Month: January 2016

How to Lower Your Central Heating Bill in 2016

Reducing the amount you spend on heating your home doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your level of comfort. By making sure your insulation, thermostat and central heating system are all working in harmony, you can stay warm on the coldest of winter nights without spending a penny more than you need to.

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A great first step is to check all around your home to make sure there are no gaps in insulation or draughts where heat can escape, as this will help keep the temperature more stable. Don’t fall for the common myth that it’s cheaper to keep your heating on all day than it is to only have it on when you are at home. No matter how well you insulate, there will always be some heat lost from your home, so keeping your boiler on when you’re out of the house means you’re simply losing more heat all day long.

If your radiators have not been fitted with thermostatic valves, you can only switch them on or off, which is a highly inefficient way of heating your home. Such valves are relatively inexpensive to buy, easy to install and allow you to cut your heating bills by giving you more control over the temperature in each room of your home.

Always ensure furniture is positioned in a way that does not block radiators, as this will prevent heat from circulating properly. Fitting radiator foil behind your radiators will help reduce the amount of energy absorbed by the wall by reflecting heat back into the room. Although you can purchase special foil tailor-made for this job, kitchen foil fixed with wallpaper paste so that the shiny side faces the radiator will work just as well.

Boiler technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years. If your boiler is more than ten years old, it’s highly likely that you would be able to exchange it for a more efficient version and see a reduction in your heating costs. In reality, the cost of replacing a boiler means you would not see any financial benefit for many years, and a far more practical alternative is to have your boiler serviced on a regular basis to ensure it is providing optimum levels of heat using the least amount of fuel.

Another cheaper but highly effective way to make sure your heating system is working to maximum efficiency is to invest in a new programmable thermostat. This will ensure you house is maintained at the temperature you desire and that your boiler does not work more than is necessary.

If you are in the market for a new boiler, a combi model is the most economical option, as it heats water straight from the mains rather than storing it in a hot-water tank. Combi boilers are more compact than conventional boilers, so they can fit into a smaller space. One issue with combi boilers is that they can sometimes suffer a reduced flow if multiple taps are turned on at the same time. If you live in a large household with lots of occupants and multiple bathrooms that are regularly used at the same time, a conventional boiler that feeds a hot water tank is best.

10 Energy-Saving Tips to Cut the Cost of Your January Bills

January can be an expensive month, with Christmas credit card bills and the colder weather increasing your heating costs. If you’re trying to find ways in which you can cut costs and keep on top of your finances, here are our top tips to save energy.

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Switch Off Appliances
Households could be wasting around £30 every year simply by leaving appliances on standby. You might think that it’s convenient not to switch them off at the plug, but in the majority of cases equipment can be turned off properly without having an adverse effect.

Save on Washing-Up
Families can generate a large amount of clothes and pots that need cleaning, which adds to your energy usage. Doing this in a savvier way means you can keep on top of everything and save money. For example, washing pots under a running tap can add £30 to your annual bill, and cutting one wash a week can reduce your costs by £5 each year.

Efficient Showers
Showers use less energy than baths, but you can still be wise in the way you use them. A family of four could save £100 annually by just reducing their daily shower by one minute each. A more efficient shower pump or showerhead can save you money if the water comes directly from a tank or boiler.

Limit Draughts
If your home is draughty, turning up your central heating will have a limited effect. Check where the draughts are coming from, such as around doors and windows, cracks or the chimney, and seal them up.

Use Heating Wisely
Central heating costs can be a significant contributor to your annual bills. An average household could save as much as £165 each year by fitting a timer and room thermostat to their heating system and using thermostatic valves on radiators. Turning the temperature down by only a degree could save up to £90 in a year.

Use LED Lighting
Most lighting fixtures can now use LED lights, which use significantly less energy than traditional halogen bulbs. They provide the same level of illumination but make a significant saving on energy bills.

Be Smart
New technology means that it’s now easier to control our heating and energy use, even when we’re not at home. The mobile apps allow you to turn your heating on or off and up or down from anywhere.

Be in the Dark
Saving energy is as simple as switching lights off when they’re not needed. Homeowners often think that it uses more energy to switch them on again, but this isn’t the case. You could be wasting £15 a year by leaving them on.

Efficient Insulation
If your property isn’t insulated properly, you are letting money escape. Even homes that already have loft and wall insulation may need it replacing to ensure it remains efficient.

Cook Well
You could save energy by cooking more efficiently. For instance, try to use the oven wisely and cook more meals at once, and use the appropriate ring on your hob to conserve energy.

Why you need a submersible pump this flooding season

January can bring increased risk of flooding in many areas of the country. Heavy rains and melting snow can lead to waterlogged ground and swollen rivers, making floods a real worry for many, especially those on flood plains or other areas that are prone to problems. As a householder, it’s best to be prepared for the worst. From submersible pumps to remove excess water to stocking up on sandbags, we share our expert advice when it comes to protecting your home from flood water.

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There are usually advance warnings of floods, so you should have a plan to move the objects you can, such as electronics, furniture and so on, upstairs to keep them safe. Have sandbags on hand to stop water from getting in through doorways, and put plugs in sinks and baths to prevent water coming in via the drains.

If the worst should happen and you do get flooded, then it’s important to remove excess water as quickly as possible. It may therefore be worth investing in a sump pump; the quickest and easiest way to remove water and minimize flood damage.

The latest submersible pumps are designed to be submerged in water – unlike other types where the pump itself has to be kept dry. If you have a cellar or basement, you may already have a pump installed, but it’s also possible to get portable units for use in emergencies for clearing any area of water.

Most pumps will run from a standard mains electrical supply, and they often have a float valve that prevents the pump from running dry. Because you’re using an electrical device in the presence of water, it’s important to make sure that the circuit is protected by an ECB to prevent any accidents.

Submersible pumps come in a range of sizes, so consider which is likely to be best for your needs, taking into account the size of the area likely to be flooded. Pumps will usually have a filter to prevent them from becoming blocked by debris – an important feature when clearing flood water.

When pumping out flood water, you should pay careful attention to where it’s going to go. Make sure the pump discharges to an area where the water will flow away from the house and any neighboring properties.