# Welcome to DIY Doctor's blog

Sep 05

Boxing-in pipework is a great way to save money on your heating bills, while hiding unsightly heating and water pipes.

This boxing-in itself will not save you any money, but the fact that the boxing can hide otherwise unsightly pipe insulation means that there need not be a single pipe in your house that’s emitting wasted heat. This makes your home more energy efficient, while reducing your heating bills.

We have a whole project on How to Save Money on Heating in the Projects section of the website.

While we don’t really think about the heating costs of our home during the summer, it is a good time to be preparing for the cooler months, because the pipes are not hot, and you can work in relative comfort in spaces that can be decidedly chilly in the winter (such as in the loft). Also, you are losing some heat from your hot water pipes, even in the summer, so you might as well not heat your home with these pipes. If you keep the water in the pipes insulated it will stay warmer, so you don’t have to run it as long to get the hot water you need from the tap.

Our mathematical boffins have been hard at work calculating how much heat you might be losing from your pipes alone. The results, we think you will agree, are quite amazing.

The usual quantity of copper pipe in an average three-bedroom house is approximately 60m of 15mm pipe and 30m of 22mm pipe. Some of this obviously carries gas to the boiler, but the majority of it carries hot water. Add this to the 30m or so of copper pipe used for running hot water all over the house, and you have over 100m of hot water pipe in your home. This is losing heat every time hot water is called for, either by the heating system or the hot taps. The hot water cylinder is always lagged, why not the pipes? There is a lot of heat going to waste in this way.

Let’s say the average diameter of all the pipework is 17mm and we have 100m of it. This means that the surface area of unlagged pipework is:-

2πr x 0.017m x 100m = 1.7 square m

This is the equivalent of a radiator 1.7 m long sending heat into (mostly) unwanted places!

See our project page on boxing-in pipes then look at the following products as an illustration of what is available to help you insulate your pipes and save money on your heating bills.

Reflective pipe lagging which can wrap round multiple pipes From Screwfix Direct

Economy Pipe Lagging is available in different size packs at 15mm and 22mm From Screwfix Direct

Aug 02

The Department for Energy and Climate Change have announced details of its ‘Pay as you generate’ scheme for domestic renewable heat technologies, known as the Renewable Heat Incentive. Under the scheme, householders installing a flatplate or evacuated solar thermal system, biomass only boiler, pellet biomass stove with back plate boiler, air to water heat pump, water or ground source pump can receive quarterly payments for seven years for generating heat using these technologies. Anyone that installs a system after the 15th July 2009 is eligible for the scheme. The rate paid depends on which system you install:

Biomass boiler: 12.2p/kWh

Ground Source Heat Pump: 18.8p/kWh

Air to Water Heat Pump: 7.3p/kWh

Solar thermal: At least 19.2p/kWh (Further increases may be confirmed in Autumn)

The payment amounts are currently dictated by the determined heat demand of your house rather than by how much heat your system generates – this is because some systems are installed without the capacity to measure and record how much heat is being produced. Applicants can opt for a monitoring package that will do this, and to incentivise uptake the government are offering an additional £230 a year for heat pump installations and £200 for biomass boilers.

Can I install the system myself?

Sadly currently unless you’re an MCS qualified installer you won’t qualify for the scheme if you install it yourself – though, to be honest, it’s probably safer this way too. You can find a qualified installer in your area in our Find A Tradesman section of our website.

All Renewable Heat Incentive applicants must meet some additional criteria

As mentioned above, both your renewable heat installer and the installation itself will need to be MCS certified or qualify for an equivalent scheme. Anyone applying to the scheme will also need to have a Green Deal Assessment carried out on their home – more information about this is available in our Green Living section here.

Apply?

DECC is set to release details of how to apply for the scheme very soon – in the meantime, any questions about the scheme should be directed to the Energy Saving Advice Line on 0300 123 1234.

You can find out more about these renewable heat technologies in our Green Living section – it’s packed full of handy information on all things energy saving.

Jul 08

How to Save Money on your Energy Bills

Last week we bought you 10 Energy Saving Tips to Save Money In Your Home – and this week we have another 10 energy saving tips that save you money. You may have noticed how similar the titles are – well by saving energy you automatically save money you see?

So for this weeks top 10 Money Saving Tips, we are back to saving energy. Many of these Energy Saving ideas cost nothing to implement, and even those that cost you money will only need to be done when you are ready to make a purchase. You may be eligible for grants and money offers from the government and we suggest you check out the Energy Saving Trust Website to find out more:

1. Turn off any appliances you are not using
Free to do, and can save you pounds without even trying! Do not use standby functions on appliances as standby functions use almost as much energy as having the appliance on.

2. Wash economically
Wait until you have a full load before running the washing machine, or use the half load setting. Wash at 40 degrees or even better at 30 degrees. Modern washing machines and washing detergents are formulated to work well at lower temperatures so use a lower temperature setting wherever you can to save energy and money.

3. Avoid using a tumble dryer
Hang your clothes out on a washing line wherever possible, if you are drying indoors then make sure you provide ventilation to avoid condensation. Condensation can cause real damage to your home and we explore this in more detail in our Condensation Project..

4. Shower instead of having a bath

A shower may use up to 50% less energy than having a bath because it uses less hot water. Also don’t you think showers are more invigorating in the morning? See our power shower project for more information. If you are thinking of fitting a new shower see our blog about the 10 Best Power Showers.

5. Fit replacement windows
Double glazing needs to be fitted by a FENSA registered company, but you can find out more about double glazing and how it helps to cut your energy bills in our Project section.

Energy saving products such as washing machines fridges and ovens can use 50% less than other models, so if you are thinking of replacing your household appliances check out the energy rating before you buy. Old boilers are inefficient and therefore cost more to run. You should consider installing a new A-rated gas boiler to see the best energy savings.

7. Only boil as much water as you need
Another free energy saving tip, if you only fill the kettle with the amount of water you need for that cup of coffee, pot of tea or mug of hot chocolate, then you are not wasting energy by boiling water that you don’t need.

8. Don’t leave fridge and freezer doors open
Grab and Go! Open the door get what you want and shut the door, even if you are just getting milk out for that cup of coffee you should shut the door between visits to save energy.

9. Make good use of your Fridge/Freezer
A full freezer is working in the most energy efficient way because it is able to keep a more even temperature when you pen the door. Fridges rely on some air circulation to be able to work most efficiently so try not to cram too much in. If you have a frost free freezer then this next bit doesn’t apply to you, but where you have the type of freezer that makes its own ice monster every few months you should keep it defrosted so that it is working most efficiently.

10. Regular servicing of your boiler

However old your boiler is it is best to get it regularly serviced so it is working as energy efficiently as possible. Find a Boiler Engineer you can trust to carry out the serving and take his advice if he recommends a new boiler. See Fit a new A-rated gas boiler in our blog 10 Energy Saving Tips to Save You Money.

To find out more about Energy Saving and Green Energy, check out DIY Doctors Green Living section where you can also watch a video on how to save energy and save money at the same time. You will also find more ideas on energy saving products and green energy solutions.

Jul 01

Save Money on Electricity and Gas with our Energy Saving Tips

We want to share with you DIY Doctors best energy saving tips to save you money, by using less energy.

There are lots of energy saving products on the market including energy saving light bulbs, which we are all familiar with by now, but other energy saving devices includes fridges, washing machines and boilers. Look out for A rating stickers when you buy new appliances.

It makes sense for homeowners and tenants to employ energy saving ideas, and they don’t even have to cost you any money to implement, as you will see from our energy saving methods below:

This is the most cost efficient energy saving home Improvement project you can carry out in your home, and you can find our how in our DIY Projects.

2. Have cavity walls insulated
If your walls are not already insulated then this is an excellent energy saving Home Improvement project which will save you up to 30% of your homes heat loss, find out more in our DIY Projects on Cavity Wall Insulation.

If you can feel cold air coming through windows and doors then heat is escaping. You can loose up to 20% of your home’s heat lost though drafts. Find out how to fit draft excluders to windows and doors and stop drafts in our DIY Projects section.

4. Fill in any cracks around window frames and along skirting boards
If you have exposed floorboards you may need to fill in cracks between floorboards to stop draughts, and we explain how to do that in our DIY Projects section.

5. Turn down your hot water to 60 degrees C
If you water thermostat it is set higher than sixty degrees, then your system will simply add cold water to it to bring it down to this safer temperature, so you are wasting energy making it hotter than it needs to be. This is free to implement too.

6. Turn down your room thermostat by 1 degree
Another free energy saving measure, this costs you nothing but may save you up to 5% of your energy consumption, and it is unlikely you will notice the difference in terms of feeling warm and comfortable.

7. Don’t heat unused rooms
This also costs nothing, simply turn off the radiator or heater in an unused room, and close the door to keep the other rooms warm. Please note that you should ‘air’ the room and check for condensation each day, because this room will be cool, and you do not want the air to become stale causing mould and mildew, see our condensation project for more information.

8. Energy saving Grants
There are lots of Government initiatives to encourage homeowners to implement energy saving products. You can find out more on our sister site BeEnergySmart on their Grants and Offers pages, and there is more information about the grants available on the Energy Saving Trust website.

9. Fit a new A-rated gas boiler

Old boilers are inefficient and costly to run you can find out more about new Combination Boilers in our Projects Section.

10. You could save money by switching to a new energy supplier
You can check out the tariffs available on any number of energy comparison websites we like the one by Which called Which Switch – we are a sucker for a rhyme! Saving energy also helps to reduce the impact on the environment and you can improve this further by using green energy where possible. You can definitely make your energy more Green by using an eco package from your energy supplier, if you are not already doing so, Eco packages are available from most Energy Suppliers.

Jun 29

Summer is obviously the time that we spend much more time gardening, and there are lots of jobs to keep us busy from lawn mowing to pruning and weeding, but have you thought that now is also the perfect time to replace your radiators or boiler?

There is nothing worse than finding out your heating system needs replacing in the middle of winter when it is cold wet and miserable. It is much better to thinking about maintaining your heating system in June or July when you don’t actually need it – hopefully!

We have projects explaining how your heating system works and on replacing your boiler including combi boilers if you have a gas system or oil-fired boilers where gas in not available.

We also wanted to introduce you to Paladin Radiators and their fantastic range of cast iron radiators. We like their range of cast iron radiators because they are timeless and efficient, and they are much more durable than modern day radiators. They also allow you to make a real design statement in your home.

## Top 10 Reasons for Choosing Cast Iron Radiators

1. You can get any size of radiator you want for any size room from Paladin.
2. And you can choose any colour of paint you want.
3. They can be custom-built to suit your individual requirements so you get the finish you want – whether you like traditional or contemporary designs.
4. They can also incorporate traditional towel rails.
5. They work really well in modern and traditional buildings.
6. The National Trust likes them – they are one their trusted supplier list; Alan Tichmarch likes them! – he featured Paladin Radiators on his show; apparently even Royalty and Celebrities like them – but Paladin are not naming names!
7. Paladin offer 7 day delivery.
8. They are made in a workshop in Lincolnshire UK.
9. Paladin are the only cast iron radiator manufacturer who are approved by the Royal Institute of British Architects conservation sector.
10. They come in Electric models as well as working with central heating systems.

Don’t just take our word for it though you can find out more about Paladin Cast Iron Radiators on their website, and you can check out some of Paladin Radiators prestigious projects there too.

If you need to change a radiator in your house we explain how to isolate and remove a radiator and changing a radiator in our project pages on the main DIY Doctor website.