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Energy Saving Tips for Home Owners

If the weather forecasts are to be believed, we’re in for yet another cold winter. Fuel prices have increased more than once this year, and it’s getting harder and harder for even middle income families to keep up with the ever increasing bills. That’s why energy saving measures are so important. Just a few simple steps can greatly increase the energy efficiency of your home, saving you money and making you more comfortable at the same time.

Start with the windows and doors

If you live somewhere with a lot of older builds, then you might not have double glazing on your windows. Before you do change your windows it is worth checking that there are not any local laws that dictate what you can and can’t do to older properties. You lose a lot of heat through your windows, so investing in new frames and double glazing is an easy way to make savings. It can take a few years to pay off if you have to pay the full fee for the new windows, but there is a lot of financial aid available for people looking to make their homes greener. If you qualify for aid, it can knock a huge amount of money off the bill.

If you’re looking for a lower cost way to save on heating, then consider fitting draft excluders to your doors. This costs next to nothing, and should make a huge difference to your heating bill, assuming you remember to shut your doors to keep the heat in!

Investigate Insulation

While windows and doors are the main sources of heat loss for most people, walls and roves are also major culprits. If you already have insulation, make sure it’s nice and thick, and covers everywhere. If you don’t have insulation, it’s definitely worth finding out how much it would cost to get some.

Solar Panels

There are a lot of companies advertising solar panels as a way to save money, or as a way to get some cash back from supplying power to the grid. While the benefits of the panels are often overstated by the sales people, that’s not to say that the benefits don’t exist. If you can get a deal where the panels are fitted for free then you could enjoy a reduction in your electricity bill. Just make sure that you do your research, and that you have the rights to get the panels fitted on your property.

Set your thermostat properly

You’ve probably heard the “trick” of turning down the thermostat by one degree to save money on heating. It’s an often repeated tip, and with good reason, it works. You’re unlikely to notice a single degree difference in temperature. Many people have their thermostats set to summer-like temperatures, and this can actually be a bad thing, as you’ll really feel the cold when you go outside! You’ll save money, and feel more comfortable, if you let yourself adapt to slightly cooler temperatures. If you feel like it, you can always warm up with a nice cup of hot chocolate on an evening.

If you’ve been considering some home improvements recently, our bifold doors are stylish, energy efficient and a great addition to any house!

10 Worst DIY Disasters

If you’re tackling a DIY project, the first thing you should keep in mind is that it will likely take much more time and money than you expect. All DIYers make mistakes, and some make more than others, but you can learn from them. We asked home improvement gurus from around the country for the most common DIY disasters they’ve encountered.

  • Not getting the necessary permits. Many DIYers consider these a big hassle, but permits serve a purpose other than generating revenue for local authorities. They’re in place to make sure the job is done correctly, and so you don’t make a mistake that can end up injuring you or someone else. For some jobs, you need proof of permit, or else it won’t be covered on an insurance policy. The general rule is: you need a permit for any job larger than wallpapering or painting. If you’re unsure whether you need a permit to hang internal doors, call your local building code enforcement office and ask.
  • Trying to do the job without the right supplies and tools. There’s no better way to slow a job down than to try to do it without the right equipment. There’s a reason why the pros are so good at what they do- they take the time to prepare and assemble all they’ll need to do the job. If you’re going to be doing a lot of DIY work, invest in some quality tools; buying from the bargain bin will save you money now, but it will cost you in the end.
  • Not preparing the job site correctly. If you’re adding a small room, you’ll have suppliers delivering things, and you don’t want your supplies exposed to the elements while work is going on. To prevent damage and theft, properly store your supplies.
  • Trying to economize on materials. The experts see it all the time. For example, many DIYers use ¼ inch drywall instead of the 5/8 inch required for an adequate sound barrier. The same rule applies for subfloors; choose a minimum of ¾ inch plywood for a stronger floor (especially if you’re installing wood flooring).
  • Using the wrong type of paint. Painting is one of the most common DIY projects, and done correctly, it can give your home a new look. However, many people make mistakes when painting; they use flat paint on walls, or they use a clear sealer on their outdoor deck. Use flat paint only on ceilings, not on walls where stains and smudges can occur.
  • Inadequate prep work. A good paint job is 90% preparation; clean walls, sand them down, and patch holes before you apply that first coat. A coat of stain blocker or primer is a good idea if you’re covering peeling paint, stains or oil-based paint, or if you’re painting over a dark colour.
  • Dangerous conditions. There’s no quicker way to realize a lower ROI than taking a trip to the ER. Wear your safety goggles when working with wood or using power tools, and wear your hard hat when you’re under scaffolding. Don’t wear loose clothing, especially when you’re using power tools.
  • Incorrect measurements. “Measure twice, cut once” should be your DIY mantra, because it’s important to remember when cutting oak skirting, pipes, drywall and wood. If you’re going to make a mistake, cut it too long, because you can always cut off a little more; you can’t add length!
  • Exceeding your limits. Everyone has them- some people are afraid of heights and can’t get up on the roof, and some are afraid to work with electricity. Don’t climb up to the top rung on a ladder, and don’t try to do work that’s beyond the scope of your technical knowledge.
  • Being clueless. You shouldn’t learn skills by practicing on your own house! If you know someone who’s an avid DIYer, offer to help- no one turns away free labour. If you’re in doubt about something, consult a professional; don’t try to do it on your own.

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