Burn baby burn!

Win a bucket of Flamers with Certainly Wood & H is for Home

For this month’s competition, we have a fantastic prize that you’ll use all year round. We’ve teamed up with Certainly Wood to offer one of our readers a bucket of Flamers firelighters.

Small pile of flamers on their box | H is for Home

We’ve been trialling these Flamers recently and we can really sing their praises. They’re a wonderful product – renewable, untreated wood shavings dipped in refined wax. They have a long burn which makes lighting fires easy and reliable. Also, there’s none of the harsh, chemical aromas that you get from other types of firelighter.

Flamer igniting with kindling | H is for Home

And as if that wasn’t enough, they actually look great too. They’re attractive additions to the fireside in the same way a basket of logs gives a natural, cosy look to a room. In addition to wood burners and open fires, they’re also perfect for barbecues and pizza ovens. We’re complete converts and won’t be using anything else in the future.

Bucket full of Flamers in front of our wood buring stove | H is for Home

To enter, simply tell us in the comments section below how you usually light your fire or barbecue.

Bucket full of Flamers in front of our wood buring stove | H is for Home

Bucket of Flamers fire lighters

Shared on: Superluckyme | The Prizefinder | Loquax | U Me and the Kids




Shower time

Ecocamel Jetstorm Plus and Orbit shower heads | H is for Home

We’ve had our current electric shower unit for some time now – it must be nearly 15 years, come to think of it. We’re probably due an upgrade, but our list of items that need some money spending on them is pretty long at the moment – exterior walls need pointing, the roof needs repair, the boiler is playing up etc… and that’s not to mention the camper van fund which has stalled a bit this year. The actual shower unit still works, so we’re not at the urgent stage, but the water flow certainly isn’t anything to write home about.

Our old shower head | H is for Home Our old shower head | H is for Home

Perhaps we could improve that for the time being, we decided. And then the lovely people at Ecocamel came to the rescue, sending us two new shower heads to try out – the Jetstorm Plus and Orbit models.

Ecocamel Jetstorm Plus shower head, turned off | H is for Home Ecocamel Jetstorm Plus shower head, turned on | H is for Home

They’re both ideal for electric showers and incorporate the Ecocamel ‘Aircore Technology’ which injects air directly into the water stream, so you get a powerful shower whilst actually using less hot water as an additional benefit. The Jetstorm Plus head has three adjustable spray settings allowing you to achieve the ideal shower flow for you – the Orbit has clusters of nodules for a powerful and even spray.

Ecocamel Orbit shower head turned off | H is for Home Ecocamel Orbit shower head turned on | H is for Home

They both look good and have wipe clean rubber nodules to prevent the build up of lime scale if you live in a hard water area.

Ecocamel Jetstorm Plus shower head, turned off | H is for Home Ecocamel Jetstorm Plus shower head, turned on | H is for Home Ecocamel Jetstorm Plus shower head, turned on | H is for Home

We’ve been trying them out this week and we’re delighted with the results.We’ve really noticed a difference when showering.

Ecocamel Jetstorm Plus shower head | H is for Home Ecocamel Orbit shower head | H is for Home

Perhaps your shower flow is poor, or your shower head is old and tatty, or you’re interested in the eco-friendly energy and water savings they offer. Whatever the reason, they’re very easy to replace – universal fittings mean that you simply screw off your old shower head and screw the new one on – two minutes, and you’re done!

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10 ways to reduce water consumption in the home

10 ways to reduce water consumption in the homecredit

Each Brit uses about 150 litres of tap water per day and 63% of daily water consumption in the home originates from either the bathroom or the toilet, according to Waterwise.

Follow these ten tips though and you should be able to significantly reduce the amount of water you use on a daily basis:

Dripping tap with low water pressurecredit

Eliminate low water pressure

A shower with trickling water, an electric shower that stops working when a toilet flushes, and a bath or toilet cistern that takes a long time to fill are all signs that you could be suffering from low water pressure. Seek out a specialist like WaterPressureProblems.com when you encounter these symptoms and their plumbers will be able to see from where the issue is originating.

running tap brushing teethcredit

Don’t run the tap while you’re brushing your teeth

You could be wasting up to six litres of water every minute that you’re leaving a tap running while you brush your teeth. As soon as you’ve wet your toothbrush and toothpaste, turn the tap off and don’t turn if back on again until you need to rinse.

Drop-a-brick cistern displacement devicecredit

Buy a cistern displacement device for your toilet

A cistern displacement device – otherwise known as a CDD – is easy to install in your toilet and works to displace an estimated 1 litre of water with every flush. Most water companies will provide these items free of charge.

Fix leaking taps as soon as they start

A dripping tap can result in over 60 litres of water being wasted every week! Clearly, it’s time to stop ignoring that constant dripping that you hear from a leaking tap and get it fixed.

Wet shave razor, brush and bowlcredit

Avoid running water when having a shave…

Filling a sink with a few inches of warm water will rinse your razor just as well as running water will, and result in you wasting a lot less water in the process.

Doing washing up in bright green plastic bowlcredit

…and when washing dishes

As we mentioned when touching on how to brush your teeth in a more efficient manner, a running tap uses around six litres of water per minute. When it comes to washing your pots, pans and dishes then, opt to fill a basin with warm soapy water before you begin.

Large wooden barrel water buttcredit

Use rainwater on garden plants

Install a tank and pump in your garden and you’ll be able to use the rainwater that is collected within it to water your plants. There are even tanks and pumps available which enable you to use rainwater when operating a washing machine or dishwasher.

Glass pop-top tap water bottlecredit

Keep a jug of water in your fridge

Do you tend to leave a tap running for a while so that you can enjoy a nice cold drink of water? It’s more efficient if you opt to instantly fill a jug or bottle with tap water instead and then pop it into the fridge to cool.

Bright red steaming kettlecredit

Only fill your kettle to the level you need

By filling your kettle with just enough water for what you actually need, you’ll not only save on the amount of water that you use but also reduce the amount of energy that the electrical gadget uses every time it boils.

Bright pink recycled plastic 5-minute shower timercredit

Set up a shower timer in your bathroom

You can be using anywhere from six to 45 litres of water every minute that you have a shower on. Encourage yourself and others in your household to spend less time in the shower by having a timer clearly on display.

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Is an air source heat pump a good option for your home heating?

'Is an air source heat pump a good option for your home heating?' blog post banner

Air source heat pump diagramcredit

An air source heat pump (ASHP) works by absorbing heat from the air outside your home. This heat can then be used to heat water, radiators, under-floor heating systems or warm air convectors.

The pump works in the same way as a fridge removes heat from the air inside it and it can extract heat at temperatures as low as minus 15ºC! These pumps do use electricity, so they do have a carbon footprint, but the heat they collect is being constantly renewed.

air source heat pump installed on outdoor deckingcredit

The upsides of air source heat pumps

• Lower fuel bills, particularly if you are replacing electric heating

• You can earn some income though the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

• Smaller carbon footprint

• No fuel deliveries and storage

• Low maintenance

• You can heat your water, or your home, or both

Heat pumps work at lower temperatures over longer periods of time, so you’ll need to keep them on all the time over winter. Your radiators won’t feel hot, like they do with a gas boiler.

How do these pumps work?

Heat from the air is absorbed into a fluid, which is then compressed, raising its temperature. This increased heat is transferred to the house’s hot water or heating circuits.

Semi-detached house heated by an air source heat pumpcredit

I’m interested, but is an ASHP for me?

Ask yourself:

Is there space for it? It needs to be placed outside your house with plenty of clearance for air to circulate around it. A sunny wall is the best place.

Are you well-insulated? ASHPs work best when producing less heat than traditional boilers, so any heat you get needs to be retained.

What’s your current fuel? If it’s gas central heating, your ASHP won’t pay for itself as quickly as if you’re replacing coal central heating or electrical heating.

What heating system will you use? ASHPs work best with under-floor heating systems and warm air systems rather than radiators because of the lower temperatures.

Are you buying a new build or having extensive work done? If so, the pump and new system can be installed alongside the other work, saving money.

House heated by an air source heat pumpcredit

What does it cost to install?

ASHPs cost between £7,000 and £11,000, while running costs vary with house size, how warm you want to be and how well-insulated your home is.

How much will I save?

This depends on what you’re replacing and what you’re replacing it with.

If possible, under-floor heating is better than radiators as it needs lower temperatures. If you can’t do this, then large radiators work well.

You’ll pay for the electricity used to run the pump, but you won’t pay for fuel any longer.

If your old heating system is inefficient, then a new pump will make a difference.

If you’re heating water too, then your heating system will be less efficient and you may need a solar water heating system.

This annual savings table is for a four-bedroomed detached house in England, Scotland or Wales with an average-sized air source heat pump.

•Gas older (non-condensing) – £295-£425

• Electric (old storage heaters) – £715-£1,295

• Oil older (non-condensing) – £360-£555

• LPG older (non-condensing) – £1,200-£1,805

• Coal – £525-£875

You could receive £905-£1,365 in payments from the Renewable Heat Initiative.

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