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  • How to get the most out of your shower

    There is nothing more annoying than a lackluster shower that dribbles and stutters when you are trying to get ready for work in the morning. However, there are plenty of options that can help to put some power back into your shower.

    Clean the showerhead

    If your shower is suffering from low water pressure, one of the first things you should do is take a look at the showerhead. Low water flow could be due to something as simple as a dirty or clogged up showerhead, in which case a good clean should rectify the situation. If this doesn't make much of a difference, consider fitting a new showerhead.

    Sometimes even kinks or areas of damage in the shower hose could be to blame for affecting water flow, so give the hose a thorough inspection and replace it if necessary.

    If the showerhead or the shower hose are both in good working order, then it is also worth double-checking that the mains stopcock is fully open, particularly if you have recently had plumbing work carried out. The stopcock is usually located under the kitchen sink. Even if it is partially closed, this can have a significant impact on water flow which could limit the power you experience in the shower.

    Purchase a shower pump

    Shower pumps are an effective option for increasing water flow to your shower. They can easily be installed if you have some DIY knowledge or with the assistance of a plumber. Shower pumps can boost hot, cold or both feeds and are automatically activated when the shower is turned on. Water travelling through the system passes through the shower pump, where an impeller then increases the pressure of the water before it gets to the shower.

    A home booster pump, such as the Grundfos home booster, may be worth considering if you want to boost the water pressure not just in your shower, but throughout the rest of your home. As an intelligent device, it measures water flow passing through the pump and only adjusts flow as and when it is needed.

    Install a pressurised unvented cylinder

    If you are seeking a long-term solution to water pressure problems, especially if you live somewhere that has dated plumbing systems, you might consider getting a pressurised unvented cylinder installed. This is a far more expensive and complex job than simply installing a shower pump and is something that should be left to the professionals to handle. Installing a pressurised unvented cylinder requires removing the cold water tank and putting a new cylinder in its place, which feeds directly from the mains.

    Install an expansion vessel

    An expansion vessel, also known as an expansion tank, can also be installed to help maintain constant water pressure, thus improving shower quality. This small tank is used on closed water heating systems to protect them from excessive pressure, by absorbing excess water pressure as a result of thermal expansion.

    Fit a cold water accumulator tank

    If you find that your shower water is more cold than hot, then you might wish to consider fitting a separate electric shower with a cold water accumulator tank to remedy this situation. In this case, the shower obtains cold water from the accumulator tank, which is separate from the mains tank. When the cold water reaches the electric shower, it heats it and emits water from the showerhead at high pressure. The beauty of this option is that it also solves the issue of water pressure drop when someone turns a tap on elsewhere in the house.

  • Industrial uses of submersible pumps

    Energy efficient and very effective, submersible pumps play a vital role in a number of industrial applications. These watertight and easy to use pumps are the ideal solution when you want to remove excess water from a submerged location and are available with single or multiple impellers, depending on how they’re intended to be used.

    How do they work?

    Rather than pulling water out of the ground, this type of pump pushes the water to the surface. It uses less energy and can move the liquid far more efficiently than a surface pump but it must be completely submerged to work properly.

    The engine is hermetically sealed into a watertight body and drives an impeller. This draws water into the pump and then pushes it out through a pipe to the surface. The type of pump you require will depend upon the application and it’s always important to use a pump that’s the right size for the job.

    Industrial uses for submersible pumps

    This type of pump is extremely versatile and can be used in domestic, commercial and industrial situations. Most commonly used for pumping sewage and managing wastewater systems, submersibles are also used for seawater handling, rainwater tanks and deep well drilling. Submersible pump-based irrigation systems have also proved to be low cost, reliable and highly efficient.

    The most popular applications for submersible type pumps include:

    Industrial plumbing: pumps are used to clear flooded areas on construction sites, for clearing excess water and pumping slurries. The Coronada range is designed specifically for emptying drainage pits and flooded areas and features a high-grade stainless steel construction designed to cope with aggressive wastewater.

    Deep well or borehole pumping: where water needs to be pumped from a great depth, a dedicated borehole pump from a reputable manufacturer such as Grundfos will make short work of boosting pressure. This type of submersible water pump is capable of pumping clear liquids from deep underground into storage tanks.

    Pumping sewage: sewage pumps need to be capable of handling dirty water before treatment at the sewage plant. The heavy-duty cast iron DGO submersible sewage pump, Ebara DW range or a submersible dirty water Grundfos Unilift pump from the range are all potential choices, proving capable of dealing with water that contains contaminants and particles larger than 1mm in size.

    Oil industry: submersible style pumps are widely used in the oil industry for accessing oil in both onshore and offshore wells.

    The advantages of a submersible water pump

    Submersibles are more reliable and efficient at clearing underground water than surface pumps because they won’t short circuit when wet. By using direct pressure, this type of pump not only clears water more efficiently but can pump it over long distances.

    There’s no danger of pump cavitation and your submersible water pump won’t lose prime and burn out as a surface pump can. Opt for a submersible dirty water pump with a float switch such as the Calpeda GXVm and you’ll ensure that your self-priming pump works reliably for years to come.

    Although submersible water pumps can only work efficiently when completely submerged, they make the ideal pumping solution for industrial applications where their robust construction and overall durability make them a compelling choice.

  • How to improve your bathroom

    The bathroom is without a doubt one of the most important rooms in the house; one that is frequently used and offers a sanctuary for relaxation. It’s a room that house buyers always like to see looking fresh and up to date, so time or money spent improving it is never a waste. However, if you don’t have the funds for a complete overhaul, there are still changes that can enhance the room. Consider implementing one or more of the following tips, depending on what time and money you have, in order to improve your bathroom.

    Lighting

    Lighting can set the atmosphere for a room. The bathroom is a room that needs to be lit correctly, offering a soft relaxing ambience for restful bathing but with functional lighting for getting ready in front of the mirror. Lighting is even more important in bathrooms without windows. Consider task lighting above mirrors; you can even get mirrors with built-in LEDs which are a great addition. Do bear in mind before making any electrical changes, that bathroom lighting must adhere to strict regulations so be sure to check these.

    Heating

    Think carefully about the heating in the bathroom and you could swap something simply functional in creating a feature in the room. If you are completely refitting your bathroom, you could consider underfloor heating but there are a range of contemporary feature radiators which can really bring a modern look to any bathroom, without disrupting too much else in the room. A heated towel rail can look stylish and has the functional purpose of keeping those towels nice and warm for you.

    Shower

    Nothing beats a shower. A quick blast to wake you up in the morning or leisurely and luxurious at bedtime; it’s so much easier and more practical than a bath. Only, however, if your shower has sufficient pressure. We’ve all experienced showers that are more frustrating than invigorating if the water pressure isn’t there. One thing you can do to improve the situation is to ensure that your shower has an effective pump. There are a variety of pumps from reputable manufacturers which can boost water pressure. Salamander Shower pumps and Stuart Turner shower pumps, for example, can make a significant difference in households with low water pressure problems.

    Storage

    The easiest thing you can do to improve the look of the bathroom is to keep it clean, and the simplest way to do this is to minimise clutter. Keeping surfaces clear of lots of bottles and paraphernalia will ensure that the bathroom has a minimalist look and this can be achieved by providing adequate storage. Under sink storage units are a great way to get everything out of the way whilst keeping it easily accessible. A contemporary styled wall shelf or shelving unit can be an easy, affordable and effective addition, getting everything out of the way and adding to the style of the room.

    Colour

    If significant changes to the bathroom are out of the question, perhaps due to lack of time, money or because you live in a rented property, one thing that you can do very easily is to introduce some colour. A new set of coloured towels and a bath mat need not cost a lot, but can really have an effect. A bright colour can liven up a plain white bathroom which could otherwise look clinical and bare, whereas a soft neutral colour can tone down a bathroom with a garish suite or tiles. Pictures on the wall and attractive bottles of coloured bath salts can all enhance the colour scheme.

  • Keeping your home flood-free

    A flood can cause extensive damage and misery for homeowners, with a lasting and sometimes devastating impact on a property and its occupants. Whilst an insurance policy that covers costs may go some way to mitigating the effects, taking measures to protect against a flood in the first place is the best way to ensure peace of mind.

    Any changes that you decide to make can be either temporary or permanent, however, the more you can prepare in advance, the greater the reduction of any risks. It is important to review your current home insurance policy and to notify your insurer, should any changes be made to your home in order to ensure that your policy remains valid. Otherwise, any improvements you make after taking out your policy may not be covered as most offer like-for-like cover which would simply restore your home back to the condition at the inception of the insurance policy.

    Preparing your home for flooding

    One way to ensure that your home is prepared for potential flooding is to install drainage pumps. These are available in various forms for a range of applications, however, they all will offer a similar benefit to homeowners. Simply put, they can move liquids from one location to another. For domestic properties, drainage pumps are one of the most popular flood defences.

    Drainage pumps for domestic properties are usually compact, with the flexibility to be installed in a range of locations. If an area begins to suffer from water ingress, the pump will kick in and automatically move the water to another location, thereby mitigating the devastating threat of flooding.

    In some homes, the location of the boiler, and its age may require condensate pumps. These can assist in the removal of the condensation created by heating and air conditioning systems. Some systems can create significant condensation which, if not correctly managed, can create issues with damp or indeed long-term damage through seepage. They can be particularly valuable in installations located some way from the drainage system.

    For areas where there is a risk of flash flooding, is worth considering the installation of submersible pumps. These are available in a couple of different forms; those that are suitable for handling dirty wastewater and those that are specifically for clean water. The dirty water submersible pumps are designed for situations where water containing salt and mud and other contaminants may be present. Dirty water models can, of course, handle clean water too, whereas submersible pumps that are only designed for clean water will struggle to handle an occurrence of floodwater containing particulates of any form.

    Should you wish to further protect against any potential damage to your home from flooding, the following three tips may prove invaluable:

    1.      Changing carpets to ceramic tiles. Floodwater will ruin the carpet and underlay beyond repair, often causing further damage to wooden floorboards underneath. Correctly installed ceramic tiling on the lower levels of your home can help to provide a waterproof barrier and is easily cleaned up after the event.
    2.      Relocate electric sockets. Installing sockets at a height of 150cm or more can help to avoid any electrical problems to a home which is subject to flooding.
    3.      Install your boiler or ventilation systems upstairs, or at least high above floor level.

  • How to minimise your impact on the environment

    With growing environmental awareness, there are a number of easy, everyday ways in which you can reduce your ecological footprint, whether it be in the home, garden, or whilst you’re out and about.

    In the Home

    One quick and easy way in which you can reduce your impact on the environment is by turning off your electronics when you are not using them, as well as being sure to select energy-efficient light bulbs and home appliances. You can save the electricity used by tumble drying your clothing, instead allowing your clothes to dry naturally on the washing line.

    You can also be more mindful of energy usage by ensuring that you have the most energy-efficient equipment, such as good quality circulating pumps and central heating pumps. For example, a Grundfos central heating pump can use up to 80% less energy than many comparable pumps. This is not only good for the environment as a result of a reduction in energy consumption and CO2 emissions, but it will also help you save approximately a notable percentage on your annual electricity bill.

    In the Garden

    There are a number of steps you can take to reduce your ecological footprint whilst in the garden, such as collecting rainwater for watering your plants instead of using tap water. Watering your plants early in the morning or late at night can significantly reduce water loss as a result of evaporation. Installing a water-efficient irrigation system can also be a worthwhile investment in reducing water usage.

    Organic waste from the kitchen can be turned into soil-enriching manure, simply by making a compost bin. Sweeping fallen flowers and leaves into your flowerbeds and under shrubs is also a great way of improving soil fertility and reducing the need to water as frequently. Be sure to avoid using chemicals in your garden, as they can end up in the water table. A number of organic and environmentally friendly fertilisers are available which are better for wildlife and will not contribute towards pollution.

    Out & About

    When you’re shopping, remember to take a re-usable bag and try and purchase local or in-season fruit and vegetables, as this will not contribute towards the transport costs of importing produce. You can also be more environmentally conscious in the workplace, simply by printing on both sides of paper and being sure to switch off computers, instead of leaving them on standby.

    When it comes to transport, reducing air travel is another effective way of improving your ecological footprint, in addition to using public transport or cycling/walking instead of driving. Disposing of rubbish responsibly is another crucially important aspect whether you are at home or abroad, as this can have a hazardous effect on wildlife.

    In booking a holiday, you may wish to do some research before choosing a destination in order to determine whether the area or the resort you are planning to visit is environmentally sensitive and responsible.

  • Encouraging efficiency: saving water and energy

    Saving water and energy has never been more vital. The good news is that, with just a few simple refinements, your household or business can drive down energy costs and promote greater efficiency.

    If you’re interested in cost saving while being environmentally aware and sustainable at home and in the office, there are plenty of small wins that can drive down those bills and lower your environmental impact.

    Switch up your appliances

    The average household can save £30 a year by saying no to standby, so imagine how that could multiply out across all the devices in your business. Invest in a standby saver to turn appliances off in one go, and use timer or motion activated switches to ensure lights automatically switch off when not in use.

    Another quick fix is to invest in appliance upgrades and regular maintenance. An eco kettle that only boils as much water as you need can save 20% in energy use while A+++ rated appliances are the most energy-efficient available.

    A regular tune-up for all appliances and devices ensures that they’re running at maximum efficiency. And if you currently rely on desktop computers, try making the switch to energy efficient laptops that can save you 85% on your energy costs.

    Let there be light

    Turning off lights is an easy win for homes and businesses, but there are some other tricks that can make your lighting more efficient. If you haven’t switched all your bulbs to low-cost LEDs then make the switch now. Lighting is typically 10% of the average energy budget and the next generation LED light fittings can save 90% compared to older bulbs.

    But did you know that dust can affect light intensity by up to 25%? Regular cleaning improves efficiency and means that you can use fewer lights to illuminate a room.

    Be smart with heating

    Turning down your thermostat by just 1 degree during the day and 3 degrees overnight can make significant savings on your heating bills and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by up to half a tonne.

    Get smart with your heating and energy use by installing a smart energy meter and thermostat. Being aware of your energy use can help you to save up to 3% a year on electricity while controlling your heating via app makes it simple to only heat the areas you need, when you need it.

    Central heating pumps are the heart of any heating system. These circulating pumps send hot water around the system before it cools while typically using no more energy than a kettle. Invest in a next-generation Wilo central heating pump with automatic power adjustment and you’ll improve the efficiency of your central heating with reliability, power and easy maintenance.

    Be wise with water

    Spending just 1 minute less in the shower when getting ready for work can save an estimated £75 on your water bill. If you don’t already have a water meter, get one fitted so you can be aware of your water usage and invest in a low flow showerhead to save over £100 a year in water and energy costs.

    When it’s time for a tea break, never overfill the kettle and wash up in a bowl of warm water rather than under a running tap and use the grey water for your plants. Install a dual flush and encourage family and employees to use the half tank flush when appropriate. We each use 150 gallons of water a day, so it makes sense to implement small changes that can collectively reduce resource wastage and improve efficiency.

  • How to Heat Your Office for Less

    All year round, heating an office seems to be a constant battle. With staff too hot, or staff too cold, it can be difficult to find a happy medium – especially with conditions changing through out the day. If the heating has been turned off the night before, the mornings can feel baltic and the afternoons’ roasting, with an unbearable haze of static filling the confined air. Keeping the office a reasonable temperature doesn’t just contribute towards a happy workforce, but it is also the law! With our weather becoming more extreme, in this post we look at some tips for keeping your work environment warm as the mercury starts to drop:

    Insulate Effectively

    During the darker mornings, it may take some time for some real daylight to want to shine through. Until this happens, keeping any blinds/curtains closed will help to retain any heat. If you are to leave your office heating on overnight, ensure that any radiators are not being covered, leading to heat escaping up and out of the windows. Once the sun has began to make an appearance, open those blinds/curtains to let that light in! Not only will it naturally start to warm the space, it will actually kill the bacteria that lives in dust – this can help to decrease the likelihood of respiratory problems for those in the office. Be sure to deal with any drafts by using excluders on doors and windows, and where possible, think about re-sealing any of these windows and installing quality insulation.

    A Personal Touch

    Try to encourage your staff to dress with layers, so that as the afternoons begin to feel warmer, they can remove any outerwear – highlight the benefit on the environment that this is having, through minimising energy use. If you operate a more casual office space - support them in this by purchasing some blankets, the small cost incurred initially will more than pay for itself in savings on heating bills. It will show care towards your employees and show that you too are trying to provide a solution. Hot drinks are always a go-to way to warm up (and wake up - particularly in the morning!), if you don’t already, supplying quality products for staff to use in the kitchen or even buying in a round of hot drinks for your staff occasionally, will boost moral and temperatures respectively.

    Ensure Any Heat is Emitted Efficiently

    If you are to turn the central heating on, you want to ensure that your system is running effectively. Where possible, check the functionality of your boiler and that the building is fitted with quality central heating pumps. So much energy and money can be wasted on heating a building inefficiently, this really is of prior importance to inspect. Another way of warming the office, is to purchase some under desk heaters - these heaters are electrical and work incredibly quickly. They can prove a great purchase in Spring and Autumn as you may not wish to use the central heating when the temperatures are a little warmer – just make sure that staff remember to switch them off!

     

  • Manufacturer spotlight: Biral pumps

    Biral pumps

    Our manufacturer spotlight series today continues with a look at one of our best manufacturers: Biral pumps. A Swiss manufacturer whose products we have stocked for many years, they are an exceptional company with fantastic values, a storied history and a fantastic selection of pumps. To familiarise our readers with the Swiss company, we have produced this hopefully illuminating introductory post.

    History

    2019 marks Biral’s 100th anniversary as a company. It began life in 1919 as Bieri Pumpenbau AG in Switzerland. Founded by Friedrich Bieri, it started as a repairs shop. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the company underwent serious changes: new premises were built, several subsidiaries were established, and export business was expanded. Since then, Biral has only gone from strength-to strength. In 1988, Biral Germany and Biral Holland were founded. In 1999, Biral invented the very first high efficiency circulation pump. And in 2009, they were recognised for their superb total quality management by Esprix, receiving their TQM award.

    Values

    Expertise, reliability and close customer relationships: the three values Biral prizes above all else. Their expertise shines through in not only the sophistication of their products, but also in the training and information events they hold at their Swiss campus. Biral products are unfailingly reliable and their 24/7 support ensures customers always feel valued.

    Additionally, Biral have shown that the emphasis they place on energy efficiency applies to their company buildings too. In 2011, two of their buildings in Munsingen were renovated, culminating in a massive reduction in heating oil consumption of 75%.

    Products

    Our own range of Biral pumps encapsulates all these aforementioned values: they are all innovative and remarkably well-designed, they are robust and reliable with a long working life and they are incredibly easy for customers to install and use.

    One of their most popular on our site is the Biral domestic variable speed circulator. One of a range of tremendous central heating pumps manufactured by Biral, the AX-123- domestic variable speed circulator is extremely energy efficient. For homeowners looking to reduce their heating bills, it is a great option. The integrated electronic inverter controls the speed of the pump to ensure that the demands of the system are always met, guaranteeing peak efficiency always. It’s exceptionally user-friendly too: it has intuitive and easy to understand controls. Domestic circulating pumps don’t get any better than this!

    If you have any questions or queries about the suitability of Biral pumps for your home, please do not hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. A member of our friendly and knowledgeable team will be in touch to help you find the perfect product.

  • Get rid of a cough with a shower

    Coughs can range from slightly annoying to extremely debilitating. In the winter season, coughs and colds are commonplace and can leave you feeling exhausted from lack of sleep and aching chest muscles.

    There are many different causes of coughs and most clear up by themselves in three to four weeks. However, if you have had an unexplained cough for three weeks or more, you should seek medical advice.

    You should also see your GP about a cough if you have difficulty breathing or chest pain; if you feel disorientated or confused; you are coughing up blood stained mucus or you are cyanosed. This is when your lips or skin have a bluish tinge and indicates that your oxygen levels are low.

    Older people, children under five, pregnant women and people with a compromised immune system should also see a doctor if they suspect that they have a chest infection.

    Help your cough with a shower

    Most coughs can be treated successfully at home and one way to alleviate symptoms is to make use of your shower. Steam and humidifiers have been used for many years to help with lung conditions. Standing in a steamy shower can often help to loosen sticky secretions in the nose and upper respiratory tract and moisten the passages, making them more comfortable.

    Whether your cough is the result of an allergy or a viral infection such as a cold, a lovely hot shower can help to relieve your symptoms and make you feel better. If you are feeling dizzy or unsteady on your feet because you have a severe cold or flu, simply running the shower and sitting beside it to inhale the steam can sometimes help.

    If you don't have a shower or need to replace an existing one, remember that it is now possible to install an efficient and invigorating shower in a variety of places in the home and with varying water pressure. For example, if you have a loft conversion and want to install a shower higher than the level of the cold water storage tank, there are various negative head shower pumps that can be used to give you the water pressure you need for an efficient, steamy shower. In areas where the water pressure is low and all you get from your shower is a pathetic dribble of water, a shower booster pump will give you much-improved performance.

    Having an efficient steamy shower is a good way to cope with an annoying cough that seems to hang around. Breathing in steam helps to loosen the phlegm and makes your cough a little more bearable.

    You can also try using a shower gel that contains eucalyptus, rosemary or tea tree extracts that are sometimes helpful for coughs and colds. If your shower runs efficiently, it is easy to use it in the morning and again before bed to help to clear out your respiratory passages. Today’s shower pumps make it possible for anyone to enjoy a good showering experience and may help to treat the symptoms of a cough at home.

  • How to save money in 2019

    A New Year’s resolution is a verbal commitment to instituting real change in your life; but the reality is - far too many of us fail to follow through on this promise. The first few days of the New Year might see a determined effort to enact change but, a few weeks into January, what little resolve we were able to muster at the very start of the year has all but fizzled out.

    Unlike health-based resolutions, which are all too easy to neglect, a money-based resolution can be met by making a number of simple changes to your home. Saving money in 2019 doesn’t require a gargantuan effort. By making some changes to the equipment that heats your home and transports water around it, you can successfully save on your bills.

    Stuart Turner showermate

    stuart  turner showermate Stuart Turner showermate

    The tagline for the showermate encapsulates its appeal perfectly: ‘economy without compromise.’ For an extremely affordable price, you can get an efficient alternative to the vast majority of shower pumps available today. Compact and easy to install, the Stuart Turner Showermate isn’t just a solution to a weak shower, it is an affordable and efficient solution too. Stuart Turner has a reputation for innovation and the showermate is no exception.

    Central heating pumps

    By more efficiently directing hot water around your home - to your radiators, to your hot water taps, to your showers - circulating pumps can drastically reduce your heating bill. Our Grundfos central heating pumps are even certified by the EuP as ‘A’ rated. Reserved for only the most efficient and immaculately designed energy-using products, this accreditation really helps to distinguish Grundfos central heating pumps from the rest of the pack. Installing one in your own home is a sure-fire way to reduce the amount of money you spend on heating.

    Grey water recycling

    By repurposing water that would otherwise go to waste, grey water recycling represents an unmissable opportunity to cut down on the amount of water your home uses. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, greywater is any domestic wastewater that isn’t sewage; water that has been used in baths, sinks and washing machines yet remains relatively clean. Installing an ABS drainage pump is an effective way to collect this greywater and channel it into an area of your choosing, where the greywater can then be reused as you see fit.

    These three simple changes - installing a new piece of equipment in each instance - can positively affect your bank balance and help you fulfil your New Year’s resolution.

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