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How to keep your home efficiently warm this winter!

During winter you’ll want to make sure that your home is energy efficient, as well as find a way to cut your energy costs as best as you can.

Leaking windows, poorly insulated water heaters and clogged air filters are all a potential killer for your energy costs, and with Christmas coming up you don’t want to have all your money tied up in keeping the house warm!

When you have the heating on at home make sure that you don’t let heat leak outside, you don’t want your money to be wasted nor do you want to increase your carbon footprint for no reason.

Check for window frames, door frames, outside vents to your dryer, baseboards, and spaces around window air conditioning units – this way you can be sure that you are properly insulated.

Insulation is essential for keeping out cold air, so that your home has natural warmth inside.

It’s also handy to check your air filters, to make sure they are fully clear and heating your home easily. Insulating your water heater could be another savvy way to cut your energy costs.

Water heating is usually around 14% to 25% of your heating costs, and by wrapping your water heater you could lower costs, as it will keep more heat within the appliance. This means that you’ll only pay for exactly what you should be paying for when your water bill comes through.

October 30, 2012 at 10:32 am | Water heater |
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Government funded heating system is more expensive than first thought

Heating systems in the UK that are said to be more efficient than usual have left families struggling to pay the bills.

The heating system used in the new government-funded affordable housing is said to be costing up to four times more than expected.

The heat is generated by an ‘exhaust air source heat pump’ that takes heat from waste air that leaves the house and then pumps it back in. This then provides heating and hot water.

Families are now said to have paid three to four times more than what the estimates said the new heating system would cost.

Energy Performance Certificates that accompanied the new properties estimated electricity and heating costs would be around £400 – £500 a year, but one resident’s electricity bill alone came through at £252 for just under 2 months. This led her to believe that the energy systems are not as cost efficient as the estimates suggested.

October 28, 2012 at 9:00 am | Heater costs |
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Are flueless fires safe?

Flueless fires provide heat and fire in a room that has no chimney, pipe or a duct to provide somewhere for the gases produced to be distributed.

They can be fitted in most rooms as long as they have a 100 square centimetre air vent that is one metre from the fire and as long as the room has a window that opens.

Flueless fires are gas heaters, which means they produce water vapour and carbon dioxide, as well as carbon monoxide if oxygen is in short supply.

This can be unsafe as there is no flue to direct these gases outside, which means they can leak out in the house. Water vapour causes condensation and humidity inside, carbon dioxide causes sleepiness and carbon monoxide is a serious risk to the health of anyone who is inhaling it.

This supports the argument that flueless fires may not be the safest option for standard home living. They are similar to gas cookers that have no ventilation above them, which are regularly used in many homes. However, flueless fires a likely to be used for longer periods of time than a gas cooker, which means a larger amount of unsafe gases will be distributed into the home.

If a fire with a flue can be fitted into the home, it is often a safer choice to go with as you can enjoy your cosy fire without having to worry about being poisoned at any period of time!

October 26, 2012 at 11:00 am | Gas heater |
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Things to remember when buying a portable heater

There are a few checks that you should keep in mind when you’re out shopping for a portable heater.

It’s always important to take your safety into consideration, which is why if you remember just a few things you will reduce your risk of an electric heater related fire this winter.

You should only ever buy a portable heater with a suitable safeguard. This slows down the risk of fire and means that nothing can touch the electric heating directly.

You should also always check the box for warning signs to see if they are a potential fire hazard. The warning should tell you to keep combustible materials at least 3 feet away from the heater.

Things like furniture, bedding and curtains should be kept at bay for reassurance of safety.

It’s also essential for to get a portable heater that is the correct size for the area you wish to place it in, leaving the required space in between the heater and any combustibles.

If you can get one with a tip over safety switch that would be best, because that way you can be sure that even when accidents occur you’re still not at risk of experiencing a fire.

October 24, 2012 at 9:43 am | electric heaters |
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The return of winter calls for safety reminders for portable heater users

It’s that time of year when temperatures are preparing to severely drop, making us all want to reach for our blankets and turn up the dials on our household heating.

Following the return of those cold dark nights and brisk winds, many households and businesses are likely to bring out their portable electric heaters to help keep them cosy. This is always a good time to throw out a reminder to make sure you heat your homes and offices safely this winter.

Portable heaters cause approximately 700 fires in the UK each year and fires in the US caused by these appliances in the home kill around 70 people a year.

When you’re planning to use an electric heater indoors it’s always a good idea to check the device first, especially if it’s old. It’s also essential to carefully consider where to put the heater, as placing it near furniture, paper or bedding is more likely to cause a fire.

Anything that can easily burn should be kept 3 metres away from the heater. This way you can have peace of mind that you are both warm and safe inside – much more fun than being cold and miserable outside!

October 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm | electric heaters |
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Residents of Doncaster are urged to check their portable heaters

Doncaster council are offering free safety checks to ensure that residents are using their portable heaters safely this winter.

The Trading Standards team in committed to warning the public about fire hazards that can be caused by heaters, in order to tackle accident rates this year.

Portable heaters are said to cause around 700 fires per year and that the most common cause is due to heaters being used when the cables are worn or have defective plugs.

The team are organising a free event where residents will be encouraged to bring their portable heaters so that they can be tested for safety.

They have issued advice warning people to check them before use, especially if they have been stored away in the summer.

A few basic tips the Trading Standards team have issued regarding electric portable heaters include:

–              Check for excess dust

–              Check the plug to ensure it is intact

–              Position it 3 feet away from furniture on curtains

–              Use fireguards to protect children and pets

–              Never dry washing on them

October 20, 2012 at 10:30 am | electric heaters |
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Heater catches fire in airing cupboard

An immersion heater that caught fire in a Sheffield house on Monday evening was likely to have suffered an electrical fault.

Fire fighters responded quickly after the smoke alarm fitted in the house went off when smoke was detected.

Crews from Elm Lane and Rivelin stations arrived at Monteney Crescent Ecclesfield just after 9pm.

The heater was located in the airing cupboard, which is where the fire began. Fire fighters were able to contain the fire mostly to the airing cupboard and bathroom.

Two occupants that were in the house at the time of the fire were unharmed.

October 18, 2012 at 10:00 am | electric heaters |
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Gas heater explosion left six people injured at campsite

Last Saturday night a gas heater caught fire and exploded in a family’s tent at a campsite in Oxfordshire.

The tent, located on Hardwick Park near Witney, set fire after the gas heater was left on during the evening to keep the tent warm.

Four family members, who were in the tent at the time, were subject to minor burns and smoke inhalation. Two staff members were also injured after rushing to help when they overheard the bang.

Fire and rescue crews arrived at the campsite and all six people were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

The family members who were injured were also camping with a further two people who avoided injury as they were not in the tent at the time of the explosion.

Station manager, Simon Belcher said he’d never recommend gas heaters in tents due to overheating and potential carbon monoxide poisoning.

October 16, 2012 at 11:00 am | Gas heater |
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Electric heater causes fire in Texas

An electric heater has been determined as the cause of a fire which left a family’s mobile home completely destroyed.

The fire, which took place last Sunday in the US, was deemed an accident. Fire Marshalls said that an electric heater may have been knocked over or a dog may have pushed something into it, causing the heater to flame.

The mobile home suffered serious damage, but none of the family of seven that lived there were inside at the time.

The cause of the fire was determined just a few hours after it took place.

October 14, 2012 at 10:00 am | electric heaters |
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New heater invention could lead to an easier life for homeowners

Thanks to a new invention created by two promising North-East entrepreneurs, homeowners may never have to set the dial on old electric heaters ever again.

North-East social housing company Gentoo is trialling an efficient new technology called Thermionix. Tony Gair and Mike Hartley have invented the technology, which is a control system that uses the weather to predict how much energy a heater will use.

This control system avoids a householder having to set the dial on heaters themselves each day. The design should make inefficient electric heaters more cost effective and efficient, giving the people one less thing to worry about at home!

Newcastle Science City’s business support team helped to develop the system and Gentoo tenants in Sunderland are set to test the entrepreneurs’ invention while it is on a trial run.

The tenants will give feedback on whether or not the system makes heaters easy to use, living conditions more comfortable and feedback on how it affects energy bills.

Once they’ve collected the feedback, Gair and Hartley will use the data to revise and improve the system, ready for it to be launched to the public. It will be targeted at landlords and homeowners.

October 12, 2012 at 10:00 am | electric heaters |
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