Tag Archives: heating

Keep healthy this Christmas!

It is a well known fact that more people are ill over the winter season than any other as “cold-related” illnesses run rampage throughout the population. It’s important to remember that keeping our bodies natural defences running at maximum is key in fighting through this festive time, whilst maintaining good physical and mental well-being. Here are our top tips this Christmas!

  • Eat well, Rest Well – Make sure you are taking on board your 5 portions of fruit and veg each day, whilst getting a good nights sleep each day. This will keep vital vitamin supplies high for your immune system, especially vitamin C. A nice relaxing bath before bed, accompanied with aromatherapy will help you rest better.
  • Wash your hands – Regular washing of your hands with soap and warm water will help against carrying infections. Lathering for at least 30 seconds will reduce the risk of spreading infections.
  • Keep Warm – It is important, and often overlooked, to keep warm when the temperature starts falling. If your body is wasting vital energy maintaining your core temperature, your body can’t use energy fighting against germs. If you lucky enough to have access to a sauna, utilise it daily to sweat out any toxins your body may have taken on board.
  • Vaccinate – The flu vaccine is free if your over 65 so it is recommended that is taking advantage of. Contact your local GP surgery for more information.
  • Keep Hydrated –  As our homes get warmer over the cold periods, the air tends to be a lot dryer. It is important to take on board as many fluids as possible to ensure your body is well hydrated.
  • Keep your distance! – When someone sneezes or coughs in your vacinity, germs tend to spread very quickly. It’s a good idea to keep a tissue handy to cover your nose and mouth whenever possible – catch it, bin it, kill it!

For more detailed information on keeping healthy this season, contact your local GP today. Remember stay healthy – stay happy!

What affects the value of my home?

A new report conducted by Nationwide has been released, revealing vital knowledge that should be taken on board if you are looking to maximise the overall value and future saleability of your home. Whilst location still remains the biggest factor, the report showed that a 10% increase in overall floor space added 5% to the price of a semi-detached or terraced house and 7% to a detached house. Adding an additional bedroom complete with en suite bathroom through the means of a loft conversation can add up to 20%, whilst extension to a property to add the same combination can add around 11%.

Past projects show that it is relatively cheaper to build a larger property than it is to build a smaller one per square metre, although it is common for us to build smaller properties in relation to the number of bedrooms required when compared to the past. Old properties such as those pre-war dated, tend to be much larger. A four bedroom detached home from this era compared to one built by today’s sizing standards is typically worth £60,000 more.

In light of us constantly looking at new ways to reduce our carbon footprint, un-green homes without efficient central heating systems look to lose an average of 9% of their value.

Size really does matter after all.

Source: Homebuilding & Renovating magazine – August 2009

$500,000 health tests show its time to Detoxify!

David Duncan, 51, took part in the ultimate health examination to discover firstly how healthy he actually was, and secondly what science could tell him about the near future. He transformed himself into the human guinea pig undergoing a vast list of investigations including genetic constitution, how his environment impacted his body and how his organs, muscles and bones were standing up to wear and tear. The tests cost in excess of $500,000.


Duncan considered himself as a generally healthy man, from a family with little history of disease. He undertook many tests with some using the latest advancements in medical technology. One test required him to eat two servings of fish in one day to measure the change in mercury levels in his body (the change was big). Another required Duncan to provide blood samples to various scientists to indicate his susceptibility to certain diseases. He also sent blood and urine samples to a specialist laboratory in Canada who worked to monitor the intake of harmful toxins into the body – finding everything including shampoo, dust and even plastic food wrap – and how they had found their way deep into his arteries and veins. His sight, taste, hearing, and sleep efficiency were also tested.

It is these toxins which we work to remove from our bodies by inducing sweat through exercise or the use of a sauna. Sherry A. Rogers, author of Detoxify or Die states:

“What is the best way to get rid of toxic chemicals including pesticides, heavy metals and hydrocarbon residues when you can’t tolerate a sauna? When a sauna makes you feel weak, sick, have a fast heart rate, faint, dizzy, panicky, head achy or just plain miserable, what is the solution? The infrared sauna. Thanks to improved technology, the infrared sauna is far safer and infinitely more tolerable, because it uses heat energy that penetrates tissues, triggering mobilization of chemicals from subcutaneous fat storage, directly into the sweat”

David Duncan was fortunate enough to find that there was nothing seriously wrong. His knees were suffering from running too much on pavements, and he was made aware of a benign cyst on his kidney which was later removed. However, Duncan did reach two conclusions. First, that we have a lot to learn about the toxins that surround us each day in our work and home environment; and that it wouldn’t be long before full health tests like the ones he undertook became part of normal medical practice.

The amount of toxins that surround us each day, from motor pollution in the air to the varied skin products, is simply incomprehensible. These toxins inside our bodies really aren’t going anywhere unless we boot them out – I think I might go and have a sauna!

Making your home Greener!

There are a few changes you can make to your home that will save you money and help protect the environment at the same time. Study the following options to see if there is room for improvement in your home.

Insulate your home

Up to 40 percent of the heat that is lost in the home is through the roof and surrounding walls. This percentage can be reduced significantly by installing simple loft insulation costing between £200 to £300, resulting in an average saving of £150 per year. Cavity wall insulation prices start from £130 with an average saving of £100 a year. Obvious improvements such as double glazing will also reduce heat loss through the windows.

Reducing your water usage

At present, homes across the UK can use up to 1000 litres of water per day. One option is to install a water meter along with low-flush toilets. You can also take advantage of rainwater, by installing a harvesting system which can reduce your water consumption by as much as half whilst being used with toilets, washing machines and gardening. Systems such as this can start from £3500.

Generate your own Energy

Photovoltaic (PC) Cells or solar panels as we know them, operate by capturing solar radiation and converting it into electricity. An average home with a south facing roof could potentially generate half of its own needed energy using these cells. Systems vary in prices but are expected to be paid back within at least ten years. Wind turbines are also an option, but only effective in certain locations. It is important to carry out a wind assessment beforehand – Prices for wind turbines start from £1000.

Make small change around the home

Lighting in the home accounts for around 15 per cent of your annual electricity bill, so it is important to change over to energy saving bulbs throughout your home. Each bulb can save up to £7 per year! Installing an efficient condensing boiler is expected to save £150+ per year, whilst investing in a jacket and lagging for your hot water cylinder and pipes will pay itself back within one year of installation.

Sources: Homebuilding & Renovating magazine – June 2008

Planning your bathroom? Here are 7 top tips!

There are 7 key areas that you must address before starting your bathroom renovation. By planning ahead, you can save yourself both time and prevent many costly mistakes that may occur in the long run.

  1. Get the location perfect – Where is your bathroom currently located? Is it in the best place for the rest of the home? If not, now may be the best time to relocate. For example, it may be beneficial to move the bathroom from downstairs to upstairs or vice versa. Remember, this is your bathroom, so design the space to fit the features you want it to have, such as a walk-in shower enclosure or whirlpool bath.
  2. Is that the best price? – If you’re working with a limited budget, you don’t have to buy all your sanitaryware from the same supplier, or with the same brand. It’s useful to stick with the colour white as this will broaden your options, and be sure to check out your local bathroom discount warehouses and online retailers. Mix and match different installations to achieve the look you’re after at the best possible cost.
  3. Check your water supply – The performance of your water system will determine the outcome of water pressure within your new bathroom installation. There is no point in upgrading your bathroom without first checking that your water system will be up to the task. If your home currently has a gravity fed system, it may be an idea to check with your plumber to see if a pressurised system can be installed, so that you’re meeting a standard demand of 3 BAR (measure of water pressure). If an upgrade isn’t an option, then look towards electrical pump installations to give you that extra boost in pressure.
  4. Turn on the lights! – Imaginative lighting can make a big difference to your finished look – Don’t just settle for a single centre mounted light bulb. Experiment with spot lights on key features, such as the bath, with dimmer controls to create a real relaxing atmosphere. Low-voltage down-lights with directional fittings can provide clean bright lighting to create a spacious feel within your bathroom. Avoid pointing lights onto mirrors, and be sure to check that all your lights meet building regulations (IPX ratings etc).
  5. Consider your heating – The ideal option for bathrooms is underfloor heating, as it’s concealed and it can make a tiled or stone floor a lot more comfortable. Alternatively, you could incorporate hot water pipes between joists which can be added to your current central heating system (you will need a mixer valve to control the extra flow). Electric UFH mats laid within the tile adhesive are also another option. Towel rails are a no brainer – easy installation with maximum benefit both practically and cosmetically.
  6. Enough ventilation? – If you don’t consider ventilation properly in the early stages of development, your newly installed bathroom will quickly become victim to mould, and unavoidable musty smells. An electric powered extractor fan mounted into a top corner is the best option, and and can be vented straight outside or up through a ceiling. Some fans can be activated by movement or humidity level, but the common method of operation is incorporating it into your light switch.
  7. Optimise your layout – Having a shower, wash basin and WC is fine for a second bathroom or en suite, but a family bathroom needs to have a bath. Don’t try to cram too much into your new layout and try and stick to minimum practical working distances around each facility. WC’s for instance, require 45cm either side of the centre. Without spending too much cash, try using a computer program to help you decide on a layout. Google SketchUp (sketchup.google.com) is a great place to start.

So what are you waiting for? Get planning!


Source: Real Homes Magazine – June 2009

The River Thames can heat your home!

A couple based in Oxford have found a novel use for the River Thames, running just opposite their newly built home. Water from the free flowing river provides the raw material required for a water based heat pump which is being utilised to heat the water in their home. The principle is the same as a ground source heat pump, which extracts heat from the local environment, which in this case is the River Thames.

Combined with high insulation, and correctly glazed windows the demand for heating is less here than in the average home. The combination of the Thames heat pump and solar panels provides enough energy to warm both their home and hot water supply. Taking advantage of these new ecosaving energy sources could mean that we are getting ever closer to that cost-free shower first thing each morning!

So what’s the science behind it? Both air and water source heat pumps are enviromentally efficient ways of transforming natural heat sources to benefit our homes. Air heat pumps can be utilised for heating the home, whereas water based heat pumps can take advantage of the heat in a lake or from the ground. This technology can easily be explained when looking at your fridge at home.  A small heat pump located on the back of the fridge works to move any heat from inside the fridge to the outside, thus cooling down the inside.  For more information on heat pumps please visit the following link: http://www.ecoheatpumps.co.uk/heat_pumps.htm

Source: Grand Design Magazine – July 2009