Should I Get My Boiler Serviced In Summer Or Winter?

Boilers benefit greatly from having an annual service but does it really matter when that takes place as long as it’s every year? From a functional point of view, it doesn’t really, however there are benefits in terms of convenience and cost that might just persuade you it’s worth moving your boiler service into the summer months.

Few people question when the boiler service takes place, it’s often around the time of the year that it was originally installed or perhaps on the anniversary of a previous breakdown when a full service may have been necessary or the start of some kind of home cover policy you’ve had in the past. To comply with any warranty you do need to ensure that it doesn’t go longer than a year but other than that you are free to have it serviced whenever you like.

Here are a few reasons why it might be better to have that done in the summer:

It’s cheaper!

Because there are far fewer breakdowns in summer than winter, our engineers are not as busy. We discount our boiler service fee in the summer to help us balance our workload better. The service you get is exactly the same but you pay £20 less in the summer (May to August) than you would in the winter.

It makes sure your boiler is ready for winter

Cold weather and turning the heating back on after being off for the summer are when most boiler problems occur. By having it serviced in the summer it should be good-to-go when you turn your heating on for the winter.

It’s more convenient

Not only are you going to be able to pick and choose the best date for you, because engineers aren’t as busy, if there is an issue that needs fixing it’s much less disruptive to have that done when you’re not reliant on the heating as you would be in the winter.

It’s nowhere near Christmas!

While a boiler service is necessary, nobody really enjoys paying out for it but it’s even less welcome around Christmas, or in the New Year, when every penny counts! Having it done in the summer keeps the expense nicely away from the most costly time of year.

Obviously if you only had your boiler serviced in February (for example) it’s going to cost you more that year to have it serviced again in August but you only have to take the hit once and then you can take advantage of the benefits of summer servicing every year.

If you’re reading about boilers and need to get yours serviced, APG Domestic Services cover boilers in Lytham if you need an engineer.



The Five Best Ways to get Financial Help with a New Combi Boiler

Don’t you just hate unexpected expenses? I like to stick to a strict budget and plan out my family’s spending ahead of time, however occasionally things happen that are completely out of my control. But what can you do?

Whether it’s paying for new car tyres or suddenly having to fork out for a brand new working boiler, sometimes these things just have to be done so you can carry on with the important things in life. Finding the cash for it? Sometimes easier said than done.

If your boiler suddenly breaks down or is condemned, leaving you without heating and hot water, it can be an incredibly stressful time. However, don’t panic, as there is help out there to help you cover the cost of your replacement combi boiler.

Below, I’m going discuss all of the finance options available to help you out with your new boiler, along with the available government incentives.

1. Cashback/Trade-in

The most obvious way to get help with your new boiler is to pick a company/installer who takes part in a scrappage scheme. Due to the high price of scrap metal, you should be able to get £400 cashback for your old boiler, which will help towards the cost of your new one. Always check to see if a company will offer cashback for scrapping your old boiler.

2. Consumer credit

If you seek out an installer with a consumer credit licence, they will most likely be happy to offer you a credit deal when you get your new boiler fitted. For example, you might be able to get a boiler that comes with 12 months interest-free credit, or credit covering a period of up to 10 years, at an average rate of around 9.9% APR.

3. Deferred credit

Deferred credit is another option that some installers will offer, which means you could buy now, pay in six months. If you shop around enough, you may be able to find a deferred credit deal on some types of boilers.

4. Government grants and incentives

There are plenty of government grants and incentives available that may be able to provide help with a new boiler, although these are constantly updated. Your best bet would be to check out the Energy Savings Trust website for more information about schemes available in your area.


Two such initiatives are the Green Deal and ECO (Energy Company Obligation). The latter is particularly helpful for more vulnerable, low-income households who may be eligible for a free boiler installation. To find out if you’re eligible, you can contact Energy Saving Advice by calling 0300 123 1234.

5. Pay by credit card

This last option is one that I only really recommend in an emergency situation – for instance, if your old boiler is condemned or breaks down, and you have no other option. It’s a last resort for many people due to the generally higher interest rates credit cards charge. If possible, try to make a partial payment rather than relying solely on a credit card.

6. Boilers on Finance scheme

Firms such as APG Domestics offers new boiler finance which means instead of paying out a lump sum you can pay for your new boiler in installments instead.


Everyone’s entitled to a warm home and hot water. If you ever find yourself stuck for cash and in need of a new boiler, there are plenty of ways to get financial help if you need it. From low-interest loans or deferred credit, to government schemes that could even qualify you for a free boiler, there’s plenty of help out there if you know where to look. And don’t forget, always check whether your installer will give you cashback on your old boiler.

Simple Tricks to Make Dog’s Bath Time Easier, Faster and Neater

Everyone knows how to bathe a dog, right? But even if you’re doing a good job already, I bet I can offer tips to make your work easier or last longer.

Veterinary dermatologists are changing the rules, now saying that bathing weekly isn’t a bad idea at all. Forget the old idea that bathing strips the oils from the coat and should be done only every six months or even less often. Information presented at recent cutting-edge veterinary conferences suggests that there are benefits for some dogs to weekly bathing including reducing allergies (yours and your dog’s), treating skin infections (at least as effectively as some medications) and reducing the itching and scratching that drives everyone crazy.

Besides, do you really want to share your bed with a stinky, dirty dog?

Before Your Dog Gets Wet

Before you put even a single drop of water on your dog, make sure you have everything you need.

Get the right shampoo. Shampoo designed for people — even baby shampoo — has a different pH than what’s best for your dog. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a product that works best for your individual pet, and follow the directions. If your dog has skin problems, you’ll likely need a therapeutic shampoo that will address his condition. While you’re shopping, get a bath tool, such as the Kong Zoom Groom. Such tools reduce shedding by loosening ready-to-drop fur in the tub, and they take your shampoo further by working it deep into the coat. They also give your dog a relaxing massage.

Stop the tears and wet ears. Ask your veterinarian for some bland eye ointment and have her show you how to apply it. Also, put a small piece of cotton in each of your dog’s ear canals to prevent water from getting inside; just make sure you take it out after the bath.

Brush your dog. Brushing before a bath helps the shampoo get into the coat and works out mats before they get set in by the water. Gently pick apart or cut out any mats before the bath, because adding water will make them impossible to remove.

Stock your station. It’s frustrating to start bathing a dog only to realize the shampoo or towels are on the other side of the room. Unless you enjoy playing tag with a soaking wet pup, get your supplies together before you bring in the dog.

Use my three-towel trick. Have one towel to put in the bottom of the tub to provide traction and prevent slipping. The second towel is the anti-shake towel — drape it over the wet dog (between washes or before rinsing) to prevent him from shaking and soaking you and the walls. The third towel is the drying towel. A big dog might need more than one drying towel.

Block the drain. Put a piece of steel wool in the drain to catch the dog hair and prevent it from clogging your drain.

Put in a non-slip surface. This can be just a towel in the bottom of the tub or sink — using my three-towel trick — or a non-skid rubber mat. Few things stress out a dog more than not being able to stand without slipping, and giving him something to sink his toes into will help ease his anxiety about baths.

Go warm on the water. Fill the tub or sink with water before you bring in your dog. The sound of rushing water adds to his stress if he’s not an enthusiastic bather.

Time to Splish and Splash

Use a leash if you have to, but lead your dog to the water, offering good cheer and a treat along the way. Don’t lose your cool if your dog resists — if he already dislikes bathing, an association with your angry voice won’t help. Put him in the tub with as little drama as possible and get to work.

Wet your dog completely, down to the skin. Start shampooing at the neck and work your way down his body to tail and toes. Putting a sudsy barrier at the base of the skull prevents any heinous hitchhikers — fleas and ticks — from running for the hills … er, ears. Keep the praise coming for your dog and keep your attitude upbeat.

When you get to the tail, you can empty your dog’s anal glands. These pesky little organs produce a stinky fluid that dogs use to mark their feces like gang members uses colors and signs. Though some dogs never have a problem with them, many do, and emptying them from time to time can help prevent the glands from becoming impacted. It’s a good idea to have someone at your veterinarian’s office demonstrate the technique — it’s not hard to do, but easier to learn if you see it done.

When every inch of your dog has been sudsed up, open the drain to let the dirty water out — the steel wool will catch the hair and spare you a drain clog. Rinse, rinse and rinse some more, using clean water from the tap. Getting all the soap out and the coat and skin flushed with fresh water will keep your dog clean longer and minimizes flaking.

Dry the Dog Instead of Soaking Yourself

Dogs dislike the smell of shampoo. To dogs, mint, pine and citrus just aren’t as appealing as the smell of rotting stuff. To prevent an immediate muddying of your hard work, don’t let your dog outside until he’s completely dry — or he’ll roll in the muck before you can say, “Oh, no!”

Throw a towel over him like a horse blanket and use another one to dry the face, then the ears and then the feet. You can use a blow-dryer to speed things along if you like and if your dog isn’t afraid of the noise. If you do use a blow-dryer, set it on the cooler setting to avoid accidentally injuring the skin. Dryers made just for dogs blast room-temperature air. They make drying go more quickly by blowing the water out of the coat so it can air-dry more quickly. If you have a long-haired dog, this is a pretty good investment that will save you lots of time.

Here’s a simple trick to keep your pup from soaking you after his bath: Gently take hold of his muzzle with your thumb and forefinger. A dog starts to shake from the head back, and if he can’t rotate his head, he can’t rotate his body either. After you’ve towel-dried him the best you can, put him in a “shaking allowed” zone, and let him have at it.

If you’re after the perfect dog shampoo, Animology have a fantastic range that will keep your dog clean, healthy and happy.


Combi boiler prices and savings explained

Combi boiler prices remind me a little of airline tickets. When you start the process of searching, the price initially looks great – but by the time you’re finished adding the extras, your credit card isn’t looking too healthy.

In this guide we want to help you understand what a combination boiler is, what you’ll pay to have a new one installed, and how much it might save you in the long run. That way you can make a good decision when and if you need to get a new boiler.

What is a combination boiler?

When a UK homeowner decides to get a new boiler, there’s a pretty high chance they’ll opt for a wall-mounted gas combination boiler – or what most of us call a ‘combi boiler’. These small gas-fired boilers make up about 74% of the market for new boilers purchased in the UK.

So what is a combi boiler? A combi boiler is a system that provides both heating and hot water directly from one boiler, hence the name ‘combination boiler’. In the UK when we talk about a ‘combi boiler’, we’re generally talking about one using natural gas. Electric and oil boilers do exist, but should be avoided where possible due to high fuel costs.

Since 2005, pretty much all new gas combi boilers have been wall-mounted condensing units. This just means that they’re small and efficient models, mounted on the wall and thus without the need for external tanks. The fact that combi boilers are compact, economical, use mains pressure and are quickly installed has led to them becoming the preferred boiler choice in the UK.

Despite these advantages however, there are some situations in which a gas combi boiler is not necessarily the best choice. Let’s take a look at a few:

  1. Off the gas grid: Without gas the typical boiler options are electric storage heaters and oil boilers.
  2. Simultaneous hot water: If you often need to run multiple hot taps at once, a combi boiler won’t be ideal. For some bigger households in this situation, a system boiler or conventional boiler with a tank is a better choice.
  3. Low water pressure: Combi boilers rely on mains water pressure to move hot water about the house. If your water pressure is poor, then a system or regular boiler may be a better option.

If, however, you live in a small- to moderate-sized household on the gas grid, with decent water pressure to boot, then a combi boiler could be an ideal replacement boiler.

Now, to pricing: it’ll help to understand what a new one might set you back.

Combi boiler prices, installation costs and extras

One of the common mistakes people make when considering a new boiler is to simply google ‘combi boiler prices’ – the search results would have you think a new boiler can be installed for less than £1,000.

Sadly, this just isn’t the case. Depending on the size of the combi boiler required, the difficulty of the labour involved and the need for any extras, you can expect to pay £1,500 – £4,000 in most circumstances – with an average, fully installed boiler costing about £2,300 (according to the Energy Saving Trust).

  1. Choose what size boiler you’ll need
  2. Add an estimate of the installation costs
  3. Be prepared for the possible extras

Let’s say you’ve got a relatively modern flat with an existing gas combi boiler that needs replacing. This might cost £700 for the boiler, £600 for the installation, and another £150 for a magnetic filter, bringing the total to £1,450 – about as cheap an install as you’re likely to get. Add a ‘power flush’ if there happened to be sludge in the system, and you’re quickly up to £1,950 – still, not bad.

At the other end of the spectrum, however, let’s say you have a large home and are switching to a combi boiler in a new position. The boiler will cost £1,500, and the install £1,100. A power flush with lots of radiators might be £700, extra pipework £300, a new thermostat £200, and a magnetic filter £150. Suddenly, it’s £3,950.

These two examples are, of course, just estimates – but they give you an idea of why prices can vary so much. The sensible way to make sure you don’t get stung is to get multiple quotes, and ensure that what you are being offered is itemised in the bill. As long as all your quotes are itemised, you’ll be able to tell if you are paying more for the boiler, labour or other equipment – and be in a good place to understand what you are getting for your money.

How much can replacing an old boiler save me?

A prevalent question – and thanks to the good people over at the Energy Saving Trust, one we can answer with a decent estimate, based on your house size and existing boiler efficiency. In the chart below, I’ve taken the numbers and crunched them.

This graph estimates the annual gas savings that could be made when switching to a more efficient boiler. As you might expect, the less efficient the old boiler is (G is the lowest rating) and the larger the house is (detached homes need the most heating), the more savings that can be made.

For example, changing from an E-rated boiler to a new A-rated combi in a mid-floor flat only saves £90 a year on gas; replacing an F-rated boiler in a detached house, however, could save £430.

Let’s put these figures into context. If you replaced a highly inefficient G-rated boiler in a semi-detached house, the expense might pay itself back in gas savings after seven years. Replacing a D-rated boiler in a flat, however, could easily take 20 years to pay off. The efficiency gap between old and new is the main factor driving the difference.

Which leads us nicely to our last question.

Is it time for a new boiler?

A good question – but one that only you can really answer. Weighing the costs and benefits can help you think it through. Let’s take a look:

The benefits:

  1. Savings: If your old boiler is quite inefficient there’s a good chance you can cut your gas bill by 20-30%, as we’ve just detailed
  2. Reliability: A well-installed combi boiler is very reliable, and often comes with a five-year warranty when fitted by an accredited technician
  3. Availability: Moving to a combi boiler ensures you enjoy a permanent hot water supply, and don’t have to wait for filling tanks
  4. Space: Switching to a combi boiler can reclaim space used for water tanks
  5. Pressure: Mains pressure showers are rather nice really
  6. Maintenance: Much like a new car it shouldn’t bother you for at least five years
  7. Safety: A well-installed new boiler can improve safety, along with having the appropriate carbon monoxide detector fitted with it

The costs:

  1. Cost: Expect to pay £1,500 – £4,000 in most circumstances
  2. Time: It will cost you a little time to organise a new one
  3. Hassle: Finding a good registered installer is crucial to your success
  4. Choice: You will need to research which boiler to buy

Lastly, here are a few examples of when you should really consider upgrading to a new boiler. If you are in one of these five positions, give it some serious thought.

  1. High cost repair: If something goes wrong in an old boiler that requires more than £500 pounds to fix, you may be better investing in a new boiler and being rewarded with lower bills
  2. Recurrent breakdowns: Not having heating or hot water during winter is both inconvenient and stressful. If an old boiler is requiring a lot of small repairs and causing you anxiety, consider replacing it
  3. Flue problems: The flue is essential for both safety and function. Repairing one is invariably expensive and is money better spent on a new boiler
  4. Moving your boiler: If you are moving an old boiler as part of renovations being made, consider upgrading. You will already be paying for much of the required labour, so the additional cost of the boiler is worth it
  5. Old boilers: Although many older boilers can last for up to 30 years, they are likely to be highly inefficient. In such cases the cost of capital for a new boiler is significantly below the annual savings. In other words, it makes sense purely as a financial investment

The last example is the most relevant to people who aren’t swayed by a boiler breakdown. When you consider the average gas bill for a large house is almost £1,000, and that replacing it may save around £250 a year in gas costs, then the £2,500 it might cost for a new boiler would have a crude payback of around ten years. If you were intending to stay in that house and could reap both performance and reliability benefits, it would certainly be a good investment.

If you do opt for a new boiler, make sure you get three properly itemised quotes. Choose a boiler from an established brand that includes a guarantee, and ensure the work is done by a gas safe registered engineer.

If you do go down the route of getting a new boiler make sure you get three properly itemised quotes. Choose a boiler from an established brand that includes a guarantee and ensure the work is done by a gas safe registered engineer.

You can also look into getting a new boiler on finance.

And finally, don’t forget to consider what you are paying for gas in the first place.


Building your own garden room

Over the last 15 years garden rooms have become a popular way of extending your home. Most garden rooms are bought for use as home offices or studios, but we are seeing more and more complex designs being built for permanent living.

Often referred to as ‘posh sheds’, garden rooms are actually built like modern timber frame houses using the same materials and building techniques – as far from a garden shed as it is possible to get! These buildings are highly insulated meaning they are suitable for use all year round.

A garden room makes a great self-build project. There are two common routes for the self-builder – buy a kit and assemble it yourself or design and build the garden room yourself from scratch.

Buying SIP garden kits is the simplest route and companies like Outdoor Living Rooms offer high spec solutions which include a Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) core, cedar cladding, aluminum clad doors, electrics and more. This type of kit is delivered to you with assembly instructions. With prices starting at £4625 plus VAT this can be a quick and cost effective way of self-building a garden room.

The downside to buying a garden room kit is that you have little flexibility over the design of the building. If you have a specific design in mind it’s not too challenging to design and build a garden room from scratch.

Your own design

When designing a garden room you need to bear in mind the Permitted Development rules for Outbuildings. In many cases, a garden room can be built without the need for full Planning Permission, as long as the positioning and dimensions comply with Permitted Development. Flat roof garden rooms under 2.5m high are very popular as they can be sited close to the boundaries of the garden. With pitched roof designs you will need to site the building at least 2m from each boundary.

If you plan to sleep in your garden room, even only occasionally, it will need to comply with Building Regulations. Otherwise, garden rooms up to 30m2 can be built without Building Regulations as long as it is either 1m from the boundary or built from substantially non-combustible materials. Of course, all electrics and plumbing in the building must fully comply.

The Planning and Building Regulation rules will have an effect on your design and choice of materials.

Key elements


A concrete slab used to be the foundation of choice for a garden room, but today plinth foundations such as Jack Pads or Swift Plinths have revolutionised the market. These adjustable pads are quick to install – needing very little site preparation – and overcome any unevenness of site. These foundation systems are also very popular because they are made from recycled materials and can be cleanly removed from the site should the building ever be taken down. Core structure

Garden room suppliers either favour a traditional timber frame for the core of the building or Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). As a self-builder you have these options open to you too. The traditional timber frame is what most self-builders tend to favour, but you do have the option of working with a SIPs manufacturer who will precision cut the SIPs to your plans including door and window openings.

As with any timber frame building it is important that a breather membrane is present in the build up. Over this, garden rooms tend to be timber clad. Western Red Cedar is by far the most popular option for both its durability and aesthetic appeal. Larch, Thermowood and manmade boards like Cedral are also popular options. Roof

By far the most common roof covering for flat roof garden rooms is EPDM and you can buy kits for garden room size buildings online. Insulated roof panels which form both the interior and exterior finish and the external finish are popular with some designers. When it comes to pitched roof designs the entry level option is Asphalt shingles. Cedar shingles create a beautiful finish; you also have the option of slates or tiles, but you will need to design your roof accordingly to take the additional weight. Doors & windows

The doors and windows are often one of the main design features in a garden room. It’s common practice to use house quality doors and windows in garden room designs, whether they be UPVC or Aluminum clad. It is fashionable to have large expanses of floor to ceiling glazing. Bi-fold doors which fold back to open up the whole wall are a must have feature with buyers.


This is where garden rooms tend to vary. Basic models are lined with MDF or vinyl coated boards. Higher spec buildings have fully plastered interiors which have the feel of a room in a house. Birch plywood linings are also popular, offering a modern pared down style. When it comes to the flooring, laminate or engineered flooring are the most popular options, but you could also fit carpet or rubber.


The electrical system is the one job that you need to call in the professionals for. Like with any building project there is both a first and second fix phase. The garden room normally has its own consumer unit which is connected to the house’s mains supply via an armoured cable buried underground. An earth rod is also fitted. With garden rooms often being used as home offices, it’s a good idea to incorporate data, telephone and audio visual cabling into the system. Trunking for these cables is normally buried in the same trench as the electrics.


As discussed at the start of this article, more and more garden rooms are being used as living annexes. Toilets or full shower rooms are designed in creating a truly self-contained building. You may need to call in advice on this aspect of the design and build as work will need to comply with Building Regulations and you will have to give thought to the sewage connections and water supply.

Designing and building a garden room is an enjoyable project and definitely within the scope of a competent DIY-er. By designing and building a garden room yourself you will not only get a building tailored to your needs and tastes but it will be the fraction of the cost of buying one on a full installation basis. However, if this isn’t an option, then there are many garden room companies to choose from who offer a diverse range at varied prices.

Cleaning rust from an old car? Try sandblasting

There are some cleaning and restoration jobs around the garage that are too tough for detergents and elbow grease. A rusty leaf spring on a vintage vehicle, a wheel ravaged by road salt and brake dust, a dingy accessory on an otherwise sparkling engine—when it comes to this kind of hard-core work, savvy DIYers bring in the heavy artillery of sandblasting. (It’s also called media blasting, though sand is no longer used due to the health risks of inhaling silica particles.) Sandblasting can strip paint without damaging the base material, even if it’s plastic and wood, and smooth out pitting on the hardest of metals. The technique’s utility extends to other home projects, including stripping old bike frames and metal lawn furniture, and even removing calcium deposits from tiles.

The operation uses pressurized air to shoot tiny pieces of material (media) out of a nozzle to strip off the surface of a target. It’s like pressure washing, only at lower pressures and with projectiles that are a lot more abrasive than droplets of water. The most commonly used media include plastic beads, ground-up walnut shells, glass beads, and aluminum oxide.

To media-blast at home, buy a blasting cabinet to contain the mess and to avoid covering your entire garage with a fine dusting of walnut shells. The cabinet usually consists of a closed box with a blasting gun and a pair of heavy-duty gloves built into the structure. For less than £200 you can get a bench-top unit with a working area of about 22 x 18 x 12 inches. Larger self-standing cabinets with about 6 cubic feet of covered space are more expensive—as much as £1500 and higher. The media generally cost less than £50 for a 5- gallon bucket, and most media can be reused repeatedly. The other requirement is an air compressor that can handle a minimum of 80 psi at 5 cubic feet per minute (at least £200 if you don’t already have one). For larger objects, such as wheels or body panels, you can build a simple enclosure with 2 x 4s and plastic sheeting, although that also requires a handheld gun and personal protective equipment. For bigger projects, such as a car frame, it’s best to hand the job off to a professional shop.

Even though sandblasting can strip the chrome off a bumper, it’s not very good at removing grease. Before you blast, make sure anything sticky or oily has been cleaned; otherwise, you’ll end up immediately fouling the media you just bought. The rule of thumb for sandblasting is to use the lightest abrasive and lowest pressure necessary to get the job done. Don’t forget that the softer the target material, the gentler you need to be. Always test your material and pressure setting first on a section of the part that isn’t seen. Heavy media often leave a rough finish, so keep in mind that further polishing steps after blasting may be required.

You also need to watch out for flash corrosion, which can occur when moisture in the air rapidly oxidizes a newly exposed piece of metal. If this is a risk (don’t do anything when the humidity is above 75 percent), be ready to treat raw metal with primer paint or another protectant as soon as possible. You don’t want your shiny new surface to vanish under a fresh coat of corrosion.

The Nitty Gritty

Different types of common blasting media produce very different results. Plastic beads and walnut shells yield almost identical results. Walnut shells are dirt cheap and eco-friendly (perfect if you’re doing work outdoors) but only last for one use. Plastic beads can be used multiple times. Both are gentle enough to strip paint and remove minor blemishes on metal, although they aren’t abrasive enough to remove all the rust shown here. To do that you need to use glass beads, which stripped away enough of the metal on our bar to make it look fresh again. The last section shows why aluminum oxide is the 800-pound gorilla of blasting media. If you want something clean, it’ll be clean right now, and aluminum oxide can even smooth out scratches and gouges. The extreme hardness of aluminum oxide means that its effects last a long time, and it’s generally pretty inexpensive. It also leaves a coarse finish, as shown by the dullness on the right end of the steel bar, compared with the middle section.

Safety First!

Microscopic dust that results from blasting is bad for your health, so when working on large projects, be sure to cover up. We recommend: a face shield and/or safety glasses, ear protection, and a breathing mask. A handheld blasting gun requires gloves, and an apron is a good idea. The blasting cabinet is downright tidy in comparison, but it limits your work space.

If you’d like to get your car parts sandblasted, contact New City Sandblasting, who are number 1 for sandblasting in Preston.

When Should You Replace Your Old Boiler?

If you’re wondering when’s the best time to get a boiler installed, read on!

When it’s hot and you’re dressed in shorts and t-shirt, ice cream in hand, paddling pool in the back garden, the last thing on your mind is the central heating, and more importantly, your boiler. However, the summer is actually the best time for you to replace your boiler for many different reasons, as we see below.

Engineers are busiest in the winter

This is because everyone else remembers that suddenly, should their boiler break down in the winter they’re going to be in a pickle. It’s also true that people don’t really use their boilers as much in the summer, and when they need to put the heating on and it doesn’t work – that’s when the emergency callouts start.

While the boiler is installed you won’t feel the effects

If you’re relying on the heating being on when you book your engineer to come round, you’re in for a shock! Obviously the boiler is not going to be on while the engineer is fixing or replacing it, so if it’s cold outside you’re going to feel it. Book your boiler replacement for a hot sunny day and you won’t even notice.

There won’t be any urgency

If your boiler does break down in winter and you are without heat and hot water. You’ll be desperate for an engineer – any engineer – to come round and sort you out. You won’t be able to make an educated decision on which firm or boiler you would like. Making a rash decision could have repercussions in the future. If you plan ahead and choose your boiler and installation engineer well in advance you can take your time and make an informed decision.

Peace of mind

You can be sure that, should you get your boiler sorted in the summer months, come winter you can rest assured your boiler is not going to break down, or at least there is less chance of your boiler breaking down. There’s also your boiler guarantee that should cover you for a few years, and if you have subscribed to a service plan you’ll be top priority should anything bad happen to your boiler.

If you’re looking to replace your boiler, or feel it could be due a service, contact Booths Gas Services for a boiler quote in Preston. You’ll be glad you did!

Should I have granite worktops in a small kitchen?

If you have a small kitchen you will be wanting to create a functional arrangement that makes the most of the space. Kitchens need storage, preparation areas, seating and dining areas, and room for all appliances. Fitting all this in to a small space can be problematic and requires a lot of thought and planning. Budget may also be a factor that you will need to include in your kitchen renovation.

The two main design aspects you should think about when designing a small kitchen are uniformity and simplicity. You need to think about colours and materials that you are going to use – dark colours can make a small space appear smaller, as can complicated patterns. Stick with pale and low contrast colours as these will give an illusion of space. You can also think about cabinet location. Well-placed cabinets can be great for storage and not take up valuable space that could be used for something else. We have also found that using stainless steel can reflect light and make the room look bigger.

If you have a kitchen that is tiny and also lacking light, base your entire kitchen design on a white or cream palette. If you are looking to get a granite worktop you can get these in white, cream or lighter designs. Granite is a durable, light-reflecting material that gives an elegant and luxurious feel to a kitchen. Having a white granite worktop and cream coloured cabinets will give a light, spacious and airy feel to the most cramped of kitchens. Having a tiled or laminate floor in a similar colour will add to the effect.

An advantage to having a small kitchen means you can afford more expensive materials such as quartz, granite or marble for your worktops. Granite looks absolutely stunning, even in a small space and will last a lifetime if maintained properly.

Another great tip for accentuating the space in a kitchen is having a brightly coloured piece such as a kettle, toaster or vase of flowers. It also means if you do decide you don’t like your accent colour they are easy to remove or replace. It also gives a personal touch to an otherwise characterless room, as it’s best to stick to a minimalist style when dressing a small space. Minimise clutter and try and store everything behind closed doors – though saying that having exposed shelves will add space to a small room.

For granite worktops in every style imaginable check out iGranite.

What types of counselling are available for depression?

If you are thinking about getting counselling, you may be wondering what you’re actually going to be getting once you’re sat there talking to someone. Read on to find out what to expect.
There are three main approaches to counselling, with many sub-categories within these categories. You may not have a choice over which type of counselling is offered – although some services are able to offer a choice. However, all counsellors will tailor what they offer to suit it to what you need.

Psychodynamic counselling

Counselling which focuses on patterns of relationship, often helpful in understanding how early experiences might be affecting you in the present. Especially helpful for untangling ‘baggage’ which may be holding you back in your current relationships and attitudes to others. Understanding how your current attitudes and ways of interacting with others are caught up in old hurts can free you to choose more constructive ways forward.

Person-centred counselling

Counselling which respects individual uniqueness and steers clear of any form of advice, preferring to support you in finding your own meanings and solutions. Especially useful when your main need is for caring, non-judgemental support and a neutral space where you can get things off your chest.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT)

Counselling which is solution and action-focused, especially helpful in tackling unhelpful thinking habits. Has strong evidence for effectiveness in treating both depression and anxiety. Lends itself well to self-help – much of the self-help information on this site is based on CBT – so can be used alongside other approaches to counselling. CBT requires commitment and willingness to carry out ‘homework’ tasks and work towards agreed goals.

Integrative counselling

Many counsellors integrate aspects of each of these approaches, rather than working in only one way. This is especially true in the context of the short-term, focused approach that most counsellors working in universities and colleges would use.

How does counselling help?

A counsellor will aim to help you get a clear overview of the problem, as the basis for finding ways forward. For some people, just the opportunity to talk to someone caring and supportive is enough to help them re-engage with their own coping resources. For others, a more detailed focus on what has gone wrong and how to put it right might be indicated.
Always be honest with your counsellor about whether the counselling sessions feel helpful or not, and if you aren’t getting the kind of help you want then let the counsellor know. Counselling works as a collaborative process, so it can’t help if you aren’t clear about what you want.
Should you want to book an appointment with a counsellor, especially someone who specialises in depression counselling, you can contact Cheryl King Associates who will be happy to help.

Considering getting a boiler on finance?

Currently, only those who claim benefits can get help towards the cost of replacing their boilers. But, if you don’t claim any benefits and you don’t have the cash up-front to cover the costs of replacing your old boiler, then getting a replacement boiler with a finance plan from APG Domestic Services could be your best bet.

What is boiler finance?

You spread what would be the cost of a brand new boiler and split it into manageable chunks which you pay every month over a set period of time. Depending on the plan you choose, the monthly payments will be somewhere in the region of ten to twenty pounds and you can spread them over a long period of time.

What are the benefits?

You get total peace of mind during the contract as the warranty will span the entire life of the finance agreement. This means that if your boiler breaks down three years after its installed, you can simply call up APG and it will be instantly fixed or replaced. If it breaks down nine years down the line you’ll be able to get it fixed at no extra cost.

Another benefit is being able to avoid the large up-front costs, too. Many boiler installers who have access to finance are able to offer 0% APR rates, and can install your new boiler with little to no deposit. Twenty quid per month sounds a lot better than £3,000 all in one go!

How much will I need to pay?

You may be able to get your new replacement boiler installed with little to no costs up-front. If you can offer a deposit however, you should be able to use that to put towards the installation as it will decrease your monthly payments or the amount of time you need to pay.

What kind of boiler will I get?

Because you will need cover for the entire span of your finance agreement, the types of boiler which get installed will be of the highest quality. This is because they will want to install a boiler which isn’t going to break down every 5 minutes meaning they have to constantly come out and fix it.

I don’t have a great credit score.

Even if you don’t have a great credit score, you should still look into getting a boiler on finance. It will cost you nothing to do so and there is help out there for those who haven’t spent so wisely in the past. If you’re fully employed and are meeting your financial responsibilities, then you can still get financial support.

How much does a new boiler installation cost?

The cost of a replacement boiler can vary a lot depending on many different factors. You may need to have extra piping installed into your home, your flue may need to be upgraded, or the boiler itself may even need to be relocated for safety reasons. Typically, a standard boiler swap (combi for combi for example) can cost you somewhere between £1,500 – £2,500. If you require a conversion (which to swap a standard system, for a combi boiler), you may be having to pay around £3,000 – £4,000.

Do I have any alternative options?

If you don’t claim benefits and you have a terrible credit score, the last thing you could do is to speak to Preston council. They can sometimes have home improvement grants available or run independent schemes that would enable you to get a new boiler. However if you fancy looking into speaking to someone regarding boilers on finance, give us a call.