Cold Radiators Giving You a Chill?

Bolier repairDo the radiators in your home often not heat the room up enough?  Do you get the fear of calling out a tradesman to come and look and think expensive bills are on their way?  Fear not, let us help you.   We have put together a small list of questions, with answers of course, to help you out.

Heating systems work by drawing cool air through the radiator and up into the room and this circulates around the room, giving a warm feeling around the room.  This cycle will continue as long as radiators are working properly.  This is when you should check to see if the room is correctly heating up.

Inside the radiator the cycle of hot and cold circulation is happening all the time.  The hot water enters at one end, rises to the top of the radiator and as it cools drops down and goes out the other end.  Now that we have a basic understanding of how this works we can answer a few questions!

Q. Is there a cheaper method than wait and see?

A. Consult with your energy supplier as they may have services such as central heating cover that you could spread the cost over a period of time.

Q. Does your radiator heat up evenly all over, or are there cold patches?

A. It sounds like the heating system needs bled.  This means that there is air in the radiator and needs to be let out.

Q. Are all the radiators the same temperature or is this occurrence just in one?

A. If all the radiators are the same temperature adjust temperature on the boiler panel.  If it is just one radiator adjust the dial on the radiator valve.  This would be in an anticlockwise direction.

Q. The radiator feels hot but doesn’t heat the room?

A. Make sure there are no restrictions of air flow under and above the radiator, this causes a blockage and reduces the heat that is created around the room.

We hope that this small guide helps but if you are unsure please contact a qualified CORGI registered plumber to carry out any heavy duty work.

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Moving Home:Energy Tips

boiler maintenanceMoving home is a stressful time – absolutely no doubt about that.  There is organising the movers, moving all the utility bills across to the new home and lest we forget about the TV package!  So we thought that we would help and focus on one thing that we know one or two things about – energy, and making sure there isn’t a break in supply at your new home through a faulty boiler.

So to keep things nice and simple we thought we would devise a short checklist which would help and extract some of the pain of moving.  So let’s not hang about:

Check the new properties energy supplier: – When moving home always inform your current supplier and let them know where you are moving to and always include sets of readings as you exit the property so there is no confusion.  Your old supplier may offer you to come on supply at the new property also, so take some readings as you enter the property also. (If you do choose to go with your new supplier remember you will have to pay approximately 28 days worth of usage to energy provider at that property.)

Check the Boiler/Heating System: – Once you have organised a supplier check your boiler to make sure that it is functional, carry out this maintenance checklist:

»        Bleed your radiators – click here for assistance

»        Test the thermostat – does it turn heating off and on at correct times?

»        Check the boiler pressure – refer to the service manual for recommended pressure

»        LED Display – make sure the display is showing correct information

»        Boiler servicing – contact your energy company and check of they offer boiler services and maintenance, this could save you money in the long run

This extensive list should help you get started and hopefully take some of the pressure off when moving into your shiny new house!  If you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section!

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Why a buy to let remortgage could make you rich

The stars are aligning right for investors to set up a buy to let investment scheme. Rental demand is increasing in numerous parts of the UK, and industry figures are showing that this housing sector, called buy to let, is booming. However, before buyers jump in, it’s wise to consider a strategy on buy to let mortgaging. First, though, here are a few numbers that show that buy to let mortgage schemes are an ideal investment strategy.

As the housing market stands today, the prices of homes will likely stay flat throughout 2013. On the other hand, the average UK rentals have shot up by nearly 14 percent since 2009, according to Rightmove. This website, which tracks rentals, is predicting that rentals will rise another two percent in 2013.

This creates an opportunity for investors to take out buy to let mortgages on homes. Here is one encouraging number: The number of households that rent has increased to 36 percent from 31 percent in the past 10 years. This increase of rentals is demonstrated in a place like Westminster where four of every 10 homes are rentals.

At present, London is the hottest lettings market in the UK. Close to 50 percent of all housing is let. LSL Property Services released data that showed that rents in London jumped nearly a full percentage point last October to an average of £1,102. Studies show that investors in buy to let schemes earn an average seven percent annual yield on their properties. That number far exceeds interest rate payments from High Street savings accounts and building societies.

Structuring a buy to let mortgage scheme is an important matter to consider before taking the plunge.

Most banks, including Clydesdale Bank, will consider a person asking for a buy to let mortgage as a sophisticated investor. In all likelihood, that will move an investor into commercial lending. That will remove certain Financial Service Authority rules that protect home buyers who buy a home to live in.

For that reason, investors should consider a regulated buy to let mortgage. This is set up by an investor insisting that he intends to eventually occupy the dwelling and become an owner-occupier. Stating that the intent of the buy to let mortgage is for owner occupancy moves the mortgage to the protection of FSA rules.

The letting market today indicates that now is a good time to buy property with a buy to let mortgage. However, investors should structure the loan to take advantage of FSA rules.

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Adding Value to Your Home with a Personal Loan

People are very concerned with ensuring that their homes are valuable. When they attempt to sell them in the future, they do not want to be short on money. Additionally, they want to be able to set a high price for the house to ensure that they receive the most funds possible. What are the ways in which you can add value to your home with a personal loan?

Home maintenance
First of all, you can work on fixing some of the major issues in your house. For example, the basement floor might be unsightly, or the ceiling in a particular room could be falling apart. These are problems that people are not just going to ignore when they come to view your home, and a personal loan can give you enough money to accomplish this task.

In addition to these types of problems, you could also use the personal loan to upgrade the appliances. Whether you want to add a new washing machine and dryer to the laundry room or a brand new refrigerator, stove and oven to the kitchen, these appliances are sure to make an impression. People like to buy houses that do not necessitate having to replace the items in just a couple of short years.

Of course, you can also use the loan to make your house look prettier. Redoing the kitchen cabinets is one way to take your home from old-fashioned to thoroughly modern. You can also paint the exterior of the home, put on new shingles, buy windows that are energy efficient and so forth. For some real changes, you could look into having bookshelves built right into the walls or redoing the floors in the home.

Do not forget about the outside space when you’re looking for the possibilities of a personal loan! Simply putting a new fence up around the property is a major change that can help to attract buyers and improve the value of your home. To really make the outdoor space look extra special, you could build a little pond in the background or create a rock garden around the perimeter of the house. Whatever you choose to do, be sure that it adds both form and function to your home.

The value of a personal loan is really undeniable when it comes to the ways in which you can help to increase the value of your current living space. If you would like to know more about taking out a personal loan please visit the Clydesdale Bank site for a wealth of resource.s

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DIY Projects: A Safety Guide

safety_firstAccidents are commonplace in DIY.  Many companies believe that all accidents are avoidable but realistically, are they?  Each year the Department of Occupational Safety report the most common workplace violations and present the facts at the national Safety Council.  So we put together a list of the most common accidents so that you can heed them when undertaking DIY in the home.


In 2011 scaffolding caused a reported 9,093 accidents and workplace violations and the most common reasons for this was due to poor planking which gives out or lacks the support and gives out.  Other accidents were caused by employees slipping on the scaffolding or being struck by falling items.

Fall Protection

A lack of a guardrail or any other sort of protection sadly resulted in almost 7,000 workplace incidents in 2011.  Any time an employee has to work from a certain height precautions need to be taken and there are even regulations stipulating what care needs to be taken.  Regulations state that these need to be taken; in general industry it must be four feet, in maritime it is five and in construction it needs to be six feet.

Hazard Communications

Companies which make or come into contact with chemicals must evaluate the hazards of them.  6,378 accidents were cause because proper safety sheets weren’t correctly used.

Respiratory Defence

Employees who work in environments which are low in oxygen and there is lots if dusts and other vapours which can affect your breathing must be provided with respirators.  People who work in these environments may suffer in the long term from diseases such as cancer and lung problems.  Poor workplace conditions resulted in 3,900 incidents where people required treatment.


Ladders are still one of the most common problems for companies.  It was reported that 3000 people were injured at the hands of ladder violations in 2011.


Working with electric can be very dangerous especially when working with overhead lines, cable harnesses and circuits.  People that work outside with these powerful electric materials are actually harmed less than those who work in offices!  There was only 1,800 accidents compared to that of people in the office (2,556)

Industrial Trucks

Powered Industrial Trucks (PIT’s) cause lots of accidents each year.  There are a number of different accidents that occur using PIT’s where they are driven of loading docks accidentally or lifts falling between docks or even being struck by a truck.  In 2011 there was 2,995 PIT violations in 2011.

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Sustainable and Hygienic: Wall Cladding

Are you trying to figure out how to use hygienic wall cladding in your home or office? These days, one of the latest interior design trends comes from the surgical world. Far beyond the white walls of a hospital, this material is finding itself in a wide variety of creative commercial and residential places. To help you understand how hygienic wall cladding is being used, look at six uses for this surface.

Traditional surgical offices

One of the main battles in a hospital, dentist office or doctor’s surgery is against microbes. Hygienic wall cladding was originally created for use in these settings. It is impervious and this means that all single-cell organisms are unable to penetrate the wall. One of the ways that this principle is made stronger is by a welding together each of the pieces of wall cladding. In addition to using this on the walls, hygienic wall cladding is also commonly used on the ceiling.

Professional catering and baking

Are you a restaurant owner, baker or professional caterer? When it comes to getting a license or getting facilities graded, hygienic wall cladding creates the impression you want to convey. Not only is it easy to clean, but it will pass many surface tests with ease. In addition to using soap and water, you can also use a sprayer and cleaning solution.

A hospital favorite found in private homes

Hygienic wall cladding comes in a variety of colors, and this makes it easy to place in a kitchen or bathroom. However, one area of the home that is finding value in wall cladding is the nursery. Instead of worrying about children marking up the walls or creating a mess, their room is an easy to clean area of the home that is always hygienic for kids.

A hygienic solution for retail and office bathrooms

One of the biggest problems that offices have is creating a hygienic bathroom for employees and customers. When you finally remodel this area of your business, consider what hygienic wall cladding can do for you. Not only will it reduce the number of sick days among your staff, it will also prevent the collection of bad smells and stinky microbes that deter customers.

Creative surfaces for professional office logos

It seems like every business these days has a great looking decal on the walls. If you want a professional image on the wall in your front office or reception area, using wall cladding is a great way to create a background. Afterward, you can consult with the wall cladding installer about ordering a decal and adhering it to the wall.

Using wall cladding as sustainable insulation

The one of the final benefits of hygienic wall cladding that should not be overlooked is its ability to insulate a room. If you have a drafty room that you cannot seem to get cozy, wall cladding may be the solution. Because it is built to be hygienic, it is also impenetrable. You will find no drafts along the seams and this means the walls are airtight. While it may not be common to find hygienic wall cladding in a living room, your friends will soon understand why it is the smartest decision you have ever made about altering the interior of your home.

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Another addition of don’t do it yourself!

Some more hilarious DIY fails……..

They say Red Bull gives you wings but I don’t remember anywhere saying that you can replace piping in the car with it!  An extremely thrifty (and unsafe) way of fixing parts in the car!

An usual use for the humble fork.  Someone has fashioned a new door handle for the car door.  It is times like this when I stop being surprise at what man can actually achieve.

Even the simplest of tasks seem a step to far for some people.  That would make for some painful and uncomfortable seating.

Last but certainly not least we thought we would include a couple of videos to really highlight the trouble some folks get themselves into.

And last but certainly not least…..

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Underfloor Heating

Under floor heating systems are fantastic especially when the cold weather rears its head and even more so when your kitchen or bathroom have tiled flooring which can be a real shock to the system!  This particular heating system can go under all sorts of flooring and is quite versatile.  Stone, tile and even carpeted surfaces can accommodate this particular type of heating system.

So how does it work?

Most under floor heating systems are water-based and a series of pipes are connected to the boiler system to circulate warm water throughout the house.  Alternatively you could also connect the water mains to a solar water heating system so that it costs less when heating the under floor section of your house.

Because the heat which is emitted from the floor is more evenly distributed throughout the house compared to a single radiator the water can be heated to a lower temperature, which of course means that it costs less to heat your home.  According to a Standard Assessment Procedure 2009 (SAP) an under floor heating system is 3 per cent more efficient than a normal wall-mounted heating system.

How it Operates

The issue with under floor heating systems is that they are more often than not better suited to newer property developments.  The reason for this is due to the lack of space that older properties have under the floor as you have to generally elevate the floor lever in order to accommodate the piping.

SAP’s standards have indicated that there are differing rates of responsiveness and efficiency depending on what the pipe work has been fitted in.  Pipes which have been laid in insulated flooring will perform more efficiently than, say, pipes which haven’t been lagged under tiled flooring.

Having a plumbing professional or energy company evaluate your property is the best practice and they will have the sufficient knowledge to know if your boiler is compatible with the under floor heating system.

The Costs

The downside to under floor heating is the cost.  If you are installing an entire system the cost could run into the thousands of pounds – especially when installing an entire system.

As previously mentioned original costs are cheaper to run but the original outlay is the most expensive part and the final figure which you could save is also dependant on how energy efficient your home is also.

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DIY Do Nots

We thought that we would add a little more of these things to the DIY FAIL section of our blog for no more than entertainment of our own.

At Home Vibe we love DIY FAILS as we feel it keeps up honest and hey where would we be without these (ahem) innovative people who will go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to home improvement the alternative way. So without further ado here are a few of may personal DIY FAIL moments.



As mentioned in another blog in the internet ether there is nothing more important in weighing up the options when it comes to DIY and evaluating the job.  This is a prime example of when to say “no”, let’s get someone in.  However we must applaud the excellent level of failure which lies within as there seems to be a distinct lack of a support beam in order to hold the structure up.  Well done!




Home Made Jacuzzi   


You get home from work after a long day, you fancy a long soak in the bath and you pop the disused motor boat engine in for bubbles…..wait hold up, what!?  These guys have taken aquatic relaxation to the next level by altering their already standard hot tub and added some em horse power.  Not for every one huh guys?  DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!



Home Hot Tub


Staying on the aquatic relaxation them we have an original homemade hot tub.  I mean how hard can this be right?  I mean fill up an old oil barrier with petrol or another flammable substance and add tubes to heat the water, genius!  Actually, this is the furthest thing from genius, the last time I checked fire and plastic do not mix at all well.  Guys, you are doing wrong, right.


Electrics Fail


One thing that makes me rather jumpy (sorry couldn’t resist) is faulty electrics.  This guy certainly wouldn’t be my first choice when rewiring the house, I mean look at the craftsmanship, its almost not even there!  Connecting two sets of wires with the some duck tape doesn’t fill me with confidence.  Bright spark indeed!



Images from:


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OFT Energy Efficiency Report

The UK Office for Fair Trading (OFT) has released an extensive report into the energy efficiency sector, which is critical of the practices of some energy efficiency companies. The OFT states that it has:

‘written to over 50 of the leading installers of a number of energy efficient products, including double glazing, insulation and solar panels, asking them to ensure they are providing consistently good standards to consumers’

The 41 page report, downloadable here and embedded below also details new compliance guidelines for businesses and also guidance for consumers to be aware of their rights in case installation or other work goes wrong. Amongst the poor practices uncovered included:  “high pressure sales techniques, unclear information about paperwork and cancellation rights, and poor quality installations”.

Nisha Arora, Director in the OFT’s Services, Infrastructure and Public Markets Group, highlighted what the report is trying to outline:

‘Energy efficiency products offer real benefits to consumers and the sector has significant potential for business growth. However, it is important that people can be confident the companies they deal with are complying with the law, and that they are able to make informed purchases, without pressure sales techniques.

‘Many businesses in this sector comply with the law and engage in good business practices but we urge others to raise their standards. Businesses that fail to address the issues that we have identified risk enforcement action.

Have you had any work done to your home that was not of an acceptable standard? Let us know in the comments.

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