quality of their products and commitment that both companies have demonstrated over the years. A new Worcester Bosch or Vaillant boiler with installation ranges from £1800- £3000.
Top Tip: Always get 2-3 quotes from different boiler installation companies in your area as the prices can vary drastically.
New Boiler Savings
Your current boiler may be costing you money!
The Energy Saving Trust tells us that a modern, condensing boiler can save you up to £350 every year. Investing in a quality boiler can pay off in the long run. See the table below for approximate numbers.
We always recommend choosing boilers with a guarantee longer than 7 years. These boilers might be a bit more expensive at first, but in the long run these boilers will workout a better investment as high quality boilers will save you money on your gas bill and will last you at least a decade.
Different installers give different guarantees on the same boiler
It’s important to note that it’s not only the choice of boiler that determines the length of your guarantee. It also depends on who installs your boiler.
Leading manufacturers such as Worcester Bosch and Valliant go through a process of vetting and accrediting installers with different grades and that affects how long certain heating companies can guarantee your boiler for.
For example, we are top level Diamond members of the WAI Scheme (Worcester Accredited Installers) which means that Worcester Bosch trusts us to do an exceptional job with their products. We can therefore give the longest guarantee on their boilers, 8-10 years depending on the type of boiler. If you would choose an installer that’s not a Diamond member, you would get a lower guarantee on the same new boiler.
Three top tips when getting a new boiler
- Always get at least 2-3 boiler quotes from local boiler installer companies. Price, diagnosis and quality of workmanship can vary drastically.
- Always check the guarantee on your new boiler. Guarantee on a boiler often depends on the installer, not only on the boiler manufacturer or type of boiler. Compare installers in your area and their accreditations to get the longest guarantee.
- Always check the company’s review. Reviews don’t lie and it’s the one tool you as a customer have to asses if the company is reliable. Companies with bad or no reviews are more likely to give a disappointing service than companies with good reviews. We all operate in different ways and have different standards.
You can get a quote for a new boiler installation on our website, we will e-mail it to you immediately.
Watch out for our next installment of Boiler Tips soon on the Checkatrade blog.
Following the postponement of the Checkatrade Trophy Quarter-Final fixture between Oxford United and Bradford City last week, the competition sponsors Checkatrade have organised free coach travel for fans to go back to the Kassam Stadium this week (Tuesday 31st January).
The game was postponed due to a frozen pitch with the Bantam’s travelling support already in the stadium. The title sponsors of the competition, Checkatrade, have subsequently worked with the club to organise free coach travel for fans who made the 350-mile round journey.
Holders of the postponed match day tickets can contact Shipley Bantams Travel to secure their free place on 07974757730 or alternatively email the travel group at [email protected]. The free places are limited, as a result these are available on a first come first served basis.*
Kevin Byrne, Founder and CEO of Checkatrade, said: “The reason why we sponsored the tournament was to support lower league football clubs and their fans. We saw the dedicated fans that made the mammoth journey down to Oxford United earlier this week and we felt their loyalty and support deserved to be recognised, so putting on the coaches is the least we can do. I hope they all enjoy the game, whatever the result.”
James Mason, Chief Operating Officer at Bradford City, added: “It’s a wonderful gesture by Checkatrade and the EFL to provide the free coach. A really nice touch.
“Hopefully many fans will still be able to go and take advantage of this. The more fans we have at Oxford to cheer the team on the better. Our fans have been brilliant all season travelling long distances to support their team, so this is a much-appreciated offer.”
*Supporters are reminded this is a none alcohol service. Supporters club membership numbers are required on booking.
Please see the below information that was sent in to us by ‘Action Fraud’;
Payment diversion alert
Fraudsters are emailing members of the public who are expecting to make a payment for property repairs. The fraudsters will purport to be a tradesman who has recently completed work at the property and use a similar email address to that of the genuine tradesman. They will ask for funds to be transferred via bank transfer. Once payment is made the victims of the scam soon realise they have been deceived when the genuine tradesman requests payment for their services.
- Always check the email address is exactly the same as previous correspondence with the genuine contact.
- For any request of payment via email verify the validity of the request with a phone call to the person who carried out the work.
- Check the email for spelling and grammar as these signs can indicate that the email is not genuine.
- Payments via bank transfer offer no financial protection; consider using alternative methods such as a credit card or PayPal which offer protection and an avenue for recompense.
If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud, you can report it online http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone 0300 123 2040.
You might remember that in September, some of our brilliant team from our Head and Nottingham Office set off to climb the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis.
We were delighted to welcome Alison from Chestnut Tree House to our Checkatrade Head Office in Selsey this week and thanks to the teams efforts, we were able to hand over a cheque for £1033 which will be used to support the fantastic work the children’s hospice does to help local families.
Well done to all involved!
You’ll also notice our Christmas Tree in the background. We are selling decorations in aid of Chestnut Tree House too so no doubt we’ll be handing over another cheque again soon…