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    Is Underfloor Heating a serious rival to the radiator system?

    Thu 2nd Jul 2015 - 11:28am Energy and Heating Is Underfloor Heating a serious rival to the radiator system?


    Benjamin Clarke

    When deciding on installing a heating system, the most common option would traditionally have been adding radiators connected to a boiler.

    However, in recent years, underfloor heating (UFH) has become much easier to install and is considered to be a very versatile option.

    So which one is best and most suitable for you? We take a look below.

    Underfloor Heating
    One of the huge benefits of installing UFH is that you do not have to make any calculations or estimates regarding the heating system. The supplier of the UFH system will provide you with all the details you need to install it successfully. They will provide detailed layout drawings, which indicate where all the pipework and manifolds need to be positioned and they will also inform you what size boiler you need to ensure that your property is heated to your satisfaction.

    Other benefits include:

    - Less supply pipes needed than a radiator system, which makes installation easier.
    - UFH uses lower flow temperatures, so your boiler is not working so hard.
    - UFH is less intrusive than radiators and you are not restricted to where you can put your furniture, as you are with radiators.

    The main negative with UFH, is that most people will want to retrofit this system in a house that has likely had another heating system previously installed. While it’s a relatively simple installation in a new-build home, those wishing to convert their existing property will face considerable disruption and higher upfront installation costs.

    Most homes in the UK are heated by traditional hot water boiler and radiator systems. This means that there is a huge amount of experience, knowledge and design associated with this system, ultimately giving the homeowner great service, in terms of expertise and choice.

    It is very easy to replace different components within the traditional boiler-radiator system. For example, if you need to replace a radiator, then you can isolate it, remove it and simply put in a new one, without having to rip up your floor and without paying the associated costs.

    Another huge benefit is that every plumber or heating engineer knows exactly how a radiator central heating system works. They know how a radiator is fitted, how long it takes to install one, how much radiators cost and how big they need to big to heat the room they are installed in.

    It’s very possible to have radiators and UFH working in tandem and heating your home very effectively. However, you would need to seek expert advice before proceeding and to check whether it’s the best solution, both technically and financially, for your home.

    Radiators and currently the tried and tested, industry standard way of effectively and efficiently heating your home and show no signs of going anywhere. An additional positive of course, is that radiators can be a real focal point of your room and there are now a huge range of stylish and sophisticated rads available at very affordable prices.

    Article by Benjamin Clarke

    VIDEO - Learn how to pipe a radiator

    Tue 30th Jun 2015 - 5:47pm DIY Troubleshooting VIDEO - Learn how to pipe a radiator


    Benjamin Clarke

    As a second part to our previous video, where we showed you how to hang a radiator on plasterboard, in this video Jimmy the plumber shows you how to completely pipe up a radiator in order to connect it to your central heating system.

    Jimmy explains what a drop-down leg is - a situation where you only have a few radiators that are being fed from the floor above. You will need to ensure that two parallel pipes coming down from above to feed the lockshield and thermostatic radiator valve. Helpfully, Jimmy also installs a drain-off valve, so if that radiator needs any work at some point in the future, you will be able to drain down that area of the system.

    Knowing how to accurately measure up and install copper pipework is a very useful skill for any DIYer because it gives you the knowledge and ability to fit a radiator anywhere you require one. Rather than being stuck with existing placements of your radiators, by following this video, you will have the confidence to install and pipe up a rad in more convenient places.

    Jimmy makes this process easy, clearly explaining how to mark up your rads, how to get the pipes parallel with a spirit level and where to drill the holes for your clips.

    As a professional plumber, Jimmy also goes into detail about the exact process of measuring up pipes and handy tips on how to connect them up to the valve in order to successfully create a watertight seal. Additionally he shares the benefits of his expertise with soldering, making sure that you get all the knowledge you need to have fully functional pipes that aren't going to spring a leak!

    Jimmy quotes some excellent words of wisdom from his Dad; "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." This basically means that when you are installing your pipework, take the time to get everything level and installed correctly, rather than doing it quickly, soldering everything up and not being happy with the results.

    This vid is an absolute must-watch for anyone wishing to tackle the job of piping up a radiator themselves!

    You can view our range of Own Brand Column Radiators here >>

    Article by Benjamin Clarke

    Contractors warned to wear sunscreen

    Thu 25th Jun 2015 - 3:23pm Energy and Heating Contractors warned to wear sunscreen


    Benjamin Clarke

    With a heatwave predicted to hit to UK at some point this summer, contractors who spend a lot of time working outside are being warned to protect themselves (and their employees) from harmful exposure to the sun’s rays.

    Employee benefits company for the construction industry, ECIS, is leading a campaign to promote skin cancer awareness amongst those in the construction industry. ECIS acknowledge that excellent progress has been made in reducing the risks of accidental injuries and deaths at work, but believes dangers posed by the sun have been somewhat overlooked.

    It’s estimated that around 1.2 million men have been sunburnt whilst at work and research suggests that people with a history of sunburn find their risk of developing melanoma, doubled. Further statistics show that malignant melanoma kills almost 50 people per year in the UK, caused by exposure to the sun at work.

    More than 2100 people in the UK die every year from skin cancer, making it Britain’s most common form of cancer. Worryingly, a recent survey by the British Association of Dermatologists showed that 77% wouldn’t know the signs of melanoma and 40% never check themselves for it.

    Whilst it is tempting to strip off and make the most of the sun in the UK, it is absolutely not recommended for the reasons cited above. A big percentage of Britain’s economy relies on an active and healthy construction industry, so employers encouraging outdoor workers to wear sun cream of at least factor 30 that also provides UVA and UVB protection, will help to keep our industry thriving.

    Article by Benjamin Clarke

    VIDEO - Learn how to balance a vertical radiator

    Tue 23rd Jun 2015 - 5:18pm DIY Troubleshooting VIDEO - Learn how to balance a vertical radiator


    Benjamin Clarke

    The radiator featured in this video is the 1800 x 415mm Saturn Black Vertical Radiator.

    In this latest video, Jimmy the Plumber takes you through the process of balancing a long vertical radiator.

    The main reason for balancing a radiator correctly is to ensure it is fully functional and with no cold spots. Any radiator that is not functioning as it should be is almost always going to cost you money, so watching this video will be vital in assisting you with ensuring your vertical rad is set up properly.

    If you are installing a vertical rad for the first time, as Jimmy points out, it's important to establish the direction of the flow of the water, or more simply, which pipe is the in pipe and which one is the out pipe. Always check the manufacture's instruction booklet that comes with the radiator, as often, different brands of radiators require slightly different set up techniques.

    For anyone watching this video, Jimmy provides some excellent tips on what mistakes and pitfalls to avoid, some useful short cuts on getting the job done properly, but most of all, giving you the expertise on how to install and balance a vertical radiator that is running correctly and efficiency. 

    Ultimately, you want your radiator to be installed and doing it's job with the minimum of fuss - Jimmy shows you how.

    You can view the full range of our black designer radiators here >>

    Article by Benjamin Clarke

    Worrying times for Britain's ageing and inefficient housing stock

    Thu 18th Jun 2015 - 10:20pm Energy and Heating Worrying times for Britain's ageing and inefficient housing stock


    Benjamin Clarke

    The heating industry completely understands the positive impact that renewable energy can have on society and the world. Things like biomass, solar power and heat pumps, along with more recent smart technologies, have massive potential in reducing harmful greenhouse gases and lowering energy bills. However, all this makes minimal difference if your home is very old and inefficient.

    Unfortunately, over half of the housing stock in the UK was built before 1960 and only 10% of homes have been built. It’s estimated that the pre-1960 homes can use up to twice as much energy as those in other European countries. This includes some Scandinavian countries, who obviously have a colder climate than the UK.

    A recent survey showed the following worrying figures:

    - Britain has the oldest housing stock in the EU
    - Out of 12 EU states that have similar climates and income levels, Britain ranks 12th (bottom) for fuel poverty.
    - Britain also ranked 11th (next to bottom) for the proportion of income spent on energy bills. (The lower down the list, the more people spend on their energy bills)
    - Britain ranked 9th for homes in a poor state of repair
    - Britain has one of the highest rates of excess winter deaths

    An additional problem was that many of the Government’s renewable energy schemes helped those with savings to benefit. Although an effort was made to help lower income households get funding for insulating their homes, some of the interest rates on loans were so high that people simply could not afford it.

    However, in 2010, the Feed-In Tariff Scheme was introduced which was designed to promote the uptake of a range of small-scale renewable and low-carbon electricity generation technologies. The FiT scheme, along with the Renewable Heat Incentive, encouraged the likes of homeowners, landlords and local authorities to install solar panel electricity systems as a way to save money in the long-term.

    The Uk does have a major problem with housing with projections estimating that the UK needs to have 230,000 new houses built per year in order to meet demand. However, new house-building is at its lowest level since the 1920s and is nowhere near hitting the yearly projections.

    This means that many old houses are having to be upgraded at considerable cost. Although there are financial incentives available, completely insulating your house, fitting double glazing and installing new boilers can prove to be a very expensive in the short-term, even if the long-term efficiency benefits make the upgrades worthwhile. The high upfront costs can put many people off improving their homes and it’s often hard to convince people who are living from month to month that they need to think of the long-term gains they will make.

    It has been very encouraging to see old practises coming back in the form of straw bale housing and this kind of innovation is great, particularly with impressive figures such as 90% reductions in heating bills and 20% lower build costs.

    However, the fact is there are not enough new homes being built and with climate change targets of reducing emissions by 80% by 2020, more effort needs to be put into Britain’s rickety housing stock to improve their energy efficiency. Focus on this will lower heating bills, reduce our carbon footprint and help many people to move out of fuel poverty and improve the quality of their lives.

    Article by Benjamin Clarke