We hope you have had a fantastic Christmas and have enjoyed some quality time with friends and loved ones.
It’s New Year’s Eve tomorrow and we cannot believe how quickly 2014 has flown by. There have been a lot of exciting changes here at DPG and we look forward to more developments and services coming online in the New Year.
On behalf of the whole team we’d like to thank all our great customers for working with us over the past twelve months. We look forward to continuing to serve you and providing a great service throughout 2015 and beyond.
If you’re celebrating the New Year, have an enjoyable night; and please accept our very best wishes for a prosperous and successful 2015.
From all of us here, slàinte!
Office Opening hours
Some of our team are still enjoying a well-earned break, so for your reference our New Year office opening hours are:
Wednesday 31st December, New Year’s Eve: 08:00 – 13:00
Thursday 1st January, New Year’s Day: CLOSED
Friday 2nd January: Return to normal office hours
Out of Hours Service
Please remember that our 24 hour, 365 days per year service is still in operation over New Year. We are available for emergency call-outs at all times and our out-of-hours service is still operational when the office is closed.
The cost of replacing a roof is prohibitive to many business and homeowners who feel like they simply can’t afford it. So, they continue repairing the roof in an effort to extend its life for as long as they can. The problem with that scenario is that when the roof finally fails, the damage caused is much more extensive and expensive to repair than the roof would have been to replace. Fortunately, there are roofing materials available that fit nearly every budget. Here is a guide to four of the most popular roofing choices, as well as tips on choosing the right roofing contractor and maintaining the new roof.
A popular style of roofing material because it is reasonably priced and durable, composite sheet roofing material can sometimes be nailed over existing roofing materials. It is relatively easy to install and comes in a wide variety of colour choices and types.
A word of warning, however. The level of quality can vary considerably within the composite sheet market, and that can make the difference between a 10-year roof and a 50-year roof. So, do your due diligence and research brands and options before you buy. You don’t want to end up with a roof that’s shedding grains within a year of being laid.
Created to be applied in only one layer, single ply roofing is particularly durable, flexible and UV radiation resistant. The material is available in two primary categories: thermoplastics and thermosets. The most popular type of single ply roofing material is ethylene propylene Diene monomer or EPDM. It is a type of exceptionally durable synthetic rubber and is one of the least expensive of the single ply roofing options. In fact, the durability and reasonable price of single ply roofs in general have made it the industry’s fastest growing roofing material choice.
Single ply roofing systems are easier to install than some others because they are manufactured in sheet rolls that can be fastened to the roof mechanically. So, that means the installation time can be less when choosing single ply over other roofing options.
Slate roofing material is beautiful, adding a stunning aesthetic to a home or small business. However, it is more expensive than many other roofing material options, so if your budget is tight, slate is not your best choice. However, slate does offer more than beauty. It can last 100 or more years, requires little maintenance, and is invulnerable to pests and rot.
Slate is heavier than some other roofing options, so it may require roof reinforcements before being laid. It’s also a bit more challenging to walk on than other options, so tasks that you would otherwise be able to do on your own (gutter cleaning, etc.) may require a professional.
Just as composite roofing comes in a variety of colours, so does concrete roofing material. Concrete can even be manufactured to look like wood, except concrete is much more durable, and fire-resistant than wood is as a roofing option. Concrete is a mid-priced roofing material and can be made to mimic the appearance of the more expensive slate roofing material. It is also lighter than slate, so you can avoid the issue of having to reinforce the roof.
Since there are so many varieties available, the quality of the product can vary. The difference is usually in the type of additives that are combined with the concrete. However, concrete typically has a long lifespan (50 years), provides excellent fire protection, and resist insects and rot.
Choosing a Roofing Contractor
The contractor a home or business owner chooses to replace the roof is just as important as the decision he makes regarding what type of roof to have installed. So, there are many important factors to consider when choosing a contractor. For example, are they insured and licensed? Don’t just ask the questions either. Ask for proof.
Do the same thing with references. Ask for a list of recent, local references, and then follow through with a telephone call.
Also, find out the length of time the company has been in business, as well as the number of years the employees who will be replacing your roof have been employed with them. In addition, make sure that the roofing company has an actual established location. Many fly-by-night operations work out of their trucks or vans, making contact difficult should a problem arise.
Once you finalise your choice of contractor, don’t agree to anything unless it is in writing. Require that the contract includes stipulations on payments and when they are due. Never agree to pay the full cost for the project up front. Make sure the contract is detailed and, if it is confusing to you, have it reviewed by an attorney or qualified business associate before you sign it.
Also, just as with a written contract, never accept a verbal guarantee or warranty. Require any promises in writing before agreeing to the work.
Protect Your Investment
Once you have your new roof installed, it is incumbent on you to protect your investment. That means ongoing preventive maintenance and regular visual inspections, especially in inclement weather. Since the winter is nearly here, it’s prudent to ensure that your home or business roof is cold weather ready. Here are a few steps to take that can help you avoid potential property damage.
Some of what needs to be done will not require a professional. However, if the roof will need to be repaired, don’t take the task on yourself. Hire a professional. Many roofing companies offer free estimates, and you will get more information about the work that needs to be done than you’d likely get on your own.
It can be expensive to re-roof a home or business. However, by choosing the right roofing material and contractor and maintaining the new roof once it’s installed, a home or business owner can literally add years to the life of his new roof.
An important new campaign has been launched to combat the alarming number of hot water scalding incidents in the UK. Called “Hot Water Burns Like Fire”, the campaign, launched in October 2014, is sponsored by various organisations and businesses, including the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, The Public Health and Safety Organisation, and Children’s Burn Trust. The campaign’s goal is to educate people about the dangers of hot water and to provide them with the tools they need to prevent related injuries and deaths.
Aside from education, however, the campaign also wants to limit home water temperatures to 48°C through the use of simple thermostats. The temperature cap on existing homes would match the new home requirement that’s been in place in England and Wales since 2010.
Scalding Injury Statistics
According to the Children’s Burns Trust, an estimated 2,000 children are seen annually in A & E for scalding due to bath water. In 2012, an astonishing 3,951 children under five years old were admitted to the hospital because their injuries were so severe. On average though, there are about 300 people in the UK every year who are burned badly enough to be admitted to a burn unit due to an overheated bath, shower, or sink tap water. About two-thirds of those are children. All totalled, these accidents cost the NHS about £11M each year.
The temperature of water can rise much faster than we think, and it doesn’t take long for it to get hot enough to cause injury. Here are some important numbers to keep in mind, according to the Hot Water Burns campaign.
Contact the plumbing professionals at DPG Plus Ltd to find out how we can help ensure your home or business water temperature stays at a safe level. Our team can recommend and then install the necessary valves and taps required, and that will most certainly give you some peace of mind.
On behalf of all the team here at DPG Plus, I would like to take the opportunity of wishing all our customers and readers a peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Our team are also looking forward to spending some time with family and friends over Christmas, so please see below for our revised holiday office opening hours:
Please note that our 24 hour, 365 days per year service is still in operation over Christmas and New Year. We are available for emergency call-outs at all times and our round the clock out-of-hours service is still operational when the office is closed.
Monday 22nd December: 8:00 – 17:00
Tuesday 23rd December: 8:00 – 17:00
Wednesday24th December, Christmas Eve: 8:00 – 12:00
Thursday 25th December, Christmas Day: CLOSED
Friday 26th December, Boxing Day: CLOSED
New Year’s Week
Monday 29th December: 8:00 – 17:00
Tuesday 30th December: 8:00 – 17:00
Wednesday 31st December, New Year’s Eve: 08:00 – 13:00
Thursday 1st January, New Year’s Day: CLOSED
Friday 2nd January: Return to normal office hours
Put your feet up and enjoy a relaxing Christmas break, and we look forward to welcoming in the New Year 2015.
A home’s gutter system is vital to roof and property maintenance because the gutters allow water to flow freely while directing it off the property. Gutters provide the drainage system that prevents water from pouring off the roof from every direction, and they keep water from backing up, eventually damaging the roof and home. However, gutters will only work properly if they are clear of debris.
Since maintaining clear gutters is so important, it’s not a chore that can be neglected. The task can be tedious and a bit dangerous, but it’s not particularly complicated. Many homeowners opt to clean their own gutters, rather than hire a gutter-cleaner or roofing professional. For those who choose to take on the task yourselves, here are some smart safety tips to bear in mind.
The Right Tools, Clothing, and Gear
Always wear appropriate gloves when cleaning out your gutters. There is no way to know if something sharp or otherwise dangerous is hidden in the gutter debris. For the same reason, you should also always wear safety goggles and a dust mask. Here are a few more tips on choosing the right tools and gear for your gutter cleaning project:
Don’t Go It Alone
Cleaning your gutters may seem like a mundane task, but it is dangerous regardless of how sturdy the ladder is or what type of clothing you wear. So, always have a partner with you. Not only will your partner be able to hold the ladder steady, but he will also be able to offer immediate help if you do get injured.
Cleaning gutters can be a potentially dangerous chore, but much of the danger can be mitigated through smart preparation. When cleaning your gutters, wear the right clothing, use the right tools and gear, and always have a partner with you.
The bare trees and nippy air can only mean one thing – the winter is upon us. It is that time of year when we must begin prepping ourselves and our homes for the bitter cold that comes with the onset of winter. One of the most important things homeowners should do every year to prepare their property for the cold season is insulate and maintain their water pipes.
Broken water pipes are a common claim insurers see. During the worst of the 2010 cold spell, insurers in the UK saw 3,500 claims every day for damage caused by broken water pipes. Furniture, carpets, and other personal belongings, as well as the electrical system and the building structure itself, can all be damaged as a result of a burst water pipe. Save yourself the time, money and hassle of having to deal with that by arming yourself with useful information that can help prevent your pipes from bursting in the first place.
Winter-proof Your Pipes
A bit of good news about preparing your pipes for the winter is that no special skills are necessary. Everything that needs to be done can be easily accomplished by the homeowner, and that saves you from having to pay a handyman to do it. Here are several must-do items that will help prevent your pipes from bursting in the winter.
Regarding the insulation of pipes, newspaper can offer a little bit of protection, especially in areas of the home where the cold doesn’t hit as hard. However, when possible, use products that are specifically made for pipe insulation, such as heat tape or pipe sleeves. Research products for their effectiveness, and look for warranties that may work in your favour should the insulation fail.
When the Cold Hits
Once the winter arrives, and the worst of the cold weather settles in, you’re ready for the next series of steps. First, protect any water supply lines in the garage. The pipes have already been insulated, but the garage may not be, and that makes the garage an unforgiving place for pipes in the winter. Do what you can to combat the consistently low temperatures by keeping the garage doors shut, especially if there is a laundry room or bathroom next to or above the garage. This small step will help further protect pipes from the cold.
During particularly cold spells, help warm air circulate around internal pipes by opening bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors. If feasible, remove any items that are stored inside so the air can circulate freely. The warmth from inside the home will reach the pipes, and that will help keep them from getting too cold. If a deep, prolonged cold spell is expected, consider using a space heater near the most vulnerable areas, or circulate the already warm air using a fan.
The temperature of your thermostat should remain consistent day and night. The balanced warm temperature will help prevent your pipes from bursting. Your bill may be a bit higher, but the cost will be small compared to the cost of repairing a burst pipe.
Thawing Frozen Pipes
Even after doing your due diligence, there is still a chance that a pipe will freeze. If no water comes out of an open tap, it’s quite possible that’s exactly what has happened. In that case, keep the tap open. As you clear the ice, water will begin to flow, and that helps the melting process. While you keep the tap open, turn off the main water valve leading to the house.
If you can locate the section of frozen pipe, apply heat to it in an effort to expedite the ice melting process. Obviously, don’t use an open flame (kerosene, blowtorch), but a hair dryer or space heater may work as long as there is no water leakage. You can also wrap a heating pad around the pipe. Keep applying the heat until the water pressure is back to normal, and check all other taps as well. Patience is the key.
If the frozen pipe is inaccessible, you are unsuccessful in locating it, or you cannot thaw it, contact a professional plumber. Don’t take any chances that you will cause damage. After all, that is what you’re trying to avoid.
If a Pipe Breaks
Once a pipe breaks, immediate action is necessary. Locate and shut off the main water valve to the house, as well as all taps. Additionally, depending on the location of the burst pipe, consider turning off the electricity, too. A burst pipe can easily lead to electrical damage, which would require an electrician. That is an expense you can help yourself avoid by taking precautions.
After you’ve shut off the water main, call a plumber and your insurance company right away. Unless you’re a plumber, don’t try to repair the pipe yourself. Not only could you end up causing more damage, but if you attempt a repair yourself any additional damage will not be covered by a warranty, as it would if you hired a reputable professional to do the job.
Insurance often covers broken pipes and the damage they cause. However, the hassle and heartache of losing valuable possessions goes well beyond the price tag. When you take time to properly insulate your pipes, tend to them on unusually cold days and nights, and safely thaw them out, you can avoid the aftermath of having to contend with burst pipes at all.
In early November, National Grid announced plans to move many of the electricity pylons that plague some of the UK and Wale’s most beautiful and pristine areas of natural beauty. The pylons that were assessed cover about 571km, though only the most unsightly pylons are currently under consideration to be moved. The lines will be relocated, disguised by newly planted woods, buried underground, or torn down altogether.
A total of 30 areas of outstanding natural beauty and national parks have pylons, but only the eight areas that are most impacted are on a short list of sites being considered. These include the following:
Within a year, current feasibility studies will be finished, and that information will allow planners to cut the short list to a final list. However, there are pylons that are already being fast-tracked for movement because of the negative visual impact they have on their respective areas. The 4km of pylons in Tamar Valley are an excellent example. The Peak District’s Woodhead Pass has 12km of pylons, and that area is on the fast track as well.
Supporters and Participants
Organisations including Natural England, Campaign to Protect Rural Wales, Campaign for National Parks, the National Trust, and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), are part of an advisory group working closely with National Grid to plan the project. The goal is to ensure that as little environmental damage is done as possible. While it is important to remedy the blight created by the 1950s and 1960s-era pylons, it’s also critical to ensure that the solution doesn’t cause more harm.
How Much Will it Cost?
Moving the pylons underground will require a 50-metre wide by two-metre deep trench, and obstacles such as archaeological sites, could pose obstacles. So, the bulk of the project’s £500m price tag will cover the cost of moving the pylons underground, at about £20m to £22m per kilometre. The pylon lines themselves will be about £2m.
Who’s Paying for It?
The cost for the mammoth pylon project will be picked up by consumers through their electricity bills. Fortunately, it won’t be all at once, however. The charge will be spread out over the next eight years. That figure translates to roughly 22p per year per bill.
No Planned Service Interruptions
During the year long project, National Grid indicates there will be no planned interruption in the availability of electricity. So, should you experience a residential or commercial electricity outage that doesn’t seem to impact your neighbours, contact DPG Plus LTD, and we’ll send a member of our team to your site to address the matter.
Even with all of the pylon movement, National Grid continues with its current plans to add more transmission lines through 2021. However, they promise that the lack of weight given to visual aesthetics when the troublesome pylons were placed in the 50’s and 60’s will not be repeated.
With the constant stream of new technology tied to the renewable energy market and the buzz that’s built up around renewables over the last two decades, one would think that developed countries would be leading the charge in implementing renewable energy solutions. Oddly, that isn’t the case, according to a report just released by the Climatescope project.
Authors of the report studied 55 developing countries, including South Africa, India, China, Nepal, and Argentina, among others. Altogether, the 55 countries installed 142 gigawatts of renewable energy between 2008 and 2013. That is a growth of 143 percent, which far outweighs the 84 percent increase in developed nations, including the UK and the US, during the same period.
Why Such a Discrepancy?
Unlike in developed countries, where many business owners still see the switch to renewable energy as an unsound investment, developing countries see it as a cost-saving measure. Many of the countries either don’t have the infrastructure or what they do have in place has become progressively expensive. So they opt to install renewable energy options, such as solar panels and wind farms.
In Jamaica, for example, energy from solar panels costs about half as much as their wholesale electric power. In Nicaragua, traditional energy sources can be up to twice the cost of wind power. The switch from traditional forms of energy, such as fossil fuels, to renewable options, like wind and solar, lower the cost for consumers and brings in jobs and businesses.
Renewable at What Cost?
Renewable energy hasn’t hit mainstream corporate culture in developed countries yet because in many cases the upfront expense makes the switch undesirable. Business owners fear that it could be years before they completely recouped such an investment. There is validity in their concern, too. The Climatescope report indicates that the 55 countries studied spent $122 billion combined on renewable energy in 2013 alone, a figure more than double the $59.3 billion spent in 2007. So, yes, investing in renewable energy can be incredibly expensive, even on a small scale. Still, that doesn’t mean your business can‘t make a difference.
Even if your business doesn’t have the capital to convert exclusively to renewable energy, as many of the countries highlighted in the report are trying to do, there are less expensive options available to you that can help lower your energy bills. Contact the professionals at DPG Plus LTD today, and allow our team of experts work with you to create an affordable energy solution that helps both your businesses bottom line and the environment.
This tip comes just in time for winter, and it could also help save you a little money on your energy bill year-round. How? Weather proofing your entry doors will eliminate any incoming draft and, depending on the severity of the draft, you could notice a decrease in the need for heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer.
The good news is that you don’t have to be versed in joinery to do it yourself. What’s more, the cost for the materials required to complete the weather-stripping is nominal. Here’s a quick guide to the procedure for removing and replacing two of the most common types of entry door weather-stripping: adhesive foam and metal hinge.
Adhesive foam weather-stripping, which will typically wear out within 3-5 years, is one of the least expensive options available, though none of the options is too expensive. It’s also surprisingly simple to replace. Just follow these easy steps:
It’s really that simple. If you’re looking for an inexpensive and easy way to insulate your exterior doors from drafts, and aren’t necessarily worried about longevity, then adhesive foam is an option for you.
A metal hinge setup will require you to remove the nails or screws first in order to take off the old weather-stripping. Have a pry bar on hand as some nails are embedded deeply. Next, measure the jamb’s horizontal distance and cut the vinyl part of the weather-stripping using a utility knife. You may need a hacksaw for the metal hinge.
Before setting it permanently, test the strips inside the door frame first. Close the door and align the vinyl strip with the door jamb, making sure the vinyl seal is compressed against the door. Once you’re satisfied with the fit, adhere the vinyl to the door jamb and affix the metal hinge to the jamb with the nails or screws provided.
Follow the same procedure with the vertical jamb sections, with one notable exception. Don’t cut the end of the weather-strip that is rounded because it’s going to overlap the horizontal strip.
Along with new or replacement weather-stripping, add door sweeps to help cut off the draft from the bottom of entry doors. That way, all four sides of the door will be insulated, and the bottom will have a double layer.
Insulating your entry doors to combat the cold weather can also help keep the heat out in the summer. For just a few pounds and a few minutes time, you could begin to see a year round difference on your electricity bill.