Smoke Detectors & CO alarms for Rented Properties

From October 2015 Landlords will be required to fit smoke detectors to each floor of their properties and CO alarms in high risk rooms.

Keep warm in winter-Tip 5-Lag your pipes not your radiators!

Lag your pipes not your radiators!

Many people complain that they are cold even when they have central heating.  Often the heating is not able to work effectively because the heat from the radiator or storage heater is prevented from circulating around the room.  Decorative radiator cabinets may be more attractive than a metal radiator but even though they have a perforated panel on the front they will still prevent a lot of the heat from the radiator getting into the room.  Also placing furniture such as beds and sofas in front of the radiator or heater will prevent the heat from circulating.  If you cover radiators like this or drape washing over them you are effectively lagging them and so the heat cannot escape.  Try and keep the area in front of the radiator/heater as clear as possible.  If it is possible put up a shelf above the radiator this will help to deflect the heat into the room.  If you have radiators put a reflector behind it so the heat is reflected back into the room rather than being absorbed by the wall behind.  It is possible to buy radiator reflectors but aluminium foil pasted to the wall behind the radiator is just as effective or if it is not practical to remove the radiator in order to do this a piece of cardboard wrapped in foil dropped down behind the radiator will work just as well.  If you must dry washing inside (this is not advisable because it increases the humidity and therefore the risk of condensation in the home) then place it on a rack beside the radiator rather than draping it over the radiator, this way at least some of the heat will get into the room so that the fabric of the building becomes warmer, this will reduce the risk of condensation although will not prevent it.

It is important to lag hot water pipes as it helps to reduce heat loss as the water travels around your home. It is also important to lag cold water pipes to prevent them from freezing in the winter.  Even if you think your pipes are lagged still check them from time to time, particularly if you have been troubled by Mice.  Mice love to chew pipe insulation and can often leave sections of pipework exposed.

So lag our pipes not your radiators!

Keep Warm in Winter-Tip 4-Waste not want not!

The saying ‘waste not want not’ can be very relevant to energy use.  Energy is very expensive and if it is a struggle to find the money to buy enough energy to keep warm it is very important to ensure the energy we buy is put to good use and not wasted. Very small changes in behaviour can save 10% of energy.  The first thing to do is to ensure that you know how much energy you actually use, the best way to do this is to read your gas and electric meter each week.  Then it is important to find out how that energy is being used.  Walk around your home and make a note of all the appliances that use energy.  Check what is plugged in and switched on are all those things being used.  For example mobile phone chargers use energy even if they are not connected to a phone so it makes sense to ensure that they are only switched on when they are actually needed. Make sure the appliances you are using are working efficiently.  If you have a refrigerator or freezer make sure it does not have a build- up of ice inside, also make sure that the cooling fins usually found at the rear of the appliance are clean as a build-up of ice inside or dust on the cooling fins will prevent the appliance from operating efficiently.

Just being aware of how much energy we are using and whether we are using it wisely can enable us to save money on our bills or enable us to spend more money to keep ourselves warm.  Being energy efficient is not about going without, it is about using energy wisely.  So check out how you are using energy and be ‘cool’ not cold!

Keep Warm in Winter-Tip 3-Shut that door!

Draughts

Draughts can account for 12% of heat loss they can also make it feel a lot colder than it is.  Try and cut down draughts where practical.  However if you have a gas fire, a boiler, an open fire or any appliance such as a cooker that relies on combustion then you must keep adequate ventilation in the room or you will risk carbon monoxide poisoning. Something simple such as placing a draught excluder across the bottom of a door can make a big difference, if you don’t have one you can make one simply by rolling up an old towel or rolling up a newspaper, hold it in shape with an elastic band.  Draught excluders are particularly valuable against an external door or a door to a room that isn’t used or heated. Gaps around skirting boards and windows or between floor boards also contribute to draughts it is possible to get sealers to help block the gaps but screwed up newspaper can also be used with good effect or even sticky tape.

It’s amazing how shutting all the doors in the house will stop draughts from circulating this is so easy and cost free it is incredible that more of us don’t do it!

So shut that door!

Keep Warm in Winter-Tip 2-Reduce Damp in your home-keep warm.

Dampness makes you feel cold

Some properties do have structural problems that result in dampness but a high proportion of damp problems in buildings are caused by condensation.  Condensation can be caused by a number of things; too much moisture produced in the home, lack of ventilation, cold surfaces, insufficient temperature control.   So if you reduce the humidity in the house, there is less risk of condensation and the house will feel warmer.  If you are boiling things on the stove, use the minimum amount of water, put the lids on the pans and turn the heat back down as soon as the pan has come up to boil.  Avoid drying washing indoors. If you have a bath run the cold water into the bath first and top up with hot water, you can cut down the steam by 90% by doing this.  After a bath or a shower, keep the bath room door shut but open the window for a few minutes to let the steam out.  All these simple actions help to reduce dampness in the home.

So reduce damp and feel warmer.

Keep warm in Winter-Tip 1-Keep out the Dark but Let in the Light!

Keep out the Dark but Let in the Light!

All houses loose heat through the windows, tightly fitted double glazing can reduce this significantly but this is not available in all properties.  Heavy curtains will cut down heat loss significantly but even if you don’t have heavy curtains make sure that you do draw any blind or curtain as it becomes dusk or as soon as possible afterwards.  If you have a radiator below the window you tuck the curtain behind it so that the heat comes out into the room.

When it gets light, make sure you draw back those curtains and let in the light especially on the sunny side of the house. You will be amazed by how much heat can be drawn into the room on a sunny day and natural light can really help to lift the spirits on a cold winters day.

So at night keep the dark out and in the day let the light in.