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TOP TIPS ... insulating your pipes.

INSULATING your home's hot-water pipes saves you around pounds 10 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust, and costs about the same to do, so you'll recoup your outlay in 12 months. You'll also save around 60kg of CO2 a year by fitting pipe insulation, which is good news for the planet.

Pipe insulation saves you money and CO2 because it keeps your hot water warmer for longer by cutting down on heat loss. It also reduces the risk of your pipes freezing in winter. If your boiler or hot-water cylinder is a long way from your kitchen or bathroom, lagging exposed pipes is particularly important - look for hidden ones in your wardrobes and cupboards. And if you've got floorboards that are easy to take up, you might want to do that to get at the pipes underneath. Hot water pipes can lose heat at any point along their length, so insulate them wherever you can access them. This particularly needs doing in the loft - where they can get very cold and are prone to freezing.

There are two main types of pipe insulation. The first is insulating wrap, which comes in various materials. You simply wrap this around the pipes and then secure it with tape, wire or string. It's good for corner pipes, or if space is very limited.

The alternative is lengths of foam insulation, which are scored/cut so you can slot them over the pipes. This type is much easier to use - you can get the lengths on and off quickly and they can be cut to fit with scissors or a craft knife.

DIY NEWS BULLETIN A NEW online trade directory,, was launched last week by the people behind B&Q and Screwfix.

Like other websites of its kind, it's designed to unite the public and the professionals.

Homeowners post details of a job they need doing on the website and then receive estimates from tradespeople.

Before launching, did a survey of 3,000 homeowners. This found that a third of us struggle to find a tradesperson and 70% worry about getting ripped off.

The site already has more than 150,000 tradespeople registered and you can search by postcode and trade, as well as posting specific jobs.

Furthermore there's an emergency callout button if you need someone in a hurry.

Another useful feature is the registered tradesman logo, particularly as the site checks industry registers to make sure that those displaying the logo are qualified to work to Building Regulations standards. IAnd, unlike some similar sites, it's free for both the public and tradespeople to use.

Try it for yourself by visiting Home improvers should take a look at Stanley's latest knife, the FatMax Xtreme Twin Blade. FatMax blades are the sharpest the company has ever made. They use a special heat treatment to produce an induction-hardened edge, which is 35% sharper, 20% stronger and 75% longer lasting than an average 1992 Stanley heavy-duty blade.

As the name suggests, the FatMax Xtreme Twin Blade has two blades, so you can change between different types of blade instantly.

Several blades can be stored in the handle compartment, the bottom of which is rubberised so it's comfortable to hold. The knife comes with four blades and costs pounds 16.72 (RRP, including VAT). Find out more at ASK THE EXPERT Q: THE paint on the metal railings at the front of my house is starting to flake and rust. What's the easiest way to sort it out? A:You could treat the rust and then prime and paint over the railings, but it's quicker and easier to do everything at once. Clean off the railings so you have a stable surface, then try Hammerite Direct To Rust Metal Paint. The paint needs no primer or undercoat and can be applied straight over patches of rust. It protects for up to five years and is available in nine colours and Smooth or Hammered finishes, priced from pounds 6.49 for 250ml (RRP).

SEASONAL TASK TURN your room thermostat down by one degree and you can cut your fuel bills by around 10%.


Other key pipes to insulate are the ones between your boiler and hot-water cylinder.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jan 27, 2011
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