A question we are being asked more and more often is how can you save money on your energy bills?
To try and cope as long as possible before absolutely having to turn the heating on lest our toes get frozen off!"
Now we are not saying that you should turn your heating on unnecessarily, or that you shouldn’t conserve water where possible, however there are ways to keep your energy costs low without compromising your wellbeing. Let’s take a look at them here…
This seems like an obvious one, however we are all so busy with our lives it can often seem too time-consuming to ring around looking for the best rate. It can save you up to £300 a year though, especially if you’ve been with the same provider for over 12 months, so it’s worth taking 30 minutes or so to make those calls/online searches.
Turn down the heating
Another simple, yet effective, suggestion is to simply turn down your heating by 1°c. Most people won’t notice the temperature difference and yet it can save up to 10% of your annual heating bill. There are also so many new and SMART heating thermostats that you can control phone the comfort of the phone in your hand, so if you feel comfortably warm, you can switch off the heating or turn it down as required. Plumbminto’s can help advise on the best thermostat for your needs if you just give us a call.
Upgrade your boiler
There are an estimated 9 million “zombie boilers” which may work but are inefficient and thus unnecessarily costly. Modern equivalents can save on average £460 a year in bills, so within just 4 years approximately you will have made your money back on the new boiler installation and can start benefitting from the monetary savings. If you’re not sure if your old boiler is classified as a “zombie boiler” then contact Plumbminto’s for advice and a free quote for a replacement.
Upgrade your radiators
Besides “zombie boilers” you may fall into the category of homeowners who have “zombie radiators”. Generally, radiators that are over 15 years old really should be replaced with more modern models as they are far more energy efficient now. Newer radiators are smaller and yet produce the same, if not more heat, therefore requesting less energy to heat up your property. Furthermore, old radiators may have cold spots and/or blockages, which are compromising their full heating potential so you end up keeping your heating on for longer or at higher temperatures than necessary.
Thermostatic Radiator Valves
Another way in which you can get the most of out of your radiators without wasting energy is to replace any standard locksheild valves with thermostatic ones. Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) allow you to control the temperature levels on each individual radiator, so family members who run cold can have a higher setting in their room in comparison to those who run hot. There are also SMART radiator valves that will allow you to set each room up as required and you can do this from your phone.
If your system if full of sludge, even the most energy efficient boilers will struggle, and internal components could get damaged. A powerflush is a deep clean of the central heating pipework and radiators using a powerflush machine. It will get rid of as much moveable sludge as possible running through your central heating system, making the water almost clear and totally renewed. It is always advisable to have a full powerflush if you have a new boiler installed as to protect it and get the most out of the new boiler.
If your boiler is not too old and it functions without an issue, then you ought to have it service annually. A boiler service costs far less than the replacement of pats, so to keep everything running smoothly for as long as possible, you should do this every year, and every 2-3 years a full strip down service should be carried out which will involve replacing some perishable fittings. On top of that, if your boiler is still within its warranty, the guarantee will become void if you do not have it serviced annually. Plumbminto's carry out both basic boiler services and full strip services so call us for a quote.
Don’t forget that any works carried out to your boiler must be done by a Gas Safe Registered engineer such as Plumbminto’s engineers.
Plumbminto’s offer all of the services mentioned above and would love the opportunity to help you and your family save significant costs on your energy bills from now on!
Contact us now to find out more!
It's that time of year again when you have a constant stream of guests coming over to your house. Sometimes planned, sometimes impromptu. Plumbminto's have a quick, easy and free tip to help you to stay ready.
Amongst the manic rush to shove things into closets, clean the bathroom, tidy the kitchen, prepare the food and do a quick run to the shop for drinks, there is one thing easily forgotten but so effective to present a homely space... A BEAUTIFUL SMELLING HOUSE!
Take just 2 minutes to soak a cloth or paper towels into your existing fabric conditioner and wipe the top grills of your radiators with it. Once you turn on your central heating, not only will it blast a cozy warmth into all your rooms, but it will circulate a fresh scent of clean laundry around the house.
So all pets are now invited; sure, take your shoes off at the door; eat as many brussel sprouts as you like and just let go... you have it covered!
- Plumbminto's -
Limescale on your shower head can cause your shower spray to go in all different directions making it extremely annoying to shower, not to mention soak parts of the bathroom you didn't intend to get wet!
First point of call, try WHITE VINEGAR:
1) Remove the shower head if possible.
2) Fill a plastic bag (ideally one that can be sealed, for example a large sandwich bag) with white vinegar and put the shower head inside, securing it with a rubber band. Alternatively fill a little bucket or a large bowl with the vinegar and place the shower head in it. Make sure that the whole affected area is submerged.
3) Leave for several hours. If you can leave it outside, do that because vinegar smells strong!!
4) Carefully remove the shower head and gently scrub away any remaining limescale using a sponge.
5) Rinse the shower head thoroughly before fixing it back to the shower and then let warm water run through it for a while before stepping in and smelling like a chip shop!
If this hasn't done a good enough job, call us and we'll come to replace the shower head for you.
DISCLAIMER: please do a patch test first to make sure that the vinegar won't ruin your shower head coating!
Just a Drop's water, sanitation and hygiene solutions take into account a community's local water availability, geography, infrastructure, economic conditions and culture. Solutions are identified which will best serve the community's specific needs.
Their solutions to the global clean water crisis:
Wells are dug by hand, to reach the water stored in the aquifer below, at a depth of no more than 15 meters. Hand-dug wells, or shallow wells, are the most common way of extracting water in rural areas of the developing world.
Machinery is used to drill down into the aquifer to extract water stored many meters below the earth's surface, and a pump is fitted for the community to bring this water up through the well.
Rain falls and is directed into a sanitary water tank, usually by guttering. Find out more about how rainwater harvesting tanks work here. Rock catchment systems operate in the same way, on a larger scale, with the rainfall that flows from a steep rock face directed and collected.
A dam is built across a river, and during the rainy season water flows, bringing with it sand which collects behind the dam. Water is then stored in the sand which acts as a natural filtration. The water can then be extracted through a well and handpump at the side of the river.
Water Distribution Systems
Work by distributing water to locations through a system of pipes. Gravity Fed Water Systems use the pull of gravity to direct the flow of water to a sanitary storage tank. Piped Water Systems work by distributing piped water to a series of taps in a community.
Biosand filters remove pathogens and other contaminants which are harmful to human health from water using layers of sand, covered with a biofilm.
A system is built to capture water from a naturally occurring spring source, and the clean water is stored.
Covered shelters with a pit below provide privacy and safety for toilet users.
Vary from a simple pit latrine - a hole in the ground with a covered shelter - to a flushing toilet, depending on the country.
Communal latrine blocks
These are gender sensitive and feature washrooms. Where possible consideration is made for people with disabilities. School latrine blocks are essentially the same, are gender sensitive and feature washrooms for girls. Teachers have separate latrines.
Function effectively to prevent latrine pits filling up too quickly. Urinals are necessary when there is a high volume of children in a school or community using a latrine.
Community training in the construction of soak pits and proper drainage channels. Village drainage is often left to nature and this causes contamination of water sources.
Waste management training
Communities are trained in recycling, rubbish disposal, keeping the village clean, and the hygienic and safe disposal of human waste.
Communities are trained in the importance of hygienic practices, to prevent diseases and contamination of clean water sources. As part of our projects we support a variety of hygiene training and practices including: handwashing & tippy tap construction, personal hygiene, menstrual hygiene management, environmental and domestic hygiene, understanding of the safe water chain from collection to consumption, food hygiene, soap making, disease awareness.
Blockages are a part of bathroom and kitchen nature, but there are steps you can take to avoid them (and the stink they can create)!
Showers & Baths:
When brushing your hair, try to collect the hairs in the brush and dispose of them in a bin rather than washing them down the drain.
When your soap has come to the end of it’s little life, throw it in the bin rather than squish it down the plughole!
Of course, there will still be hair in the drain so regularly remove hair or purchase a hair trap if your plug hole can fit one.
As tempting as it may be to flush everything down the toilet, your toilet is only supposed to flush human waste, tampons and toilet tissue.
Things that cannot be flushed include kitchen roll, baby wipes, cotton wool, Q-tips, nappies, sanitary towels, hair, fish, etc!
Do not place foreign objects, e.g. your phone, where they risk falling into the toilet bowl. (Not only could you block the toilet, but you could damage your phone or at least make it pretty gross!)
Do not pour fat down the sink. However, if there is no alternative, then make sure it’s mixed with plenty of very hot water as it goes down.
Get a drain mesh that catches any large chunks of food, and empty into the bin regularly. Do not be tempted to smush the food into the plughole until it disappears down the pipes!
If you have discovered a lingering smell emitting from a sink, bath, shower or basin, there’s a good chance you have a blockage. If your water is very slow to drain away, then there’s also a good chance you have a blockage.
Sometimes the problem is not what has been put down into the pipes, but rather the way the pipes have been installed in which case they will need correcting for a long lasting solution.
In the case of a blockage or slow draining, you can always call on us!
Unless you're a school student, the "snow day" is actually not that fun!
We have had several calls regarding boilers that have suddenly stopped working. It is very possible that you have a frozen condensate pipe.
Not all boilers have a condensate (a white, plastic pipe that leads to outside) however if you do have one, you may be able to help yourself by following the steps below. If you are unsure, we advise you contact a competent engineer.
If this does not solve the error code or noisy boiler, then you've done your best and need to call us! If it HAS helped, then drop us a line and let us know you are warm again!
1. Open all doors and windows The first task is to open all of the doors and windows in the house to try to clear some of the deadly gas.
2. Turn off all fuel-burning appliances and leave the house Once you’ve done what you can to ventilate your home, turn off all of your fuel-burning appliances, such as boilers and fires, and leave the house. Regardless of whether you feel ill or well, remain outside until you've spoken to a doctor or called the emergency advice line.
3. Don’t switch on the lights, smoke or strike a match Once the alarm has sounded, if there are gas appliances in your home you should avoid switching on the lights, smoking or striking a match (to light a candle for example).
4. Seek medical advice If you feel ill or exhibit any of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning after your alarm goes off, contact your doctor immediately or call 999 for an ambulance.
5. Call the emergency advice line If you believe your carbon monoxide emergency was caused by a gas appliance, call the Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999. If you use oil to heat your home, call Oftec on 01473 626 298.
Arrange to have your appliances serviced If your boiler, heater, stove or fire is producing dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, there's something wrong with it, and it will need to be serviced by a professional. For boiler services, call us!
As it’s Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, it’s the perfect time to tell our customer all about how to install their alarms!
What is a CO2 alarm?
Simply put, it’s like a smoke alarm, but for the potentially deadly Carbon Monoxide instead of smoke. THESE DO NOT REPLACE SMOKE ALARMS!
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO2) poses an invisible threat. It's a gas that is both colourless & odorless. It’s produced by any fuel-burning appliance or fixture — such as a boiler, water heater or fireplace. CO2 can build up in the home from malfunctions or poor ventilation in those devices. It can also accumulate if the home is improperly ventilated for the exchange of inside and outside air. Running a vehicle in an attached garage can also allow carbon monoxide to enter the home. Carbon Monoxide when inhaled creates a toxic compound in your body. If you suspect inhalation or a leak, open all windows and doors, get fresh air in you lungs, do not light an open flame and call the emergency services immediately. If you need your appliances replaced of fixed, call us!
Where to install the CO2 alarm:
1) Every Floor of your Home
If your home has several levels (including basements used attics), then you will need detectors on each level as the gas can often be trapped within a single level and you wouldn’t know it without an alarm on that floor.
2) Near Bedrooms
You want the alarm to wake you at night, just as you would a smoke alarm, so keep it nearby where you and your family sleep. If bedrooms are more than 30 feet apart you will need more than one detector.
3) Homes with attached Garages
If you have an enclosed garage directly attached to the house, then you should also place a CO2 detector within 10 feet of the internal door to your garage. You should also place a detector in any room situated directly above your garage.
You should mount your detectors securely on the walls at least a couple of feet below the height of the ceiling. If your detector has a digital read-out, then it would make sense to install it where you can read the display.
5) Locations to avoid
Keep your CO2 alarm away from:
These alarms are so easy to fit and cheap to buy. They could save lives. If you’d like us to supply & fit one for you, please contact us now!
Warm Water Underfloor Heating Vs. Electric Underfloor Heating
Underfloor heating is a surefire way to ensure your family’s feet are toasty warm when walking on tiles, stone, wood or even carpet. It can be used as an alternative your radiator heating or a complimentary floor warmer for those chilly mornings and nights! How do you decide which one to go for?
ELECTRIC UNDERFLOOR HEATING
With an electric underfloor heating system, a series of electric wires or electric heating sheets are installed beneath or within your flooring. This is usually fit over screed and floor insulation. It has it’s own thermostat to determine when it comes on and turns off.
There are lots of options for each floor type and is less expensive to install than the Warm Water systems.
You must consider the cost of the electric bills compared to the cost of the gas bills in order to help make this decision.
WARM WATER UNDERFLOOR HEATING
With a water-based underfloor heating system, a series of pipes connected to your gas boiler circulate warm water throughout the floor to heat the space. It is essentially part of your gas central heating with it’s own thermostat.
Warm Water underfloor heating could be more energy efficient than radiators as the heat is distributed more evenly, and therefore potentially less expensive to run (according to The Energy Saving Trust).
It is more expensive to install that Electric underfloor heating as it’s more complicated.
There will be quite significant upheaval when installing any underfloor heating as the floor will need to come up, new floor may need to be laid down before the installation and you need to factor in the added height of the floor with the prep work involved.
Make sure you don’t compromise on quality and that your kit is complete and all components comply with European standards.
Underfloor heating is a modern and high-spec feature that allows you to enjoy the luxury of warm floors during cold winters. It could be a more energy efficient way of heating a room as the heat rises slowly around the whole room, rather than the isolated areas of radiators.
To find out more, contact us anytime!
Toilet Twinning provides people in the poorest communities on the planet with a decent toilet, clean water and all the information they need to stay healthy. It’s the key to helping whole communities break free of the poverty trap.