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Signs your home isn’t properly insulated

January 23rd, 2019 Comments off

Have you started to notice a chill in the air, and not just when you’re outside? While this isn’t concrete proof that your home isn’t properly insulated, it’s certainly an indication that something may be amiss. Remember the ‘Beast from the East’, early last year? Well, it’s blustering its way back in 2019 – so, if you have any concerns about your insulation, now is the time to act.

If you’ve noticed any of the following subtle signs already, you may be in for a chilly start to the year, so we’ve also included a few tips to help you resolve the issue.

Fluctuating temperatures

When your central heating is switched on, and a moderate temperature is set for the entire home, every room should hold this temperature steadily. A sure sign that insulation is an issue in a specific room is if this temperature is unsteady. If there is no obvious visible reason, such as one side of the home comprising single-pane windows, then insulation looks likely to be the issue.

While there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ model for performing this test, such is the variety of home sizes and shapes, having all doors and windows shut should keep the temperature consistent. If it doesn’t, the areas you should immediately check are the windows, roof, external doors and walls. Windows and doors are usually the first port of call here, but the walls and roof are typically more troublesome.

This is simply because we frequently interact with windows and doors, so they become much more prominent in the mind at all times. However, the more ‘unseen’ walls and roof can often be the source of those strange chills that appear in the home. If you consider that installing an extra layer of insulation on a hot water tank can save the average household £20 every year, according to The Telegraph, imagine the money and warmth saved by improving insulation throughout the home.

High energy bills

The cost of heating your home is another thing you’ll want to look at closely. Okay, you probably already study it fastidiously and do what you can to keep it low, but if it’s consistently higher than you expect, insulation is the next place you should look.

If your home was built in the last ten years, it’s likely to already have cavity wall insulation fitted as standard. Double-check that this is the case, and then look into what’s above, in the roof. However, if your home is older, while it may have been built with a small space between each walls (known as the ‘cavity’), it is not actually guaranteed to have cavity wall insulation fitted.

According to Which?, the annual cost saving in a standard semi-detached home by having cavity wall insulation fitted is around £150. While it is not exactly inexpensive to fit in the first place, it should actually be saving you money within the next three or four years. Spread over the length of your average mortgage, this becomes a serious saving.

Do note that, even if you haven’t noticed drastically fluctuating temperatures in your home, your heating bill could be the clearest indication that your insulation isn’t up to scratch. If you’re still unsure, perhaps check with a neighbour, or somebody who owns a similar property, to see how much they are paying for their heating.

Water leaks in the attic

While poor insulation means that heat is regularly escaping from your home, if the roof is affected, it normally means water is also getting in. When checking your attic or the upper floors of your house, you may not find pools, puddles or streams seeping in, but you may discover black mould or sniff out a musty, stale smell.

Even if this problem is located in just the one place – even a place you hardly ever visit, like the attic – it’s likely to spread and lead to more damage to your home in the future. Furthermore, because these rooms are so infrequently used, it is also more difficult to both identify a particular insulation problem and resolve it with roof repairs or new, fitted materials.

According to uSwitch, around 25% of heat lost from an un-insulated home goes through the roof, making it only slightly less costly than un-insulated walls. When you consider the added threat of water damage, the roof becomes not only the most problematic in terms of fixing the issue but the most costly over time, too.

Roof insulation options depend on the type of property you have, with pitched or sloping roofs usually more straightforward to insulate. While a professional roofer will be required to check the roof itself for problems, when it comes to dormer and flat roofs, these require genuinely specialist skills in the roofing trade. Companies like Findley Roofing & Building will perform comprehensive checks on roofing insulation, and deliver flat roof repairs in Newcastle upon  Tyne and surrounding areas.

Other signs to look out for

More rarely, but still occasionally, other signs will appear that indicate an insulation issue in either your walls or roof. Finding bugs or rodents residing or nesting in your home means that they’ve clearly managed to get in somewhere you haven’t yet discovered.

With rodents, in particular, that is likely to be somewhere spacious enough for them to forage in and out at will. If you have a basement, the insulation problem you’ve been looking for all around you might actually be just beneath your feet.

Frozen pipes also mean that the temperature between your walls, or floors and ceilings, are reaching extremely cold temperatures and could even burst. Finally, if the ‘Beast from the East’ does hit your home in the next few weeks, the way the snow lies on your home could point you to exactly where the insulation problem lies, itself. 

If the snow seems to have no problem melting away from your roof but is actually freezing as it enters the gutters or forming stalactites as it drips away, you’ll see that too much heat is escaping through the roof of your home.

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What’s in store for tradespeople in 2019

January 23rd, 2019 Comments off

What’s in store for tradespeople in 2019

2019 will be all about Brexit, whatever the outcome. The construction industry, along with the rest of the UK, is still awaiting clarity on what the future may hold and what it will mean for tradespeople and the wider construction industry.

However, besides Brexit, this year a range of regulatory updates and government-led initiatives are expected to have an impact on the construction industry, potentially affecting thousands of tradespeople across the UK.

Building Regulations and Fire Safety following Grenfell

Following the Grenfell tragedy in June 2017, the Government launched an independent review into building regulations and fire safety, which has now resulted in plans to overhaul building regulations.

The Government has now committed to a programme of reform focused on four key areas which include: introducing more effective regulations and accountability; clearer guidance; prioritising residents; and working with the industry to drive change.

A “radically-new system” was promised by Communities Secretary James Brokenshire in response to the tragedy, with the Government also introducing a ban on using combustible cladding on new high-rise homes. This piece of legislation came in effect in December.

The new implementation plan, Building a Safer Future[1], states: “The Government accepts the need to create, in law, a tougher regulatory framework, under which regulators will have greater powers and more opportunities to intervene throughout the lifecycle of a building.”

These new regulations mark the beginning of what is likely to be a thorough and extended period of change for the industry to keep abreast of.

Brexit and the construction industry

Construction output dropped towards the end of 2018 according to the Office of National Statistics, with the continued uncertainty of Brexit highlighted as a contributing factor.

Proposed Government plans for immigration post-Brexit has led to many trade associations raising concerns about the potential impact on the skills shortage, as currently 9% of the UK’s construction workers are from the European Union.

If a limit on low-skilled workers is introduced the industry will need to prepare for the fallout this will have.

Technology continues to be on the rise

With consumers becoming increasingly aware of (and comfortable with) using smart technologies, more suppliers are launching new products in smart home ranges to take advantage of the trend. Considering the growing popularity of these products, tradespeople should look at taking advantage of the increase in customer demand.

Wayne Lysaght-Mason, Managing Director of IronmongeryDirect, said: “Smart products are redefining the way that a property functions, and there is a clear need for tradespeople to keep well-informed of the developments involving smart technology. With basic home alarm systems now enhanced to monitor, control and interact with a home or business premises from a smartphone or tablet, we are just at the beginning of this smart tech revolution.

“There is still a demand for traditional products, but new smart alternatives should not be ignored. There are some fantastic products on the market, whether you want to specialise in security, lighting, heating or household appliances.”

New VAT rules for building trade in 2019

From 1 October 2019, new rules will be enforced meaning, builders, subcontractors and other trades associated with the construction industry will have to start using a new method of accounting for VAT.

The measure is designed to combat VAT fraud in the construction sector labour supply chain which HMRC argue presents a significant tax loss. HMRC has now published draft legislation to introduce the Reverse Charge for Construction Services.

Tradespeople are advised to keep up to date with the new rules later in the year.

IronmongeryDirect is the UK’s largest specialist ironmongery supplier, with over 17,000 products in stock, available for next day delivery when you order by 8pm Sunday to Friday and by 4pm on Saturday. Free delivery is available on orders over £45 together with free returns.

For more information, visit IronmongeryDirect.com or call their team of specialist advisors on 0800 168 28 28.


[1] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/707785/Building_a_Safer_Future_-_web.pdf

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