Why Underfloor Heating Is Not Just For The Rich

Mention underfloor heating to some people and they imagine it is a luxury for the wealthiest of homeowners, but it is in fact something that the average householder could have installed in their home as a highly valuable and successful investment.

Of course, there are plenty of luxury homes that come with this feature and get plenty of publicity about it. This week, for instance, The Only Way Is Essex star Jess Wright showed her Instagram followers around her new mansion.

Naturally enough, the tabloids lapped up the neon lighting, chandeliers and plush furnishings, but Sun readers also got to read how she has “state of the art” underfloor heating. The Daily Mirror missed this detail out, preferring to reflect on what her fans said about the air conditioning.

Either way, the fact is that there’s every bit as much reason to install underfloor heating in north London homes as there is in posh mansions located in the Essex countryside.

This was highlighted in a collaboration between Sofa and carpet specialist firm ScS and property marketing expert Bruna Pani at We Buy Any House.

Their list of recommendations for home improvements to add value to a property included underfloor heating in the bathroom, which can add £10,000 to the value of a home. Among the great benefits of it is the fact that radiators won’t be needed any more, so it creates more space.

Ms Pani explained: “Underfloor heating ranges from £1,000 to £1,500 depending on size, the company installing and cost of materials.”

She added that this cost is well worth it, as underfloor heating makes the bathroom “far more cost-efficient, in comparison to running regular heating, and adds a feeling of quality”.

All this goes to show that when it comes to getting underfloor heating installed, Essex is definitely not the only way.

Top Tips To Reduce Your Energy Bills This Summer

This summer has been an exceptionally scorching one, and for many people that has meant turning on air conditioning or fans and relaxing with cool drinks in the shade.

However, the heat can work in your favour and you can save money on your energy bills this summer by following some of these top tips.

 

Check On Your Boiler

The last concern on many people’s minds when the weather is roasting is their boiler, especially since it is generally winter weather that boilers tend to be unhappy with.

Try to turn your heating on or turn on hot water for 5-10 minutes per week and check if there are any issues.

It is much easier to check if you need a boiler installation in North London when the sun is shining over Islington, rather than when the weather is bitterly cold in Barnet or Tottenham.

As well as this, keeping your heating moving, even for a brief time each week, can mean the difference between a healthy boiler for years to come.

 

Keep Your Fridge Out Of The Sun

Whilst the point of a fridge or a freezer is to keep your food cool, they paradoxically generate a lot of heat, and so they must be kept away from sources of extreme heat.

Keep them away from the oven, keep them out of direct sunlight and keep them away from rooms that generate a lot of heat if at all possible.

If you use an outdoor fridge or freezer, try to keep them in your garage or out of the sun if at all possible.

 

Check Your Insulation

Insulation of course is used to keep your home warm in winter, but it also stops external heat from getting into your house in the summer and heating up your home.

What Are The Benefits of Solar Panels In The UK?

We are all seeking more sustainable ways to live our lives and can make purchasing decisions on everything from food to electricity based on a product or company’s eco-credentials.

Solar panels are a great way to help reduce your carbon footprint, but what are the pros and cons of solar energy? Aside from reducing carbon emissions, solar panels will reduce your energy bills, increase your property value, helps protect you against rising energy costs, and you can even sell your unused electricity back to the national grid.

The downsides include high up-front costs, which might not be a wise investment if you’re about to move home, and they may not work on every roof. If you only have small electricity bills, you may not benefit from the returns on your investment for many years.

Let’s have a closer look at some of the advantages.

 

Solar improves the value of your home

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) found that energy-saving home improvements, such as solar panels, could increase property values by on average £16,000. Even if you’re planning on moving in the near future, you’ll earn back your solar panel investment and then some when you sell your home.

 

Independence Off The Grid

Solar panels will provide you with an independent source of electricity. The light from the sun cannot be monopolised or privatised, and the electricity generated belongs to you.

 

Reduces Electricity Bills

Your solar panels will contribute to some of your energy needs, which in turn will help reduce your energy bills. How much you will save will depend on the size of your solar panel system, and your energy usage.

Not only will you save on your electricity bill, but there is also a possibility to receive payments for the surplus energy that you export back to the grid if you generate more electricity than you use.

 

Renewable Energy

Switching to solar energy cuts your carbon footprint, as it is a green, renewable source of energy. Unlike traditional electricity generators, solar power does not release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants.

Estimates also show that solar panels for homes could save around one tonne of CO2 per year, which comes to approximately 25 tonnes over its lifetime.

 

If you’re looking for solar panels in North London, talk to us today!

4 Considerations About Bathroom Renovations

As we spend more time in our home than ever before, we have all started to reassess how we use the home, and many people have taken to home improvements, such as renovating the bathroom, hoping to transform it from a solely functional space to a spa-like experience.

There is quite a bit to consider before you change ahead and begin ripping fixtures and fittings out, and not just choosing the colour palette! We have some tips for what to think about when designing your new gorgeous bathroom.

 

Consult an expert

The sinks, toilets, and bathtub/shower are laced where they are for a reason, and it would be wise to consult with a professional before making plans to replace the sanitaryware, plumbing, or lighting, as you do not want complications later down the line.

 

How do you use the room?

It may seem like a silly question, but it is worth considering things such as how often you use the bathtub, for example, if you mainly shower, and the bathtub is mostly unused for bathing, then maybe a shower/wet room would be a better investment.

If you are particularly tall, then a larger than standard toilet would provide extra legroom, or maybe you want to add mobility features for elderly or disabled family members.

Think about your routine, and what changes would be of benefit to you.

 

Consider your budget

It would always be great to have a budget that allows you to splurge on all the designer trappings you desire, but if finances are not as flush as you would like, then check reclamation yards and eBay for fixtures and fittings that will make the room unique.

 

Where to invest

If your plans include tearing it all out and starting fresh, then one investment you should consider is to have underfloor heating installed. It is great for bathrooms and wet rooms, and not as expensive as you may think. Just think about the warm floor underfoot on a chilly winter’s morning!

 

If you’re looking for underfloor heating installers in North London, talk to us today.

 

How To Tell If Your Boiler Needs Replacing

Nothing lasts forever and your boiler is a particularly hard-working part of your house, giving you all the heating and hot water you need to enjoy living comfortably at home. Regular servicing once a year is a must to keep it in good working order, but there may well come a time when a new appliance becomes a necessity.

But how do you know that a new one is required? If you find that the appliance needs repairs on a regular basis or if you hear lots of funny noises coming from within, then it’s likely that you could benefit from investing in a new one.

Listen out for knocking or hissing sounds when the boiler is on, as this suggests that it’s on its way out. Parts wear out as boilers get older and it can be more cost-effective in the long run to replace, rather than repair.

If you know your boiler is more than ten years old, an upgrade could be a good idea, as well. New boilers are far more efficient than their predecessors, so you could do the planet some good and save yourself some money by switching out your old appliance.

Also look out for fluctuations in water temperature, as this is another indication that your boiler is about to pack up. Repairs could see improvements, but if it continues, a new boiler could be your only solution.

And, of course, it’s always worth remembering that a faulty boiler can not only be a nuisance but also pose a serious risk to your health. Faulty appliances can lead to carbon monoxide leaks, which can be deadly – so it’s essential that you make sure your boiler works as it should.

 

For help with new boiler installation in North London, get in touch with us today.

Spring has Sprung! It’s Time for Annual Maintenance

As London is enjoying some lovely warm weather, the last thing that is on your mind is your boiler. Unfortunately, the majority of people think about their boiler when they try to get it running again in the autumn. That tends to make us very busy as every job is urgent as the weather cools down. Get in early and get your boiler serviced now so that it’s in top shape for the next winter season.

The warm weather gives us a chance to get the windows open and have a spring clean. The sunshine does show up the grime on the windows and the cobwebs in the corners so it’s not surprising that this is a time when everyone spruces up their home. Many people take the extra time off work around the bank holidays to decorate a room or get out in the garden and tidy things up. But not many people think about their hard working boiler that would also enjoy some well earned maintenance.

Best Practice

We advise people to have their boiler serviced annually. This means we can check it over, clean the filters and make sure the boiler is safe. All our service staff are Gas Safe engineers who understand the importance of a safe boiler and meet the standards required. Having your boiler serviced means that you can be satisfied that there aren’t any leaks. Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer that has no odour and is very hard to detect. Having your boiler regularly maintained by a professional means you significantly reduce the risk of being poisoned in your own home.

Time for a Change

If your boiler is old, the summer is the best time to replace it. The latest condensing boilers save you money on your energy bills and are clean and quiet to run. It is sometimes difficult to get the spares we need to repair old boilers, so getting them checked out in the summer could save you a real headache when you actually need your boiler up and running.

Taking time off work in November while you wait for a heating engineer in your cold house is not an ideal situation. Take a summer day off and enjoy your garden while your plumber is servicing your boiler.

Hot Water!

Don’t forget that your boiler is doing more than heating your home, it heats the hot water too. You really don’t want to be without hot water in the summer when nothing refreshes you better than a hot shower after a day at work in the city. It is far better to utilise your boiler to heat your hot water than use an electric immersion tank. If your boiler runs on gas you will find it cheaper than electricity to heat your water. Also, by using the boiler for hot water in the summer it keeps the boiler ticking over nicely so it will be ready to fire up to full power in the colder weather. After all, you don’t want to find yourself in the wrong kind of hot water – with a boiler that has broken down.

Whatever spring cleaning you do this spring don’t forget your boiler!

Helping the Plumber Over The Phone Can Save You Time And Money!

Whenever Bernard my master is asked what my favourite food is the answer is anything that’s on his plate! When it comes to anything a dog wants to play with it’s theirs but when it’s broken, it’s yours!

A bit unfair on humans, I know, but we are loyal and make the best guards and guides, which can sort out all sorts of safety prevention problems for our masters.

In fact sorting out problems is exactly what a busy plumber like Bernard is definitely about, of course. Customers are always looking for a great service at the best price and when a plumber needs to be found to fix a problem, there is always a worry over being overcharged or extra time being added to the final bill.

Experienced plumber – accurate estimate

A good and experienced plumber should firstly,  always tell the customer the exact cost and time of callout charges over the phone. Often problems can be rectified within the set call out period unless the job requires additional time to complete. Once again, an experienced plumber will be able to give an accurate estimate to include all parts and labour.

Even I have to wait to be fed while Bernard is busy fixing a boiler! But I always try to sniff out a half eaten chocolate bar or crisp bag to keep me going!

Information helps the plumber

However, a customer can often help themselves and the plumber with a little bit of plumbing knowledge. Rather than simply panic when waking one morning and finding you have no hot water, or a leak, for example, a few simple checks can save time for both you and the plumber.

A leak can be a straightforward problem. Firstly, find the stop-cock and turn off and then try to find where the leak is coming from so when you do ring a plumber you can provide the information, which will help pinpoint the problem and the likely time and cost to put right.

No hot water…

However, no hot water is probably the most common reason to call a plumber. Those with a gas water heater installed will need to firstly make sure the pilot light has not gone out and check the temperature setting on the water heater is set high enough to provide adequate amounts of hot water.

With an electric boiler heater, the first thing to do is see if there is power going to the heating elements. Check for a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse on the water heater circuit in the wiring centre or fuse box. If power has not been disrupted then it’s possible that the electric thermostat or a heating element has become faulty.

If a water heater is leaking, then it’s likely that rust has eaten away through the bottom of the water storage tank, and the water heater may need to be replaced.

Once again, having made the simplest of preliminary checks and carefully explaining the symptoms over the phone to the plumber could save precious time and money!

It also means that Bernard might get to feed me on time and save me having to raid the biscuit barrel!

Preventing Limescale Building Up A Large Scale Boiler Problem

Bernard’s family all settled down to watch “101 Dalmatians” on the TV over Christmas.

When it finished, Bernard was asked how it was possible that I was staring so intently at the screen almost as if I was really involved with the movie! It was noticed that I whimpered at all the sad moments, moved around nervously in my basket at scary bits, but most of all, howled like crazy at the funny parts.

“Yes,” said Bernard “It was weird of Moo to do that. He hated the book!”

Woof woof!

There was a lot of terrible wet weather over Christmas and New Year but it’s been mild so no emergency callouts to deal with freezing pipes like last year – yet! We hear that some of the polar conditions currently being experienced in the US are due to arrive here in the UK next week! But Bernard and I are always ready and know exactly what to do when pipes freeze, radiators or boilers stop working…

1 in 6 households are in hard water areas

A particular problem in the greater London area where Bernard mostly works is the build up of limescale, which can cause major problems in central heating systems. More than six in ten properties around the UK are supplied with hard water rich in minerals such as limestone. The average household living in an area with hard water will accumulate around 70kg of limescale in just 12 months, clogging up hot water pipes, appliances and heating systems.

Of course, I don’t mind how hard the water is as long as there is plenty always in my bowl (or else I will find a drink elsewhere – woof, woof!

First signs of a problem will be boiler noise

Limescale is formed when water is heated above 55 degrees and tends to form in the hottest part of the system. The first signs of a problem will be boiler noise caused by overheating of the water as a result of steam bubbles, which collapse loudly as they move away from the heat transfer surface and into the cooler water.

As limescale builds up on the heat transfer surface it has a direct impact on system efficiency, which can be reduced by 12 per cent by just a 1.6mm layer of scale, according to British Water. A loss of heat transfer efficiency means the boiler has to work harder by burning more fuel, resulting in an increase in home energy bills.

Bernard often finds that it is the build up of limescale that is the culprit when investigating a customer’s noisy boiler!

Protecting appliances and pipework

Preventing a build up is easy these days. From using chemical water softeners (for appliances such as kettles, washing machines and dishwashers) to installing electronic descalers to protect the pipework and ultimately, the boiler. Never try to forcefully chip scale away from tap nozzles or heating elements as this will likely to cause structural damage.

I have to admit the I’m not too keen on tasting the white crunchy bits of limescale myself – I much prefer one of Bernard’s tasty hobnobs!

Prevent Christmas Sliding Down The Greasy Pipe And Blocking Drains!

It’s Christmas! Hoorah, lots of snoozing in my basket!

But Bernard my master always expect there to be emergency call outs – and he’s never been wrong yet! The weather’s mild at the moment but if temperatures do drop, there’s bound to be pipes which will freeze up because they’re outside and haven’t been lagged properly.

Can’t wait for Christmas Day – all those scrumptious scraps which find their way into my bowl – even if I have to fetch them off the table myself! Woof woof! Bernard pretends to be annoyed but then he fills my water bowl with beer and I suddenly need to start chasing my tail!

Turkey fat, oil or grease

Of course, it’s all about eating and drinking over the festive season and sinks can so easily get blocked, especially if someone decides to pour the turkey fat, oil or other types of grease or thick foodstuffs down the plug hole. Trying to clear the blockage with hot water may not help very much because in some properties the pipes may have not been correctly installed.

The problem of misaligned pipes is not uncommon and can sometimes be the reason why residue easily builds up into a blockage causing a kitchen sink to take an unusually long time to drain away and start to smell, even if not excessively used. However, a smell coming from a kitchen sink drain could simply mean the waste pipe traps need to be cleaned out. It’s no fun for me trying to sniff out buried bones!

Preventing a build up of waste

Apart from ensuring that turkey fat is never poured away down the sink, one good tip to help prevent a build up of waste blocking up the pipes is to pour boiling water down the kitchen sink followed by hot soapy water on a weekly basis. Follow this up with half a packet of soda crystals and another kettle full of boiling water down the sink every two weeks.

If the toilet or bathroom sink and bath plug holes appear to be blocked then there is likely to be a problem with the drainage system. If the outside drain starts to overflow each time then it’s time for a plumber to lift the grates and trace the blockage.

Seasonal wishes

Hopefully, we won’t get too many blocked drains to deal with on emergency callouts! Bernard spends the whole year conscientiously telling all his customers how to take care of their water systems and reminds them to have their boilers serviced and radiators checked well before the winter season.

I’m sure Bernard would want to join me now in wishing you all – our lovely customers past, present – and those who might need to call because of a blocked or burst pipe – a very merry Christmas!

Just can’t wait for Christmas Day – every year, Bernard always has a present for me. A cat may have nine lives but Moo the dog expects to get a new leash on life! Woof woof!

See you all here in January!

Best To Be Gas Safe Than Sorry You Didn’t Check First For Plumbing Credentials!

On the 1st April 2009, Britain’s gas safety scheme known as Corgi was replaced by the Gas Safe Register. From that date onwards, by law, anyone who works on gas appliances, such as boilers, now needed to be on the Gas Safe Register.

Naturally, the fact that a Corgi was no more is something we canines are more likely to know than humans! But it is still of concern how Corgi continues to be mentioned whenever the issue of finding a properly trained and qualified plumber comes up in conversation. You may even spot a trade van with a Corgi sticker still attached to the side door.

Passionate about the job

Doing the job properly by a trained and qualified installer is something my master, Bernard feels passionate about. Just at the end of November he read about a gas explosion at a private residence in Manchester caused by damage to live electrical wires, which burned a hole in a gas pipe while a new boiler was being installed.

Apparently, the plumber had burnt the cables while using a blow torch to solder together gas pipes that ran alongside. Despite being badly charred, the cables were then wrapped in plastic tape instead of a proper repair made.

According to official figures, around 40 people are fatally injured each year from gas explosions and more than 25 people will die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning due to badly installed or not properly maintained gas appliances. Even more people suffer health problems from CO exposure directly related to a gas appliance.

Deciding if the plumber is right as well as the price

Luckily for me, I can smell gas right across north and east London where Bernard spends most of his time installing boilers and taking care of customer’s central heating systems.

Humans may have bigger brains but can they smell a rat? The kind of rat I’m talking about is the type of installer that humans seem to not worry as much about checking up on their Gas Safe credentials as they are on securing a suspiciously low price.

Unfortunately, trying to decide over the phone if you have found a good plumber when they give the pricing for even small jobs may not be the answer. Most good plumbers will prefer to provide quotes only when they are actually front of the job to be done so their ‘fixed quote’ is certain to be 100 per cent exactly correct – and customers will have no nasty surprises later!

Check to ensure a plumber is fully licensed

Apart from guarantees, references, online reviews and obtaining different quotes ( for the same amount of work to be carried out), it’s always crucial to spend time checking to ensure a plumber is fully licensed and carries full insurance to protect you and your neighbour’s property in the event of a catastrophe. While asking about “long they have been in business for” may be reassuring, it’s not always the case that reputable trades-people last while rogue traders simply disappear!

I’m proud to be able to say that my master, Bernard is Gas Safe registered, a Worcester Bosch Group partner and gives a 5 year guarantee – and he replaced all his Corgi stickers, but sadly not with pictures of Moo!