Friday, 1 May 2015

I don't have a south facing roof, can I still have solar?


Yes. You can certainly still benefit from installing panels on a non South-facing roof. What's more, in some circumstances, having an East/West facing property may also be more beneficial.

The property to the right has panels mounted on an East facing roof. The sun will rise in the East, over the property and set in the West - meaning that the shadow of the Chimney won't fall across the panels and cause a loss in generation.

The size of this system is modest, but the homeowners will still be generating their own electricity, that is free to use, and they'll be paid for doing so by the government Feed-in-Tariff (FiT).



As the solar panel industry continues to grow, so do the creative solutions to oddly-shaped roofs and those with less than ideal orientation. Solar installers will have different suggestions, so it's worth comparing them to one other.

Ultimately though, whilst having a large South-facing roof may be ideal, other roofs are almost always able to accommodate solar panels in some way and receive FiT payments, cut energy bills and reduce the home's carbon footprint.


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Top 3 boilers in the UK

In Britain we are facing harsher climates every year, and our boilers are our last line of defence when facing freezing temperatures.

However, they do have a slight tendency to break down when we need them most, and replacing boilers are tricky business. There are many boilers out there all with their own unique benefits, so how do we know which one is best for our personal needs? Here's a breakdown of the top 3 types of boilers available in the UK.

Condensing Boilers

Condensing boilers are by far the most common boilers in domestic households. The main attraction to them being far more efficient than the old mains gas boilers by being able to retain 90% of the heat it produces. 

Usually containing the hot and cold water tank in the same unit is also what makes this boiler appealing as there is always going to be a steady supply of hot water coming out of the tap. The only downside is that because it's a smaller unit the maximum pressure isn't all too powerful.

Photo Credit: Adem Djemil

Oil Boilers

Oil boilers are not as popular, only being in an estimated 4 million UK households. This is mainly down to their inefficiency costing an average UK homeowner up to two hundred more a year than a condensing boiler. Another downside is the regular maintenance of the system can be costly. Thereby making them more of a liability when it comes to the harsher seasons.

Although they can be very effective for larger farm houses. Being very popular in the more countryside areas.


Biomass Boilers

Photo Credit
Biomass boilers/wood pellet boilers have grown in popularity in recent years. This mainly down to its outstanding benefits over the other two systems.

Being cheaper to run than the other two, costing you roughly £600p/a is very attractive to super scrimpers of the UK not to mention its highly energy efficient so you won't be throwing your cash out the window when you turn it on!

Naturally there are some downsides to the system. You have to manually clean it, but you can always buy self a cleaning one for a bit more. And the estimates are around a staggering £7,000-£13,000 for a sustainable biomass boiler which might cause you to shy away, but there's still another upside that you have to consider.

The government RHI payments for biomass boilers are definitely a deal breaker. On an average biomass boiler you will get 12.2p/kWh, and the amount you will receive depends on the heat demand on your EPC. A typical property with a heat demand of about 20,000 kWh will receive more than £2,400 a year; or £17,500 over a 7 year period. That’s a lot of money and will cover the cost of the installation well before the boiler's life ends.
If you would like a free no obligation quote for a biomass boiler you can always go through our family of quoter websites. We can give you quotes from the top three installers in your area. Catch onto the RHI scheme now before it's too late! http://www.biomassquoter.co.uk/

Want a different boiler? We have a quoter website for that too! Click here and go through our system.

I bid you adieu my Dear Sirs and Madams!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Can Solar Energy be converted into Liquid Fuel?


Researchers at Harvard University have discovered a way to convert solar energy into liquid fuel. At the moment solar energy can be converted into hydrogen by photovoltaic cells, but hydrogen in the energy race has yet to make some headway, being dominated by fossil fuels.

However this breakthrough is promising and could potentially be the bridge from our current energy crisis to a more sustainable resource.

How have they done it?


By splitting solar energy into water, hydrogen and oxygen there are then able to convert the hydrogen, plus carbon dioxide into a liquid isopropanol by using a bacterium. (original source)




The researches hope this can open up solar energy to more takers, particularly in the developing world so it can become a more accessible resource locally, and eventually start to compete with fossil fuels.

Although, you could just make the jump now! Invest in solar now and earn up to £750 with the government RHI while cushioning yourself from crippling energy bills. You can get free no-obligation quotes from the best installers in your area on our quoter websites herehttp://www.solarpanelquoter.co.uk/?s_eng=blog

I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The Future Home Is Coming Along Nicely

Smart home automation has been gathering real speed the past few years. Although this automated service has been around for a lot longer than most people think, it is only in the last couple of years where products have been creeping into the commercial consumer bullpit. With the help of newspapers, magazines, online blogs and on occasion physical stock in electrical stores, somewhat of a smart home buzz has been created. 

There is a handful of leading names within the smart home automation market. These pioneers are battling it out to try to provide all walks of life with accessible products for the home. Even the most stout of traditionalists are rearing their heads, maybe not with the view to buy but certainly pondering with intrigue. And why not, the opportunity to control your most important household appliances via a smartphone app or remote control is an attractive proposal. 




Although developers will tell us that we are only at the beginning of the smart home revolution the choice to buy such intelligent accessories is still an excitable feat. As it stands anyone can integrate smart systems into their home, all you need is a bit of money and the willingness to uphaul your existing components. 

So What Can You Control?


Lighting - 

          
Smart home lighting products enable the user further control over their lighting. From the comfort of the sofa or the warmness of the bed, you can switch on, switch off or dim your lighting using your smartphone app or remote control. This action will have a direct and instant effect there and then or alternatively can be carefully scheduled for future routines. Multiple circuits or ‘scenes’ can be controlled with just a one button press, with the additional option to personalise and automate whenever necessary. It works just like you’d use any ordinary switch or socket, many come with LED indicators displaying whether the system is turned on or not. 




Heating - 


Smart home heating products are similar to lighting. These devices allow users to activate, turn up or reduce the heat supplied via household heating systems. This is a particularly desirable feature for winter periods, giving owners the opportunity to switch on their heating before they get home from work or the school run. Many smart home apps allow you to delegate what time, what area and what heat you’d like to submit on a daily or weekly basis. Once your schedule is all setup you can go along with your daily business knowing your heating will automatically dance to your preplanned tune. 

Ventilation - 

Working on the same premise as heating but for the summer months. Smart home ventilation will see air conditioning and fan systems activate whenever you want. You can schedule the times and dates of when you want your most important cooling systems to start up as well as customising the airflow speed to increase or reduce the strength of air power emitted. 

Already Developed / In The Pipeline

  • Beds - Will allow you to adjust the firmness or softness of your mattress, as well as monitor your breathing, heart rate and movement whilst you sleep.
  • Humidity Detectors - These will sense irregular humidity levels in the atmosphere and combat accumulating mould by interacting with already installed ventilation fans and humidifiers.
  • Water Leakage Alerts -  Afraid you are losing precious water without realising? These devices can be applied to locations where water is ever present such as baths, sinks and toilets. When any rogue drops fall a message will be sent to a central hub declaring that there’s a potential leak.
  • Cooking - Forgot to turn the slow cooker on? Want to turn up the heat but can’t be bothered to walk to the kitchen again? Cooking appliances are already able to and will no doubt continue to allow their cooks prepare for dinner or edit oven temperatures by using smartphone apps or remote controls.
  • Energy Monitors - These are for those who regard keeping track of their energy consumption an important assessment. They share the ability to monitor, collect and express the amount of energy you are using straight to your smartphone. 


The Distant Future?

Some of the advancements predicted in the future of smart home technology is nothing short of unfathomable. It’s literally like something out of a 2060 James Bond movie. On the grand scale there is already a developing scheme with film solar technology, this has the foresight for future homes to apply every window with film solar technology; transforming the building into a standalone power generator. 

Power grids have also been muttered, giving homes on the grids the ability to supply energy throughout buildings which are yet to make the transition. All of these potential future changes will see the reliance on foreign energy sources decreasing as energy independence enters a new age. 


Home entertainment will become an overwhelming mix of augmented, virtual and mediated reality, with television and film delivering interactive services far beyond our existing imagination. Although the technology will transform it doesn’t mean the greed and selfishness of human nature will change with it, we will still have to be vigilant for prying eyes looking steal your latest hologram device. So with this comes reassuring home security products, move over building access voice recognition because an extremely clever face recognition will be in the offing. This will host software which can instantly detect whether the person at the door is a friend or a foe. If they are a foe the system will automatically communicate with the police and the deployment of officers will be ensue.
Whether or not these potential property improvements will enter our homes and flourish is currently unknown. However there is no reason why we can’t fantasise over some of these cutting edge ideas. What we have now is just the tip of the iceberg, and with experts claiming that by 2020 most modern homes will have at least one smart home product running inside, the subject of smart home automation is sure to sustain its curious appeal.


Tom Bray currently works for a national electrical wholesalers - Direct Trade Supplies - and has been writing content for magazines and websites for the past five years.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Home Improvement predictions for 2015

Bigger Space

As I mentioned in my previous post, people are starting to expand their home rather than upsizing. Considering the uncertain economic climate it does appear that increasing the size of your home is the smarter route to take e.g. garage conversions. 

Not to mention all the other benefits that come with having an extension built, but it also can significantly increase the value of your home.
Photo Credit: Steve Bennett

Automated Controls

Reminded by a previous post last year in April I mentioned that 'Smart Homes' were starting to pick up a trend in 2014, and it has carried on into 2015! Slowly building up in popularity, people are finding that having thermostat controls, lighting etc automated a big help.

Photo Credit: Charles Hudson
We all need 'One less job to do' around the house and things like being able to preheat your oven via your smart phone is just what we need! If you haven't already started this then you need to get on it now, trust me, it saves a great deal of stress.

Bi-Fold Doors

Photo Credit: North Devon Joinery
Steadily increasing in popularity, bi-fold doors are on the right track to be the hottest trend of 2015! Bi-fold doors create a smooth transition between rooms or outdoor spaces for a light airy atmosphere which makes them perfect for an ever expanding household.

Renewable Technology

I know I go on about renewable technology a lot here, but its growth over the recent years is incredible! For example by the end of 2015 Germany expect to have 80% of its energy coming from renewable technology. It's the next quantum leap in the way we produce energy either it be via big commercial farms or domestically on your roof essentially paying for your own electricity bill, come on, that's pretty cool in itself! 

Right now is the best time to cash in on the RHI scheme because the government our lowering it every year. The average lifetime of a Solar PV system is 20 years with a predicted savings over £17,000 in that time scale. Think about what you could do with that money e.g. Worrying about not being able to pay for your newborn's Uni fees already?! £17,000 could cover the costs in time for Baby (Apologies for shamefully tugging at the heart strings). 

However it's not just Solar you can invest in, there's Heat Pumps and Biomass too that pay more on the RHI than Solar does!

Conservatories

Conservatories look set to regain their popularity in 2015. After the little fad in the early 2000's conservatories haven't really gained that phenomenal status since, until now.  We've noticed a dramatic increase in homeowners wanted quotes for conservatories because they want the extra space!

With materials to suit any home they are the perfect way to  blur the boundaries between the inside and outside of your home.

I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

In need of extra space in your home?

Struggled to pack your large family into one room over Christmas? Then you're not the only one! It's not an uncommon sight, cramming 14 people round a table, banging elbows, banishing your Nan to eat in the corner, sitting on a stool, for most of us this is what Christmas day is like. There's simply not enough room, with nieces and nephews springing up everywhere, where do you put them?! People seem to be finding a solution though, garage conversions.

Garage Conversions

Photo Credit: Jon Large
After the Christmas period we've noticed a surge in demand for garage conversions. For some it is an unused space, but what many are realising it has the opportunity to provide an alternate living/dining area for when the 'family' comes round. If you're undecided about whether or not you should fork out for one, here are some reasons For and Against.

For:

Extra Living Space

"If only I had one more room!" Well you can, garage conversions, but what would you turn it into? Think of the possibilities!

  • Extra living/dining space
  • Mancave (we all need one)
  • Somewhere to store your shrine to Freddie Mercury, (just me?) 
  • Your own bar
  • Play area for the kids (probably not with the bar)
  • Another bedroom
  • Study
  • Office
  • Home Gym
  • Home Cinema/Games room


If you have a growing family you may feel the pressure of having to move to a larger, new house. By utilising your garage you eliminate the problem and the stress of having to move home. Not to mention the significant amount of money you will save converting your garage.

Increase the Value of Your Home

By converting your garage, you could actually add extra value to your home – the value of your conversion will rise in tandem with the price of your home. Obviously, in very uncertain financial times, it's vital to add value to your home wherever possible. Also, if your garage is attached to your house, you can expect to 'brighten up' your home, using glazed doors for access and letting more light into the adjoining room.

To simply put it, if your garage is a 100sq.ft and local prices are £100 per square feet, then converting your garage for extra living space adds an extra £10,000 on your property value. The price for a garage conversion varies from company to company, but you can get free quotes from our quoter website www.garageconversionquoter.co.uk from real garage conversion companies in your area. 


Against:

Getting Past the Red Tape

Photo Credit: McBeth
It is very important to check if planning permission is required before you commence with any conversion work on your garage. If you fail to do this, and find out at a later date that planning permission was required – you may be required by law to reverse any work that you have already completed. This must be done at your own cost so it can obviously be a very expensive and time-consuming task. Your local authority should be able to answer any questions that you have about planning permission in relation to your conversion, however, only around 10% of all garage conversions will require local authority planning permission. 

At the End of the Day...

At the end of the day you're increasing your property's value, and providing an extra living area to accommodate your growing/larger family. If you're interested it's definitely worth your time looking into yourself. Use our garage conversion quoter websites to get free quotes from the top three companies in your area based on past customer feedback. Click here to go to our website. 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Regularly Checking Your Solar PV Can Improve its Efficiency

Verification of system performance


Now we all know that before the installation of solar PV we take a long hard look at the costs involved and the potential return on investment provided by lower energy bills or RHI. So of course you have verify that the performance of the system matches the energy output from the panels. If you start to see a gradual decline, in many cases simple electrical faults or wiring failures can cause a serious inefficiency in the ability of the panel to produce power. Although proper metering will give an indication of system performance, periodic electrical testing is vital to verify ongoing functional performance over extended periods.

Environmental degradation

PV systems by their very nature are exposed to the elements. Damage or corrosion to cabling and connectors caused by moisture ingress can result in degradation in performance or increased risk of fire. Regular electrical testing will enable system performance to be monitored and any necessary repairs or remedial actions to be taken.

Effective grounding

Photo Credit: Oregon Department of Transportation

If you are not already aware, solar panels and their racking systems must be grounded to mitigate potential electric shocks and fire hazards. In some cases, the grounding system can degrade during its later life. This could mean that anyone who comes into contact with a metal piece of the system may receive a shock. While the likelihood of shock is low, should one occur, the chance of substantial injury is great because of the high voltage arrays, and the added danger of falling from roof-mounted systems. So basically, "No, don't touch, no, hot!"

Avoiding fire risks

Due to the exponential growth of rooftop solar installation recently hitting over 500,000 UK homes, there has been an increase in a number of reported incidents of fires. Sadly Household fires started by electrical faults in rooftop solar PV systems have been reported in the UK, but have no fear! Periodic testing of the electrical cabling and components connected to the panels will ensure that you have a safe operation of the system.

Surface contamination

PV modules, like anything over time begin to accumulate dirt and grime. This can reduce the operational efficiency and system performance. Periodically cleaning the panels, much like a window can help prevent this, there are even solar panel cleaning companies that will do it for you! 

Damage to wiring

The most obvious example of bad wiring is when wires hang below the panels and touch the roof or underlying vegetation. Eventually the wire coating will wear or be damaged by rodents and potentially expose the copper wires, presenting a shock hazard. Any deterioration of cable connections and wiring can be identified by applying regular electrical testing to identify potential faults.
Photo Credit: Michael Daines

Warranty fulfilment

Periodic electrical testing of solar PV systems to identify and confirm continued safe operation and maximum energy output performance can be required as part of product warranties and PV system component guarantees.

I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Energy prices on the rise and how to combat it

Once again the energy prices are rising dramatically. Over the past 3 years alone they have risen on average 37% according to the Guardian which means that they are rising up to 8 times the rate of average earnings!

Not to mention 'Which?' warning the treasury that the cost of building power stations, replacing grids and erecting wind farms will add £640 a year to household bills.


All information  sourced from Uswitch website

According to the graph, energy prices have gone up by a whopping 172% in the past the decade alone! Although you could argue that 'all things are more expensive these days' but compared to other sectors like alcohol, water and petrol, energy prices dwarf them all!

Why are they going up?

I don't have to tell you that there are many contributing factors that cause this rise in energy bills, but here are some of the main reasons:


Surely this a sign that we need to transition from fossil fuels to more conservative types of energy? It's a dead end resource and lets face it, we want to be around for a long time, we're humans it's what we do! 

Scientists like James Hansen are crying out warning us that soon that we will reach the point of no return. Why don't they report this properly on mainstream media? The security of our future is being decided now, it is effecting our lives right now, energy bills on the rise, countries facing an unusual amount of environmental disasters. Surely we should be all running around trying to fix this mess?!

The benefits of becoming more independent

Not only will you be cushioning yourself from the dramatically rising energy prices, but you will also be able to make a profit from these renewable energies with the RHI scheme (Read more about RHI here).  Domestic Solar alone can give you returns of up to £17,000 over a 20 year period. What's also important to consider is over the past 10 years how much energy prices have risen, just imagine it over another 20 years! 

The brilliant thing is this means we can weaken some of the almost omnipotent corporations that are causing this environmental slaughter all in the name of making more money, madness. How can one be so self obsessed that they value money over than human life? If we the common man/woman starts to produce their electricity, decrease their dependancy we will see change.

“A single, ordinary person still can make a difference – and single, ordinary people are doing precisely that every day.” - Chris Bohjalian
The starfish story is what comes to mind here, and it's true if the majority of us start to have solar panels on our roofs the solar industry will boom. If it does then we will continue to see more and more advancements in the technology, people getting serious about renewable energy and after that only then will we see the benefits it will have on our Earth's climate, energy prices dropping, calm.

Break away from the social norm, decrease your expensive dependency by using renewable energy solutions like solar panels, biomass, Air/Ground source heat pumps. Take matters into your own hands, because THEY won't help you when it comes down to it.

I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Is Solar Power Finally Being Accepted?

The Solar cell has come an extremely long way since it was first being observed in the 1800's. Even a decade ago solar power was quite a laughable excuse as an alternate energy resource.

Nevertheless there is no doubt that at that time solar just wasn't there yet, like young a adolescent discovering themselves, it has flourished in the past few years because of excellent scientists believing it still has something to prove.

In the last year alone we have seen radical changes in the use of solar panels, it's bleeding into our everyday lives being used in our phones, cars, even proving as a sensible investment for domestic PV with returns up to £17,000. The public seem to be backing solar because we're venturing into virtually new ground almost everyday for example, floating solar power:


Britain's first floater



Photo sourced from BBC
Pioneered in India, Britain's first ever floating solar panel project  just been built in Berkshire. The 800-panel green energy project was installed earlier this month on a reservoir at Sheeplands Farm, and the scheme its developer claims will act as a blueprint for the technology to be installed at hundreds of sites across the country. And that's not even the most radical!


The 200kw beast was installed at a costly sum of £250,000, but will break even in 6 years and make a "minimum of profit" of £620,000 over it's life-span. Its owner, Mark Bennett, says that floating panels are even more lucrative than solar farms on fields because no earnings from valuable agricultural land have to be sacrificed to make space for them which means to all you moaners saying 'It ruins the countryside' I would like to quote Nelson Muntz "Har, Har!"

The eTree
A new renewable energy company has sprouted this week with a quite 'unique' idea. A tree, but not in the conventional sense, this one has solar panels instead of leaves.. I know, I know, it sounds silly, but you haven't even heard the best bit yet!

It's designed to be a multi-purpose rest stop fully equipped with free WiFi, water fountains, LED lights and USB charging station (iPhone users rejoice).

What now?

I think solar power still has a lot more to prove and the more people that accept it, the bigger it will grow. If you keep an eye out you'll start to notice the vast amount of people talking about it, especially businesses and universities. The only people denouncing it as a dead end renewable are the very same people that have strong ties to the big oil and coal companies. 

The best thing any homeowner can do is get in on the action! We're on the precipice of a solar BOOM and you should be ready to ride the solar waves, dude. 

I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Friday, 17 October 2014

That sludge creeping in your central heating

Photo Credit
A common problem that occurs in your central heating is, 'sludge'. It's mainly caused by the dust and rust  build up that accumulates over time when the heating system is neglected. This can lead to numerous amount of problems for you and can affect your central heating's output due to the loss of circulation.
Photo Credit: Simon James

How to diagnose if you have sludge

There are a few tell tale signs of sludgy water, but the main one being the colour, when bleeding the air vents to a radiator and finding that when the tissue has a dirty colour of water, then you have what may be the start of sludge in your central heating. 

If this goes untreated it will mean your electricity bill running up because of the extended amount of time it takes to heat your home. This will result in having to call an emergency plumber because the sludge is heavier than water and there is more friction in sludge, than there is in water.

How much does it cost to get it treated?

An average cost for a power flush would work out at £500 and it will take up to 8 hours to get rid of, but ultimately this will depend on your heating's size. It's also worth noting that it's always best to power flush your central heating when having a new boiler fitted because if you let it build up it will cost you more in the long run.

As long as you use a chemical regularly every 5 years there won't be a need for a power flush.

You can always get free no-obligation quotes for boiling repairs at Heating Quoter as well! Click here

I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

3 ways to use your uni-bound child’s room

It’s hard to describe the different emotions you go through as one of your children packs up and leaves for university.You’ll feel a mixture of pride, sadness and an inevitable sense of worry as they fly the nest for the first time. 
Photo Credit: Petras Gagilas
While you may like the idea of keeping a shrine to your offspring, or at least keeping their bedroom in its current state for when they visit between semesters, there comes a point when you simply have to move on. Instead of using the room to store your vacuum cleaner and other domestic appliances in the short term, you can grab hold of this opportunity and do so much more with this space. Here are three ideas for you to consider.

Turn it into a study


Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee
You may have noticed that new laws have been introduced in the UK that give employees more scope to request flexible working arrangements from their boss.
According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 4.2 million home workers across the country as of March 2014 - the equivalent of 13.9 per cent of the nation’s overall workforce. This figure is expected to rise sharply in the coming years.
With this in mind, maybe you’d benefit from turning your university-bound son or daughter’s room into an office? It’s far better to have a professional environment to work in, rather than trying to cram your laptop and paperwork on to your dining room table.

Decorate the room and rent it out

It’s understandable that you’ll be wary about having strangers in your house, who wouldn’t be? However, more and more Britons are renovating their spare rooms in order to make a bit of extra pocket money.
This is a particularly shrewd move if you happen to live in the vicinity of high-profile local attractions. For example, there were plenty of stories doing the rounds of London-based homeowners renting out their spare rooms to sports fans during the 2012 Olympic Games.
Of course, with paying customers coming through your door, you’ll need to ensure high standards are maintained, which might mean you need to check the quality of insulation, heating systems and the general decoration of your spare room before you take anybody’s money.

Create your own gym


Photo Credit: C.C. Chapman
The 2013 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report showed that 12.6 per cent of the population are registered members of a gym or health club.
We all know that gym memberships can be expensive, so why fork out £30 or £40 every month when you can use your child’s room to create your very own gym? Granted, the cost of buying a treadmill and weights benches will be high at first, but think of the long-term financial savings.
If you are planning to go down this route and your spare room is on the first (or second if you’re lucky) floor of your property, you must ensure your floor is strong enough to hold the weight of your new equipment. The last thing you want is a gaping hole in the ceiling below.

Think of the value

Whether you choose one of these three options, or something completely different, it’s always worth considering any extra value that your plans will add to your property should you decide to sell further down the line.
A house that boasts a specially kitted out study with all of the mod cons will appeal to a buyer far more than a neglected old room that still has a poster of Cristiano Ronaldo hanging on the wall.

Bio: This blog post was written by Rachel Hurley, who is the brand development manager at Appliance Spares Warehouse

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Heating SOS – Diagnose a heating system fault


Your boiler plays a vital role in making your home a comfortable place to live. By providing hot water and central heating, your boiler is integral to the running of your home, yet it is one of the easiest appliances to take for granted. That is, until something goes wrong. Common boiler issues can be easy to diagnose and a small amount of knowledge on the subject could save you from heating SOS.

Diagnosing Boiler Noise

If your boiler emits a clunking sound (known as kettling) this could be due to a build up of scale in the heat exchanger. This scale is caused by hardness salts within the water which precipitate on the exchanger surface and act as an insulator, creating ‘hot spots’. The clunking sound occurs when these ‘hot spots’ produce steam bubbles.
When left untreated the scale will lower your boiler’s efficiency, just 0.8mm of scale can cause up to 8% heat loss and increase fuel consumption by 2%. In extreme cases a build up of scale could cause the exchanger to overheat and rupture.
During the winter months, boiler lockout on a condensing boiler could indicate that the condensate pipe, which transports condensed water vapour away from the boiler, is frozen. This is assuming the pipe terminates outside of the house. It is best to ask a qualified engineer to fix this issue for you. However, if the pipe is at ground level, and you know what you are doing, you can thaw this yourself using heat wraps or a hot water bottle.
A whistling noise from within your boiler could be caused by kettling or trapped air within your heating system. If the problem is down to trapped air, this can be resolved easily by a boiler engineer who will release the air. They will then be able to investigate how the air got drawn into the system, such as through a defective valve or a pressure leak, and make any necessary repairs.

Diagnosing a Boiler Leak

A boiler leak could be the result of a number of different issues which can usually be diagnosed by identifying the source of the leak, however if a gas boiler is leaking, you should not attempt to repair it yourself; gas boiler repairs should only ever be conducted by Gas Safe Registered engineers.
Common boiler leak issues include:
  1. Temperature Valve – If the temperature valve is leaking it could be a sign that your boiler temperature is too high. It may be that the temperature probe, which ensures accurate temperature control of the hot water, is faulty and needs to be replaced.


  1. Pressure relief valve – A leaking pressure relief valve is a sign that either the boiler pressure is too high (check expansion vessel) or the valve may have sediment preventing it from closing up. This high pressure could also be caused by a build up of limescale or debris.


  1. Corrosion – The leak could be as a result of corrosion, which has resulted in metal wastage and allowed water to escape. You may be able to pinpoint a single corroded component which needs replacing, however, corrosion could be taking place across the whole of heating system and should be checked.

Diagnosing Loss of Boiler Pressure

Constant water pressure is essential for efficient boiler operation, so pressure loss causes the boiler to stop functioning. Most boilers have a pressure dial which will show you whether the pressure is too low; if this is the case it may be an issue which is easy to fix yourself.
It is possible that the system needs to be re-pressurised. The instructions on how to do this will be in the user manual and this is usually a relatively simple process involving re-pressurising the system by adding fresh water. If this does not resolve the problem or if you have any doubts, you should call out an engineer.
A leak may be causing the loss of pressure and if this is the case you may notice damp patches around the central heating fittings or on the ceiling. You can fix the leak yourself if you are confident in doing so but if not you are at risk of making the issue worse or putting yourself in danger. In this case it is always best to call out an engineer to carry out the repairs.
A faulty pressure relief valve could also be causing a drop in boiler pressure. When the valve lifts it releases the system pressure resulting in a low pressure lock out of the boiler. This fault could be caused by corrosion debris preventing the valve from closing properly, weakening with age or splitting, in this instance it is important that you replace the damaged valve.
Once you have diagnosed the issue with your boiler you can decide whether it is something that you can safely fix yourself, if in any doubt you should always call out an engineer. Keeping your boiler and pipe work clean will limit the number of boiler problems that you encounter and keep your boiler functioning efficiently for longer.
Author Bio
Sasha Davison is a digital content writer for Sentinel, an international provider of lifetime protection products and services for heating and hot water systems. Sentinel offer a full range of products supported by experts to achieve best practice protection for domestic and commercial systems.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Easy ways to add value to your home/property

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Selling your property can always be a struggle for some, but there are tips and tricks to increase appeal and value to your home so don't despair, even your home can be sold with these tips!

Decluttering

Removing your family photos is always a good start. Walking into a house that already looks like a home for someone puts off buyers, make them feel like it's their blank canvas. This also applies to your ornaments, declutter your personal belongings and you could be looking at an extra £948 to your property value! Also removing a lounge door, creating an open living space makes your property look like there is more room according to a survey done by estate agents from Big Yellow Self Storage. 
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Furthermore remove small electrical appliances e.g. Kettles, Microwaves, Toasters etc. This can add an extra £973 onto your property value! And don't forget to clean your home of pet smells and their little toys, again make it seem like it's more of their blank canvas.

Putting on a Show

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Impressing potential buyers is always a must when they visit your property, but did you know these fancy little tricks? Baking our own bread to offer to buyers is a great way to impress the buyers which in turn should help bump up the price and some cases can reach to up to £849 more on your property value according to Estate Agents' survey.

Another great way to add value to your property is to park an expensive car on your drive, according to Estate Agents from Big Yellow Self Storage this can add a whopping £2,500 to your property value! After all first impressions are everything.

 Investing In the Future

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What I mean by this is looking at long term improvements to your property which will benefit you now and later on when you want to sell it. Improving the home economically boosts the property's value dramatically. Wall Insulation for example with a energy certificate, Double-/Triple-Glazing can add another 10-15% onto your property's value!

Becoming more and more popular these days, Solar Panels will definitely be what future property buyers will be looking for. With things like the RHI and rising energy bills creating your own electricity is the step forward. Basically any sort of heat pump, biomass. It's all good because everyone wants to keep those energy bills down!
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Remember you're going to be saving money during the time you own the property and AFTER it's win win.

Click the words to learn more about solar panels, heat pumps, biomass, RHI, insulation and Double Glazing

Interested in increasing your property value and earning money from the RHI with renewable energy systems? Use our free quoter websites and get quotes from the best installers in your area click here and choose which home improvement you want!

I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

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