6 ways to bring sunlight indoors

6 ways to bring sunlight indoors

If some of the rooms in your home are on the dark side and could do with brightening up, there are lots of different tricks you can use to bring sunlight indoors.

Two Velux-type windows in a bedroom

Skylights

Installing a skylight or Velux-type window has one of the most dramatic effects possible, allowing sunlight to flood in from the open sky above. They really can transform a space from dark & dingy to light & airy. There are lots of attractive blinds on the market specifically for this type of window from manufacturers such as Roofwindows.co.uk.

Bathroom with a mirrored wall

Mirrors

Mirrors are a great, inexpensive way of increasing the amount of sunlight coming into your home. Placed strategically opposite a window, they bounce and reflect light around a space. They work especially well on dark stairways and bathrooms.

Desk and chair against a brilliant white wall

Reflective walls

Various companies have developed interior wall paints which contain light-reflective particles. It’s a subtle, clever way to maximise natural light entering the property.

Glazed internal sliding doors

Glazed doors

Glazed doors (both exterior and interior) can make a real difference to the amount of light entering a house and dispersing it throughout the rooms contained within. B&Q have a huge range of glazed doors – traditional, folding and sliding. Similarly, glazed wall panels can divide up larger open plan spaces – creating defined zones for living without blocking light. They’ll need to be made of toughened glass if safety considerations demand it of course – small children or boisterous pets running round, for example.

Daylight bulbs

Daylight bulbs

If you have a room that is windowless and at the centre of the house, you can easily fake natural sunlight these days. There are now specialist bulbs on the market that mimic sunlight, illuminating your room with a sunny glow.

Open-plan living area

Remove unnecessary partition walls

If it’s not load-bearing, removing a wall won’t require the installation of an RSJ – and should be relatively inexpensive. If it’s made of plasterboard rather than solid stone or concrete it’s even easier! Removing walls between kitchen and dining rooms has become common practice. One of the major benefits of this is to allow light to flow between the front and back of the house. Other common areas where this can have a dramatic ‘opening up’ effect is the hallway, landing and larder areas.

Can you think of any other great ways to bring sunlight indoors? We’d really love to hear your thoughts.

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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.

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How to keep your heating oil costs as low as possible

How to keep your heating oil costs as low as possiblecredit

For many home-owners, the winter months are a worrying time. They worry about how much they’ll need to pay for heating oil. Fortunately, there are several ways to keep the cost of heating your home down, which is why we’ve written this post.

Buy from commercial sellers

Instead of automatically buying from your local domestic oil company, try commercial fuel suppliers as well. Many of them are happy to sell to domestic customers, as well as business owners. Usually, their prices are very competitive.

Buy your oil early

When possible, buy your heating oil early. Buying before the rush is the best way to avoid paying more than you need to.

However, you need to bear in mind that the cost of heating oil fluctuates throughout the year. Unfortunately, this sometimes means that buying your oil in the summer actually doesn’t work out to be cheaper.

However, most years, this approach does work. Because demand is lower during the warmer months the cost of heating oil usually dips during the summer.

Oil tank maintenancecredit

Look after your boiler

It is also worth having your boiler serviced during the summer. Many heating engineers are not so busy then. As a result, many self-employed engineers offer a discount to those customers who have their boilers serviced during the warmer months.

Having your boiler serviced on a regular basis will also save you money. This is because a properly maintained boiler works more efficiently. It’s also less likely to break down and need replacing.

Not to mention the fact that an unserviced boiler represents a safety hazard. Every year, hundreds of people die because they breathe in carbon monoxide emitted by a faulty boiler. Dozens more die in boiler explosions. In most of these cases, it turns out that the boiler involved hasn’t been properly maintained.

Don’t overheat your home

An awful lot of home-owners waste heating oil by keeping their home too hot. Studies show that if you turn your thermostat down by one degree every couple of weeks, most people will not notice the difference – at least not at first. Often, by the time they do realise that the house is cooler, the thermostat has already been turned down by four or five degrees, which significantly reduces the amount of oil that’s being consumed. Typically, for every degree you reduce your thermostat by, you save 1 or 2% on your fuel bill.

Basement oil tankcredit

Keep the heat inside your property

The other step you need to take is to insulate and draught-proof your home. It doesn’t take long to do, and it’s a job that many people can do themselves. You can find out more about how to insulate a house from this page. The information in this article will prove especially helpful for those who are living on a tight budget.

Buying your heating oil at the right time and shopping around for the best price are both important. However, it’s being careful not to consume too much fuel and making the best use of the heat that you generate that makes the biggest difference, and keeps your costs down.

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Stylish medium clocks to check out at Dandelion Interiors

Stylish medium clocks to check out at Dandelion Interiors | H is for Home

**Written in collaboration with Dandelion Interiors**

No home is complete without beautiful clocks to adorn it – form and function working perfectly together. That’s why we’ve compiled this selection of stylish medium sized timepieces that would be great for different areas of your home. Here are our top picks from our Dandelion Interiors medium wall clocks line-up!

Vintage copper with white face London modern wall clock

Vintage copper with white face London modern wall clock

The Vintage Copper with White Face London Modern Wall Clock has a real classic look and vintage appeal. This medium-sized clock is perfect to add a focal point and interest to an otherwise stark wall. It’s also available in the multi-dial variant (bronze and yellow). The clock dimensions span 50x50x7cm. Retailing at £79.00, down from its previous price of £125.55, this is definitely one of our best bargains yet.

Orange with white face London multi-dial wall clock

Orange with white face London multi-dial wall clock

The Orange with White Face London Multi-Dial Wall Clock is another timeless piece from our medium clocks line-up. Also available in red, it provides a flash of zesty colour – a bit of punch to spruce up white or pale interiors. Item dimensions span 50x50x7cm and currently retails at £67.00 from £90.45.

Cream with white face London multi-dial wall clock

Cream with white face London multi-dial wall clock

The Cream with White Face London Multi Dial Wall Clock a wonderful clock to compliment antique furnishings and traditional decor – and is perfect for the frequent traveller! Available in the Dublin and Edinburgh edition as well as in black face, you can choose whatever fits your preference. Item dimensions span 50x50x7cm and currently retails at £67.00 from £90.45.

Venetian pearled style edge Mayfair glass wall clock

Venetian pearled style edge Mayfair glass wall clock

The Venetian Pearled Style Edge Mayfair Glass Wall Clock is an elegant looking medium sized clock -. Quite feminine in style, a perfect addition to a chic and stylish interior. Its dimensions are 51x51x6cm and is now priced at £90.00 from its previous £121.50.

Traditional wooden and brass Smiths school clock

Traditional wooden and brass Smiths school clock

The Traditional Wooden and Brass Smiths School Clock will compliment any rustic or vintage industrial style interior. Polished with a gold lining accent, it still manages to retain a refined feel that will suit more formal interiors too. This item’s dimensions span 40x40x10cm and is now priced at £67.00 from its previous £90.45.

Round nickel traditional mantel clock

Round nickel traditional mantel clock

The Round Nickel Traditional Mantel Clock could be perfect piece to complete the overall look of your fireplace mantel – or perhaps a great addition to your bookcase or console table. This item’s dimensions span 42x48x11cm and is now priced at £69.00 from its previous £93.15.

Medium nickel skeleton clock with glass fronted face

Medium nickel skeleton clock with glass fronted face

The Medium Nickel Skeleton Clock with Glass Fronted Face is a classical looking round-shaped clock with Roman numerals that can easily become a focal piece of your interior. It works well with other vintage-style and antique pieces that you may have in your house. Also a good contrast piece on a dark background. This example’s dimensions are 65x60x6cm and is now priced at £102.00 from its previous £137.70.

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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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Can existing tiles be tiled over?

Can existing tiles be tiled over?

If you want to give your bathroom or kitchen a fresh look, laying some new tiles can be a great way to do it. There are plenty of interesting tile designs and colours out there to choose from; click here for some inspiration. Once you have decided which tiles you like, can existing tiles be tiled over?

The good news is that you can tile over ceramic tiles that you already have in place. You just need to make sure you follow all the necessary steps. We’re going to take you through those steps, in this post.

Laying tiles over tiles

Deciding whether the current tiles can be tiled over

Even though it’s possible to tile over ceramic tiles, this doesn’t mean that you should always do so. You need to check that the tiles are in reasonable condition and aren’t lose. If the current tiles are damaged or wobbly, they’re not going to create the firm surface you need for the new tiles.

Laying tiles over grout

Preparing the current tiles for the new tiles

Once you’ve established that you have a suitable surface in place, you need to take certain actions to prepare it, so that you can successfully complete your tiling project. Here’s the preparation that’s necessary:

  • Get rid of any areas that are higher than the rest of the surface. In order for your tiling job to be successful, you need to be working with a flat surface. If there are any spots standing proud, they have to be ground away before you progress.
  • Smooth out the surface, now that it’s flat. You can smooth the surface simply by sanding the area.
  • Make sure that the area is clean and that there’s no loose grout on the surface. The best way to get rid of any surface dirt is to take a vacuum cleaner over the area. You then need to wash the entire surface thoroughly. After the washing is complete you need to give the area time to dry completely.

You may think that all this preparation sounds like a lot of hard work, but it’s necessary if you want the tiling to look good, and to be durable, once the job is complete. After completing the preparation, you then need to apply the thinset so you can put the new tiles in place.

Tiling over tiles that are currently in place is certainly possible, and it’s often a simple process. If you come across any problems, or you don’t feel confident of doing a good job, you may want to hire a professional tiler, instead of doing the job yourself. They have the experience to put to use in ensuring you get the successful results you’re after. New tiling can give a fresh feel to a kitchen or bathroom on its own, or you may want to include it as part of a bigger renovation project, to liven up your home, and increase its market value.

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