Firstly, what is a wet room, and what happened to a good old fashioned shower? Don’t panic, they still exist and are fabulous but wet rooms are trending, and are a good way to add value to your bathroom and property.

A wet room is a shower but without the shower screen and tray – so, an open shower area, usually demarcated with tiles.

Why might you want one? Other than upping the price you might be able to sell your home for, wet rooms are contemporary and interesting. They work well in a small space, taking up less room than a bath although intentional design is a good idea; to avoid shower water wetting towels and loo rolls. With no screen or tray, wet rooms are easier to clean but do remember that whilst wet rooms have the potential to increase the value of your home, buyers are partial to one bath at least – so think carefully if a wet room is to replace a bath.

If you’re excited about the idea of an open-plan type of shower, it is important to know off the bat that this is a job for professionals, even if you have some experience with home DIY. A gradient will need to be created in your bathroom in order to channel shower water into a drain, and the room will also require waterproofing. This is hard graft and requires expertise and experience for optimum results.

Your qualified tradesman might suggest raising the bathroom door threshold to keep water contained (in the event of drain blockage) and under-floor heating to keep your feet warm as well as dry out the bathroom. The details will be up to you but advice from a professional is your best bet for a beautiful, successful wet room.

Enjoy planning and dare to do something different!

For all your plumbing and installation needs, feel free to contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk – we’re happy to help.

Source: Idealhome.co.uk

A new survey by the Water Regulation Advisory Scheme (WRAS) has found that 80 per cent of Brits are guilty of committing at least one water-wasting habit on a regular basis.

Check out the most common water wasting habits in British homes today:

  • Not reusing water when preparing food/cooking (29 per cent) – catching excess water in a bowl to reuse can reduce water wastage by 50 per cent.
  • Taking deeper baths than necessary (26 per cent) – a bath typically uses around 80 litres, but by running a bath just an inch shorter you can save five litres of water, on average.
  • Running the water whilst brushing their teeth, rather than turning off the tap (21.4 per cent) – a running tap wastes approximately six litres per minute.
  • Filling the kettle up to the top rather than the amount needed (21.1 per cent) – a full kettle (approx. 8 cups) will take twice as long to boil and use more electricity.
  • Running water whilst washing their face, rather than filling the sink up (20.8 per cent) – a running tap wastes approximately six litres per minute.

Other bad habits people admit to include having a shower after a bath and using a hose pipe to clean the car, instead of a bucket.

Making an effort to change these habits might seem inconsequential but every little effort to save water counts – not only saving you money but helping the environment by conserving water resources.

As well as changing habits there are other practical things we can do at home to conserve water, like reducing the amount of time you shower, using less water to wash dishes and using bath or dish water to water the plants inside or out. Installing simple devices such as water-efficient taps and showers will also save both water and energy by minimising the use of heated water. An efficient shower head could reduce household bills by up to £120 per year!

For all your plumbing needs, questions or information, feel free to contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk.

Sources: Waterwise.org.uk and hvpmag.co.uk

New research by the Gas Safe Register has found that for 27 per cent of people, redecorating is the single most important priority after buying a new home. Next on the list is fitting a new kitchen or bathroom (21 per cent) and a mere 12 per cent said they’d fit a new boiler.

Interestingly, almost three in 10 UK home buyers have had to replace their boiler earlier than anticipated due to it being faulty or old. This might be because not all homeowners have their boilers serviced! In fact, 24 per cent of Brits admit they have either have never had their boiler serviced or haven’t had it serviced once a year as recommended.

Perhaps if new home owners were aware of these figures they’d be more inclined to have a boiler check done as a priority?

Another interesting statistic is that almost a fifth of buyers (18 per cent) say they have regretted not getting a more comprehensive survey when buying a home in the past. The more comprehensive the survey, the more likely it is that observations about the general condition of the boiler or gas appliances might be made and then used by the buyer to reduce the seller’s price.

It’s not a legal requirement for a seller to provide a service record for a boiler (although 42 per cent of people thing that it is!), which makes it extremely important to get that have a check done as soon as possible after moving if you are unsure of the condition of your boiler.

Jonathan Samuel, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said: “Gas appliances can be dangerous if they’re not looked after, so it’s important to ensure you know if the boiler in the home you are planning to purchase has been serviced or fixed by someone who is legally registered and qualified to do so.”

For all your energy-related needs, contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk.

Climate change has been a hot topic for what seems like ages – and it continues to be a hot topic not only because it’s controversial it will take an absolute monumental effort to mitigate its continuing effect.

Research by Smart Energy GB shows that most Brits (70 per cent) think we should play a leading role in tackling global warming. The survey, which questioned people on their attitude to climate change following the recent UN IPCC report, also found that:

  • 86 per cent of respondents believe we all have a moral obligation to do all we can to address climate change.
  • 83 per cent of respondents are interested in taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • 91 per cent of respondents believe there is a global responsibility to address climate change.

The question is: what can we do, as homeowners, to help fight climate change? Here are some ideas:

  • Use energy efficient lighting and electrical appliances.
  • Use an energy efficient computer – a laptop consumes five times less electricity than a desktop, for example.
  • Use water carefully – it takes a lot of energy to heat water, so do so only when necessary.
  • Say no to plastic.
  • Turn off electronic devices.
  • Reuse and recycle.
  • Use renewable energy where possible.

For more details on the above suggestions, visit Reset.org

Every little bit makes a difference!

For all your energy-related needs, contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk.

Other than the kitchen, the bathroom is probably the most important room in the house
in terms of resale value – as people are spending more time in their bathroom as a place
of sanctuary and relaxation, not just a place to serve practical needs. So if you’ve decided
to give your bathroom a refurb, you’ll want to put lots of thought into your design.

To inspire you at the start of your new bathroom journey, check out these five top tips
(adapted from Better Homes & Gardens)

  1. Lighting is key! There’s nothing worse than a dark, dingy bathroom. A couple of
    tips to get the best light out of (or into) your bathroom is to use ceiling-mounted
    fixtures or add style and mood with chandeliers or pendant lights. Use accent
    lights to emphasise architectural features and vapour-proof downlights in
    enclosed tubs and showers. Mirrors are also a good way to reflect light and create
    a sense of space in your bathroom.
  2. Consider a statement tub. If you have the space, freestanding tubs are an
    effective statement in a bathroom.
  3. Choose your flooring carefully. Bathroom floors need to be impervious to water,
    and slip-resistant – and attractive, of course. NO carpets and NO parquet. Please.
  4. Colour creates mood. Do you want your bathroom to be a soothing, calm place or
    do you want it to energise you or wake you up in the morning? Colour (of the
    walls but also decor, accessories, sink, tub etc.) will help you create your desired
    atmosphere.
  5. Think about your sink. Undermount bathroom sinks make it easy to wipe messes
    from the counter into the sink. Self-rimming bathroom sinks, on the other hand,
    are the most economical and the easiest to install, but the perimeter lip can
    collect grime. The choice is yours.

We wish you all the best in your design adventure! And for all your plumbing needs,
questions or information, feel free to contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007
or info@aacooper.co.uk – we’re happy to help.

Why aren’t homeowners more excited about smart meters? – According to a new YouGov survey, only a third of respondents have opted to use one in spite of the government committing for all UK homes to have a smart meter by 2020. So, why the reticence?

Smart meters are advertised as cost effective but of the survey respondents who have a smart meter, only seven per cent reported a reduction in their energy bills after installing the system. And in fact, only 23 per cent opted for a smart meter because they thought it would reduce their energy bills.

Another interesting little stat: one in 11 of respondents reported an increase in their bills, according to the survey findings.

Perhaps people aren’t buying into the whole money saving thing?

But it’s not just that…

According to YouGov’s survey, 30 per cent of respondents highlighted the potential of cyber attacks as discouraging them from installing a smart meter.

Luke Osborne, energy advisor with the Electrical Contractors’ Association (which commissioned the survey), says that the government “must do more to explain to the public why smart meters do not present a security risk from hacking or other data breaches.”

There seems to be some misconception regarding smart meters, which has resulted in a lack of consumer confidence in the device. Before rejecting the idea, do your research and when in doubt, ask a pro!

For all your energy-related needs, contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk.

(And in case you’re not quite sure what a smart meter is or does: it’s a gas or electricity meter that works by sending meter readings to us via a SIM card in the meter, just like a mobile phone. With your smart readings your bills will be more accurate as you’ll only be charged for the energy you’ve used.)

Source: hvnplus.co.uk – “UK smart meter survey critical of ‘money saving’ message”

Tipping your tradesperson – is this a thing people are doing? What is considered a common courtesy by some could be regarded as an unnecessary waste of money by others, perhaps even insulting…

…and if you’re paying for the service anyway, should you really be expected to give more?

A recent survey from Heat Insulation Ltd asked the public their views on tipping tradespeople and as it turns out, 51 per cent of respondents admitted to regular tipping!

Those who are most likely to tip tradespeople are aged between 45 and 64, and the least likely are 18 to 29-year olds, not because of disposable income (as one might expect) but actually because “tradespeople charge more than enough”. The top three reasons for not tipping your tradesperson, according to the survey, are:

1. It costs enough
2. The price is agreed before work commences
3. Good work should be expected and not rewarded.

All pretty good reasons.

Yet even if you did decide to offer a tip, how much would you give? There are no hard and fast rules or tipping reference guide. As for suggested percentage, well, who knows?

A survey done with American homeowners revealed that when tradespeople do get a tip, cash is the most-common gratuity offered (although us Brits often like to tip in cups of tea), and most often the tip is less than 20 percent of the total job cost. Most contractors in the survey said that they charge their clients what they feel is fair price for the work being done and don’t expect a tip.

Does this help?

For all your energy-related needs, contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk.

Does your heating system need to be in the (proverbial) skip before you’re likely to even hazard thinking about a new one? In fact – yes! This is likely the truth.

The latest Public Attitude Tracker (PAT) from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, focusing on energy issues, revealed that 66 per cent of the public would only replace their heating system when their current one breaks down or starts to deteriorate.

Only 12 per cent of respondents would consider replacing their heating system while it was still working.

The PAT also found that the top reasons people are most likely to change their heating system is to save bills (43 per cent) or to switch to a more environmentally friendly heating system (33 per cent). Nearly a fifth of respondents (18per cent) paid significant attention to the amount of heat used in their home in December 2018, with the main reasons being minimising bills.

So, do we deserve a right ol’ telling off for being lackadaisical about our boilers? Well…is anyone really likely to replace an entire system that is in good working order? Not likely. And why should they? That said; it seems risky to only replace a system once it’s already broken. And at the crux of the issue; how would the layman know that his system is faulty anyway – unless told by a professional heating engineer?

As it turns out, PAT statistics showed genuine trust in advice from heating installers with 79 per cent of respondents citing heating engineers/installers as the most helpful source of information when choosing a new heating system, alongside family and friends.

The moral of the story: find a heating engineer that you can trust and listen to him when he advises repairs or even an entire system overhaul.

For all your energy-related needs, contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk.

Source: hpvmak.co.uk – “66% WOULD ONLY REPLACE BOILER WHEN IT FAILS, ACCORDING TO BEIS”

Consumer champion Which? has revealed the results of its annual satisfaction survey, and small gas and electricity firms have trumped the Big Six!

After surveying 8,000 energy customers, 30 companies (covering more than 90 per cent of that market in England, Scotland and Wales) have been ranking according to customer satisfaction. The Big Six (British Gas, EDF Energy, Eon, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE) all sit in the bottom third of the table whilst smaller, newer suppliers occupy both the top and bottom positions, showing that a company’s size is no guarantee of its performance.

Five small suppliers topped the rankings, with only tiny margins separating the top five companies: first-placed Octopus Energy, Robin Hood Energy and So Energy in joint second place, and Ebico and Tonik Energy in joint fourth position. All of these firms were rated the full five stars for value for money. Plus among them are the only firms to get top marks for bill accuracy, bill clarity and online customer service.

Octopus, which supplies more than 400,000 homes, was rated as good or excellent value for money by nine in 10 customers and 96 per cent of its customers gave it the same rating for online customer service.

So Energy was rated good or excellent value for money by an impressive 93 per cent of its customers – the highest proportion of any firm included. Plus its customers were most likely to rate the accuracy of its bills good or excellent compared with any other firm included.

Two of the top five – Robin Hood Energy and Ebico – are not-for-profit, while So Energy and Tonik Energy sell only tariffs backed by 100 per cent renewable electricity.

Check out a full list of the top 10:

1. Octopus Energy
2. Robin Hood Energy
3. So Energy
4. Ebico
5. Tonic Energy
6. Ovo Energy
7. Utility Warehouse
8. Bristol Energy
9. Bulb Energy
10. Ecotricity

The Big Six ranked as follows: SSE(22), EDF/Eon(23), British Gas(26), Npower/Scottish Power(27). Which? found less than one in five (18 per cent) Big Six customers are very satisfied with their supplier, compared with a third (33 per cent) of customers with medium and small suppliers.

For the full results, including how customers rank their energy supplier’s customer service, value for money, bills, complaints handling and more, go to: www.which.co.uk/energy-table

For all your energy-related needs, contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk.

Who does the dishes, takes out the rubbish or hoovers under the table after the kids have had couscous for dinner? One could easily assume that these are the types of spousal arguments that might top a ‘most frequent’ list. But, no. New research identifies ‘the ideal home temperature’ as the hot debate most likely to aggravate the gender divide in families.

The right time to turn on the heating is another heated conversation that happens in homes around the UK.

According to research sponsored by Corgi HomePlan, one in three couples admit to regular rows over the ideal house temperature. The study reveals that men set the thermostat too low, and women simply turn it up again (in secret, with great stealth).

Now, men, before you get right on in there and turn that thermostat back down; science suggests that the reason women are turning the heat up, is because they genuinely are more sensitive to the cold. A 2015 study by Dutch scientists revealed that women are comfortable at a temperature 2.5C warmer than men, typically between 24-25C. The average house has the heating set to 20C (according to Corgi HomePlan) which is a rather hefty 4.5C cooler than a woman’s ideal temperature.

Perhaps it’s time for a compromise? – In light of the fact that 37 per cent of British households leave the heating on between four and six hours a day (so sayeth the research)…maybe less in August!

What do you say?

For all your energy-related needs, contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk.

Sources: Theguardian.com – “Why women secretly turn up the heating”; Dailymail.co.uk – Heated rows! Third of couples admit arguing over the ideal temperature in their home