What should you do if you hit a gas main while digging?

What should you do if you hit a gas main while digging?credit

Modern life has made construction difficult. Digging on your own property used to be a simple task that just involved tools and some physical labour. These days, there’s an entire world of pipes, wires, lines and cables criss-crossing the land – all waiting to get in your way once you break ground.

The field of utility mapping has become very successful, helping people figure out just what is under their property, so that digging and construction can be done safely.

While cutting the cable line is an inconvenience, damaging a gas main is a serious hazard. Once there’s a gas leak, even the tiniest spark can cause an explosion. Keeping that in mind, what should you do if you hit a gas main?

garden spade in the ground

Start with prevention

The best first step is to avoid the whole problem to begin with by accurately determining what is underground at your dig site. You can either call your various utilities and get as much information from them as you can, or use your region’s “call before you dig” service (which is typically free). The service should cover all the utilities, so it’s a more efficient approach.

Most of these services will check with their records to determine precisely what is (or isn’t) under your property. Even though we’re talking solely about gas lines here, it’s good to get info on all possible obstacles. For a more direct view of what’s underground, to cover all the bases and to include things that may not be on record, hire a company to do a mapping with ground penetrating radar.

Be warned, that many places will hold you liable if you do dig and hit a utility without having called the service for guidance.

mini-digger clearing pile of bricks

You’ve hit the gas main

Even with all your planning, accidents can still happen. If you hit a gas line, you should immediately evacuate everyone out of the area. Clear out an area of at least 100 feet, and turn off all power equipment in the same range. That means electrical as well as any gas-powered machines. Battery-powered flash lights or task lights should also be off. Any slight spark can ignite the gas.

Don’t base your actions on whether you can smell any gas. Though natural gas should have an odour, a small leak may be undetectable outdoors, and will continue to seep gas as you work.

Once you’ve cleared the area, call the gas company. Be clear that you think you’ve hit a gas pipe and they’ll let you know what to do next. They can likely clarify that the pipe is indeed a gas main (if you aren’t positive), and they’ll send out a professional crew to deal with it.

If you haven’t called the dig safety line beforehand, don’t let that stop you from calling. Fear of litigation or fines shouldn’t prevent you from doing the right thing and reporting the damage. The risks of fire or explosion are too serious for that.

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How does wall cladding work and why should you have it?

Exterior wall cladding on an apartment building

If you want to improve the look of your home, and save on the amount of energy you use, investing in exterior wall cladding may be a good idea. In addition, cladding the outside walls of your home can offer them protection against the elements.

In this article, we’re going to look at these areas in more detail. We’re also going to explain the different types of wall cladding that exist and how they work.

How does wall cladding work?

Exterior stained clad wall with yellow door

Put simply, wall cladding is the art of covering the exterior walls of a property with a certain material. There are three main wall cladding materials and they all have positives and negatives; let’s take a look at them.

Vinyl wall cladding

Vinyl-clad front elevation of a housecredit

Over the years, vinyl wall cladding has been the most popular choice. You can choose from a selection of vinyl cladding suppliers. This type of cladding was originally introduced as an alternative to aluminium siding; it was cheaper and more effective. Today, vinyl cladding is still an affordable option. However, it does have a tendency to warp and fade over time. It is also easier to damage than some other types of cladding.

Timber wall cladding

Weathered exterior wood cladding on an apartnemt building

The main attraction of timber wall cladding is it’s appearance. It often blends well with the overall appearance of a property. If you decide to invest in this type of cladding it’s worth noting that it requires similar amounts of maintenance to other timber areas of your property.

UPVC wall cladding

Exterior UPVC cladding on an apartment buildingcredit

It’s worth stating from the outset that this type of wall cladding tends to be more expensive than the others we have mentioned. This extra expense does bring benefits, such as high levels of durability, appearance that does not fade and improved levels of insulation. There is also little maintenance required; you just need to clean the cladding with a damp cloth.

Now you have a better idea of what wall cladding is, let’s take a look at its benefits.

Why cladding the walls of your property is a good idea

House with exterior brick and wood cladding

One major reason why people have cladding fitted to the exterior walls of their property is that it improves the appearance. It’s not just about the look when it comes to cladding though. There are several other advantages.

  • Protection against adverse weather conditions such as hail, snow or extreme heat
  • Insulation against external noise
  • Insulation that keeps warm air in during cold weather and cool air in when the weather is hot. This helps to reduce energy use and resulting costs

As you can see, there are several significant benefits to be had if you decide to invest in wall cladding. Make sure that you do your research and seek expert assistance when it comes to having the work completed. No matter which type of cladding material you use your property will benefit, so you need to make the choice based on your requirements when it comes to cost, on-going maintenance and durability.

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5 things you should know BEFORE installing underfloor heating

Aerial view of a sofa on a wooden floor

Wave goodbye to radiators and hello to more space and a warm home for less! Underfloor heating is a great choice and if you’re thinking of taking the leap to luxurious warm floors, these are the five things you need to know…

#1 It provides a constant temperature across the home or in individual rooms

Feet in orange & blue spotted socks on a wooden floor

The great thing about underfloor heating is its flexibility. Therefore, it sometimes pays to spend the extra money to get a professional supplier and installation company to not only fit the system but design it for you in the first place.

With central heating, the boiler fires up and sends heat through to all the radiators on the system, unless you switch the radiators off in certain rooms (if you can) or lower the temperature of the radiator with its thermostatic valve.

This gives you some flexibility, but not a lot. Underfloor heating is completely different. You can create single zone underfloor heating areas so that the important rooms in the house are heated when you need them to be but other rooms can enjoy a lower level of heat.

The ability to control your heating at every point of day and night means you save money as well as having a more comfortably heated home.

#2 It’s best fitted with high thermal conductivity flooring

Child playing with a toy digger on a wooden floor

Sounds a mouthful, doesn’t it?! But what does it mean?

It means to get the best from your underfloor heating system, you need a top layer of flooring that’s incredibly efficient in grabbing hold of the heat and keeping hold of it.

This means the system doesn’t need to work as hard. There are many flooring options – wood, laminate, ceramic tile, polished concrete and carpet – that work well with underfloor heating.

It’s true to say that some options work better than others. Polished concrete floors are a great conductor and retainer of heat. Ceramic tiles also work well and some wood flooring solutions are also a great fit.

It’s possible to use carpet but it must be of a low TOG rating to allow heat through it and into the room. However, even then, it’s not so great at hanging on to the heat.

#3 A smart thermostat adds more flexibility & sophistication

Nest smart thermostat

Although we think of underfloor heating as a modern invention, it’s been around for some time. The Romans used ‘fire under the floor’ to heat their bath houses.

Modern day underfloor heating is more sophisticated and flexible but to get even more out of the system, a smart thermostat is a must.

If you have a multi-zone system, you can set different temperatures in different rooms with a few taps of your smart phone – and alter it throughout the day.

Underfloor heating response time is slower than the boiler and radiator approach but that doesn’t mean it’s at a disadvantage. It just means that you plan your heating to fit with your activities from day to day. For that, you need the tools to set the heat of the system as and when.

#4 Correct installation is key

High-gloss kitchen floor
That’s why getting a professional and expert in all thing underfloor heating should install your system, even if they don’t design it.

Wet or water underfloor heating works by a series of pipe loops being laid in the sub floor and hot water circulating through them to heat the floor.

It’s an incredibly simple, yet effective system. But, this doesn’t mean that things can’t go wrong when it’s being installed. Discovering that you have a leaking pipe when you’ve already laid the floor isn’t the opportune time to try and repair it.

All wet underfloor heating systems should be pressure tested BEFORE you start pouring high conductivity screed or laying insulation boards to protect the pipes. Once laid, the system will function without a hitch for years to come.

#5 Underfloor heating is a system that you’ll love!

Kitchen diner with wooden floorboard floor

Underfloor heating isn’t for everyone. If you like dry, hot heat that leaves your house stuffy, then underfloor heating isn’t for you.

If you prefer an ambient, constant temperature, as well as a luxuriously warm floor underfoot, then underfloor heating is for you.

However, you’ll need to have some patience. With some installation processes, the screed must dry thoroughly before the heat can be switched on because if you dry out liquid concrete too quickly it cracks. That means the floor isn’t as structurally sound as it should be, leading to problems further down the line. In other words, you may have to wait a week or two before the big switch on.

Underfloor heating suits any property and isn’t as expensive to fit as you’d think either. A proven technology, more and more people are realising the benefits of underfloor heating – why not you?

Underfloor Heating Trade Supplies understands the simplicity of underfloor heating but the amazing benefits it brings to any space, from a single room in a home to multi-zone systems in commercial premises.

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Important things you should consider before renovating your home

Important things you should consider before renovating your home

Though HGTV uses fun demo days and trips to the design board to make renovations look glamorous, there is in fact quite a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ action. In order for you to better focus on the fun stuff and dream up your perfect space, this post is here to help you by highlighting some important things you should consider before you begin renovating your home.

Tall stepladder in a hallway

Your ultimate goal

What’s your main goal for renovation? Are you looking to capitalise on your home or are you intending to spruce it up and make it your ‘forever home’? This decision will help guide and influence your entire renovation.

If you’re looking to renovate and then sell your home, aim to keep your project budget-friendly, with a design that will appeal to the majority of potential buyers.

On the other hand, renovating your home for your own benefit in the long-term is the perfect opportunity to create your dream home. Use the materials you love and a timeless design that you will enjoy for years to come.

Room in a state of disrepair

Planning and design

As you picture the final results of your renovation, what do you see?

It takes a lot of effort to get there but it’s important to plan each step of the renovation process. When it comes down to the details of your project, the more you plan and the more detailed it is, the better. Then, once you make your plan, do your best to stick to it! Extra additions and product switches add up.

If you’re tackling the interior design solo, books, magazines and blogs can be great sources for inspiration. From there, you can save what you love on Pinterest or create a mood board to help guide your project. Or, if you are looking for some support, a decorator or interior designer can help you plan the design for your space.

Painting a wall black with a roller

What to DIY and what to outsource

Before renovating, consider what things around the home you want to renovate yourself and the things for which you should seek external help.

A few home projects that are great to do yourself are painting, sanding, building furniture and laying tiles. For the larger and more complex modifications, such as electricity-related projects, it would definitely be better to use the services of a professional electrician and opt for reliable, high quality low voltage products like circuit breakers for example, as they play a crucial part in protecting the whole electrical circuit from damage caused by electricity overloaded wiring.

Measuring with a spirit level

Budget

As you plan your budget for your renovation, it may be helpful to pencil in a safety net that leaves room for going 15% over. After all, renovating is an expensive business.

To help your project start off on the right foot, a builder or quantity surveyor can help you figure out what you are working with.

Go over your design and check out online shops to understand what pieces you can find that will fit into your budget.

Box of grey ceramic tiles

Timing

When it comes to renovating, timing is everything (especially for your pocket).

Be sure to consistently check in with your contractor and make sure the renovations are going according to plan. After all, you wouldn’t want your delay with the final touches and painting to run into the delivery date of the items of furniture you ordered.

Moreover, if you make a schedule, sticking to it will be important no matter if you’re planning to live in your home during the renovations or out of it. Your patience, extended family or hotel bills will appreciate the project wrapping up in a timely manner!

Your home renovation will be exactly what you make of it. Prepare for some bumps in the road, but the planning, budgeting and timing you work out will only help your project run as smoothly as possible. Most importantly, however, remember to enjoy the process!

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