Fitting a thermostatic radiator valve

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A thermostatic valve on a radiator plays a crucial role in helping to keep any home comfortable by keeping the rooms at pre-set temperatures. Rooms which are regularly used can be heated to keep occupants warm and comfortable, while in rooms that are rarely used the thermostatic valve can be turned all the way down to a frost setting during the winter months, which will help to save on power bills.

The first thing to do when fitting a thermostatic radiator valve is to drain the central heating system. To save time it is always best to fit all thermostatic valves in a house in one go. This means the system will only have to be drained the one time.

After the central heating system has been drained the old valve adaptors must be removed. This can be done using two adjustable wrenches, one to hold the valve in place and the other to do the actual turning. Use towels or old sheets to protect carpeting or flooring from possible water drips.

The old cap nut and metal collar – known as the olive – needs to be removed before they can be replaced with new ones. In some cases the old olive will slide right off; if this doesn’t happen, the olive should be carefully cut away using a hacksaw blade; it is absolutely vital the blade does not cut into the pipe. Once cut, the old olive can be removed using a screwdriver.

Once the old valve has been removed the new one – along with its cap and olive – can be fitted onto the radiator. The internal threads will need to be cleaned, and this can be done with a clean cloth.  Next, PTFE tape should be wrapped clockwise around the adaptor threads; six times should be enough. The adaptor should then be screwed onto the radiator, and tightened.

When fitting the new thermostatic radiator valve the cap between the adaptor and the valve has to be tightened. Once this has been accomplished the heating system can then be refilled. As this is being done a check should be made for any leaks. Once that task has been completed the radiator settings can be adjusted for each room.


How to create a Moroccan themed bedroom

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If you’re looking to create a Moroccan themed bedroom in your house, then careful planning and the right tools and accessories are important to create the perfect room. In this post we’ll show you how to create a Moroccan themed bedroom that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Painting

Creating the perfect Moroccan theme is all about warm, rich colours for the walls and ceilings. Morocco is a major exporter of spices, which make great inspiration for the colours to use. Choose something like a warm orange or red to create an inviting room, or a sandy yellow colour for a more neutral look.

Getting rid of all of the white in a room is important to keeping a consistent theme, so paint the ceiling in the same colours as the walls. You will also want to paint any woodwork in the room such as mouldings, skirting boards and doors, a contrasting colour looks best, something with a similar undertone. Alternatively, you can choose to paint your woodwork to create a focal point, in Morocco, many believe that painting your doors blue is good luck.

Whatever you choose, make sure that it goes with the overall theme.

Furniture

Moroccan culture takes its influences from many different cultures including Moorish, African and Asian, so any of these types of furniture will fit into the theme. Moroccan furniture is usually intricately designed and embossed, while soft furnishings are bright and colourful with lots of added frills.

If you cannot afford to replace all of your furniture, having it reupholstered or painting it a different colour is a cost effective way of creating a consistent theme.

Accessorise

Accessories can make or break a Moroccan themed bedroom, so doing some research and choosing wisely is important. Rugs are great for changing the look of the floor instantly and provide a plush and luxurious feel underfoot.

Curtains should complement the colours already installed in your room and shouldn’t be too pattern heavy as it could distract from the overall theme. Hanging lamps and candles also help to create the theme as well as providing the subtle lighting needed in the bedroom.

Moroccan Bedroom


Near Field Communication could allow us to open our house with a smartphone

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Near Field Communication has been integrated into most new mobile phones for years and allows users to send small bits of data to another handset or machine almost instantaneously.

One of the most popular ways of using NFC is to pay for small items; Starbucks in the US and UK allow customers to pay for their drinks and snacks with their smartphone by swiping their phone at the till.

Other machines to use the technology include vending machines and ticket machines, and it is estimated that there are around 300 million NFC- enabled devices in the world today. This potential user base serves to drive innovation in the NFC market with companies utilising the technology in a range of different ways.

One of these companies is security lock expert Assa Abloy, who own a range of household brands including Yale, Chubb and Union. They have just completed a trial with a Swedish hotel chain that allows guests to check in and open their hotel room door with their smartphones.

Once the check-in process has been confirmed using the hotels smartphone app, the room key is sent to the guest’s phone, they can then unlock their room door by holding the phone against the doors lock. This allows the guests to check-in and acces their room at any time without having to queue at reception first.

When departing the hotel, guests can also complete a self-checkout as well by swiping their smartphone and touching the confirmation button.

The successful trail of this technology means that it may soon be available for private use, allowing users to assign individual mobile keys for their family and friends either for a temporary period or permanent period.

What do you think about using NFC technology to open your house? Leave your comments below.

Assa Abloy


Energy saving tips for the budget conscious

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Saving money on your household bills has become a priority for many, especially with the increase in bills over the past year and the current economic climate. Here are our energy saving tips that won’t break the bank:

Draught excluders – unless you live in a relatively new house your likely to lose some heat from around windows and doors, gaps around the floor, through open chimneys and other little holes around the house. An easy and cheap way to stop unwanted heat loss is to install proper draught excluding products. Installing draught proofing products could save you up to £30 a year on your household bills.

Turn it off when not in use – everything these days seems to have some sort of standby mode whether it be your TV, consoles or laptops and making sure that these devices are completely off when not in use could save you between £40 and £80 a year.

Kitchen energy saving tips – by following these handy tips you could save up to £50 a year:

  • Wash your clothes at 30°C.
  • Use a washing up bowl instead of a dish washer or running the hot tap for an extended period.
  • When making a brew don’t fill the kettle to the top each time you boil it. Instead just fill the kettle by the amount you need.

Fit a water efficient shower head – if you own a shower that takes hot water from the boiler instead of being an electric shower then fitting a water efficient is a great way to reduce the amount of water your family uses while still maintaining a powerful shower. Some water companies are actually offering water efficient shower heads to customers for free, contact your water company to see if you can receive one.

standby button


Replacing the sealant around a bath

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Have you noticed water leaking from around the edge of your bath?  Do you see spots of mould growing at the section where your bath meets the wall?  If so, it may be time to replace the sealant around your bath as generally these problems arise when the sealant or caulking around the bath begins to break down or loosen.

So, how can you change your bath sealant?  First of all the sealant that is currently in place needs to be removed.  This job is actually quite simple, as long as you have a flat knife and a few minutes of time. Simply run the flat edge of the knife between the sealant and the wall and move it slowly around the bath to loosen the sealant completely.  Go back around and peel the sealant away bit by bit.

Once the edges of the bath are completely clean, a new layer of sealant can be applied.  Prepare the work surface by laying masking tape above and below the edges that are to be sealed.  Place a tube of sealant into a caulking gun, snip off the tip at an angle, and slowly depress the plunger to release the sealant from the tube.

Move the caulking gun around the edge of the bath to seal it entirely.  After the entire bath is completed, go back and look at the sealant edge to make sure that there are no gaps.  Wait for a few minutes, and then run your finger along the caulking to smooth it out.  Take the tape off and the job is finished.

When you are ready to put the finishing touches to your bathroom, be sure to pick up a Cleargreen eco-friendly bath panel to cover the space below the bath.

Picture: Timothy Takemoto


Space saving ideas for the bedroom

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Bedrooms contain more of our personal items per square foot than any other room in the house, and as you can expect become cluttered in a hurry. In this article we’ll go through some great space saving ideas to help keep your bedroom organised.

Underbed Storage

The bed is the single biggest item in any bedroom and has lots of untapped storage space underneath. Some beds come with storage built in, such as a divan, but most of the time you will have to find out your own type of underbed storage.

Underbed storage is available in a range of different types including boxes, drawers and vacuum bags, but it is important that you don’t just stuff everything under there or chaos will ensue. Instead, lay out your items in an organised fashion in boxes, drawers or bags with labels on them so that you know what’s in them, that way you will always be able to find what you are looking for.

Shelves

Shelves are a great option for a cluttered bedroom and utilizes the vertical space in the room too. There are plenty of sizes and styles of shelves available on the market, but it is best to choose some that are specific for your needs while still fitting in with the overall theme of the room.

Furniture with built in storage

Furniture with built in storage is a great option for a small bedroom. Accessories such as ottomans and bench seating come with handy storage compartments, great for keeping the room tidy anf free from clutter.

Sliding Wardrobes

Clothes and shoes take up the most room in any bedroom, and unless you have a dedicated dressing room you’ll need some kind of wardrobe to store them in. Standard wardrobes have doors that are on hinges which take up a lot of room when opened and are not recommended for small bedrooms, instead think about getting a sliding door wardrobe.

Sliding door wardrobes can be custom built to fit into any room and because the doors slide they take up far less room than a standard wardrobe. Sliding wardrobes can also utilise the vertical space in the room so that no space is wasted, and can be fitted with built-in storage and shoe racks.

bedroom storage

Picture: Pestpruf


Saving water in the bathroom

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The average UK household uses around 600 litres of water each and every day.  This figure does not include ‘invisible’ water use, which covers the water used to irrigate imported crops and in the clothing industry.  Water is the most valuable resource we have and we cannot survive without it.  Saving water wherever possible could and should be part of every UK resident’s daily routine.  Whilst we should never stint on drinking water, the bathroom is one area where savings can be made on a regular basis.

The bathroom is one area where saving water is easy.  Flushing toilets are one of the biggest consumers of water in the western world.  Fitting an eco-cistern from Geberit to the toilet saves water each time you flush.  Opt for a cistern with a dual-flush mechanism to save even more water.  Taking showers rather than baths saves a huge amount of water and energy, giving a double boost to the environment.  However, this is not often true in the case of power showers, which produce a full bath-tub of water in only five minutes.

Today’s children are fairly eco-aware, so get them on board with the water saving as well. Not leaving the taps to run during tooth-brushing can save litres of water each day, as can filling a basin with hot water for washing rather than leaving the tap running.  Making water-saving a family activity can be fun, and children who are encouraged to think about the environment from a young age are more likely to grow up to be eco-aware consumers.

Picture: stop that pigeon!


Early window coverings

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The first windows were openings in roofs, and were recorded in medieval dwellings in the 13th century.  The word window comes from an old Norse word meaning wind, as the holes were unglazed and allowed the passage of air.  The Latin word “fenestra” describes a window fitted with glass, and the fenestration of a building describes how windows are fitted into a building facade. 

The first windows in walls were simply holes, which were later covered with hides, cloth or wood.  Shutters were the first form of structural window coverings, which could be opened and closed.  Later, worked animal horn, paper or thinly sliced marble was used in windows, however, the Romans placed the first glass in windows. 

Paper windows were placed in dwellings in the Far East, whilst mullioned windows with small pieces of glass patched together with lead, predominated in Europe.  In England animal horn formed windows from the 14th century, and glass was not used until the 16th century. 

The origins of blinds

Blinds are so-called as they limit the view of those outside and inside a building when the blinds are closed.  Solid blinds which are not separated into slats, either vertically or horizontally, can also be called shades, as originally blinds were developed to shade dwellings from the mid day sun in hot countries.  They were in a simple style, using fabric to cover the window.  These blinds can only be moved up or down, so either completely block out the light, or open up to allow ingress of light as well as to enable people to see through the window.  In Ancient Egypt, blinds to shade the light were constructed using reeds.

Picture: k_t


Plasterboard fixings

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One of the biggest problems that the DIY person struggles with is fixing something to a plasterboard wall such as a cupboard or a coat hanging series of hooks. This should not be difficult as there are a variety of specialist fixings that are made for this task.

First you have to determine how heavy the item you wish to fix is, a lightweight fixing is useless for hanging a radiator, but would be suitable for a hook to hang a picture or small mirror for example.

Rawlplug and Fischer are amongst a number of companies that supply plasterboard fixings, all work on similar principles. The item is not unlike a standard plastic fitting used in walls but is also made in metal. The plug is inserted through a pre-drilled hole and the rear part of the plug is drawn into the back of the plaster board as the screw is tightened giving a tight and secure fixing, that is suitable for all but the heaviest of items.

For heavier and bulkier items such as a radiator, a heavy duty fixing is essential and you should be looking at a butterfly or spring toggle type of fixing. This has a captive screw which pulls the two arms of the toggle back into the plasterboard and it does require a much larger hole to allow the folded toggle to be initially pushed through. Care must be taken to ensure that you do not let the toggle go all the way through and of course the radiator fixing bracket also has to be attached. This can be a simple matter if the bracket has slots and not holes, but it can be done with care.

Your DIY store will advise you about the various fixings that are available for plasterboard and they should be able to tell you the load that they will comfortably carry.


Creating arched openings

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When creating an opening in a dividing wall in between a living room and dining room for example, a great way to finish it off is with a curved archway. This isn’t as daunting as it sounds, as there is a range of tools and accessories available that make creating a curved archway simply and cheaply.

Before you start creating your opening you will have to decide on an arch profile. These are available in a number of shapes and sizes, so choose one that closely resembles the size of hole you want to create. Because an arch will lower the height of the ceiling slightly it is also recommended that you measure to see if there is enough head room before fitting.

What you will need to create an arch is a set of metal-mesh arch corners and 90 degrees corner pieces for the straight parts of the wall. These are available at any good DIY store and are a quick and inexpensive way to create a professional looking archway.

Once you have your opening its time to fit your mesh forms to the wall. Make sure that the mesh pieces are flush against the wall and level and attach into place with nails and connect the different pieces of mesh together with wire to hold it all in place.

Once you are happy that all the meshes are in place you can go ahead and plaster the surface as you would a wall using a steady motion from bottom to top. Once the plaster has set you can prepare the whole wall and decorate it to suit your needs.

Picture: KaroliK