How to reduce your utility bills

How to reduce your utility bills

When it comes to keeping your home warm, particularly during the colder months, your utility bills can become a real drain on your finances. It can be tricky to keep a budget in place, and save money on your bills without compromising on the quality of your home life.

With the blustery weather outside, we thought we’d pull together this post on how to save money on your utility bills. Our top tips can help you orchestrate a happy home that’s not just cosy and welcoming, but energy efficient too.

Red standby button off

Change-up your routine

We all know how easy it is to lose track of how much energy we may be wasting, but one quick-fix is to make energy efficiency a part of your daily routine. For example, get into the habit of switching the lights off in a room as you leave and always avoid leaving devices on standby. As well as this, make sure your dishwasher is stacked and full before turning it on, and set your washing machine to a shorter, cooler cycle. Habits like this may seem small, but the savings soon add up.

White radiator

Bleed your radiators

When pockets of air get trapped in your radiators, heating up your home can become much more difficult. Trapped air means you need to keep your heating on for much longer to feel the same results. When you bleed your radiator, you release the air that’s trapped inside and heat can travel through the radiators with ease, thus keeping your home warmer. Bleed your radiators to benefit from lower energy bills.

LED bulb on a black background

Make the switch to LED bulbs

Traditional halogen bulbs have long been the go-to bulb for home-owners. However, increasingly, people are growing wise to their inefficiency. LED light bulbs use 90% less energy than halogen alternatives, and come in a range of colour temperatures and designs. Investing in LED bulbs for your home can see you reduce your utility bills significantly.

Grey radiator on a yellow wall

Add foil to the back of your radiators

The heat from radiators often escapes through the back, only to get absorbed by the walls. To avoid this, and make the most of the heat, add foil to the back of your radiators. This will reflect the heat back into the room, giving you more warmth for your money!

Blankets and cushions on a sofa

Layer up

An old energy saving hack, but still as effective as ever. Instead of turning up your heating at the drop of a hat, add on an extra layer or two or get cuddled up under a blanket. Regularly getting into this habit, as well as encouraging the rest of the household do so too, can help to keep your energy bills under control.

Running an energy efficient home can be a real challenge, particularly when you’ve had a long day out in the cold! However, having to sacrifice luxuries to save on your bills is a long-standing misconception. Small compromises and healthy habits are all you need to keep your utility bills under control.

We hope you’ve found our post useful, and you are keeping warm during the cold weather. What are your energy efficiency hacks? Get in touch and let us know!

The information above was provided by the team at online electrical wholesalers, The Electrical Guys


Get their look: Christmas fireside

Christmas firesidecredit

Have you put up your tree and hung your decorations yet? What’s your colour scheme? We usually go for traditional red on the ground floor and copper on the top floor. We really like the look & feel of this Christmas fireside; simple rustic with minimalist white tree ornaments and wrapping paper.

The addition of a vintage wooden child’s sled adds a sense of fun. The unusual, half-moon wood-burning stove is the focal point of the room (well, it is when the Christmas tree isn’t there!). All its accessories are close at hand – logs, newspapers, companion set… there’s even a vintage metal fire bucket to add a flash of colour.

  1. Vintage chalkboard
  2. John Lewis Croft Collection Stanley rattan large easy-to-fit ceiling light
  3. Scan 85 Series High Top fire
  4. Vintage wooden wine box
  5. Vintage fire bucket
  6. ALSEDA banana fibre stool
  7. Vintage wooden sled
  8. Black fireside companion set
  9. Personalised wooden storage box

Get their look: Christmas fireside | H is for Home

3 signs you might need to call a plumber

3 signs you might need to call a plumber | H is for Home

As a home-owner, you’ll sometimes be faced with repairs and other home improvement projects. While many of these fixes can be done without the help of a professional, some problems require expert knowledge. Plumbing is one area that often requires a professional and trying to fix plumbing issues on your own can turn into an even bigger problem.

Today, we’re going to learn a few signs that just might indicate that you need to call a plumber for backup.

Soldering a water pipe

You have a slight leak in your pipes

If you notice a small leak in one of your water pipes, you may think it’s no big deal. However, small leaks can turn into serious flooding in a matter of seconds. Small leaks can also be an indication that your water system needs a major overhaul. If you notice leaking pipes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Calling a professional plumbing service like Reckon Plumbing for those of you who are based in Los Angeles will ensure that your small leak is fixed before it’s too late. Water damage is a serious issue that could end up costing thousands. Get those leaks fixed so that your biggest investment is protected.

Shower head

You keep running out of hot water

When you take a shower, do you notice the hot water runs out before you’re finished? This could be a sign that your boiler isn’t working properly. In more serious situations, it could mean that your water heater is about to fail and should be replaced. But, only a qualified plumber can determine the condition of your boiler.

In some cases, boilers can be repaired. However, if your unit is more than 10 years old, you may want to think about having it replaced. If you do need to install a new boiler, you should allow a certified plumber to do the job. Boilers can cause house fires if they’re not installed properly.

Damp basement

Your basement always seems damp

If your basement is always damp or you notice water seeping from the walls, you should call a plumber. This could be a sign of a leaking water pipe or drain line that is hidden underground. While you can take measures to get rid of the moisture by installing dehumidifiers, you should have the problem checked out by a plumber.

As we’ve learned above, water damage is a serious issue that could cause many different types of problems. The worst issue you may face is a mould infestation. When there is moisture present in your basement, it will often attract dangerous mould. Once mould has taken over your basement, it can make your family sick and cost you thousands of dollars to remove. To play it safe, call a plumber as soon as you notice moisture in your basement.

These are just a few signs that it might be time to contact a plumber. Remember, there are many jobs that only a certified plumber can handle. They have the knowledge and tools to do these jobs properly, so when in doubt, always give them a call.


Price Points: Radiator covers

Radiator covers | H is for Home

I won’t lie, I find most modern radiators hideous! If we ever build our own home from scratch, I’d install under-floor heating and do away with radiators altogether. They really get in the way of the positioning of furniture.

In an old house (like our current one), I’d love to rip out all the boxy, white radiators and replace them with beautiful cast iron Victorian style ones. That would be a hugely costly and messy operation; a quicker & easier option would be to invest in radiator covers.

We’re completely in love with the bentwood slatted example above (#3) – and they’re available in a huge range of colours and patterns.

  1. Radwraps magnetic radiator cover: from £25.61, Amazon
  2. Modern radiator cover: from £76.80, 3D modular
  3. Oak radiator cover: from £252 for 90cm length radiator, Cool Radiators

Winter Wisdom – 8 warming ways to prepare your household for winter

Winter Wisdom - 8 warming ways to prepare your household for winter

Winter is a wonderful time of year for those of us not so keen on extreme heat and having bugs everywhere. In fact, many good things happen in winter. It’s the perfect season for hot food, woolly socks and crackling fires. The key to a good winter is to make sure your home is ready for it. For suggestions on how to get your house in good order for the cold months, read this list of 8 warming ways to prepare your household for winter.

Bathroom shower

Household maintenance

Your house maintenance should be taken care of before winter gets its icy grip on your house, because when things suddenly or catastrophically go wrong it can take much longer to fix. It’s essential that your house is completely watertight – and pipes, drains and gutters are clear and free flowing. The endless torrential rain that often falls in winter and early spring can set back work on neglected pipes or other work that needs excavation…and bad weather can also prevent work being done on roofs or outdoor electrical appliances like water heaters. Imagine not having hot showers for a week in winter. No thank you!

Many companies clear blocked drains in Melbourne, for instance, and getting that done prior to winter’s arrival is a good idea, as some nights can get downright frosty. The last thing you need in the middle of a freezing night is a burst drainpipe.

Slippered feet up with a hot drink in front of an open fire

Light a fire

First and foremost, if your house has a real fire, then it’s time to break out the firewood! Make sure coal stores or log piles are well stocked during late summer and autumn. Organise deliveries early or get some wood chopped in readiness! Fires are a great, economical way to warm a house, and they can provide hours of entertainment. They give a room a real sense of drama and atmosphere. The additional burst of heat will also cut out any need for appliances such fan heaters.

Woollen blanket and patterned pottery mug

Scatter some blankets

Winter is a great time for snuggling up with some blankets. The best thing about blankets is that they not only keep you warm, but they can be dotted around your house and over the backs of sofas as decoration, then easily grabbed if you feel the chill. Distributing blankets around rooms in your home will mean you’re never far from a warm, cosy blanket in the dead of winter.

Bowl of meat stew

Roast away!

Arguably one of the best things about winter is the food that you begin to crave. When it’s 4ºC and raining outside, nothing satisfies hunger like a good roast dinner. Warming food like roasts, stews and hearty soups are perfect for not only warming you and dinner guests, but also make the whole house smell amazing.

Pair of thick, pale-coloured curtains

Heavy curtains

One thing that many people forget when winter-proofing their houses is how much heat is lost through the windows, even when the curtains or blinds are closed. If your house is freezing cold at night and you have large windows, consider buying thicker or lined curtains or blinds for them. This will keep more of the heat in and save you money through lowering electricity and gas bills.

Over the knee winter socks

Dress for the occasion

What will keep you warm in winter, no matter where you go? Woollens and waterproofs are the obvious choice for the cold season, but even within the protected environment of your own home there are things you can wear to keep the chill at bay. Thick socks on your feet will keep cold, tiled floors from freezing your toes off – and a quilted robe can mean the perfect combination of comfort and warmth.

Blue fleece electric blanketcredit

Warm the bed

Your bed will likely be too cold at night before you hop in, and even with pyjamas on this can cool you down before your body heat manages to warm up the bed and duvet. An electric blanket is the perfect addition to a winter bedding ensemble, and all you need to do is switch it on an hour or so before you hop into bed to ensure a nice, toasty night’s sleep.

Radiator thermostat

Radiate heat

Finally, there are ways of keeping heat in the less used rooms, like your bedroom.

While most of the evening might be spent in the common areas of your house, your bedroom will be where you retire to and unless you have put something in place to heat that room, it will likely be freezing cold. A radiator heater can be a great option for this, as it uses very little electricity and stays warm for long periods of time. Turn in on when you get home from work and your room will be toasty by the time you get to bed that night. Or perhaps fit timer switches that can activate heating systems precisely in specific areas.

With these tips in mind, the cold of winter doesn’t stand a chance at infiltrating your abode – so get out there and start winter-proofing your house today.







3 Ways to decide if you need residential air conditioning repair or a new system

3 Ways to decide if you need residential air conditioning repair or a new system

It’s really frustrating when your air conditioner breaks down in the middle of a hot summer afternoon as countless people who it has happened to can attest. The first thing to do, of course, is to call in repair services. However, in some cases, the air conditioning system is beyond repair and the home-owner will need to replace it. It can be a dilemma making the decision between having it repaired or shelling out and buying a new air conditioning system. Choosing between the two can be confusing especially when you don’t have technical knowledge of how these systems work. Often, people opt for the wrong one – costing them much more than necessary.

To determine whether you should have your air conditioning repaired or invest in a new one, consider the following factors:

Air conditioning unit

  1. Age of the unit

This is the first factor you need to consider. Age greatly affects the performance of your air conditioning system. Air conditioning units often come with a longevity recommendation. When your air conditioning has a 15-year mark and it’s only 10 years old, you may opt for repair services like air conditioning repair in McKinney. However, if it’s nearing the 15-year mark, a replacement may be the best decision. Trying to repair a unit way past its recommended year of service can be a false economy, costing you more in the long run.

Air conditioning maintenance

  1. Cost of repair and replacement

Air conditioning repair may sound cheaper than having to buy a new one, but this isn’t always the case. Some repair costs, including service charges and buying spare parts could add up and may cost you more than a new unit. In a case like this, opt for a replacement. Or, when the need to repair seems to occur more often than the usual, the total cost can be overwhelming. Hence, replacement is the wiser thing to do. Be practical on this one and look at it over the long term.

Air conditioning repair

  1. Energy efficiency

There are a lot of contributing factors when it comes to energy efficiency. First is the working condition of your unit. If the unit doesn’t produce as much cold air as it used to even after series of repairs, it’s probably time to buy a new one. Energy efficiency is also about your electricity bill. If you notice your bill is starting to sky-rocket over time and the air conditioning is the only possible suspect, invest in a new one. Finally, consider your space and the traffic in the area. If an additional person or persons are using the room or if the space became bigger due to home improvement projects, it’s may time to buy a new one. However, if the above cases are not among your current situation, you might consider repairing it first.

When you opt for air conditioning repair, make sure you hire the best repair service firm. If you decide to buy a new one, find the unit that is right size and output for your needs. Also, check for the Energy Star label that proves that the unit is energy efficient.