Despite a temperate climate, the UK still sees its fair share of harsh weather during the winter months – and this means it’s vital to prepare your home well ahead of the upcoming cold snap to avoid any unwanted issues that can arise when the bad weather arrives.
From frozen pipes and cold draughts to leaky roofs and poor insulation, in today’s post, we’ll provide you with a guide on how to ready your home for winter – ensuring your home stays warm and comfortable for the whole season.
Service your boiler & heating systems
With temperatures already dropping, it’s likely your heating system has already been cranked up to keep your home toasty – but it still pays to get it serviced before the weather gets any worse. This will ensure your heating is working at optimum efficiency, as well as flag up any minor problems that could cause a breakdown.
Check your radiators
Checking your heating system is also a good time to test your radiators to make sure there isn’t any air in the pipes that could affect the temperature. If you do find air pockets, it’s a simple fix for yourself or a plumber and can make a huge difference to the effectiveness of your heating. When the heating system is on full, feel each radiator for cold spots, then use a radiator key to open up the air valve on the side to release the air. Afterwards, you’ll instantly feel the difference in warmth, something you’ll be thankful for as we head into the colder months ahead.
Improve your insulation
We lose a surprising amount of heat in our homes through windows, doors and roofs, so taking the time to add some extra insulation to these areas could improve the heat efficiency of your home – and maybe also save you money on your energy bills!
From additional roofing insulation to thermal curtains and blinds, insulating areas where the most heat is lost will work wonders when it comes to keeping you warm this winter. You may also want to consider insulating your rooms with underfloor heating, too. Whether your house has floor tiles or wooden planks, underfloor heating provides an extra layer of insulation, as well as an energy-efficient heating system.
Prepare your plumbing
Frozen pipes can wreak havoc in homes – not only because you’ll be without water until they thaw, but the ice can also cause pipes to burst as it expands inside. The key here is to minimise the chances of freezing: shut off and insulate outdoor taps and pipes, leave a trickle of water running on taps with an unheated supply and insulate any exposed pipework. You may even want to drain the system entirely if you’re heading away from your home for an extended period over winter.
Tackle cold draughts
Houses inevitably get draughts from time to time, especially older properties. A pre-winter check of windows and doors will help tackle issues head on. Whether you opt for replacing problem windows or doors, or try DIY fixes like insulation strips, draught-excluders or re-caulking, you’ll find fewer draughts lead to a cosier home and a smaller energy bill.
Clear your guttering
Dead leaves, moss and debris can get clogged up in your guttering and drains, which causes water to get backed up. So, ahead of winter, we’d recommend you clear gutters and drains and repair any damaged pipework to ensure excess water is efficiently drained away from your property. For an easier job in the future, you can even look into installing gutter and drain guards to reduce the amount of debris building up in the first place.
Repair roof issues
Whether it’s loose tiles, damaged lead flashing or rotting support beams, as your first line of defence against the elements, it pays to tackle roof issues right away. With heavy rainfall and freezing temperatures, a little problem can soon become a bigger and more expensive one – so, ensuring your roof is fully weatherproofed and prepared for winter will help you avoid any unwanted leaks.
British weather is temperamental, but, with this guide, you’ll have everything you need to arm your home with a strong defence that can withstand the elements all winter long.
Blog kindly provided by Tiles Direct – https://www.tiles-direct.com/
Painting and decorating the interior of your home can be fun and exciting but also lengthy and messy. Covering the carpets with dust sheets and so on can help reduce the risk of spilling paint onto them however sometimes it will find its way through and you may end up with a paint stain on your lovely carpets.
Luckily is no need to panic!
There are ways that you can remove this paint without the need of professional carpet cleaners.
Depending on what paint you are dealing with will decide what method to use to remove it.
Oil Based Paints
If the paint stain is dry, you will need to use a steamer to soften the stain. These can be purchased from most homeware stores and are not too expensive.
Apply the steam directly to the stained area for a few minutes then take away and start to pick at the paint with a needle or pin. This will begin to break it up a little.
You may need to re apply the steam a few times and simultaneously pick at the paint to remove all of the stain.
Using this method, you can remove the paint stain without causing any damage to the fibres leaving your carpet stain free and looking clean and fresh.
Latex Based Paint
Begin by blotting up as much leftover wet paint as possible with a clean piece of kitchen roll. Remember to blot, DO NOT rub as this will cause the paint to be pushed further into the carpet’s fibres which will make it harder to remove.
Mix up a bowl of lukewarm water adding 1 teaspoon of washing up liquid. Always use mild washing up liquid and not ones that contain bleach.
Next, working from the outside of the paint stain inwards, blot with the washing up liquid mixture on a clean cloth.
You should start to notice that the paint will be transferred onto the clean cloth. You may need a few cloths, make sure to use a clean part of each cloth after every blot. You don’t want to smear the paint back onto the carpet.
Once the stain is removed, let the area dry completely then finish by vacuuming the area to fluff up the carpet fibres.
You will be left with a clean fresh smelling carpet.
Water Based Paints
If the paint stain is still wet, start by blotting the area with a wet paper towel. DO NOT scrub the stain as this will cause it to spread and you may end up with a bigger stain than before.
However if the paint stain has already dried, mix some hot water and a teaspoon of washing up liquid into a bowl then apply the solution to the stained area and let it sit for a few minutes.
This will soften the paint and make it easier to remove in the next step.
Once the paint has softened, start to scrape the paint up and away from the carpet fibres using a butter knife or a pin. You may need to add some more of your hot water solution as you go to keep the area wet and help stop the paint from drying.
If the paint does not come away from the carpet fibres, you may need to use a carpet steamer whilst you continue scraping the paint to help soften it further.
Once you have successfully removed all of the paint, allow the area to completely dry and then vacuum it.
Hopefully this has helped but if these methods don’t work for your carpets then you may need to consider contacting a Professional Carpet Cleaner to ensure that the stain is removed successfully. Premium Clean Ltd offer an amazing Carpet Steam Cleaning service as well as having friendly hardworking Carpet Technicians waiting to help with any carpet queries that you may have, providing information and advice wherever needed.
Kiril Natov (Premium Clean Ltd. – Director)
Tel: 0203 0040 643 / 0777 45 18 219
Most carpeting today is engineered to provide a long and useful life and to enhance the indoor environment. Carpet offers advantages over other flooring systems, such as reduced fatigue for the person walking over it, sound absorption, heat insulation and providing a more comfortable surface for children to play on. Also, carpet acts as a huge air filter by trapping dust and other particule matter within the pile for easy vacuuming.
Regular maintenance is an important part of the life cycle of carpets and furniture. If proper maintenance is neglected, the carpet’s appearance will suffer, shortening the carpet’s life and raising long term costs.
Perhaps the most important aspect of carpet cleaning is reducing the amount of soil entering the home in the first place. This can be a difficult task or an easy one depending upon the family structure and mode of living. Children, pets and sometimes husbands, make it more difficult to keep carpet clean but there are certain steps you can take to reduce overall soiling.
Most people enter their homes through the garage, so it is important to keep the floor clean by sweeping and washing the garage floor down every few months or so (a great job for kids).
You can also utilize any scrap pieces of carpet you have by cutting them into 2 to 3 foot wide strips from 4 to 8 feet long and placing them on either side of the car. This way when you park and get out of the vehicle, you’re walking on the carpet straight from your car to the house – a first line of defense.
Once inside the house, it’s a good idea to have an area rug at the doors and long runners in the hallway and going into the house. The objective is to have rugs and runners at every entry point to capture dirt and moisture before it gets into the home’s intimate living areas. Runners and rugs are also much easier to clean more frequently than an entire carpet.
Another simple idea is to make it more inviting and easier for people to remove their shoes by placing a small bench, stool or chair at the entry point so people can sit without having to bend over or balance on one leg as they try to take off shoes. Alternatively, you could keep a supply of shoe cover footies at the door. Clean Expert Ltd supply these as a courtesy after every carpet cleaning.
You can purchase professional mats that capture soil and water from entering the building. These will have a slightly coarse texture and can brush soil from shoes and hold large amounts within their pile. These mats can be frequently and easily cleaned by being taken outside, beaten and hosed off using a mild laundry detergent, such as woolite, before being hung over a fence to drip dry.
The choice of floor mats can be daunting but in our experience, even if you don’t want to spend out on a professional mat, it’s better to have a scrap piece of carpet than nothing.
Vacuuming is the most significan t element in the maintenance and the overall appearance of carpeting but while vacuum cleaners are designed to remove dry soil, 20% of the soil brought into your home is oily and or wet.
Walking on soiled carpet permits dry soil to travel further in the pile and backing of carpeting. Frequent vacuuming will remove this soiling before it goes deeper into the pile and heavily trafficked areas should be vacuumed daily with other areas being done every 2-3 days for the best results.
Food and drink should be avoided or kept at a minimum on carpeting and any spills and spots should be addressed immediately. Clean Expert Ltd suggest you put anything but water on a spot and then call a professional to come clean it because often a person will use a broad based spotter that can set the stain making it more difficult to remove. A spot cleaning visit typically costs from £25 to £50.
Key Tip; Outdoor shoes should never come into contact with indoor carpets.
Training husbands and children to remove shoes as they come into the home can be a chore, but with sweet talk, kindness and the odd bribe – it should be achievable. If not, for the safety of your carpets….crack the whip once in a while!
The last and best thing to do to keep your carpets clean is to use the services of a professional carpet cleaner on a regular basis. High traffic areas such as entries, hallways, family rooms etc. should be cleaned every 4 to 6 months while other areas such as bedrooms and basements need to be cleaned every 6 to 12 months.
Blog kindly provided by Checkatrade member, Clean Expert Ltd – http://www.checkatrade.com/Cleanexpert/
Weather can cause damage to roofs, and with roofs being a key part of keeping us warm and dry it’s important we look after them.
Here are some pointers on how to health check your roof, whilst the weather is good. Most of these can be carried out safely from the ground but for a more extensive inspection you would be advised to seek a professional trades person.
Roofs are exposed to the worst elements of the weather all year round and wear and tear will take place over your roofs lifetime, so make sure it’s checked from time to time or hire a professional through Checkatrade.
The 6 main areas to check when inspecting your roof are:
- Roof tiles
- Lead flashing
- Moss growth
- Inside inspections
Missing or Damaged Roof Tiles
Quite often roof tiles become loose, cracked or even break. The only way of inspecting the entire roof is to psychically go up onto the roof itself to obtain a full view. We wouldn’t recommend this for health and safety reason but you can find 1000’s of roofers all over the UK available on Checkatrade that comply with current health and safety legislation.
Specialist equipment is needed to carry out such inspection and this will include:
- Safety Harness
- Suitable shoes that grip well
- Safety rope usually a 700kg breaking strain
- And an extension ladder that is in excellent working order.
Lead flashing is used to seal tiles practically around areas that join together. If we take a moment to think of all the things that make up a roof, chimneys, skylights, and vents, these will all need to have some form of flashing. over time this flashing can get damaged and if you notice any cracks it’s best to replace these sections.
It is possible for flashing to move position over time, so checking it’s in the right position is also important.
One of the most common problems that people face is blocked gutters and if these persist over time it can cause serious damage. Water can build up and find its way running down external walls. If too much water finds its way down these walls, over time it will start to damage the foundations of your home. So making sure the gutters are connected properly and all the pipes are joining is important. Having the right depth gutter for the right pitched roof is also advisable. Many different materials are used to make gutters and these differ from cast iron, lead, zinc, galvanised steel, painted steel, copper, painted aluminium, PVC (and other plastics) and occasionally from concrete, stone, and wood. Professional roofers will have knowledge in how to maintain and repair these different types of gutters.
If you have noticed moss on your roof, you may think that it is not doing any damage, but the truth is it does, it can cause moisture damage to tiles. In most cases, after dry weather, you can brush moss off with a broom. However, it may have caused further damage so seeking advice from a professional is advisable.
Inside inspections are usually a visual inspection, looking around the inside of your loft and trying to spot signs that are unusual. Water rings/stains and dark patches of possible rot. If you see sunlight through your roof, it may be that your tiles have moved. Not all roofs have insulation, so it might be that you will be seeing the back of the tiles that make up your roof. It is advisable to have your roof insulated as it will retain heat in the house and hopefully help to keep energy bills low.
It’s important that your roof can circulate air and if your vents are blocked by leaves, moss or insulation it can cause moisture build up and condensation with will damage your roof from the inside. So check that the vents are clear and you then you shouldn’t experience any problems.
To find a recommended trades person for any job around your home – check them out before you call them out at checkatrade.com
By Diane Stafford – Consumer Marketing @Checkatrade
The completion of a long DIY project is a very satisfying feeling, days, weeks, even months of demanding work culminating in a lasting piece of furniture or a change to the home. Summer is the perfect time to put those long-standing plans into action and make your ideas a reality, even if it’s just a spot of painting!
If you’re fresh to DIY, don’t let the idea of an arduous project or lack of experience with the requisite tools hold you back. There are plenty of ways to spruce up your home or garden, without any prior experience. Here are just a few ways to change up your property this summer…
Make use of a bright day and get creative with your home
Yes, while most will see a bright, summer’s day and flock to beaches or parks for a leisurely day, a spot of clear dry weather can be the perfect moment for an opportune piece of DIY. If you fancy adding a fresh lick of paint to your walls, it’s a great time to shift furniture into gardens and will also allow rooms to fully air out. Perhaps if you’ve worked on a summer house or other outdoor unit, it can be fully utilised between your DIY breaks.
Bring plants indoors
And for those rainy days, it can be great to have a bit of life indoors, primarily with plants! They can brighten a room and freshen it up, both visually and literally by keeping air temperatures down and reducing airborne dust levels. There are plenty of innovative ways of showing off your new additions too, with hanging up a few lighter greens on rope shelving or even hanging them from a spray painted wooden or plastic dowel rod. Stylish and healthy!
Using old furniture, perhaps not fit for its original purpose anymore, is a brilliant way to do things both on the cheap and it’ll give you a unique piece too, that may even become the envy of your home. Trends involve using old doors, re-painting them and shaping them to become a new bed backboard, while wood plank crates can have metal legs attached to create rustic-looking shelving and side tables. Repurposing dilapidated pieces is a great way to express your creativity and improve your skills, too.
Get creative with wall art
Livening up your walls is a fantastic way to change your home up with very little effort. But rather than spending small fortunes on pieces of art, you’d be just as well to get creative, mounting an artsy shower curtain onto a wooden frame could do the trick. If you don’t have a spare shower curtain lying about, you could use wooden boxes and picture frames to create a shelfing/wall art hybrid, practical and good to look at.
Are you indulging in any big DIY improvement projects this summer season?
This blog was provided by Craig Phillips.
Dive into Spring with Checkatrade!
Winter can see our houses and gardens suffer, often becoming neglected. Now we are moving into a season of warmer weather, there is more opportunity to spend time outdoors so with this in mind I have put together a blog to help you get into the swing of things this spring.
From minor maintenance to larger projects, giving our houses some TLC is essential.
Here are a few of my recommended DIY jobs to get your house and garden ready for the spring/summer season…
Give garden furniture a new lease of life
Garden furniture such as benches, tables and play equipment will likely have been stored away during the winter months. So, before summer officially arrives, check it over for any natural or deterioration and repair where necessary. With wooden furniture, once general repairs have been made, it is always worth re-staining/oiling to protect it from all weather conditions.
Ensure your lawn mower is up to scratch
As we are now entering a period of better weather, it is time to make sure your mower makes the cut. Give the machine a thorough clean, replace oil/petrol where necessary, inspect the electrics, lubricate all moving parts and if needed, sharpen the cutting blade. Take extra care when handling the blade.
Spruce up outdoor living spaces
Conservatories or converted outbuildings get used much more in the spring/summer months as they become a relaxing place to enjoy the sun. Give these spaces a re-vamp before the summer season begins, by introducing pastel colours to the furnishings, lighten the walls with a lick of white paint, and bring the outdoors, in, by welcoming some plants into the space. This is an easy and effective way of transforming a space this spring/summer.
If you are turning your attention to bigger projects this season, then here are a few jobs that can make a big impact but that may require the helping hand of a professional…
Repair exterior damage
Roof tiles, gutters, foundations, windows and doors are all exposed to the weather. Throughout the winter harsh winds and torrential downpours can cause damage. Check all exteriors, seals and brickwork and if you spot something that needs mending and cannot be fixed by your own hands, then call a tradesperson to come and make any required repairs.
Paint the exterior of the house
A job that makes even the keenest DIY lover sigh. Painting the exterior of a house is no mean feat. It requires time, care and the right equipment so in my books it is one for a professional. An expert will be able to provide the scaffolding needed to reach each level of the house, and ensure the job is done safely and to a high standard. It is a job that needs to be done every few years so it is well worth looking and seeing if that time is now!
Re-landscape the garden
There is nothing better than spending scorching summer days in the garden, cooking up a storm on the BBQ and soaking up the sun, but if your garden isn’t attractive on the eye, it can take the excitement out of summer. Although not the cheapest project to undertake, getting a professional landscaper in will help you create the garden of your dreams, no matter the size of your outdoor space.
Whatever kind of tradesperson you require, make Checkatrade, a free to access directory of trades local to you, your first port of call.
Carpet is a type of textile flooring made of wool or polypropylene fibres and can vary in colour, production method and type.
Carpeting enables the creation of a functional, modern and cozy atmosphere with a wide range of models and colours and that is why they are so popular in London. Also carpeting is one of the most luxurious and comfortable flooring for office.
It’s disadvantage is that it requires maintenance more frequently . Depending on the intensity of use, it must be hoovered daily and washed periodically. This is because the carpet absorbs dust and quickly gets contaminated.
The easiest daily cleaning is done with a vacuum cleaner, but it can not remove all dirt and deposits, so the carpet needs a good wash regularly. The frequency of washing depends on how bright the surface is and how many people use it.
There is already a new generation of carpets – polymer with 100% polyamide thread and coloured core of fibres. The textile fibres are dyed by dipping them into a solution, which means the colour can not easily be removed and in the event of stubborn stains appearing, you can use a significantly more aggressive method of cleaning.
If you normally wait for spring to come round before you clean the carpets, there’s no need.
We offer professional cleaning service that does not depend on the season.
Worried that the carpet won’t be dry quick enough?
No need – with proper technique, it is washed and dried quickly and efficiently.
Go For Cleaning LTD offers heavy duty carpet cleaning service – http://www.goforcleaning.co.uk/steam-carpet-cleaning/
The preparations we use are different, divided into several groups: shampoos with active oxygen, hot water and powder extraction system with disinfectants and detergents to remove stains.
The technology can be used with different options depending on the degree of soiling on the carpet. The procedure includes cleaning of the contaminated surface by a carpet extraction machine. This is a method by which the product is injected under pressure and immediately thereafter sucked back to the machine.
Go For Cleaning cleans the carpets with five main stages.
- In the first stage, we pre-spray the product with active oxygen and appropiate pH and gently brush it into the fabric.
- Our second step threatens the congested areas, i.e. those who are undergoing the most intense utilization and pollution are treated with a concentrated detergent.
- The third stage is to rinse the carpet with a special detergent that crosses extracted solution and rinse again.
- A fourth step includes drying the carpet with a powerful three-motor water vacuums.
- Finally, the last fifth stage is to inspect for stains and to be removed with professional preparation, the type of which is determined according to the type of stain.
We will also apply deodorizes for better aroma.
In the end your carpet will be clean, healthy and almost dry with bright and fresh colours.
This article is produced by the Carpet Cleaning Team at Go For Cleaning LTD.
Tel. 020 8460 8928
Carpets are a huge part of the decor in your property and can have a massive influence on the first impressions that you will give off when people visit.
Choosing the right carpet can take a long time and can also be quite costly so when you are choosing, it’s always good to understand what they are made from and how durable they are.
For example, you wouldn’t want to pick a delicate carpet for high foot traffic areas.
Choosing the correct carpets first time can increase the length of time that the carpet will last and will prevent you needing to buy another new carpet a few months down the line.
There are so many different types of carpets that you can choose from, all varying in design, texture, colours, patterns and pile length/thickness. However, this doesn’t necessarily matter when it comes to cleaning, the main thing to consider is whether you are buying a natural fibre carpet or a synthetic fibre carpet.
So Premium Carpet Clean Ltd have laid out what the differences between the two are to help you get a better understanding of what one will best suit your needs.
Natural carpets are made from natural sources such as wool which means they tend to look and feel a lot nicer than most synthetic carpets. The fibres in a wool carpet are usually a lot thicker which means that they have a way of bouncing back into shape whereas synthetic fibres fold and flatten considerably quicker.
The natural carpets will stay bouncy and thicker for a lot longer however they are prone to staining and can need a more delicate approach when cleaning. The fibres in Wool carpets if cleaned incorrectly can shrink, change colour and be damaged by the using the wrong cleaning products. The safest option is to ensure that natural carpets are cleaned by professionals so that no damage is caused.
Synthetic carpets as the name suggests means that this carpet has been made from artificially produced materials which means that they are usually considerably cheaper than natural fibre carpets.
The most commonly used materials found in synthetic carpets are acrylic and nylon. There are various reasons why these materials are used.
Acrylic is less likely to become stained and doesn’t absorb a lot of moisture which means it is one of the easiest fibres to clean and keep clean. It can also be placed in direct sunlight because it doesn’t fade in the light.
Nylon is known best for its incredible strength and it is very resistant to staining and matting. Seeing as synthetic carpet materials are so easy to acquire and make, the cost of production is a lot lower than the cost of making a natural fibre carpet.
A professional carpet cleaning company will understand what cleaning chemicals will need to be used on the different types of carpet and they will all test all of your P.H levels before and after cleaning your carpets.
You’re wondering what a P.H level is?
Well we are going to explain this for you too so you know what is safe and what isn’t!
P.H stands for ‘Potential of Hydrogen’. To check your P.H levels, the cleaner will come to your property with equipment including a testing kit.
They will test a strand of your carpet on the strips provided in the kit and determine the readings by the colour against the colour chart.
It’s a measure of the Acidity and Alkalinity of cleaning solutions and is measured on a scale of 0-14.
The levels that they will expect to find after a clean has been completed is a 7.0. This is the midway reading and confirms that your carpets have been left with a neutral result so nothing has been left behind.
A P.H reading will not identify the capacity of the product but the intensity of the product. For example, using temperature will tell us how hot a item is but not how much heat its emitting.
Any reading below 7.0 tells us that the product contains a lot of acid whereas anything above will tell us that it is high in alkaline.
The reason you are left with your carpets at a level 7.0 (Neutral) because you don’t want to be left with a buildup of chemicals in your carpet. Leaving a higher or lower reading can cause corrosion and damage to the carpets over a period of time.
We are WPJ Heating , a boiler installation company based in London and proud members of Checkatrade.
In our previous two articles, we covered boiler prices and boiler types. Part 3 is a list of ‘Dos and Don’ts’ to help you avoid common pitfalls and ensure you’re getting the job done correctly when having a new boiler installed.
● Always use a Gas Safe accredited installer or company.
● Get 2-3 boiler quotes from local boiler installer companies. Price, guarantee and quality of workmanship can vary drastically.
● Make sure you have a magnetic filter included in the installation, or at least have a good reason to omit it.
● Make sure the system is suitably flushed to remove sludge and debris at the time of the installation.
● Make sure corrosion inhibitor chemicals are added at the time of completion to protect the new boiler.
● Ensure the installer will cover the surrounding area in protective sheets.
● Make sure the manufacturer’s guarantee and Gas Safe Register paperwork are completed, sent off and logged online.
● Enquire about follow-up care and annual servicing.
● Ask about the relevance of new programmers, pumps, thermostats and other components on the system.
● Expect the old boiler to be properly disposed of.
● Use an installer with a conspicuous lack of previous customer reviews. Reviews don’t lie and it’s the one tool you as a customer have to asses if the company is reliable.
● Forget to do your research on the make of boiler being recommended by the installer to make sure it is appropriate.
● Be afraid to ask any questions at all so that you are clear on what to expect.
● Feel you have to hang around all day during the installation. Good firms are tidy and responsible and can be left to it.
● Expect to clean up afterwards or be left with piles of rubbish – This should all be taken care of.
● Pay the balance until you are satisfied.
● Be bamboozled by jargon in the quotes. Get at least three and seek clarity when comparing them.
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!