To avoid any further damage to your property and to stand the best chance of salvaging your items from flood damage, here are our top tips of dos and don’ts in form of this handy infographic. Image Credit: CleanSafe Services Scotland
Heading off on holiday this year? You’ve probably already renewed your passport, bought more sun cream than you need and double checked the tickets a thousand times. However, home security is often overlooked and left to the last minute — despite 60% of burglaries occurring when properties are empty.
Ensuring your property is secure for the duration of your trip is crucial regardless of how long you’re away for. From weekend breaks to extended vacations, security systems specialist GPS Installations shows how to keep your home safe this summer.
Lock it up
Locking up your property may seem obvious, but it can be easy to forget about an open window or exterior building. Before your holiday, examine the current locks on your property to make sure they are completely secure. Carry out repairs and replacements where necessary.
Check all windows and doors are shut and locked before you leave. In addition, make sure sheds, garages and outside storage are locked up too, to keep your belongings safe.
Make it look occupied
If it looks like your home is occupied, the property will become less of a target, as the high risk could deter potential thieves. There are a number of ways you can make your property look lived in, including:
- Cancelling deliveries — a build-up of milk or newspapers on your doorstep is a clear sign that your property is empty. Cancel the deliveries before you leave.
- Ask a trusted neighbour, friend or family member to call round — if your curtains haven’t been opened in the best part of a week, suspicions may start to arise that your property is empty. To give the appearance of someone living there, give your keys to a trusted neighbour, friend or family member and ask them to pop in every day to open/shut the curtains and clear the mail. Don’t forget to give them your house alarm pin too, if you have one.
- Consider light timers — invest in timer switches to turn lights on and off at certain times, creating the illusion that somebody is inside your home.
Deterrents like house alarms and CCTV systems can help prevent break in’s from happening all together. Dummy systems are available and, while they are intended to deter, criminals are often able to spot the difference between a dummy and the real thing.
In addition, you’ll actually benefit more by having a real system installed. For example, a working alarm system will alert your neighbour to an intruder and potentially scare them off. Likewise, CCTV systems can capture criminals in the act, which could help lead to a prosecution.
Deterrents can benefit virtually any property, so they’re always worth considering.
Check your home insurance policy
Should the worst happen and your property is broken into, you’ll want the peace of mind that you’re covered for the items taken and the damage caused. Before you set off on holiday, check that your home insurance policy is still valid and make sure it offers the correct cover for your needs. Don’t leave anything to chance just to keep costs down — it could cost you a lot more in the long run.
Finding the perfect fireplace to suit the heating requirements and decor of your home is an important, and often painstaking, task. This article will provide you with specialist advice and information for the selection process, so you know exactly what you need when contacting a fireplace expert.
Home improvement articles, such as this one from Reader’s Digest, suggest that you first determine the main purpose of your fireplace: are you looking for a design with a high heat output, aesthetic appeal, or both? This will help refine the selection process, making it much easier to find the right design to suit your requirements.
If the functionality of a fireplace is an important factor in your decision-making, you must carefully consider your choice of fuel:
- Wood burning: Installed with a chimney or flue system, wood burners boast eco-friendly, self-sufficient qualities.
- Multi-fuel: From logs to smokeless fuels, multi-fuel stoves can burn a variety of fuels to suit your needs. Not only that, this type of fireplace can also provide a very high heat output for a long duration of time.
- Gas: As the most cost-effective option, a gas fire can heat an entire room using less energy than alternative designs, saving you money on your energy bills. Not only that, the flickering flame effect of a gas fire eliminates any mess during operation.
- Electric: According to the buyers guide from The Fireplace Studio, electric fires combine the high performance of wood-burners with a low maintenance, energy efficient design.
Homes with a chimney
The type of chimney or flue you have in your home typically determines which style of fireplace or stove you can have installed. You can refer to buyers guides, such as the one from The Fireplace Studio, to help you identify the chimney or flue in your home, how it works and the measurements involved, so you are fully informed when contacting a professional.
It’s also worth noting that thorough chimney maintenance – such as having your chimney swept – is recommended to ensure it is in good condition and remains fully functional.
Homes without a chimney
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a chimney in your home to have a fireplace. In actual fact, there are several options available if you are looking to create a fireplace feature in your home without a chimney:
- Electric fire: available in built-in, inset and freestanding models
- Powered flue: powered by a fan which transfers fumes from the fire and removes them through a rear vent
- Balanced gas flue fire: a flue system is installed which draws clean air through an outer pipe, whilst combustion gases are removed via an inner pipe to the exterior of your home
After considering the purpose of your fireplace, the type of fuel you would like to use and whether or not your home has a chimney, there are a plethora of styles available for you to choose from. Depending on your requirements, the selection includes:
- Gas Stoves
- Wood Burners
- Inset/Outset Gas Fires
- Balanced Flue Fires
- Electric Fires
- Open Fireplaces (Inglenook fires)
Whether your home has a chimney or not, the comprehensive range of fireplace styles available on today’s market means you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect design.
If you’re about to splash out on a brand new kitchen this year then you’ll no doubt want to be spending your money wisely. The kitchen is one of the most vital rooms in the home and can add significant value to your property if the space is used wisely. Before you begin planning your new kitchen, take minute to look through these key design tips and ensure you factor them into your design.
One thing people need an abundance of is surface space, so don’t undervalue its importance when creating your plans. To maximise the amount of surface space you create you could add an island or an L shaped arm from the edge of the room. Choose a sturdy but attractive work surface so that, regardless of whether people want a food prep area or just an area to sit and eat breakfast at, you end up with a practical space.
Another key design matter people often overlook is their lighting. While you have the bright sunshine in summer you have to consider how dark things can get in winter, especially if you’re hemmed in by cupboards overhead. For this reason, in addition to any lights you have in the ceiling, you should get lights under your cupboards. These can come in the form of spotlights or longer strip lighting and can be turned on and off individually if you want the flexibility in your lighting.
The main purpose of the kitchen is to cook, so it stands to reason that the oven you choose is selected specifically for your layout and the needs of your family. There are many different manufacturers, models and designs available to you and it can be a little overwhelming if you’re not sure which cooker to buy. To help make the process of selecting a new appliance easier you can take a look at the Domex buying guide for ovens here.
Colours & Trends
It’s great to have a colour scheme in mind, picking a couple of colours as your main palette base and perhaps a third minor colour. This helps to keep the design of your kitchen from getting out of hand and gives it an attractive finish. However, keep your eye on the latest kitchen trends and ensure you aren’t throwing all your passion into one particular design which will be dated before you know it. Something timeless and suited to your own taste will undoubtedly stand the test of time better than some fad, which you could end up paying more than you should for.
Storage & Bins
One practical aspect of modern kitchen design is that we have started to hide our bins, dividing them into ordinary waste and recycling waste. This is a great way to tidy up the room, but it does beg the question: how much space do you have to play with? If you have enough for everything plus a bin cupboard then great, but if you don’t you need to think about where everything will fit. Cupboards, drawers and pullout racks all need to be planned in with a specific purpose to ensure you make the most of your space.
Thinking about the future of your new kitchen, keep in mind the changing fads and fashions and try to create something both practical and long lasting in terms of its aesthetic appeal.
Author – Domex Appliance Repairs London
It is required under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order that every commercial organisation nominates a ‘responsible person’ to oversee the fire safety standards of the premises. This includes checking for correct installation and maintenance of fire detection and combating equipment, performing risk assessments, and carrying out regular fire drills to uphold safety standards.
In respect to office environments, the type and severity of fire risks present are constantly changing, making the responsible person’s role that much more important. Fire warden training is the best way to ensure that sufficient education as to the best way to approach the task is made available, but it can still be difficult for a trained warden to remember every aspect of the role.
Fortunately, there are a number of useful resources available online that help when it comes to prompting the memory. One such resource is the unique mini-site created by Elite Fire Protection, How to Defend your Office when the Dragons Attack.
With each page showing a different area of a standard office building, the interactive Elite Fire site uses the scenario of a dragon attack to help to point out and emphasise the most important facets of fire safety.
The first page sees a desk area, with a couple of safety elements around. On the wall is a fire alarm, with the text stating that these should be well maintained and tested regularly, often on a weekly basis in an office where central control panels tend to be part of the system.
The fire extinguisher present must be suited to the most likely fuel involved in a fire at the premises – e.g. water extinguishers for Class A fires (combustible solids) and dry powder/CO2 for Class E fires (electrical). Proper upkeep is again vital, with annual checks for corrosion and other faults necessary.
On the following page, the scene moves into the staircase of the office building. Here, emergency lighting is evident on the walls. In the event of a fire, main power to a building can often go down, and darkness and smoke make visibility difficult. That’s why emergency lighting becomes so important, illuminating the way to emergency exits.
The fire door also present in this scene, along with its accompanying fire exit sign, are other crucial considerations for fire wardens. Correct signage indicates which doors are used as emergency exits – vital for any visitors to the building – and these areas should be kept clear of obstruction at all times. Fire doors should be self-closing, and include an intumescent seal to prevent smoke and flames from spreading between rooms.
On the final page, the office’s inhabitants can be seen outside the building carrying out a fire drill. Designating a route of escape and an assembly point is a key part of the fire warden’s role. Once assembled, a register should be taken to determine if any persons remain inside the building.
The pile of rubbish in front of the fire exit not only represents an obstruction to those attempting to escape the building, it also provides fuel for a possible blaze to break out in this area – whether through accidental means or via arson. Regular rubbish collection services must be obtained to prevent this danger.
The fire warden seen taking guiding the fire drill has undergone sufficient training for the role by a professional and competent expert in the industry, such as Elite Fire. Training can be carried out for multiple persons (recommended for businesses with high staff numbers), and essential for upholding fire safety levels – not to mention legal obligations.
Author – Elite Fire London
Moving house is one of life’s most stressful events involving endless organising, packing and sorting. Planning a new life abroad only adds to the pressure but thorough research, tight budgeting a high quality removals company and a lot of decluttering will all help keep things ticking along like Clockwork on move day.
Planning your move abroad
Once you have made the big decision to relocate start researching your planned destination thoroughly. Accommodation, schooling, healthcare, banking and the cost of living are all essential things to consider before you make your move. Costs can add up so start putting together a detailed budget as soon as possible, researching the price of cars, rent, utilities and property in your destination country.
Once your research is complete make an appointment for a survey with an international mover, preferably one that is a member of the British Association of Removers Overseas Group (BAR). BAR members must adhere to strict criteria and using a company that is not a member means you may have no route of redress or complaint other than the civil courts or local trading standards offices in the unlikely event something goes wrong. Most reputable removal companies will offer international insurance, but a fully comprehensive package such as marine transit insurance is advised. Although precautions are taken to minimise any risk to your belongings, realistically insurance should be a priority and is something to think seriously about when budgeting your costs.
Your removals company will talk you through the costs and logistics of the move and verify the exact volume to ship. They will also offer destination storage and unpacking services and help with customs formalities. If you have a pet, accredited international movers will also have valuable partnerships with specialist pet relocation services, to make sure all the family are moved abroad safely.
The big clear out
Reputable removal companies will offer full export packing services which are generally worth the extra cost. Experienced export packers will pack up your entire home (freeing up your time for other chores) with specialist materials so you are safe in the knowledge that all your worldly possessions are safe during their long voyage to their final destinations.
The last thing you want is to pay more in removal costs to move items you don’t even want across the world. A clutter free, tidy and organised home will not only help sell your house quicker but will also make the moving process easier.
Start de-cluttering your house as early as possible starting with the attic and working your way down to basements, garden sheds and garages. During your big clearout always bear in mind where you are going: Do you need a lawn mower if you are moving to an apartment in Dubai? Another good rule to work by is; if you can’t remember the last time you used or wore something, the chances are you don’t need it!
When it comes to moving abroad, knowing you have planned and budgeted properly and having a reliable international removals crew on hand will really put your mind at rest so you can relax and concentrate on your new life in your destination country.
Questions for your international movers
- Are you a member of The British Association of Removers Overseas Group?
- Do you offer full marine transit insurance?
- Do you offer export packing?
- How will the move be carried out? Number of days in customs, shipment times, crew size?
- How secure will my belongings be if they have to be stored?
- Who is my destination agent?
Clockwork Removals and Storage London offer accredited international removals, storage and export packing services to individuals and families all over the world. To discuss your move abroad call 0800 195 8671 today.
London loft conversion specialists Simply Loft have carried out a nationwide survey to uncover more information about the nation’s loft space. They’ve created an infographic summarising some of the unexpected results. For instance we bet you didn’t know that 7 out of 10 people claim they would prefer to create a new room in their loft than move to another house, while 7 out of 10 also think that a loft conversion only gives a 10% boost to your home’s value, when in actual fact the number is much bigger. There are also tales of the treasures people have found up in their attics, as well as horror stories on the less welcome guests – 20% of people have pests of some kind living above their heads.