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A white traditional radiator

Underfloor heating or traditional radiators?

Thanks to advances in heating technology over the years, we are no longer restricted in the choices we can make when it comes to how we warm up our homes.  Previous concerns about older heating equipment taking up considerable floor and wall space can now be put to rest with a number of space-saving appliances and systems that both give us ample room and home heating that is becoming more efficient by the day.

However, there are a number of choices to consider when opting to heat your home – with underfloor heating rising in popularity and traditional heaters and radiators becoming more efficient than the water-dependent wall-mounted emitters of old, how we emit heat into our home is now very much down to how much we are hoping to spend long-term, and how much space we require within our home in general.

Traditional Radiators

With the rise of underfloor heating in new builds and modern homes, traditional radiators have taken something of a back seat in recent years, and even more so due to the rise of cheaply-bought and installed panel heaters – which, while inefficient to heat a full room at a comfortable rate, can be found in apartments and homes up and down the country – however, there is still something to be said for the heat emitters of old.

A white traditional radiatorTraditional radiators may be clunky and space-hogging, but modern radiators are completely different – with an emphasis on a metallic look in pressed steel or aluminium, modern radiator options are slimmer and more minimalist, or can even be more elaborate and ornate should the buyer require.  The main benefit of traditional radiators for emitting heat is that they provide quick, easily-controlled warmth at the touch of a button – and more elaborate models even benefit from remote control and sensor technology.

Calculating the sizes of radiators needed for your home will depend upon insulation levels and the amount of ventilation you have available.  It is therefore important to consult a plumber to help you calculate for such a need.  Radiators can be situated anywhere – but in the past have proven to be more effective installed on external walls.

The main downside to traditional radiators is in their ability to fill a room with heat efficiently – while newer models are becoming smarter and more effective at doing so, this is largely a reason why so many people are opting for underfloor heating – and it’s often a case of long-term savings, too.

Underfloor Heating

For direct, radiant heat that can be remotely controlled via thermostat, and can be time-programmed from room to room, underfloor heating provides an ideal solution for many homes.  This type of heating can be installed via electricity or water supplies, and can eliminate draughts entirely.  Underfloor heating is best installed via a concrete screed, and generally works best under tiled flooring – though it will provide results under almost any floor type.  Pipe layouts can be easily constructed and installed under a screed which is left to dry for up to thirty days – making it important that you install such heating far ahead of any cold months to be expected.

Underfloor heating is ideal for those who spend much of their time at home and who wish to benefit from direct, efficient heat – and who want to avoid wasting energy wherever possible.  This being noted, this type of heating can take time to get up to temperature, however, added enhancements can be used to make it more responsive.  It should also be noted that some carpets may not see much benefit from this type of heating, particularly as tog ratings increase.  Underfloor heating installation to electricity or water supplies should always be undertaken by plumbing or electrical professionals. UK Underfloor Heating are suppliers of both electric and water underfloor heating.

Other options for heating within your home can include skirting heating – where pipework can be hidden behind skirting boards to provide warmth – and mechanical ventilation, where appliance heat can be transferred throughout the home via vent systems.  In any case, if you are looking for warmth in your home that is efficient and cost-effective, there are thankfully a number of great choices available, and a plumbing professional will be able to assist and recommend opportunities to you.

A hand with some spanners

What to consider when choosing a plumber

Finding the right plumber in a day and age where so many are available to choose from in your local area can be a particularly daunting task – and while it has been reported that there may even be a shortage of genuinely skilled professionals that are able to offer you the plumbing support, expertise and solutions you are looking for, this only means that there may be an extensive number of tradesmen available who may not necessarily give you the best quality service for your money.  After all, we’ve all heard of the horror stories surrounding cowboy tradesmen and plumbers alike – with some so-called professionals offering cheap, low-quality solutions that are likely to provide little support long-term – resulting in a higher cost and further hassle for you.

A hand with some spannersHowever, there are genuinely talented and dependable plumbing professionals available up and down the country who may be suffering from bad press associated with low-quality work completed by less honest tradesmen – and, from the point of view of the homeowner, it is therefore important to ensure that a number of boxes are ticked before the right plumber is chosen.  However, this may not be as easy as you would first assume.

Finding a plumber

Finding a plumber is often a task that springs up when you least expect it to – as an emergency call out for plumbing support is more often than not required when pipes are leaking, a toilet is blocked or when flooding has occurred or may be getting worse – and, under such circumstances, the quick fix is often to find a local plumber quickly rather than carefully in an effort to have problems remedied as soon as possible.  This, unfortunately, is where many homeowners are making a crucial mistake – while getting a plumber out in an emergency requires essential action, it must be advised that it is not necessarily the best way of finding the right professional for the job.

What to think about when picking a plumber

Finding a professional plumber that can be depended upon to provide a long-lasting and efficient solution in a crisis is, thankfully, fairly simple – as there are a number of factors that you should bear in mind about any professional you are considering hiring.  If you have time available, scanning the Institute of Plumbing’s website will help you find a registered professional to attend to any water-related problems your home may be experiencing – the Institute is a charity that has been set up to help relay the principles of plumbing to a world of potential customers.  If time is not of the essence, it is important to consider a few points when calling a professional from your local area:

  • What work have they completed in the past? Can they provide references or evidence of quality work?
  • Does their work come with a guarantee or backed by insurance?
  • Are they a member of a trade organisation that requires a code of practice, and can this be proven?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Do they have fixed premises or any further information available?

When it comes to taking the plunge with a local plumber, it’s essentially a good idea to enquire about their expertise and if they are insured or backed by a trade organisation.  This way, you can at least be assured of a job that is overseen by a code of conduct and that the tradesperson in question is reputable.

In addition to this, the final and most important point to consider when looking for a reliable and local plumber is to gather quotes if you have time available – this way, you can safely weigh up your options without having to risk your money on one plumber alone.  If you can compare and contrast prices, expertise and references, it’s likely you will find a competent and professional plumber in no time at all.

Plumbing issues you find in your kitchen area

Plumbing issues you find in your kitchen area

When you think of plumbing problems within the home, you may be tempted to imagine most issues stemming from your bathroom – after all, with a toilet, a sink, a bath and/or a shower to cater for, there are a number of draining outlets and water-dependent facilities in a washroom that can be subject to annoying blockages, leaks and flow problems that will require maintenance from a plumbing professional at least once in their long-term life.  However, while you may have experienced a slow-draining shower or a clogged toilet in the past, the room in the home where you are most likely to experience plumbing problems is the kitchen.

The kitchen is just as waste-disposal and water-usage dependent as the bathroom, if not more – and with a number of appliances and fixtures that can experience faults and problems long-term in even the most expensive and well-built kitchen units, it’s important to understand and be vigilant for the problems that can occur within your kitchen plumbing and waste disposal that may catch you off-guard.


Blocked Drains

Blocked drains don’t just occur in the bathroom – your kitchen sink likely sees a plethora of water as waste product flow down its pipes on a daily basis, and a steady build-up can lead to a blocked drain, nasty smells and even a sink that works completely inefficiently.  If you don’t have a waste disposal unit in place to shred up waste food, it is likely that you may have experienced the annoyance of a blocked plughole at least once in your life.  In any case, a blocked sink can be remedied either with a store-bought unblocking product, or even with vinegar or soda crystals – but if neither option works, a plumber will of course be required.

Kitchen Taps

clean bathroom sinkBlocked taps or inefficient water flow can be much trickier to analyse on your own, meaning that this is likely a problem that you will need to consult a plumbing professional for unless you are certain that you know what to look for.  Problems with leaks and water flow in your taps may be related to the aerator – or, in some cases, it may be that you need an entirely new tap fitting altogether!

Hot Water

If you are failing to receive hot water into your kitchen by any means, this will likely be a problem related to your boiler or water heater.  While there may be internal problems within the pipe network or even with the water inlet, it is highly likely that no hot water provided to your kitchen will be related to the condition of your water heating system.  It is advisable to regularly service or even upgrade your water heater, which a plumbing professional will be able to assist you with.

Dishwashers and Washing Machines

Both dishwashers and washing machines are dependent upon water coming in and waste going out.  It’s therefore important to keep a close eye on water-dependent appliances and to ensure that any strange noises, signs of leaks or improper water flow are reported to a plumber as soon as possible.  Therefore, you can rest easy and look forward to clean clothes and crockery alike as soon as a professional has taken a closer look at what may be causing leaks or unnecessary noise.

There are many plumbing problems that can occur in the kitchen, but you needn’t tackle them all yourself.  Hiring a professional plumber will provide you with peace of mind and a solution to problems that are slowing down your household or daily routine – meaning that in the first sign of trouble, it’s always best to pick up the phone!