Archive | June, 2013

Thinking of new windows? What you need to know

28 Jun

Thinking of new windows? Are you dreaming of having no draughts, not hearing next doors music at all hours, feeling warm and cosy and saving money on your energy bills? Yes, then you must be dreaming of replacement double glazed windows!

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Well let’s hope your dreams come true but wait a minute aren’t there some important issues to consider? With any long term major investment in your property a degree of research and investigation is always prudent.

Did you know since 2002 the government requires that any replacement glazing installed since April 2002 must comply with building regulations. So you can’t just fit any old windows, they have to conform to current thermal performance standards. Now that may sound a bit confusing and worrying so to be sure it can be a good idea to take advice from a FENSA registered installer. They are the experts and know what they are talking about. You can trust their advice.

Once you have decided on your windows, how will you have them fitted? You don’t have to have them installed by a FENSA Fitter but the beauty of the scheme is its simplicity. Your windows are fitted and you can be sure they are compliant and you get a certificate to prove it. This certificate is essential if at some point you intend to sell your property as your purchaser’s solicitor will ask for it. So that’s another worry sorted out.

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Of course you can have them fitted by a non registered company but then you will have to arrange for Building Control to visit and inspect them. This can be a nuisance timing the visit and there will be a charge which varies depending on which local authority you are in.

It may be a good idea at this point to mention the Government’s new initiative, The Green Deal, which can provide a way to finance the new windows. You can learn more about the Green Deal in a previous blog ‘The Green Deal and the consumer’

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It is always a good idea to take your time and not rush in to making your decisions. That way you can be sure to avoid getting tangled up with a Rogue Trader. There are plenty of them out there which is why FENSA Fitters are vetted at the start of their registration and continually assessed to ensure standards are met.

So some things there to think about before you take the plunge. Please feel free to ask questions below or check out our Homeowner Info section on the website.

Save Energy, save Money and save the Planet all at the same time?

28 Jun

How can you make your home more energy efficient and at the same time save on your energy bills?

There are many steps you can take to make your home more energy efficient from something as simple as turning off a light to installing replacement double glazing.

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Try out some of our tips and you will be saving energy, money on your energy bills and the planet itself. Here are some adjustments that can be made with little or no expense, several of which seem to involve turning things down!

 

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  • ·Heating: Hopefully this should be a tip that will only be useful in the winter! Turn it down by one degree and over the next few days see if you feel warm enough. If you do try turning it down another degree and so on until you feel chilly then turn it back up one degree. This can be very beneficial as every degree lower your thermostat is set at could be a saving of around £65 a year on the energy bill. Well worth a try.
  • ·Hot water: The same method can be applied to the temperature of your hot water. How many of us find it so hot we have to add cold water? There is usually no need to have the temperature set higher than 140 degrees.
  • ·Washing machine: Most laundry can be washed at 30 degrees which not only uses less electricity to heat the water but usually means the wash cycle is shorter as well saving even more electricity. Here the power of the sun and wind can be very useful to dry the laundry if you can get it outside to dry.
  • ·Fridge/Freezer: Your fridge and freezer cannot be turned off but you should check what the thermostat is set at. If it has an energy saving setting make sure it is on that and if not check the manual for the most efficient setting.
  • ·Energy saving light bulbs: These are a good investment and have come down in price. They are now made in different sizes as well so they fit in more light fittings. You will soon get used to the slight delay when you switch the light on!

What else can you do? It is a good idea to only boil as much water as you need to make your cuppa! Although this may sound like a trivial change to make, over a year it will save a considerable amount of electricity. This applies to turning off appliances at the wall and lights off when you leave a room. The accumulated savings add up and will reduce your energy bill.

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So, it is possible to make your home more energy efficient simply by turning down and turning off but what about making more significant changes?

  • ·Replacing your windows can make your home more energy efficient by reducing the amount of heat lost. A major source of heat loss in your home is through your windows. Double or triple glazed windows help to keep the cold out and the heat in. For more information on replacement windows please take a look at our website.
  • ·Insulation: Another way to help prevent heat loss is to add insulation to the walls and roof, a very efficient way of preventing heat escaping from the home. If the heat is kept in your home you will use less energy keeping it warm and so reduce your energy bills.
  • ·Solar panels: If your home is in a suitable location you may be able to add solar panels which can produce enough energy to support your home. What a great way to obtain energy, free from the sun! It maybe that there is surplus electricity produced that can be fed in to the national grid.
  • ·Eliminate draughty areas: Have you noticed a draughty corner in your home? This is bad news as cold air will be entering your home unchecked. You will feel chilly and turn the heating up. To avoid this scenario, locate where the draught is coming from and address the problem. You may be able to make the repairs yourself but if you are in any doubt it is best to consult a professional who will know the correct materials to use and where to use them.

With a little thought and application you will be able to make your home more energy efficient and reduce your energy bills.

Have you any energy saving tips? Please share them with us in the comments.

Doors, an open and shut case!

28 Jun

There often seems to be a bit of confusion surrounding replacement doors so we thought we would try and clarify the details in case you are looking to replace the doors in your house.

Since the government extended Building Regulations to cover all replacement glazing in April 2002, as with replacement double glazed windows, replacement doors with at least 50% glazing need certification. Doors with less than 50% glazing do not require certification.

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However if the doors are in conservatories, porches, commercial premises or new build properties or extensions they do not come under the FENSA remit, so they would have to be assessed by the local authority building control process. A FENSA certificate would not be issued in this instance.

Another consideration is where is the door located?

Both windows and doors in critical locations need special attention. A critical location is somewhere a person could have an accident and fall through. To protect everybody and prevent this happening, there are specific regulations to be followed.

If the glass in the door comes within 1500mm of the floor level to the start of the glass, it must be safety glass. This is glass that has been toughened or laminated and will include the relevant safety mark. This safety mark should be clearly visible.

What about single glazed doors? Again this is a safety issue and the simple answer is that single glazed doors will not pass building regulations.

There is some great information on external windows and doors on the government’s online Planning Portal website.

To ensure all the measures are met it is wise to use a registered installer such as a FENSA Fitter who has been approved to carry out the work to comply with Building Regulations. Once the work is completed a FENSA certificate will be issued so you can rest assured the door has been fitted safely and with the correct specifications. You also do not have to have an inspection from your local building control as your certificate acts as proof your new door complies with building regulations.

A potted history of FENSA

26 Jun

Let’s start with a breakdown of the name. It is actually an acronym for the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme. The word fenestration comes from the Latin ‘fenestra’ which literally means an opening in a building. So fenestration covers windows and doors.

 

FENSA came into being as a result of a change in building regulations in April 2002.  To improve energy efficiency, the government extended building regulations to include replacement glazing and door installations in domestic properties. You will remember from previous blog posts how an enormous amount of heat is lost from the home through our windows. So it made sense to try and prevent that heat loss by ensuring our windows and doors are more energy efficient.

 

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As with all good ideas, there needed to be a plan put in place to achieve an efficient system.  The Local Authority Building Control would not be able to cope with checking the millions of installations that take place every year. The process would end up being very time consuming for everyone involved.

There had to be another way of checking that the installations did indeed meet the new building regulations.

 

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This is where FENSA came in.   The Glass and Glazing Federation  (GGF) set up FENSA to allow registered installers to self-certify their work conforms to the building regulations and prevent a huge bottleneck of installations waiting to be checked by the Local Authority. Of course each installer has to meet certain requirements and is continually monitored to ensure compliance with building regulations. We have a whole section on our website about how the FENSA scheme works.

 

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Since its establishment in 2002, FENSA has issued over 9 million window and door homeowner certificates and is the recognised double glazing industry leader. One of the more recent ways that we have been helping consumers include our consumer question times that we have been running on our Twitter account. If you want to ask a question or see what others are asking, you can do so here, or check on Twitter for details of our next question time.

 

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FENSA recently celebrated its 10th successful year and continues to move forward.

Competition Time! We Love Windows

24 Jun

Competition Time

Yes it’s that time again. Our new competition on our Facebook page involves windows, of course!

All you have to do is answer a simple question about The Shard in LondonDon’t worry because the answer can be found on one of our previous blogs.

 Facebook page and click on our new competition icon or click on this link which will take you straight to the competition page

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Once you are there just follow the simple steps and there you are, done! You will now be in with a chance to win a £50 B&Q voucher, always very useful.
Don’t delay though as the competition ends at midnight June 30th
 
Good Luck!