While some home improvement programmes want to change the world, for many homeowners, they just want to keep it simple.
Following are some handy tricks to keeping your home in tip-top shape.
1. Draught-proof windows and doors
It is estimated that a majority of Irish homes are energy inefficient and much of this derives from poorly insulated windows and doors (walls and roofs are also a big factor that may require more significant intervention). So, on the matter of doors and windows, consider using self-adhesive strips – these are easy to install in gaps between window and frame.
2. Bleed your radiators
Radiators can become air-locked, this will mean they become less efficient as hot water cannot pass through entirely resulting in poor heating. To check if your radiator is not performing optimally, run your hand up radiator – if it’s cool at the top and warm at the bottom, that means there’s air in the system and you need to get it out, this is called ‘bleeding’. For this task, you will require a radiator key, if you do not have one, your local hardware shop should have lots of them for sale. To bleed your radiators of air, follow these steps:
Step 1: Make sure your central heating is off.
Step 2: Loosen the bleed valve on the side of your unit with a radiator key, and use a mug or a rag to catch any excess water.
Step 3: Wait for the hissing to stop, and then re-tighten the valve.
That’s it! Next, turn your central heating back on and check that it is heating all the way to the top of the radiator.
3. Insulate your heating pipework
The hot water that travels from your boiler to the radiators does through a series of pipes. These can be made of either plastic or copper. If they are exposed, in other words, if you can actually touch the copper (or plastic) pipes, this means they are exposed…and losing heat! You can purchase foam insulation at hardware shops. It is hollowed out foam wrapping that is designed to fit around piping. It should also come with some instructions to install. Measure your piping carefully to ensure you buy an appropriate size.
4. Refresh tile with a grout makeover
The vast majority of Irish homes contain grout – this can be in the kitchen (walls and floor) or in the bathroom. Over time, grout dries out and gets damaged through wear and tear and can make otherwise good tile look old and shabby. Before you begin, you’ll need the right tools and if you want to learn more, there are many online tutorials that can direct you on the few simple tools you’ll need (like a grout rake, grout float or spreader and some damp old rags or sponge). Remove decaying material with a grout rake or electric grout remover, and then, make sure you give the entire surface a thorough wipe down. Coat a layer of grout (waterproof if bathroom bound) across all necessary joints using a grout float or spreader, then use a moist sponge to clear off any excess.
5. Add a lick of colour to your favourite furniture
Kitchen tables take a beating yet keep on serving. But over time, well, they might just need a refresh, not a replacement. Here, you can give them a new lease of life with a simple coat (or two) of paint to give them a modern appeal. Before you begin, give it a thorough clean. Leave it dry and then, sand out and rough edges and increase the grip for paint. When you’re paint-ready, apply a layer of suitable primer and leave it to dry. Next, paint two to three thin coats, gently sanding between for a crisp, even finish. When all finished, you should have a piece of furniture that will be better than new and provide a refreshed look to your room.