external insulation

Check loft insulation in the homeUp to a quarter of your home’s heat can be lost through your roof, so it makes sense to check that your loft insulation is up to the job.

Ideally your loft should have around 270mm of insulation, but if your home has less than 100mm you really need to get it topped up. If you’re not sure, it might be worth your while popping up into the loft to check.

Whilst you’re there, check that your loft insulation is well fitted, with no gaps where warmth can escape, and that your water pipes are well covered too. Check for signs of vermin as mice, rats and bats often seek shelter in lofts during the cold months and can cause damage to insulation and wiring.

Some of the big energy providers are offering free loft insulation in order to fulfil their obligation to make homes more energy efficient. They have targets to reach and are fined if they don’t achieve them.

To find out if you’re eligible all it takes is a phone call to The Energy Saving Trust on one of these numbers: England – 0300 123 1234, Wales – 0800 512 012 or Scotland – 0808 808 82

A well-insulated loft will make a huge difference to your comfort and energy bills. If your current insulation is looking the worse for wear, then I would recommend you take action and call in a professional.

A really good way to add insulation and accommodation is a proper loft conversion which can provide extra living space and a great deal of insulation to the original space below. Contact us for an estimate.

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Check for drafty gaps in the homeIf you live in a drafty house, but you’re not sure where the cold air is coming from, you can smoke them out!

On a cold day light an incense stick and once it’s smouldering nicely, move it towards the edges of windows and doors. If there’s no draft the smoke will rise, but if there is one the smoke will be blown horizontally. Typically the gaps will be where a unit is hinged, or two panels meet.

Once you know where your problem areas are you can then treat them either with caulk or weather strips.

Drafty doors and windows make for uncomfortable living conditions and expensive heating bills.

Wood has a tendency to warp and change size depending on the humidity. If you suspect this is happening then a coat or two of specialist paint could be all that is needed to solve it.

If your problem is that there is a poor seal around your door that’s letting in unwanted drafts, then adding draft excluders will make a huge difference.

Original windows are notorious for sending cold air into your home. Double glazing is a must for thermal efficiency, but if your budget won’t stretch to that, then thick heavy curtains will certainly help, as will draft excluders. I would suggest you need to budget for upgrading your windows.

Even these “quick fixes” may not improve the situation enough – in which case we can help with new windows and doors, perhaps as part of an extension or conversion.

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Helpful tipsWhen the temperature drops below freezing, if pipes aren’t adequately lagged, there’s a chance they may freeze, and even burst.

Having good insulation and keeping your heating on at a low level all the time should help to avoid either of these problem, but if you’re unlucky and your pipes freeze, this is what we suggest you do.

  1. Locate the stop valve and turn it off immediately.
  2. The simplest next step would be to call a plumber, but if you’d like to tackle it yourself, then read on…
  3. Check for leaking joints or bursts in the pipes.
  4. Very gently, heat any frozen sections with a hairdryer or heated cloth around the pipe. Remember that electricity and water don’t mix, so always hold the hairdryer above the pipe.

If in any doubt at all, call a reputable plumber!

Frozen pipes can lead to burst pipes, as water expands when it freezes. It isn’t the radial expansion of the ice against the wall of the pipe that causes the problem, but the build-up of pressure between the ice blockage and the closed tap can lead to pipe failure.

If a pipe bursts in your home the easiest thing to do is call a plumber, but before you do that you need to locate the stop valve and turn it off immediately.

If you’d like to tackle the job yourself, here are our suggestions:

  1. Locate the stop valve and turn it off immediately.
  2. Switch off your immersion heater and your central heating boiler.
  3. Turn on all hot and cold taps and allow to drain. This will help minimise the damage.
  4. Allow solid fuel fires to die out naturally.
  5. Switching off your electricity at the mains is a good precautionary measure if there’s any chance that water could come into contract with electrical wiring.
  6. As soon as possible, alert your neighbours so they can take any steps to safeguard their own homes.
  7. You can make a temporary repair to a burst pipe by binding it tightly with a cloth and/or tape, but this must be replaced by a permanent repair from a registered plumber as soon as possible.
  8. Re-fill your hot water system before you switch on your immersion heater or re-light your boiler.

Remember, adequate insulation is a good step towards minimising the risk of either of these problems, which can have devastating consequences.

Sometimes on older properties it is very difficult to ensure all pipes and drains are insulated against frost. In such an old property it may be worth considering an interior upgrade – even renovation with new protected pipework in modern materials installed to stay warm and run free. We can deal with upgrades and renovations, including the re-plumbing, as well as any remodelling of the interior space, e.g. with partitioning, new stairs, electrics, plastering and finishing. Call us for a consultation.

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Welcome to our blog

01/10/2013

Welcome to our new blog where we propose to discuss the many aspects of plastering, drylining and building in both the residential and commercial sectors of our industry. We look forward to showing information on domestic conversations, extensions and new builds, as well as renovation of care homes and offices.

For your convenience we have provided a tag cloud in the right hand column which should bring up related posts as we add them to the site.

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