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Saving money on your energy bills

Posted by admin
December 21st, 2018

Saving money on your energy bills

Utility Bill

Over the past few weeks the UK has endured some very cold weather including strong winds and several centimetres of snow. The first thing people do when we get this type of weather is turn on the heating and turn it up, but could you be doing things to stop the cold draughts and heat loss from your home?

If you lose heat from your house you are literally burning money, badly fitting doors and windows are often a major contributory factor to heat loss as well as badly insulated walls and loft spaces. So what can be done?

By spending a little bit of time and money you can reduce your electricity, gas or water utility bills. Many things you can do yourself if your are a keen DIYer or Handyman.

Doors and windows

Draughts from around doors and windows not only let cold in but can allow heat to escape, you can fit a self-adhesive rubber or foam seal around the window or door to shut onto to reduce draughts, fitting brush draught excluders on the bottom of a door will reduce the cold from coming under the door. Even fitting a simple key hole cover over a door lock will reduce heat loss.
door and window

Ideally good fitting double glazed windows is the best option but these can be expensive to have fitted, but if you have single glazed windows you can still do more, such as fitting thick lined curtains and pulling them across mid afternoon as it gets dark and the temperature starts to drop. You could also fit secondary glazing throughout the winter months and remove it during the warmer summer months.

If you have a letterbox on your door consider fitting a draught proof flap on both sides, alternatively you can add a brush letterbox cover inside to reduce draughts and heat loss.

You can also buy, or make a draught excluder for the bottom of the door, these are often ‘sausage dogs’ if you buy them but can easily be made from and old pillow case and filled with old rags, whatever they are made from or the style they can reduce heat loss from the bottom of the door.

Lofts and Loft hatches

Heat rises so ensuring the loft space has enough insulation, current recommendations for mineral wool insulation is 270mm but other types of insulation may need more or less, check with the manufacturer. Also don’t forget flat roofs, they also need to be insulated.

Having a well fitted insulated and draught proofed loft hatch also can not be overlooked, no point in insulating the loft space then not doing the loft hatch. Attach insulation on the inside and fit a rubber seal for the hatch to shut onto, just like any other door.

Pipes and pipework

You can buy pipe lagging very cheaply and is easy to fit, it is often made from foam and can be fitted over the pipes, both hot and cold. You can also buy felt insulation but is harder to fit over installed pipework. If you buy the foam type just ensure you but the correct bore size for the size of copper pipe, normally either 15mm or 22mm.

Often an overlooked area is the outside, if you have pipes going outside, make sure the gaps around them are filled in, this includes plastic pipes such as waste pipes as well as copper pipes. If you have copper pies outside, lag these to stop them from freezing.

Radiators

Radiator

If you have radiators, make sure you bleed the air out of them, to tell if they need doing feel the top, middle and bottom, if the top is colder it is more than likely filled with air and need bleeding. This is a simple job and all you need is a bleed key, then open the bleed valve on the radiator a small amount until water comes out, then do the bleed valve up tight again.

If you have cold areas in your radiator you are not using the radiator efficiently and if you turn the heating up to compensate for the cold area on the radiator you are using more energy to heat the bottom of the radiator, bleed them and turn the heating down a bit.

Hot water tanks

Your hot water cylinder is where you store your hot water, if this isn’t insulated properly and you lose heat from it you will need to keep re-heating the water, so using more energy. The insulation should be at least 75mm thick, if it isn’t you can buy a hot water cylinder jacket to wrap around it.

Walls

Cavity and solid wall

If your walls are not insulated but you have a cavity between the inner and outer walls it is worth insulating them, this will reduce the heat loss from your walls. If you are unsure if you have a cavity in you wall or if you are unsure if your walls have cavity wall insulation, if you can see your bricks, look at the pattern if it is regular you will more than likely have a cavity, if the bricks have alternate, that is if you can see a full length brick, then the end of a brick you may not have a cavity but a solid wall, check with a cavity wall insulation firm in your area.

If your house was built before or up to the 1920’s it is most likely to have solid walls, after this time it should have a cavity and any house built from the 1990’s will most likely have a cavity wall with cavity wall insulation.

As for the inside of the walls, you can line them with a thermal liner, this only really needs to be done on the exterior walls as it is fairly expensive, but can be done on all of the walls. By having a thermal liner it will help even more with the heat loss through your walls.

Solar Panels

If you wish to go a step further, you can install solar panels on your roof to help with your electricity bills, and even reduce your bills by feeding the grid with your unused electricity. Although initially expensive to install it is a long term investment.

Finally

Please remember that houses need to be ventilated to stop mould growth, wet and dry rot and to keep a healthy environment inside the house so please do not block any air bricks, window trickle vents or air vents such as those near a boiler.

With many of the ways to save money on your energy bills mentioned above, you may be able to get Government grants, financial support and even earn money such as if you install solar panels, so have a look around to see what you can get help with.

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Should I use lining paper before wallpapering

Posted by admin
July 9th, 2013

Do I need to hang lining paper before I put up wallpaper

Is it necessary to put up lining paper prior to wallpapering? in most cases the answer would be no. If your walls are old and have been filled many times or there are lots of imperfections then you may consider lining the walls before wallpapering. Putting lining paper up before wallpapering doesn’t mean you don’t have prepare the walls first, because you do. Preparation is always the most important part of decorating.

Another reason for lining the walls prior to wallpapering would be if the wallpaper is thin, or if it is a foil paper and you need a good sound surface to wallpaper onto. Some manufacturers say on their wallpaper, “We recommend you line the walls first”, in which case it is best to take their advice.

You may also have different finishes on a wall such as gloss where shelves used to be or maybe different strong dark colours that may show through, in this case you could simply use matt emulsion to obliterate the colour and have the same finish over the entire room, or you may decide to use lining paper.

Lining paper shouldn’t be required for heavy textured papers, Anaglypta wallpapers, of woodchip as these are designed to hide imperfections on walls. If you line the walls unnecessarily you are just wasting your time and money.

What grade of lining paper

In most cases 1200 to 1400 gauge lining paper will be sufficient to apply to the wall before wallpapering. However if your walls are in a really bad condition you could use a 2000 gauge lining paper. You can also buy specialist papers such as thermal liners, sound proofing liners and damp proof liners, but typically standard lining paper will suffice.

How do I measure for lining or wallpaper

Before you buy lining paper or order wallpaper you need to know how much to buy. I have written an article on how to measure a room for wallpaper that explains how you need to do it. I have also written a wallpaper calculator so you can work out how many rolls of wallpaper you need to buy.

Things you should know about lining paper

Before you rush out and buy lining paper and hang it there are a few things you should know first, lining paper can shrink when it dries, this isn’t too much of a problem if you are wallpapering over it as long as the gaps are small.

You may also consider hanging the lining paper horizontally, or cross lining as it’s known. This will prevent any joints of the wallpaper laying on top of the lining paper which may lift the lining paper when it dries.

If you use lining paper before you wallpaper, ensure it is well stuck , you don’t want the lining paper lifting once your expensive wallpaper is on the top of it, ensure you soak the lining paper well enough, so it is supple before hanging, ensure plenty of good quality paste is used. Once the lining paper is hung and dry you can go over it with paste to help seal the lining paper and give the wallpaper a little bit of extra stick when you hang it.

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