Homeowners Guide To The Perfect Heating Systems

New homeowners guide to the perfect heating system

Moving into a new home is a big milestone in your life, but with so much to think about and keep on top of, it can be hard to make sense of everything amongst the excitement. It’s important to place your focus on the most important things first, from the very first moment you step through your new front door. 

The heating system in your home isn’t ‘one size fits all’; having the incorrect boiler installed could make your bills higher than they should be, reduce the energy efficiency of your home or even fail to heat your home to the required standard.

To make sure that, as a new homeowner, you invest in the right heating system for you, follow this guide to ensure you make the right decisions. 

Your house type.

Depending on the type of home you’re moving into, you’ll want to consider the right type of boiler. Older homes and plumbing systems may not be able to cope with the demands of a newer model of boiler, but much newer homes will need more advanced, energy efficient models installed to meet legal requirements. There are different types of central heating system, each with their own pros and cons. It’s important to do the research, so you know which of these systems will work the best and save you money in the running of your home. 

Gas central heating.

If suited to your home, gas central heating can be the cheapest option for you. Choosing a reliable gas boiler such as Worcester Bosch and Ideal boiler models can put your mind at ease. Not only will opting for the right model ensure you have a reliable, energy efficient model for your home, but using gas will also be a fast and efficient way of cutting down the amount you spend on heating bills each month.

Gas central heating is the most common type of system in the UK. Gas boilers are very efficient, and installing a condensing boiler to replace a standard gas is relatively simple. However, gas is also a fossil fuel, meaning it’s not the cleanest energy source. This is something you may want to keep in mind.

 

Electric central heating.

Some homes don’t have access to mains gas, so electricity is an alternative way to heat up your home. There are a number of factors to bear in mind when opting for electricity and controlling your heating bills, such as the size of your property, the insulation you have and how much heating and hot water the people in your home use. It’s worth noting, however, that heating with electricity can be expensive. With electricity, you should expect prices to be much higher than having a gas central heating system. 

LPG central heating.

 

LPG stands for liquid petroleum gas, and is a highly efficient fuel for central heating if you’re not connected to mains gas. LPG is delivered to your home by road and stored in an outdoor tank. This can then be transferred to your heating system when you need it. In some cases, gas boilers can be converted to use liquid petroleum gas when needed.

New build heating systems.

The advantage of buying a new build is that you have so many options when it comes to a heating system. These days, new homes can be heated in a number of ways:

  • Mains gas
  • Electricity
  • LPG, or liquid petroleum gas
  • Oil
  • Wood
  • Solar
  • Biomass

 

The right choice for you will depend entirely on your position. If you are keen to reduce your carbon footprint for example, then you’ll more than likely want to opt for a renewable option. If you’re looking for a standard, convenient option for a family of four, a gas boiler may be the one for you. Identify your needs before you jump into a decision and seek further advice if you need it.

Old build heating systems.

Unfortunately, much older homes don’t have the luxury of a long list of central heating options. If the property is significantly old, the fireplace with a wood burning stove may be the most convenient option to create efficient heat. Alternatively, the property may have hot water or steam radiators installed, or use heating oil, stored in a tank outdoors. 

 

As well as choosing the right heating options, there are also a number of things you can do to help retain heat in your home. Think about wall and loft insulation, double glazed windows and sealing any holes around windows and doors. Every step can add up to create a cosy home; just what you need after moving in those boxes!

Are you a new homeowner? 

Have you recently taken the plunge and bought a new home? Which type of central heating have you chosen, or are you thinking of making a change? Post your experience in the comments below!

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How to make a rented house feel like home (1)

5 ways to make a rented house feel like home

When you live in a rented house or flat it can be really hard at times to make it feel like home.

You’re often limited in what you can do in terms of painting the walls and even putting in hooks to hang pictures.  It makes sense really, that the landlord will want to keep the house as quite a blank slate so it’s easy for them to rent to someone else when you move out.  They have a lot to deal with between keeping on top of repairs for you, making sure they have landlord insurance in case anything goes wrong, and making sure you’re happy in their property.  So you can understand why they don’t want you making big, dramatic changes to the house.

There are still quite a few things you can do though to put your stamp on your house and start to really make it feel like a family home.

 

1. Bring in colour with soft furnishings

It’s always worth asking your landlord if you can repaint the walls to create the colour scheme  you want, but most of the time they’ll want you to keep it plain and neutral.  So bring colour into your rented home with soft furnishings.

Think about getting a big area rug to cover the plain carpet in the lounge, and smaller, cosy rugs for the bedrooms.

Then you can tie things together with throws, blankets and cushions on the sofas, chairs and beds.

You can use the same approach in your bathroom too.

Pick out bath mats in a colour that suits the tiles and then find a new shower curtain and bathroom accessories to match and bring the room together.

 

2. Add some character to children’s bedrooms

You can make a child’s bedroom feel like their own by picking out bedding and accessories in a particular theme, colour scheme or featuring their favourite characters.  And then you can take it a step further by putting removable stickers up on the walls.

There are so many options available and you can get really creative with them, safe in the knowledge that you can simply peel them off again when you move out, or as your child gets older and their tastes change.

 

3. Put yourself on display

One of the best ways to make a house feel like a home is to display loads of family photos.

You can ask your landlord if you can put some hooks up to hang framed photos, or you can use command strips so you can carefully remove them when you move.

There are all sorts of other ways you can display your photos at home.

You can cover your fridge with them, frame them and place them on bookshelves, side tables and any other available surface, or you can clip them to a string of fairy lights and hang them across the wall.

4. Change up the lighting

Chances are that your rented house will just have one main light in each room.

So make it feel more like a cosy family home by adding in floor lamps, table lamps and candles.  When you’re cwtched up at home in the evenings the softer light  you get from these sources will feel so much more homely than one big, bright light in the middle of the room.

You can also play around with fairy lights in the bedrooms, they can look great wrapped around head boards and mirrors.

 

5. Bring the outdoors in with houseplants

Add even more of your personality to your home with some plants.

You can dot potted plants all around your home, on window sills, random shelves or even placed on top of stools.  If you’re not convinced on how green-fingered you are then you could get some fake plants, or just make a point of buying a fresh bunch of flowers every week to pop on your kitchen table.

 

Do you live in a rented house or flat?

What are your top tips to make it feel like a family home?

 

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Organise at home after Christmas

5 top tips for organising the house after the Christmas holidays

I picked a big Christmas tree this year.

I went with my Mother-in-law to choose our trees and may have got a bit carried away with Steve’s encouragement over Skype to go big or go home.  So our not all that big living room is ever so slightly dominated by our 8 foot tall Christmas tree.

And I love it.

I love catching glimpses of it whichever way I look around the room.  I love being able to smell it as soon as I walk through the front door.

But I do know that come the New Year I will be about ready for it come down.  I’ll be ready for clear space again.  To be able to walk through the lounge without needing to turn sideways in certain places.

When it comes to that time of year when the decorations come down I think we all have an urge to do a bit of decluttering and reorganising in our homes, and here are my 5 top tips for tackling the job.

 

1. Take down Christmas strategically

You really might not feel like doing it, but if you take your time to pack everything away carefully and with some strategy you’ll thank yourself when it comes to getting it all out again next year.

As you take down the decorations take some time to sort through them.

Get rid of any that are broken and donate any that you didn’t actually use this year.

Then pack things away so that the things you’ll put up first next year are the easiest to get to.

 

2. Rethink your storage solutions

Are the battered old boxes you use still the best option for your Christmas decorations?

You can buy special boxes designed to hold your precious baubles and ornaments which might be worth investing in if you know you’ll want to use them year after year.

It’s also worth thinking about where in the house you store all your decorations.

If you have the space it might be worth installing some industrial shelving in your garage or shed to keep everything organised and out of the way for most of the year.

 

3. Declutter

Now all the decorations are down and you have your storage ideas thought out it’s a great time to declutter the house.

Work your way around from room to room with three bags or baskets.  Use one for things that you want to throw out or recycle, one for items that you don’t want but that can be donated or regifted, and the last one for things you want to keep but need to put in their proper home.

 

4. Find homes for new items

Once you’ve decluttered you can start to find homes for all the new things that have made their way into your home over Christmas.

If you have children this’ll most likely be mainly toys, but you’ll also maybe have books, new clothes, photo frames to hang up, toiletries and all sorts of other bits and pieces.

Spend time now deciding where all these things are going to live in your home, so they don’t end up just floating around for the next six months.

 

5. Make a plan

The hardest part for lots of people, including me, isn’t the decluttering, it’s the actually getting the stuff out of the house once you’ve decided you can do without it.

So make a plan for everything you’re getting rid of, and act on it as soon as possible.

Put items to be regifted in a particular cupboard or box in a wardrobe.  Make a date with a friend to get together at the weekend and take rubbish and recycling to the tip/recycling centre.  Put the bag of bits for the charity shop into your car so you can drop it off next time you’re in town.

Gem from the organised mum calls this having an exit strategy and it is key to actually finishing off the decluttering jobs around the home!

 

With a bit of thought and some time spent working your way through your house, you can have everything cleared and organised ready for a fresh start in the new year.

Do you enjoy the house feeling more spacious and clear after Christmas, or do you hold on and enjoy having the decorations up for as long as possible?

 

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Loft conversion guide

A loft conversion guide – what you need to know

It is startling that what once offered plentiful space for the whole family is now too small to host even a few members of the family. At this point, you start wondering if it’s time to sell the old house and move to a new housing unit.

Despite how desperate you are for extra space, weigh options such as the sentimental value of the house and the cost of moving to a new house which comprises of legal fees, transportation charges, survey and stamp duties which more often than usual amount to thousands of pounds and its money you will never get back.

Even by getting property valuation tips from propertypriceadvice, and doing the actual valuation, you might still end up spending more on moving that doing home extension. There is also an additional hassle of having to shift our children from one school to another.


While on a budget, the only option that makes sense is to expand your home without the bedlam of having to move from one house to another and at the same time increase the value of your property.

With such a move, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to design and amount of space you can add to your house. Unfortunately, some cannot afford to do a home extension due to time and cost irregularities.

For those who do not have much space to do much extension or enough money to allow for such advancements, consider loft conversion as the next workable option for you. Doing loft conversion is more practicable and could cost you way less when it comes to money and time. Either, pulling this off is dependent on the roof structure, height, and feasibility of installing a staircase.

A loft conversion is less likely to reduce the size of the compound or need permission for planning like doing a home extension but will significantly add value to your home.

Here is a guide on how to go about loft conversion, what it entails and what to expect from it.

Establishing whether the loft is suitable for conversion

This is a step that you need to take before you approach any builder to get the job done.

Measure your loft. A floor to ceiling measurement of 2.2m is what is required as the minimum measurement. If you are having trouble with headroom, there is the option of lowering the ceiling of the room directly below the loft or raising the roof but be warned that this is a complex move and one that will have you dig deeper into your pockets.

The roof structure is also used to establish the practicability of loft conversion. Ideally, the pre-1960s houses with rafters are suitable for conversion compared to a trussed roof that will need structural reinforcement. Additional features such as the plumbing system of the house running through the loft or a water tank installed in the loft could cause problems with the conversion.

Planning and Permission

In most cases, there is no need to get permission for the loft conversion as it is classified under permitted development. Either way, you must follow certain policies and conditions set such as volume allowance of 40 cubic metres of extra roof space.

Besides, the following conditions apply.

· No inclusion of a balcony, raised platform or a veranda.

· Extension should not surpass the highest part of the roof.

· Windows that are facing sideways must be obscure glazed.

· The enlargement of the roof should not overhand the outer side of the original wall.

· Retractable stairs or ladders are not acceptable. It has to be a permanent structure.

Choose a good builder to get the job done

The trick to getting wowed by the work the builder does is to find the best of the best from the many of them available. Depending on the amount of work to be done, you might consider getting an architect to produce drawings that will guide the builder during the conversion work.

At this point now, you can put the loft conversion work out on tender for the builders available to send you their quotations. But even before you put them out to tender, get recommendations from neighbour, friends, and family who have done loft conversions too and also check online review and rating of the builder.

Also, consider going through photos of previous conversion work they have done.

 

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Quick wins to make your house feel cleaner

5 quick wins to make your house feel tidier

Some days you don’t want to spend ages cleaning, but you want to do a few quick things to make your house feel like not quite so much of a disaster zone.

For those kinds of days, here are 5 things you can do to really quickly get your home feeling cleaner and tidier.

 

Make the bed

If you only have time to do one thing in your bedroom, make it making the bed.

The bed is most likely the biggest thing in your room, and having it nicely made, all neat and tidy has a huge impact on how tidy the room feels in general.

The same goes for your living room.

Quickly putting any throws and blankets neatly on the sofa can make the whole room feel tidier.

 

Hide clutter in baskets

One of the big things that makes my house feel really untidy is all the stuff everywhere.

There are days when there is not a single clear surface in the living room.  Even the sofa and chairs have stuff plonked down on them.

So having baskets and toys boxes around to stash the clutter in is a great way to quickly clear off the surfaces and make everything feel much cleaner.

This is also a great trick if you always have stuff sitting on the stairs, waiting to be taken out.  Just popping that stuff in a basket that sits on the stairs looks much tidier.  You can even get special stair baskets that are shaped to fit over two steps.

 

Sweep or vacuum the floors

A quick whizz round the house with a broom or hoover can really make the house feel cleaner.

If you have people coming over and are in a real hurry then just focus on the high-traffic areas and the parts of the house that people are going to see.

 

Empty and wipe down the sink

A lot of people say that the best place to start with cleaning the house is the kitchen sink.  I know that FlyLady starts her whole cleaning process with shining the sink and I can see the logic behind it.

If you have dishes piled up in yours, then quickly getting them washed, dried and put away can make a big difference to how the kitchen feels.

While you’re there give the sink itself a bit of a scrub and rinse the drain with some soda crystals and hot water.

 

Open the windows

The ultimate quick win for making your house feel cleaner is to fling open the windows.

Get rid of any stale smells and let lots of lovely fresh air in.

If you want to go one step further then lighting some scented candles or popping a fresh-smelling oil into a diffuser will make your house smell lovely and inviting.

And if you want to trick visitors into thinking you’ve been cleaning then spray a bit of furniture polish in the air so it smells like you’ve been busy dusting!

 

What job do you tackle when you want a quick win to make your home feel tidier and cleaner?

What do you think makes the biggest impact in making your house feel tidy quickly?

Make small space feel spacious

5 ideas to make a small home feel more spacious

One of the things I think we’re all after in our homes is the feeling of more space.

If you live in a home that’s more cosy than cavernous there are some little tricks you can use to create the illusion of space.  It’s all about being strategic with your decorating choices to trick the eye into seeing the room as bigger than it really is.

Here are 5 ideas you can try for making a small home feel more spacious:

 

1. Divide your space creatively

If you have an open plan living area that you want to split into different spaces then think about creative ways to do this.

You can use a slimline bookcase as a room divider, so that it doubles up as useful storage space.

Or think about using glass partitioning screens to split up the space while still letting light through.  This stops the spaces feeling too closed off and the natural light gives a more airy feel.

Another option is to divide the room up into different areas using rugs, instead of physically splitting the room with makeshift walls.

 

2. Keep it light

Dark colours can make a space feel smaller so stick to a bright and light colour palette in your home.

Paint the walls in a light shade and stick to lighter coloured flooring too.  You can always add different colours in with throws, cushions and accessories.

 

3. Get clever with your storage

When space is at a premium you need to get clever with how you store all your stuff.

Look for pieces of furniture that have hidden storage or that you can use in different ways.  Coffee tables with storage spaces are a great option, and nests of tables are perfect to tuck away when you don’t need to use them.

 

4. Move furniture up and out

The temptation is to push furniture like sofas right up against the wall, but actually moving them a few inches away can create the illusion of more space in the room.  The same goes for lifting furniture off the ground, so look for sofas that are up on little legs rather than flat on the ground.

Adding shelves that go right up to the ceiling is a good trick too, as the height of them draws the eye up and makes the ceiling feel taller.

 

5. Go big on the walls

A big mirror on the wall will reflect loads of light back into the room making it feel bigger, so this is a great addition to pretty much any room in the house.

And one big, statement piece of art on the wall gives the illusion of more space than if you were to hang several smaller pieces.

If you’re on a budget then a big poster in a frame works just as well as an expensive piece of art.  Or you could get big engineer prints made of one or two of your family photos to hang up instead.

 

Hopefully these tips and tricks will work for you and make your small space feel bigger.

Do you have a small, cosy home?  What trick do you like the best for making it feel more spacious?

 

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