Posts filed under: Advice

Dive Into Spring with Checkatrade!

Advice

Dive into Spring with Checkatrade!

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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.

Do You Want a Great Looking and Clean Carpet?

Advice

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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/

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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.

  1. In the first stage, we pre-spray the product with active oxygen and appropiate pH and gently brush it into the fabric.
  2. 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.
  3. The third stage is to rinse the carpet with a special detergent that crosses extracted solution and rinse again.
  4. A fourth step includes drying the carpet with a powerful three-motor water vacuums.
  5. 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.

Website: http://www.goforcleaning.co.uk

Tel. 020 8460 8928

Natural VS Synthetic Carpets and How to Check PH Levels – by Premium Carpet Clean Ltd

Advice

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.

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Natural Carpets
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.

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Synthetic Carpets
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.

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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.

Written by
Kiril Natov (Premium Carpet Cleaning Ltd. Director)
http://carpetcleaningslondon.co.uk
Checkatrade Customer Feedback
Tel: 07427 306730

A Boiler Guide – Vol.3 – By WPJ Heating

Advice

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.

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Do
● 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.

Don’t
● 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.

For more information on boiler prices, read our article for Checkatrade here or visit our website to get a quote for a new boiler installation .

 

A Guide To Home Improvements by Sainsburys Bank

Advice

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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!

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A Boiler Guide – Vol.2 – by WPJ Heating

Advice

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.

Central Heating (low)

 

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.

For more information on boiler prices, read our article for Checkatrade here or get a quote for a new boiler installation.

You can find reviews for WPJ Heating by visiting their Checkatrade page.

Seven Questions You Must Ask When Choosing A Tradesperson by Craig Phillips

Advice

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…

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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Stain Removal Tips by Go For Cleaning

Advice

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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.

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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!

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You can find out more about Go For Cleaning at http://www.checkatrade.com/GoForCleaningLtd/

A Boiler Guide – Vol.1 – by WPJ Heating

Advice

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.

Boiler Prices

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.

BoilerGuidePrices_Table

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

  1. Always get at least 2-3 boiler quotes from local boiler installer companies. Price, diagnosis and quality of workmanship can vary drastically.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

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Watch out for our next installment of Boiler Tips soon on the Checkatrade blog.

Action Fraud Warning

Advice

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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.

Protect yourself

  • 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.