It’s a new year; a great time to get those travel plans in the diary – and also, make sure that our heating and plumbing needs are attended while we’re traversing the globe. The practicalities of travel are perhaps less attractive but always necessary; no one wants to be stuck with a bill for thousands after a fun holiday.

Cold weather is the most likely to induce heating or plumbing damage, especially if temperatures are likely to plummet below zero. The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) has some good advice for anyone travelling during winter months:

  1. A week or so before you go, have a quick check round of any exposed pipework, including outdoor taps, overflow pipes and pipes in your loft space. If your pipes could do with a bit of thermal help, take a quick trip down to your local plumbing or DIY merchant for some lagging. It’s cheap, easy to fit and something you can do yourself or call your favourite plumber if you’d rather leave it to the professionals!
  2. If your plumbing system incorporates a cold water tank (normally found in the loft space) this should be adequately insulated too. Again, you can insulate this yourself but might prefer a pro service.
  3. On the day you leave, turn off your water supply at the main stop valve (sometimes called a stop cock). If a very cold snap is forecast you may wish to drain down water in the system to prevent the pipes freezing. This can be done by opening the cold taps / flushing the toilet until the system runs dry. Make sure you remember to close the cold taps after.
  4. If you have pipework/cold water storage tank in the loft space, open the loft hatch a little so that warmer air within the house can rise.
  5. Central heating systems can normally be set to a ‘frost’ setting, which will keep the heating system ticking over at a temperature low enough to not hit you hard on the heating bills, but high enough to stop your home from going below freezing.
  6. Double check the small print on your house insurance policy too. They may require you to take the steps above to prevent water damage. If the worst did happen, you don’t want to find out your insurance policy is void.

For more information on all your plumbing needs, contact the AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk

Source: ciphe.org.uk – “Going away for the festivities?”

This year, Watersafe, the register for approved plumbing businesses, has teamed up with the government and the Met Office for the Get Ready for Winter campaign, which aims to let homeowners know what they can do to make sure their plumbing can weather the icy temperatures forecast this winter season.

Julie Spinks, Director of WaterSafe said: “We are delighted to be co-ordinating the water sector’s efforts around the Get Ready for Winter campaign.

“One key area of preparation homes and businesses can take is to make sure their property is wrapped up – cold temperatures can cause water inside pipes to freeze leading to bursts, floods and the misery of being without water for drinking, cooking and washing.”

There are lots of simple steps households can take to prepare for a cold winter and now is a great time to get ahead and make sure homes are snug:

  • Wrap up pipes and water tanks with lagging – DIY stores have everything you need
  • Fix dripping taps – even a small trickle can result in a frozen pipe
  • Find your home’s stop tap and make sure you can turn it off – most are under the kitchen sink
  • Leave the heating on low if you go away
  • Check that your central heating boiler has been serviced
  • Keep the name of a plumber handy.

The worst that can happen is a burst pipe; if this does happen, Spinks suggests turning off the water at the stop tap and allowing the thawed water to escape through your tap as normal. Then call a plumber!

For more information on all your plumbing needs, contact the AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk

Whether you’re living in a new-build or a Victorian or Edwardian terrace, the key to saving on heating bills is being airtight – as reported by Patrick Collinson in an article for The Guardian. It’s all about keeping the heat in, which might involve stripping a house back to its brickwork if you’re not building from scratch.

Insulation – lots of insulation – is a must for keeping your home airtight, which might involve  heavyweight construction using lots of concrete (a material that helps to iron out hot and cold weather) if you’re planning a new build. The concrete will heat up from the sun and retain the heat for days. A well planned ventilation system will then distribute the heat throughout the house.

When it comes to an existing property, stripping back in an effort to force  a gap between the bricks and the insulation will allow condensation to form outside the envelope of the house rather than inside it. As well as insulating the roof and walls to keep heat in, triple glazing windows and doors is likely to knock some pounds of your energy bill.

Energy-saving initiatives can be costly and only produce savings in the long term but there are ‘quick fix’ solutions that can make a difference now. Here are some ideas:

  • Chimney balloons, which cost a mere £20 and apparently save as much as half a tone of CO2 a year per chimney, as well as providing at the minute insulation.
  • Switch off standby and save around £30 a year.
  • In the kitchen; use a bowl to wash up rather than a running tap and cut energy bills by £30 a year. Only fill the kettle with the amount of water you need and save around £7 a year. Cutback your washing machine use by just one cycle per week and save £5 a year on energy, and a further £8 a year on metered water bills.
  • Have quick showers; one minute less in the shower each day will save around £10 each year per person. With a water meter this could save a further £10 off annual water and sewage bills. If everyone in a four person family did this it would lead to a total saving of £80 a year.
  • Install an energy saving monitor. Theycost around £25 and show you how much power you are using and where your cash is going.
  • Low energy LED lightbulbs cost more than regular bulbs but save in the long run.

For more detail on how to cut down your energy bill, read “A three-bed house with £500 energy bills? How you too can slash your costs” at Theguardian.com.

aacoopersitelaunch

After months of planning, we are excited to announce the launch of our new website.

The revamped site represents the vision and dynamic of AA Cooper as an efficient and effective service provider, offering visitors more detail on what we do and how we do it. Read more about us and the services we offer…plus meet a few or our team members as you admire the fresh new look of the website. We especially hope like the improved navigation, which will allow you to find the information you need quickly and easily.

As part of the new launch, we will be posting useful news articles once a month and possibly showcasing some of our most interesting and challenging work.

Many thanks for your ongoing support and here’s to the rest of 2016!