Archive for the ‘Home appliances’ Category

How to Bleed a Radiator: The 5 Simple Steps

Friday, February 12th, 2016

Discover how to bleed your radiator, with these five easy steps.

If you’re finding that your radiators aren’t fully heating up properly – for example, the bottom half might be warm, but the top isn’t – they might need bleeding.

Bleeding a radiator isn’t as huge of a task as it may seem. It’s well worth doing, as it can result in your radiators working more efficiently and ultimately saving you money on your central heating bills. Help is at hand from CNM Online, the leading UK heating and radiator specialist, who have put together this simple and straightforward five step guide to successfully bleeding your radiators.

What you need to bleed a radiator

Before you start, there are a few things you need:

A bleed key (readily available from a DIY store)

Some tissue paper.

How to bleed your radiator

1. Turn off the central heating system. This is massively important, so make sure it is turned off and has cooled down before starting.

2. Find the bleed valve on the radiator (this is normally on one of the ends, as in the picture above) and place the tissue beneath it. If you aren’t able to do this and the next step at the same time, get someone else to hold the tissue in place.

3. Put the bleed key into the valve on the radiator and slowly turn this anti clockwise. This will open the valve allowing the radiator to bleed and any trapped air to escape.

4. Wait for the trapped air to escape. At this point the tissue should become wet, this is a good thing, as it means the air and water have now left the radiator and it has bled.

5. Turn the bleed key anti clockwise and ensure the valve is fully closed. Once this is done you can start using the heating system again.

If you are unclear on any of the above steps, or have any other concerns about your radiators or central heating, then speak to a professional or get help before carrying out any work.

(Disclosure: This is a collaborative post)

Revolutionise your heating control and reduce your bills with Hive Home

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

Have you made New Year’s Resolutions that relate to your house and home? If saving money on household bills and gaining more control over them is on your list, then here’s one brilliant way in which you could achieve both.

The Hive Active Heating System from British Gas offers a clever way to take control of your home heating and make it work more efficiently for you.

Hive utilises state of the art technology and simple to use products to allow you to control your hot water and heating so that you only use and pay for what you need.  What’s more, thanks to a nifty smartphone app, you can control your heating and hot water wherever you are. In our opinion, this is one of the best aspects of it.

You don’t have to have any vastly expensive equipment installed and neither is it a lengthy, time-consuming or disruptive job to have done. Hive retails for  a one-off fee of £199, which includes professional installation by a British Gas engineer and free downloadable apps.

It works with your existing heating system and is compatible with whichever company currently supplies your heating (you don’t need to be a British Gas customer, or have energy supplied by them to have Hive).

The system is apparently compatible with 99% of the gas boilers in the UK. Our boiler is in old age and in need of replacing soon, so we were encouraged that even our old one was suitable for working with Hive.

One other key requirement is that you have a broadband connection at home and space in your router to connect the Hive hub (but if you don’t, you can easily buy an extension port to create additional HDMI sockets).

Our Hive experience

The system consists of three main components – a wireless thermostat, a receiver and a hub:

Review of Hive home heating by Fresh Design Blog

This is what our controls looked like before:

Is the British Gas Hive home heating worth it?

And here they are after:

Benefits of installing a Hive heating system in your home

As you can see, it’s a compact and well designed system. The wireless thermostat can be installed anywhere, but it made sense to us to have it positioned where the old thermostat was to cover the mark made on the wall by the old controls. However, you don’t have to have it wall mounted if you don’t want to.

The little flap of paper sticking up at the back is a handy information leaflet (the design of this is great too, as it compactly slides down the back of the thermostat so you can keep it close by – no more losing of the instruction booklet!). The heating can still be controlled manually from the thermostat when needs be, but it seems easier by far to mainly use the app.

It took around 30 to 40 minutes for our old controls to be removed and the new system to be installed. This included the time spent explaining how everything worked and setting up the app for the first time.

The engineer was really helpful and didn’t leave until he was sure everything was clear and we’d tried out the app and the manual controls.

The Hive app

 Free Hive heating app download

The iOS and Android apps are free, quick and easy to download. Plus, they’re easy to set up too. The engineer will guide you through the process of setting up for the first time and will advise on the initial password to use.

The app can be used across as many devices as you want – on mobile phones, tablets, on computer or online – giving you multiple methods of control. Plus, if it’s not convenient to use the app, you can also control it by SMS text message.

We’re pleased at how clear and easy to use the app is. When you log in, it shows you at a glance what the current temperature in your home is and what the outside temperature is.

A simple scheduling system allows you to plan out how you’d like your heating and hot water each day – when you’d like your heating and hot water to come on and go off. If you want to keep things simple, you can. The schedule can be swiftly set to be the same each day.

But if there are days when you’re off work, work from home or don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn, you can set your controls to meet your needs. Of course, you could do this on most old style boiler controls too, but it tended to be time-consuming and fiddly to alter.

With Hive on the other hand, it’s super quick. What’s more, if you change your mind about your settings or fancy turning the heat up, it’s very easy to do so. No need to move yourself away from the comfort of your sofa or snug bed…just whip out your phone and up the temperature.

Ways that Hive will come in useful

Prior to having Hive installed, we’ve had several occasions where we’ve been on holiday and turned off the heating completely. Then it’s turned cold and we’ve worried about our pipes freezing. Occasionally we’ve even had to ask a friend to go and turn our heating on for us.

With Hive, these worries will be a thing of the past. We can turn the heating off before we go away, but if the weather changes or we change our mind, we can simply control it ourselves from our mobile phone. Simples.

As a bonus, we can even set Hive to alert us when the temperature at home falls below a certain level. So even if home heating issues haven’t crossed our mind, we’ll be alerted and can prevent any problems.

The Fresh Design verdict on Hive

Although we’ve only been using it a short time, we’re really impressed with Hive.

It’s a well produced and designed system and perfect for working in harmony with smartphones and modern technology. We’ve become more aware of the exact temperature in our home and outside, and it’s definitely given us more control over our heating.

It’s very useful to be able to control our hot water too. We’ve already cut down on the frequency in which our hot water comes on and the boost function will be useful when we unexpectedly need extra hot water, for example when guests are staying and more people are having baths or showers.

In the long run, having Hive will hopefully help us to cut down on our heating bills. British Gas say it’s possible to save in the region of £150 a year by only heating your home when you need to, which would be a considerable and worthy saving.

Since having Hive installed and mentioning it to various people, we’ve come across others using it too and we’ve not heard a bad word said about it. In terms of technological product developments, British Gas seem to be onto a winner with Hive.

We’d definitely recommend Hive to anyone wants more control over their home heating, so visit Hive Home to find out more for yourself or purchase the system.

***Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hive in association with Nuffnang. We were supplied with a Hive system to review, but all views and opinions are our own.***

Samsung Motion Sync 2-in1 vacuum cleaner VU7000 review: First impressions

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

Fresh Design Blog's first impressions of the Samsung 2 in 1 motion sync vacuum cleaner

Vacuum cleaners are just one of the many home technology products that have changed in design and function over the years. In the past they tended to be large, noisy and cumbersome with big dust bags, lengthy piping and various attachments that easily got lost at the back of your cupboard.

Fast forward to 2014 and the design and practicality of vacuum cleaners has come on in leaps and bounds. Whilst the basic premise may be the same, the technology is much improved.

We’ve taken delivery of one of the latest Samsung models – a Motion Sync 2-in-1 VU7000 vacuum cleaner – and are about to unbox it.

Samsung VU7000 2 in 1 motion sync vacuum cleaner unboxing

The VU7000 arrives in a huge box. Thankfully it was not wedged into the box with umpteen pieces of polystyrene. Once the attachments and booklet were removed, along with the cardboard at the top of the box, it was relatively easy to lift the vacuum straight out. A good start!

VU7000 First impressions: Design

Fresh Design Blog review of the Samsung motion sync 2 in 1 vacuum cleaner

The design of the VU7000 vacuum cleaner looks very sleek and sophisticated.

Not only do you get one upright cleaner, but you also get a detachable handheld vacuum, which is a major bonus. The design of this looks really impressive – it really is 2-in-1, as the smaller handheld cleaner clips securely onto the top of the main machine.

Due to this extra detachable cleaner, the whole machine is actually quite tall. Being tall, we love this as hopefully it will be much more back friendly than other models.

The sleek and modern design is enhanced by the colours and finishes of the cleaner. It’s predominantly black, brushed silver metal, grey and a deep metallic burgundy red.

The design is bagless, with a see-through cylinder where the dust is collected – both in the main part of the cleaner and in the handheld part.

First impressions: Technology

In terms of technology, the VU7000 promises a lot.

The cleaner features what Samsung calls CycloneForce Multi. In reality, this is a special structure inside the vacuum with nine inner chambers that helps to create a multi cyclonic airflow and provide powerful suction.

It’s got dust and allergen filtration too, which we’re interested in. It not only claims to remove dust and dirt, but also 99.7% of airborne allergens, which sounds encouraging.

In terms of power, it’s got extra power, as it’s got three independent motors. This includes a 470W motor in the detachable handheld vacuum. Plus it has Motion Sync technology, which is designed to aid its movement.

First impressions: Weight

The vacuum is an upright model and has the addition of the detachable handheld vacuum built into it. As such, it’s not lightweight and does seem to be fairly heavy, but we’ll see when we put it through its paces how easy it it to manoeuvre, lift and move around.

So overall, on first impressions it looks like a sleek, modern and innovative design. We’re particularly intrigued by the 2-in-1 aspect and the fact that the mini handheld cleaner is built into the main vacuum – this looks like a very clever design.

Next we’ll be trying out the vacuum cleaner thoroughly and seeing if it lives up to its potential, so check back soon for our next review

***Disclosure: We were sent a Samsung vacuum cleaner to review, but all views and opinions are our own***

Heat your home the smart way with Honeywell evohome

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

How to save money on your heating bills


If you’ve ever found yourself wishing you could arrive home to a toasty warm house on a freezing cold day, when you’ve forgotten to set any heating to automatically come on, perhaps evohome could be the answer.

Produced by Honeywell, evohome is an intelligent heating system that makes full use of modern technology. It’s very flexible, in that you can set up to different heating zones and choose the rooms you want to heat. This can help cut down on heating bills, as you won’t unnecessarily be providing heat to rooms where you don’t need it.

There are up to 12 different zones that can be programmed and they can consist of several rooms or areas of your home. Not all areas of the zone have to be the same temperature. For example, you could set it to heat all the bedrooms but have your bedroom warmer than your child’s room, or have a small amount of heat in the kitchen and make it warmer in the living room. Similarly, your hot water can be controlled in fine detail too, so in theory you’ll never run out when you need it.

What’s even cleverer, and helps set evohome apart from a bog standard heating system, is that you can set and control your heating and water both at home from the evohome controller and when you’re out and about via a special smartphone app. So if you do wish you’d put your heating on before rushing off to work, you can quickly and easily sort it out before you get home.

It might seem like a strange time of year to be thinking about home heating, when the weather outside is hotting up and you’re trying to find ways to cool down. But now is a good time to tackle boiler and heating issues, so that come autumn and winter when you’re shivering again, you know yours is working in the best way possible.

Although it’s an investment, if used effectively, evohome could help you save money in the long-run, especially as you won’t be wasting heat on rooms that aren’t being used.

If you’re interested in finding out more about evohome, and the items of kit that you need to get the best out of the system in your home, find out more by reading their system planning tool. Or check out the video below:

***This post is in association with evohome***

Winter Warmer – How Stoves Create the Perfect Ambiance

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Modern and contemporary home stoves

‘The weather outside is frightful…’

This is definitely ringing true as the coats, scarves and gloves have escaped the dusty under stairs closet and are being brushed off ready to brave the external chill. Fortunately, the comfort of your home should invite cosy slippers and hot mugs of cocoa rather than the bitter air, but somehow, the presence of a simple radiator doesn’t create the atmosphere that is so often seen on Christmas cards.

Stoves are perfect for any type of décor or fire surround and offer a focal point of the room that many other types of fireplaces don’t. Easy to maintain, light and clean, there are many advantages to choosing this type of fireplace and not just for the gorgeous glow they give out on a cold, winter’s eve.

‘But the fire is so delightful…’

Winter home heating ideas

Stoves and open fires are the perfect accompaniment to any home. With a roaring fire visible to all, there is no better way to make a feature of a room and there are so many different styles to suit your property, from traditional black iron fronts with brass handles to retro fronted stoves which would look perfect in a city home.

If you’ve never before considered an open stove, then now is the perfect time to look. With so many suppliers, they’ll be able to help you choose what size, style and colour would be most appropriate so you won’t be left on your own to decide.

Furthermore, the amount of choice available these days makes this home necessity suitable for any property and any room. By choosing the right supplier, you can find a stove that represents your style, needs and of course budget!

‘So, if you’ve got no place to go…’

Best contemporary stove fireplaces

Why spend money on expensive meals out? The affects that a stove can create make it perfect for a romantic night in with a home-cooked dinner and a bottle of wine, or for creating a welcoming atmosphere when entertaining guests.

Although popular among many homes, there are still many people who haven’t seen the full affect a real fire can have, and the relaxation it can create. Although lighting the fire is done so with such ease, the effect it provides looks like a real effort has been made – impressing all those who walk through the door.

‘Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.’

Keep your home warm in winter

With the weather turning and more time being spent in the home, there is no better place to be than in front of an open fire in the warm. Until you’ve had the opportunity to feel the heat within your bones, wrapped up watching a good old fashioned film, you may have never experienced total relaxation – the only thing to make this any better is being surrounded by the ones you love.

Let us know what you think makes a stove fire more special at this time of year, or whether you are currently considering this for your home and why.

***This guest post was written by Jenny Pilley of Clifton Fireplaces; the number one supplier of stunning stoves and fireplaces to suit both modern and more traditionally designed homes.***

Contemporary heating: Modern radiator designs from FlashRads

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Best contemporary modern radiator   Modern and contemporary home heating

Have you put your heating on yet this year?

As the weather gets chillier, it’s time to think about heating our homes. If you’re looking for a funkier way of providing heat, and are fed up with the usual plain old white radiators, then take a look at FlashRads.

They specialise in creating some seriously cool radiators that a perfect for modern and contemporary homes. They’re bursting with colour, unique design features and lighting and provide warmth, along with an eye-catching form of art on your wall.

Who knew radiators could look so good?


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