Month: October 2016

UK Flooding Advice: Do you live in an at risk area?

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Every year we seem to see dozens of stories on the news about homes being flooded across the globe. And it seems to be becoming more and more frequent with climate change marching ever onwards.

Here in the UK, thousands of homes are flooded almost every year, with some people facing having their houses and businesses devastated by water from overflowing rivers and sewers or destructive coastal storms.

Why Does It Happen?

Flooding can occur almost anywhere, even away from water sources such as the sea, rivers or a watercourse.

When there are long periods of heavy rain, drainage systems often cannot cope. Saturated ground cannot absorb more water, so it will not drain away. Drains may become blocked, and the water has nowhere to go.

How Does It Affect People?

In addition to the obvious danger to life and limb, householders face having to replace their beloved possessions. Some are forced to move out of their homes for months on end, while business owners’ livelihoods are put at risk through having to close their shops and warehouses for weeks.

More and more people are being affected, while those most at risk are facing added hardship due to increases in the cost of household insurance. In some cases, they are unable to obtain any form of insurance.

Who Is at Risk?

Anyone, anywhere, can be at risk from flooding. However, there are certain areas which are more at risk than others.

If you are among the five million people in Wales and England who live or work on a floodplain, statistics show that your business or home is more likely to be flooded than it is to be involved in a fire.

In England and Wales, the most likely places to be affected by flooding include Boston and Skegness on the east coast, said to be the place with the greatest danger of flooding in the entire country; the Vale of Clwyd, an area of low-lying ground around the River Clwyd in north-east Wales; Windsor, because of its proximity to the River Thames; the areas of Folkestone and Hythe; and Runnymede and Weybridge, where around 6,500 homes are believed to be in danger of flooding.

Environment Agency

If you want to see whether your home or business is in danger, your first port of call should be the Environment Agency, the government body which has responsibilities relating to the protection and enhancement of the environment.

On its website, you can see if there are any flood warnings in place in the immediate future, sign up for warnings for your area, and check if your property is in a flood risk area.

You can even check your home’s flooding history to see if it has ever been flooded before. This can give you a vital warning if flooding is possible and enable you to take steps to prevent it.

Can I Get Insurance?

One of the first pieces of advice to be given to people living in a flood risk area is to make sure that they have adequate insurance.

If you have a mortgage, you will be required to have buildings insurance, but contents insurance to cover the cost of replacing the contents of your house is just as important, particularly if you live in an area prone to flooding

Adequate insurance will cover you for the cost of repairing your property after a flood, in addition to replacing all of your fixtures and fittings. It will probably also pay for the repair or replacement of any furniture and belongings damaged by water, plus the cost of removing any debris left behind by the water.

What If I Can’t Get Insurance?

Some households and businesses which have been repeatedly flooded over the years may find it very expensive or even impossible to obtain adequate insurance.

Thankfully, the government has recently introduced help for people finding it difficult to get insurance because they live in high-risk areas. The new scheme helps insurance companies offer more affordable insurance to those whose homes and businesses are at high risk.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

There are steps that those of us with a high risk of flooding can take to prevent the worst from happening. Signing up to flood warning alerts, so that you are forewarned before flooding strikes, will help you to prepare if the worst is imminent. In addition, stockpiling sandbags and moving valuables from lower floors can all help to mitigate the effect of flooding if it does happen.

For those living in the worst-hit areas, there are other measures you can take. Submersible pumps are invaluable for use in emergencies; they can even be bought as part of emergency flood kits, which contain essential equipment and accessories to help you minimise the damage any flood does. They will help you to remove any excess water as soon as possible, ensuring that it has less potential to damage your property.

Whether you’re in a high-risk area or not, you should make flood prevention and planning as much a part of your routine as fire prevention and escape.

Protect Your Business From Flooding Damage this Winter

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The last couple of winters have seen the UK hit by a series of powerful storms and floods – so much so that the Met Office decided to adopt the American tradition of giving each storm a human name to increase awareness and preparedness. Giving a storm an approachable name like ‘Frank’ or ‘Imogen’ doesn’t reduce the devastation and destruction that they leave in their wake, though.

The Catastrophic Effects of Flood Damage

The winter of 2015-16 was one of the wettest ever recorded, with Storm Desmond submerging much of the north of England and causing over £5 billion of damage. Insurance covers some of the damage, but experts have commented that many insurance policies are simply inadequate for covering the full extent of the loss, leading to bankruptcy for many households and businesses.

Businesses Face Unique Challenges

For those businesses affected by flooding but blessed with sufficient insurance coverage, this coverage is unlikely to last longer than a standard 12-month period of business interruption. This is a serious additional problem, because those companies suffering the effects of flooding generally take longer than this to return to pre-flood levels of profitability and turnover.

This is due firstly to the drop-off in local custom after flooding damage, caused by the local population experiencing high levels of stress and uncertainty on a household basis. Recovery is secondly hindered by the average of nine months necessary for remedial work to take place before people or business can return to flooded properties.

Who Is at Risk?

The true extent of the risk posed by flooding should not be underestimated, and this applies both those who have been flooded before and those who are lucky enough to remain unscathed. Since 1998, the UK has been hit by at least one serious flood every single year. To make matters worse, the Environmental Agency estimates that 5.5 million properties in England are at risk of flooding – around one in six.

The risk of flooding is so acute that, as a result of tight building safety regulations, businesses are now more likely to suffer flood damage than be destroyed by fire. Fires can be controlled by regulations, but floods cannot be regulated out of existence. After the last flood, the government pledged an increase in flood defence funding across the board, which should be welcomed, but flooding is ultimately a natural process that can never be eliminated beyond all doubt.

What Can Business Owners Do to Reduce These Risks?

If your company was unlucky enough to have been affected by flooding previously, now is the time to draw up proper plans to prepare yourself for the next possible bout of extreme weather. Unlike lightning, flooding can strike twice, so it’s important to act while there’s still time.

Draw up a flood plan outlining your response in case of flooding, and consider any changes you could make to the building to improve your defences, such as storing valuable stock on the first floor and raising the height of electricity outlets. It’s impossible to completely flood-proof your premises, so investing in submersible water pumps to help you respond to floodwater quickly before the damage is done can be a good idea. The priority is to minimise downtime and lost potential earnings.

For businesses fortunate enough to have avoided flood damage so far, try to avoid becoming complacent. Contractors can provide flood risk assessments to analyse and predict the risk posed by flooding to a site for up to 50 years into the future. Subscribe to the Environment Agency’s flood alerts to keep ahead of the game in the short term.

Flood Defense Equipment

Keeping an eye on flood alerts is crucial, but you need to be able to act when you receive an alert. If you’re found to be at risk of flooding, then stock up on sandbags. Modern sand bags contain a polymer gel, which is much lighter and far more effective than sand. When a flood alert comes through, these should be placed around all of the thresholds on the premises.

A number of other temporary and permanent flood defences are available. If you can modify your building, then self-closing pipes and air bricks are a clever way to prevent floodwater ingress whilst keeping the structure ventilated for the remainder of the year. Submersible pumps are useful tools for removing floodwater quickly and effectively.

Take a look at the range of emergency flood kits stocked on our website, and investigate how they could help you to minimise flood damage and stock spoilage.

Autumn tips for getting your home and garden ‘Winter ready’

 

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It’s official. Climate change is here and with it a devastating change in our weather patterns. The outlook for winter 2016/2017 is already bleak, with raging storms and flooding predicted between December and February.

So what precautions can you take now to get your home ready for another winter battering? Even if the weather is currently mild, it pays to be prepared!

Clean Your Gutters

Guttering is the first line of defence in carrying water away from your home. If gutters become dammed by debris, they can cause damp problems for your home as water breaches the exterior fabric. A few hours spent cleaning your gutters and drainpipes now can avoid costly damage later.

Damn the Air Leaks

Doors, windows and letter boxes are major sources of energy loss in the average home. By letting warm air escape, you’re expecting your boiler to work harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.

Seal leaks with silicone where applicable, and fit insulation strips round windows and doors.

Get Your Boiler Serviced

Winter is the season when you most rely on your boiler, so it makes sense to have it fully serviced before the worst weather arrives. This will ensure that it’s running at optimum capacity, passing energy savings to you and keeping your house warm and cosy as the storms rage outside.

Fit a Hot Water Circulating Pump

Consider fitting a low-energy Hot Water Circulating pump that ensures you have hot water on demand when you need it in the winter.

Many models can be easily fitted by a competent DIYer and are low-energy, saving on electricity and water costs as you no longer have to run the tap waiting for the hot water to arrive.

Consider a Wood-Burner

More and more people are going ‘off-grid’ for their energy needs, but this doesn’t mean that you have to replace all your heating and water with renewables. A wood-burner can simply be used to supplement your home’s existing heating.

If you do decide to take it further, the right wood-burner can be integrated into your existing heating system with minimal fuss. And they make an attractive feature in their own right, being far more energy-efficient than an open fire.

If you don’t want to lose an open fireplace, consider blocking off the chimney instead. You won’t be able to use your fireplace except ornamentally, but you’ll prevent major heat loss.

Up Your Lighting Game

Exterior lights are essential in the winter to prevent accidents as the nights draw in. Ensure yours are equipped with low-energy bulbs or, if you’re fitting new, make sure they’re low-energy compliant. Take it one step further and replace those old fairy lights with LED ones.

Be Prepared for Flooding

If flooding has already been an issue in your property, or you’re in a high-risk area, you can fight back and reduce your insurance premiums by being flood ready.

Make a flood defence plan and reinforce the fabric of your home. Sign up for flood alerts and equip yourself with a good submersible pump or even a full-scale flood kit so you’re prepared for the worst the winter can throw at you.

Window Dressing

If you’re installing double glazing, choose the most effective windows you can afford. Good old-fashioned curtains and blinds can also be highly effective at keeping out draughts and preventing heat loss.

If you get good daylight through your windows during the day, leave blinds and curtains drawn to maximise the heat.

Insulate, Insulate and Then Insulate Some More

Proper insulation in the right places will prevent a huge amount of heat loss in your home. According to the NIA The average home loses 66% of its heat through solid walls, 25% through the roof and 20% through windows and doors.

Some energy companies offer free cavity wall and roof insulation, but even if it meets standard requirements, you can always add more roof insulation. You’ve already dealt with leaks in your doors and windows, haven’t you?

Create Windbreaks in Your Garden

Erecting fences or planting hedges around your property can give you valuable windbreaks when the cold winds blow. If you’re prone to snowfall, knock down vulnerable tree branches to prevent damage.

Following these preventative measures, will ensure your home will be kept snug and warm throughout the colder days of winter.

Grundfos Raise the Bar for Efficiency with the New Alpha 3 Domestic Circulator

 

grundfos Alpha 3 Domestic CirculatorWith the release of the all new Alpha 3 domestic circulator, Grundfos is once again raising the bar for performance and efficiency and reminding us why they’re such a widely known, well-respected brand.

Domestic circulators have been relied upon by British homeowners to deliver hot water to their central heating systems for many years. For the majority of both installers and users, the variety of units available in the Grundfos Alpha 2 range has, and will continue to meet their needs, beautifully.

However, times are changing and although the fundamental services that a domestic circulator pump provides in terms of functionality, performance and all-round home comforts remain the same, demand for the ways in which those services are delivered is changing.

For the efficiency minded homeowner and installer alike, it is no longer sufficient to have technology that simply serves a purpose. Modern living dictates that emerging technologies offer efficiencies in terms of how it quickly they can be installed, how smoothly they operate and how much they cost to fit and run.

The all-new Alpha 3 domestic circulator pump from Grundfos ticks all those efficiency boxes.

First Class Functional Efficiency

To achieve a well-balanced indoor climate throughout a property, a domestic circulator unit is relied upon to regulate the even distribution and flow of hot water throughout various pipe systems and deliver it to radiators efficiently.

Depending on the size of a property and the age and quality of any component heating system parts, this process of equal heat distribution, known as hydronic balancing, can be a time-consuming task, or it was, until now.

When paired with the complementary, installer technologies of the Alpha reader and GO App, the Grundfos Alpha 3 is a truly state-of-the-art piece of kit that stabilises the temperature of a home environment so efficiently that it cuts the installation time in half.

Cost Efficiency

The dramatic reduction in installation time on offer means fitters are free to take on more jobs, and they can pass on the reduced labour costs to the customer so everyone’s a winner!

In the long-term, of course, it is the customer who will be most concerned with saving money and this is where the Alpha 3 really raises the bar in terms of cost efficiency.

According to OVO Energy, the cost of gas and electricity rose by 140% between 2004 and 2014. In real terms, that rise costs homeowners an extra £500 each year despite the fact that energy consumption has actually decreased during the same period.

With the value of the pound falling in the wake of the Brexit vote, some forecasters are now predicting that energy prices could rise by another 15% in the months ahead but that rise could be offset by installing a Grundfos Alpha 3.

The efficiency of this system is so good that it promises to reduce the average household heating bill by anything from 5-17%!

Efficient Installations

The Alpha 3 domestic circulator is compatible with a variety of domestic water heating systems so homeowners in almost every kind of property can benefit.

Equally suitable for upgrading the operational efficiency of an existing domestic heating system to reduce costs and improve home comforts, or for getting a brand new service up and running quickly, the Alpha 3 is designed to operate with:

– Variable or constant flow systems

– One or two pipe systems

– Underfloor heating

You can order your Grundfos Alpha 3 domestic circulator online from Anchor Pumps and enjoy a 5 year warranty and free home delivery.

Alternatively, if you’d like more information about the circulator or use of the installers Alpha reader and GO App, simply call one of our friendly and knowledgeable advisors on 0800 112 3134, today.