Posts filed under: Advice

How do you know when the right time is to get a new boiler?

Advice

Did you know, your boiler is one of the most intensively used household appliances? But unless your heating suddenly stops working or your water doesn’t warm up, faults can go unnoticed.

We have become so accustomed to being warm that when our boilers breakdown it feels like a complete disaster, its known fact that boilers don’t last forever, so if you are finding that your boilers becoming slightly unpredictable it could be time to ask yourself; ‘Do I need a new boiler?’

The more reliable you new boiler, the less money you will need to spend on expensive repairs, we’ve gathered together some signs that are telling you your boiler is on its way out!

Signs Your Boiler Needs Replacing

Strange Noises – Just like anything with time, parts can wear away, although these can be replaced it can be more cost effective to buy a brand-new boiler. If your boiler is making any popping or hissing sounds when its on you need to get it investigated by an engineer Alistair Thorpe Plumbing offer a fast, efficient and reliable boiler servicing in Cupar.

Regular Repairs – You should annually service your boiler by an approved plumber, servicing your boiler is essential to ensure the smooth running and prevention of breakdowns and issues. Alistair Thorpe plumbing and heating services will send out a qualified Gas Safety Engineer who are more than qualified and experienced enough to provide you with the highest standard of boiler servicing. However if your boiler is in a constant state of repair, it may be time to think about replacing it.

It’s Old – If your boiler is over 10 years old it might be worth replacing it. Even if it functions fine, the older it gets the more likely it is to breakdown, it is more than likely less efficient than a new boiler. So although getting a new one might seem like an expensive option it can save you money in the long run.

It leaks – It goes without saying any leak should be investigated immediately, not only because of water damage, but also because it can develop into a carbon monoxide leak, which can be highly dangerous.

The Water Temperature Fluctuates – If your hot water takes a while to heat up or runs hot and cold when running, then you probably need to replace your boiler if repairs don’t improve the situation.

Your Boiler is Giving Off a Bad Smell – A healthy boiler will never emit any odour, if it does it needs to be investigated by a professional right away. Any faint smell could indicate a carbon monoxide leak, Although carbon monoxide itself is odourless, a smell could be created because the leak is causing the boiler to not burn properly.

Your Energy Bills are Increasing – If your energy bills are increasing faster than normal, it could be down to an insufficient boiler. The older a heating system gets the more it can cost to run.

What Types of Boilers are There?

There are many makes and models of boilers, however there are three main types of gas condensing boilers to choose from:

 

A combination boiler, commonly known as a combi boiler, heats water as and when you need it which in turn eliminates the need for a storage tank. This is more suited to a smaller home, with only one bathroom.

A heat only boiler, this can also be known as a conventional boiler, meaning you will have a hot water tank or cylinder where hot water can be stored for later use. This type of boiler is well suited to a larger home where more than two people are living there.

A system boiler, just like a heat only boiler, but more components are built in. This then makes system boilers easier to install then conventional ones, and as an added bonus they take up less space.

Our Gas Safety registered engineers at Alistair Thorpe Heating and Plumbing services will be happy to advise you on which boiler is suited for you and your home.

Do I Need a Specific Size Boiler?

  • When choosing the best size boiler for your home you should take into consideration:
  • The heating and hot water capabilities of the boiler
  • The physical size of your boiler and whether it will fit in the space you have it destined for

The correct heating size of the boiler will be something completely unique to you and your home, for example how many bathrooms does your home have? How many people live in your home? This is something one of our qualified engineers will be able to discuss and recommend the correct size boiler for your home.

Boiler Installation

Before boiler installations happens you need to find a Gas Safe registered installer. Alistair Thorpe Heating & Plumbing have a talented team of experienced and qualified Gas Safe registered engineers that can help with your plumbing and heating needs.

One of our dedicated team members will come and survey your home, whilst advising you on the costs and other factors surrounding the installation. Your engineer will check your entire heating system and asses what factors need repairing or replacing.

If the boiler installation is straightforward, and you’re having a combination boiler fitted, then the fitting should take a day, the engineer will then remove your existing boiler and fit the new one, as well as replace any other components of the heating system as outlined in the quote for the job.

Why Choose Alistair Thorpe Heating and Plumbing?

At Alistair Thorpe Heating and Plumbing, out experienced plumbers and heating engineers are fully qualified and provide a professional and efficient service for domestic jobs or individuals, landlords and property agents in the Cupar and North East Fife Area. Our Gas Safe registered team of plumbers and heating engineers are dedicated to providing the highest quality of workmanship. Contact one of our friendly team members today to find out how Alistair Thorpe Heating and Plumbing can help you today.

7 Top Reasons to Change your Locks at Home

Advice

Getting the locks of your house changed might seem like a chore (or even something you “can’t afford right now”), but there are some scenarios where changing the locks of your home should be a no brainer.

Less urgent scenarios (like when your locks become old or worn out) usually make good sense. However more serious situations (such as losing a set of keys) can cause a clouded mind; especially in the midst of the understandable frustration often caused by the loss of any personal belongings. When this happens, it might not occur to you that the best thing you can do is change your locks.

Why should you change your locks at home?

There are many reasons why you should change your locks at home and we have provided you with 7 of the main reasons why we think you should have your locks changed, below.

  1. If you’ve lost your keys

Whether you’re running late for work or simply heading out to do your weekly shop, there is never a good time to lose your keys. A huge inconvenience in itself, the losing or misplacement of your keys can cause extreme frustration, not to mention the fact you can’t set about doing whatever it is you had planned to do.

If you have lost your keys, then it’s a wise idea to call a local locksmith to change your locks for you. On the off chance that someone finds them and knows where you lives, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that someone stole them and fully intends to enter your home whilst you aren’t there and rob you of all your valuable possessions. Playing it safe and having your locks changed might set you back a few quid, but losing a set of keys and taking the risk to not have them changed could end up being extremely costly indeed.

  1. If you’re moving into a new home

It’s an intelligent move to have the locks changed when you move into any new property. If you fail to do this, you run the risk of potential burglaries by anyone that may have had a set of keys before you, such as the previous residents of your house.

It might also be possible that there are more sets of keys to your property out there than you don’t know about. Chances are that the locks weren’t changed the last time someone moved in, meaning there may have been several residents in the property before you with multiple sets of keys still out there. This might mean that a previous resident still has a set of keys and is waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike.

Changing the locks when you move into any new property will keep you in full control of who has keys and who can get in and out of your home.

  1. If you’ve recently experienced an burglary or attempted break-in

This may seem fairly obvious, but you’d be surprised of the amount of people that don’t think to change their locks after experiencing a burglary or even an attempted burglary. Changing your locks after a burglary is fairly obvious, but don’t neglect to change them when someone has attempted to get into your property for whatever reason.

With an attempted break-in, it’s pretty clear that somebody wants to be in your house. If you neglect to change your locks, it might be that they can simply walk right in with a key that they acquired during their last attempt.

Don’t take any risks. Get your locks changed if you think that someone might want to, has tried to, or has even succeeded in breaking into your home.

  1. If you’re having trouble with an EX partner or EX housemate

It might not spring to might at first, but disputes with someone you used to be close with can spiral out of control. Ex partners are notorious for letting themselves into their previous address and wrecking the home of the person they used to be with.

Chances are, someone you have lived with will still have a set of keys (even if you got the key back off them before they left). Their mum (or other close relative) will likely have a spare key for “just in case”, providing your ex-partner or housemate with the perfect opportunity to break-in to wreck the place or even take what they believe to be rightfully theirs.

  1. If you’ve ever lent someone your key

If you’ve ever let the plumber, electrician or handyman use the key to your home while you nip out or go to work, you don’t always know whether they made a spare set for themselves or not. It’s extremely rare, considering most people will use a trusted source for this type of labour (and especially when giving them free reign of the house while you leave and come back), but is it worth taking the risk?

The key you lent out might even have “gone missing” or “got lost”. When this happens, alarm bells should ring LOUDLY in your head. That key may never have gone missing at all and may have been kept for the perfect opportunity to break into your home and cause mischief.

  1. If your locks have become old or worn out

It’s not all doom and gloom. It’s quite alright for your locks to just get old. When this happens, when your locks start to stick or become faulty, it’s time to get them changed. A lot of locks can be repaired; however, most repairs are just temporary solutions for a worn lock that will eventually need changing further down the line.

  1. If you haven’t changed them in years

Your locks might not have been changed in a very long time, even before you moved into your home, so how old they are might be a mystery. It’s a wise idea to change your locks if they are old or worn out, and replace them with new, more robust locks with tighter security. This will provide you with peace of mind that your locks will continue working for many more years to come and that your house will remain secure during this time.

To Conclude

Depending on the situation, you should consider calling an emergency or local locksmith to change your locks for you.

Lock Solutions is one of the leading choices for locksmiths in Reading, covering Berkshire and the Thames Valley area. When your locks need changing, you can count on them to provide you with new locks that will help you sleep safe in your bed at night.

Blog created and prepared by Checkatrade.com member www.checkatrade.com/LockSolutions/

How to tell if your gas engineer is working legally

Advice

Did you know that gas engineers are the only tradespeople where it is compulsory for them to be part of a registration body in order to carry out work legally? If not, you’re not alone…

Research carried out by Gas Safe Register found that more than half (52%) of those surveyed admit that they have let a tradesperson into their home without checking if they are qualified.

The research also identified the factors that make people trust a tradesperson, which are:

  • Personal presentation (44%)
  • How official they look (43%)
  • Body language (25%)
  • Personality (22%)
  • A friendly face (18%)

Trusting gas engineers without checking they are on the Gas Safe Register could leave you and your family at risk from illegal gas work and dangerous appliances. Unsafe gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Don’t cut corners with gas.

How to ensure you are using a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer

  1. Only employ a suitably qualified Gas Safe registered engineer when having gas work carried out in your home. Gas Safe Register is the official register for legally qualified engineers. You can find a registered engineer in your area by visiting the Gas Safe Register website at www.GasSafeRegister.co.ukor by calling on0800 408 5500.
  2. Always ask to see your engineer’s Gas Safe ID card. Make sure you check the back of the card, which will state which gas appliances they are qualified to work on.
  1. If you suspect that someone is an illegal fitter or are worried about gas work carried out in your home, please contact Gas Safe Register.

 

Follow Gas Safe Register’s top tips to keep you and your family gas safe: 

  • Know the symptoms of CO poisoning; headaches, nausea, breathlessness, collapse, dizziness and loss of consciousness.
  • If you smell gas or think there might be a gas leak, call the free 24-hour national gas emergency number immediately on 0800 111 999.
  • Never attempt to work on a gas appliance yourself, always seek the help of a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer who can work on your gas cooker, boiler or fire in a safe way.
  • Be aware of the signs of unsafe gas appliances; if the flames on the gas hob are yellow or orange and lazy, rather than being a crisp blue flame; dark staining on/around appliances; pilot lights that frequently blow out; increased condensation inside windows.

Home Improvements

Advice

If you are not ready to take on any big projects, small improvements and updates can make the world of difference to the look and feel of your property like painting exterior woodwork such as doors, window frames and fencing.

Roof tiles, gutters, foundations, windows and doors are all exposed to the weather. Throughout the harsh winter winds, snow 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.

Painting the exterior of a house is no mean feat. It requires time, care and the right equipment so you might decide it’s 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! You can search here for Checkatrade.com approved members.

Check smoke alarms

Advice

Official advice is to check your smoke alarm at least once a month, whilst you’re busy on your spring clean take the time to do an additional check. It’s quick and easy to do, just remember to tell everyone at home that you are doing it before the alarm goes off.

Before you test, vacuum it gently using the soft brush attachment to remove dust from the sensors. Press the test button and the alarm should make an audible alarm for a brief period of time. If it doesn’t it’s worth replacing the batteries and retesting. If the alarm is over 10 years old, you should consider replacing the whole unit. Your local hardware shop should have a range of products for you to select from.

Prepare your garden

Advice

As we are now entering a period of better weather, we can start to look forward to spending more time outside, spring is a great time to start all your preparations.

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. You might look to get it professionally serviced. You can search here for Checkatrade.com approved garden machinery repair expert’s local to you.

Take all the garden furniture and play equipment you’ve stored away over winter, check it over for any damage and natural deterioration and make repairs if needed. If you have wooden furniture, once general repairs have been made, it is always worth re-staining/oiling to protect it from all weather conditions. Your local hardware store should have a selection of products available to suit your needs.

No doubt you will be looking forward to spending summer days in the garden, cooking up a storm on the BBQ and soaking up the sun. 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. Why not search our listings of landscapers in your area here.

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 revamp before the summer season begins. You could do this 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 have green fingers now is the perfect time to start planting seeds for summer bedding plants. It is also a good time to plant fruit trees.

Do you want to be able to make more of your garden in the lighter evenings? Outdoor lighting is a relatively easy way to do this, depending on your budget you can get solar powered lights on spikes or you could get a professional in to install mains wired lighting. you can search for Checkatrade.com approved electrician here. There are lots of different way to add some outdoor heating too, from gas powered heaters to fire pits, you can take barbeques into the late evenings.

Forget man caves, it’s all about she sheds these days, a trend that looks like its here to stay! She sheds can be anything you want them to be, creative spaces, somewhere to relax or space for all your planting needs. They can be small or large, the only limitations are space, imagination and budget.

Clean patios and driveways

Advice

It’s easy to ignore all those pesky little weeds in the darker winter months but as the days get longer it gets harder to ignore. There’s no quick fix for this, just good old elbow grease. Make sure you have the right tools for the job and a something soft to kneel on. Try to get the whole root out if you can or you could choose to use a chemical weed killer.

Before you reach for the jet washer make sure you have swept the area well first, this will help prevent sending any loose stones flying.

If there are any oil stains it’s worth adding an appropriate cleaner to the area, your local hardware store should have a selection available.

If you notice any damaged areas you should look for some professional assistance, you can search for Checkatrade.com approved members here.

Deep clean your home

Advice

There’s nothing better than starting off the new season with a big spring clean in preparation for when the days get lighter and the weather gets warmer, but where do you start? Our hints and tips should help you get on the right track.

Kitchen:  Empty all your cupboards and give the doors and shelves a good scrub. Hot, soapy water or your usual kitchen cleaner should work fine. If you have a more specialist kitchen, for example granite or high gloss, you should refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning.

This is also a good opportunity to throw out any expired food, don’t forget the frozen food. If you decide to defrost your freezer make sure you protect your floor and have plenty of towels to help soak up the water as the ice melts.

Why not go through all your lunchboxes and food containers and match them up with their lids? Consider discarding any damaged or odd lids.

Take the time to reorganise the cupboard under the kitchen sink, what do you need to keep and what can you throw away or recycle? Put the items you use the most in easy reach, you could consider investing in some storage boxes and labelling everything so everything is easy to find when you need it.

Lounge: Move all the furniture and vacuum underneath, you might also consider cleaning your carpet, if you’d rather call a professional to help you can search for carpet cleaning specialist members here.  

Take the opportunity to wash your curtains and cushions, dust your blinds and ornaments, wash vases and recycle all your old magazines and newspapers.

Don’t forget to give your skirting boards a wash down, cleaning wipes or warm water should do the trick, make sure your cloth isn’t too wet or you might damage the wood and your flooring.

Let light bulbs cool down and then give them a quick wipe with a duster to make sure you are maximising the light.

Bedrooms:  Give everything a good dust, vacuum under the bed and other large furniture if you can move it, wait until you have some help if you can’t. Instead of putting everything back where it was take the opportunity to have a move around, change is as good as a rest.

Flip the mattress, wash the curtains, take the time to go through your wardrobe and donate clothes you no longer wear.

Consider treating yourself to some nice new colourful bedding to freshen the look of your room.

Bathrooms:  Give all your shower gels and bath foams a wipe with a clean cloth around the necks of all the bottles. Clean toothbrush holder and soap dishes.

Give the grouting a good scrub and look to repair any damaged grouting. If you need help from a tiler you can search our members here. Clean or replace your shower curtain if you have one

A quick wipe over your skirting boards prior to cleaning the floor, always us the appropriate detergent for your floor type.

Deep clean your bath, loo and basin. Don’t forget the bathroom mirror and if you have a medicine cupboard, dispose of any expired medicines or unwanted products.

Under the Stairs: We all have the one cupboard or room that is a bit unloved. Now is as good a time as any to give it a good clear out.

Take everything out and see what you need to keep and what can be donated or stored elsewhere like the attic.

It’s amazing the impact decluttering can do for your mood.

5 Ways Offsite Construction Methods Can Revolutionise Residential Schemes

Advice

It’s obvious to many that the United Kingdom is in the grips of a housing crisis. Estimates vary, but the consensus amongst think tanks and politicians is that the UK needs to up its building levels, and fast – to ameliorate the problems caused by a lack of supply in the housing market. Construction, of course, is the backbone of this – which is where offsite construction techniques come in. Quiet, cost-effective and eco-friendly, this blog post will explain why offsite construction is the future of large-scale residential schemes.

Image source: Unsplash

Cost

The bottom line is, naturally, absolutely crucial when it comes to building a residential scheme – you don’t want to run the risk of bankrupting yourself and leaving a site half-built. Offsite construction methods offer a gratifying cost benefit – the project is delivered sooner, so the return on investment is generally superior to that of traditional construction. This also means peace of mind for local authorities and housing associations looking to build quickly and avoid being left out of pocket.

Speed

Punctual and speedy construction techniques can only be good for the building of residential construction schemes, meaning tenants on a waiting lists spend less time in temporary housing – something that is sorely needed due to the sheer number of people on these waiting lists. Modular construction is quick because it utilises factory techniques, meaning there is a controlled environment for the assembly of each module – unobstructed by inclement weather or traffic disruption.

Eco-friendliness

Conventional building methods often harm the environment, by using intensive amounts of water and producing a lot of waste. If you’re looking to create a residential space that’s in harmony with its surroundings, offsite construction is an ideal solution. Not only does it prevent the disruption of the local environment (which is common with full-scale, piecemeal construction projects), but it’s also a whole lot quieter – reducing noise pollution that could affect local wildlife and the sleeping patterns of local residents. 

Safety concerns nullified

Site safety has always been a hot-button issue, as proper health and safety practice breeds confidence and happiness in a workforce. Problems that often arise onsite can be nullified by switching production to a factory setting, with more concrete health and safety procedures in a more controllable environment.

Image source: Unsplash

Flexibility

Renovations or refits are very difficult within conventionally constructed buildings, often involving walls being knocked through, flooring being relaid and the whole process taking a significant length of time – during which the site can become a muddy mess. All of this is not exactly homely, and would negatively impact on a residential development if, say, an apartment building needed a refit. With offsite construction, there exists an ability to swap modules using a process that’s much easier and less destructive than a conventional renovation.

This building technique has so much to offer, with even Grade I listed architectural marvels now being updated to include energy-efficient modular elements. Offsite construction really does have the revolutionary potential to help build the homes of tomorrow, cheaply, safely, and in style.

5 Things to do When the Power goes Down at Work

Advice

Electricity is one of the many things that is taken for granted in the modern era, yet power outages can occur at any time (usually at the worse time possible). Most businesses would come to a standstill without electricity, so it’s important for you to know what you are doing in the event of a power cut.

In this short guide, we will provide you with a brief run down of the 5 steps you should take if/when the power goes down at work.

Let’s begin!

  1. Turn off all computers, appliances etc.

When the power goes down, it’s a wise idea to turn off all computers / appliances for when the power eventually comes back on. When the power suddenly comes back on, it can result in a power surge. A power surge may cause any appliances that have been left on to become damaged as the electricity surges back through them. Leaving a light on should be OK, as this will let you know when the power has come back on!

  1. Check other local buildings and offices

If you can, check the other local offices in the building or other nearby buildings to see if their power has gone too. If the buildings neighbouring yours still have electricity then this will indicate that there is a fault with your building, it’s wiring or appliances within, rather than a large-scale blackout. Calling an electrician in this scenario will help to determine what the route of the problem is.

  1. Call 105

The next thing for you to do would be to call 105 to put you through to your local electricity network operator. 105 is a free service available to anyone in England, Scotland and Wales, and can be used to find out information relating to power cuts in the local area and when the power will be back up and running of course.

  1. Tell someone… or everyone

Letting others know that you are in the middle of a power outage is a wise idea. Using social media from your mobile phone or other forms of available communications will help you to do this. If you have access to a mobile phone with social media, try accessing your company’s social media pages to inform your existing/potential customers so that they aren’t left in the dark like you.

  1. Make sure you have backup power

In the event of a blackout or power outage, it’s wise to have the option of a backup power source to help you resume normal service. Your backup generator should be set up to start automatically, should the power ever go down. This will help to minimise your company losses as your generator will kick seamlessly into action and prevent any downtime.

Prepare Yourself for a Power Cut

You need to prepare yourself for when the power goes down. Learn the 5 processes as we have outlined above or print them out for the notice board in your workplace kitchen. Make the effort to get your hands on a backup generator, if you haven’t already, and this should prevent you ever needing to go through steps 1-4.

In the event of a power outage at work, your backup generator will help to ensure business continues to run smoothly, as if nothing ever happened at all.

Diesel Generators are one of the best options available for backup power, ensuring you always have a backup power source available to help you in the event of a blackout.

Bellwood Rewinds is one of the leading choices when it comes to diesel generators for sale in the UK, with a wide range of new/used generators for sale on their website: https://www.bellwoodrewinds.co.uk