Plumbing & Heating

Tips to Improve Your Heating System

Maybe your heating only becomes a priority when it breaks in the middle of winter, which is probably true of many homeowners. Unfortunately that’s not the ideal time to start wishing you had planned out your system more carefully! Now is the perfect time to look at the setup you have at the moment and find ways to improve it before you’re in need of emergency assistance. Luckily we have some simple steps you can start with.

Firstly, remember even the most experienced landlords and homeowners can’t necessarily be expected to know everything about how to maintain a heating system. It’s a great idea to get a professional boiler service from a local professional company, as many of us have boilers and plumbing that have been in place for a long time and they may develop problems you might not be aware of. If you haven’t recently replaced an element of your heating system it should be cleaned and serviced regularly by a professional to make sure it’s efficient and safe, which will save you money later. Continue Reading

Home Improvement, Plumbing & Heating

The Advantages of Column Radiators

Column radiators are a classic staple in home heating systems and they’re enjoying a revival in popularity thanks to the unique and modern designs widely available in the UK. They are now readily available in home improvement stores like Wickes and Home Hardware Direct. Alternatives are available which offer different practical applications, and some people are still put off the idea of basic radiators that don’t look up to date when surrounded by more modern features in a room, but here are some key points to remind you why it’s important to consider high quality column radiators.

1) Compatibility

It’s easy to fit classic column radiators onto almost any standard hot water system, so whether it’s your bathroom, bedroom or anywhere else you don’t need to make any major plumbing changes to accommodate your radiator. It helps to have a professional plumber to fit your radiator but you can be fairly sure it’s not going to cause any complications when you go for a column format. All you normally need apart from the pipe connections are wall brackets on which to mount your radiator. Continue Reading

Home Improvement, Plumbing & Heating

Luxury Features You Need In Your Bathroom

If you’re not planning to remodel your bathroom, we have great news. After reading this list, you will be! We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite bathroom features and once you’ve seen all these for yourself you’ll wonder how you managed without them all this time. If you were already thinking about ideas for your new bathroom, then you’ll definitely want to re-think before you miss any of these.

1) Designer Radiators

Radiators are pretty much essential in any bathroom, but there’s no reason you should be stuck with basic designs that don’t match your style. Designer radiators come in a variety of styles and hardly cost more than traditional options, but can add so much to your design. Choose pure white or black to complement a monochrome style, a classic column radiator design or a flat panelled look that looks great with wooden features. Our favourites are tall, narrow radiators with a shiny metallic finish which are very popular at the moment and look amazing in most modern bathrooms. For more designs, check out the selection of bathroom radiators from The Heating Boutique.

2) Heated Towel Rails

To add a touch of luxury to your re-modelled bathroom, you needn’t rely on your central heating to enjoy a warm towel every time you step out of the shower. Although many fabulous designs can be plumbed in like radiators, you also have the option of freestanding heated towel racks powered by the flick of a switch. Depending on the look of your bathroom, you might opt for a small, classic silver design, thicker poles that look impressive and make it easier to hang your towel, or a full-sized metallic rack that looks perfect with a modern colour scheme. Continue Reading

Extensions, Renovations

How Gain A Whole Extra Room In Your House

Are you feeling trapped in your house because of lack of space? Don’t worry, for there are many creative ways in which you could add more space to your existing home. One of our favourite options, and the first one we’re going to look at in detail, would be a loft conversion.

A loft conversion is in fact an ideal solution for you if you are looking out to expand the living area in your home. Conversion of attic space is an affordable way to expand one’s living area in the home and offer great tranquil getaways from the atmosphere of a busy or cluttered family home. If you want to have an office in your home, for example, a loft conversion can be a great way to transform a space that isn’t currently used into something professional and functional.

“There are different types of loft conversions, and so you need to first identify the type of project that would suit your needs,” said John Steele, lead designer at The Loft Consultancy, a loft conversion and extension company in London. You might have to sacrifice some space in your existing home, for example to fit in an additional staircase and link up your rooms logically, as well as potentially having lower ceilings in places. You will also need to consider the pitch of your roof, since a steep slope will give you more space in the centre of your new room but you might struggle to fit in everything you need with steeply sloped walls. Continue Reading

Construction, Renovations

How to Prepare For Building Work

Building work can be a challenging experience that needs to be carefully evaluated before the process begins. A properly formulated planning process comprised of well-defined steps and procedures is necessary in this case to alleviate stress and save money as well as time. They will also help in evading problems with builders, contractors or plumbers. “Everything needs to be covered, from the initial planning stages and appropriate permissions right through to assuring UK plumbing and heating safety standards are met and maintained in your property,” advised Bedford & Milton Keynes’ Gasteam Plumbing and Heating. “With these simple steps, you will be definitely on your way to gaining confidence in your upcoming building project and getting everything off to a great start.”

1. Consider whether permissions or approvals are necessary

There are two types of approvals you to consider, building regulation approval and planning permission. A building regulation approval is applicable for minor renovations such as windows and doors. There is no need to apply for this approval if you have a contractor belonging to a competent person scheme. If the contractor is not registered, you might have to submit full plans with an application.

Planning permission is only applicable if you want to build something new that significantly changes your property, for example an extension or an additional building. These projects can affect the value of your own home as well as other peoples’ and the surrounding environment, which is why planning applications are taken seriously and failing to meet your agreed plans can result in severe penalties.

2. Finding builders and contractors

Whoever you hire, they must be good at their job. The best way is to seek recommendations and references. It is also vital you do a proper check on things such as a contractor’s membership to an approved scheme. Ask for proof of qualifications just to be sure. It is a prudent thing to ensure you have a variety of contractors and builders to enable you compare and choose the best.

3. Get a quote

Get a written quote from at least three contractors and compare them before deciding. The quote must have a fixed total price, validity period, and breakdown of the work to be done. Once you agree to the quote, it becomes a binding agreement between you and the contractor. You can make references to it in case of a dispute.

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Extensions, Money Saving Tips, Renovations

How to Save Money When Doing Work On Your Property

Whether it’s the installation of a swimming pool to add value to an investment, or simply extending a couple of rooms to make space or a growing family, every homeowner will face a point when they wish to work on their property. Soon after, one realises that the process can be arduous and expensive, due to the usually large scope and long list of details that need sorting; what’s the best way to keep your renovation within budget?

Get talking

Start off by consulting friends or acquaintances with prior experience. If you don’t know any, try a local discussion forum on the Internet. What was the sort of work they did, and who did they hire? Ask also for any tips or tricks they might have. Their work doesn’t necessarily have to be the same sort you wish to do; you can gain useful insights such as the trustworthiness of the tradespeople, whether or not a type of material might be in shortage, and how best to ask for a quote. Continue Reading

Home Improvement, Renovations, Roofing

Different Types of Roof Design and Construction

At one time or the other, you might be required to repair or replace your roof. So, it is important to ensure that you know what is involved in the process and how much it will cost you. To help you in the process, this article offers a quick guide to the basics of roof design and construction, starting with the key differences between the main types of roofing.

There are two basic types: pitched and flat roofs.

Flat roofs 

A flat roof is a roof that is defined as having a pitch that is less than 15 degrees horizontally. A good flat roof should not allow water to collect, but instead drain away safely. This means that most of these roofs have a fall on them, making rain water flow naturally to collection points. You can also have a cosmetic covering of tiled roofs of 10-15 degrees if the underlying roof itself is too flat. Flat roofs are not always as attractive looking and problems with these methods to deal with rainfall are common, but when done properly they can look stunning on certain types of home design. Continue Reading

Home Improvement, Roofing

How To Deal With A Leaking Roof

Unsightly water marks on ceilings are a sure sign of a leaking roof that needs immediate attention. Delays in fixing a leaking roof can turn a small problem into a big one. Over time, a leaking roof will cause water damage to several structures in the house, resulting in high repair costs.

Detecting and locating a leak

The surest indicator of a leaking roof is water marks on the ceilings and walls. The leak is not always directly above the water mark, so it takes a little effort to locate the source.

  • For homes with accessible attics, checking the roof for mould, black marks or water stains is a simple way of finding a leak.
  • For homes with inaccessible attics or vaulted ceilings, the leak is found by climbing onto the roof and inspecting it. The most likely sources of leaks are the structures that project from the house and through the roof. We should check the chimneys, dormers and plumbing vents for cracks and loose seals.
  • While on the roof, we should also check for broken, missing or cracked shingles and check if the damage extends to the underlying structures.
  • If the leak is not found by visual inspection, it can be found by soaking areas close to the water mark with water to see if the water will reach the ceiling. This is a two-person job. One person goes on the roof with a hose and soaks the area above the water mark with water while the other checks for dripping water inside the house. If no leak is found, soak the spot to the left of the water mark and check for leakage, if no leak is found, then soak the spot to the right of the water mark. If the leak remains undetected, try the area uphill of the watermark and repeat the process until the leak is found.
  • Some leaks are very small and very well hidden. They happen in houses where the ceiling has a plastic vapor barrier between the attic insulation and the wall. Such leaks can be found by looking for flow stains on the plastic barrier. If no flow stains are found on the plastic, the source of the leak is probably a protruding nail on the underside of the roof. In cold weather, moisture freezes onto the nail and when the temperature rises, the water melts and finds its way to the ceiling. Removing the leak caused by nails is easy. Simply clip the nail with a suitable pair of pliers.

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