To celebrate our one hundredth blog post we thought it would be fitting to share 100 tips to help you improve your home and garden. We’ve broken it into sections to make it more manageable and these cover everything from energy saving and appliance care to security tips and do-it-yourself advice for around the home.
While most of these tips are certain to be of benefit, there are a few tips that are just for fun. We’ve split the post in two to make it more manageable, so keep your eyes peeled for 100 Tips For Your Home & Garden – Part 2.
1. You can save energy and make your fridge work more efficiently by vacuuming the dust that settles on the condenser coils at the back of the appliance.
2. Don’t put your electrical appliances on standby as this simply wastes energy and adds to your bills! You should either switch devices off properly or invest in a standby saver.
3. Don’t leave lights on if you’re not in the room. You should make sure that you turn the lights off every time you exit.
4. Avoid half loads when you are using the washing machine, dishwasher or tumble dryer. In almost all cases 1 full load will use less energy than 2 half loads!
5. Switch to energy saving light bulbs as these can save you a lot of money compared to traditional bulbs. According to the Energy Saving Trust, you can save up to £55 over the lifetime of a bulb.
6. If you can then turn the heating thermostat down by 1°C. This can cut your heating bills by up to 10% and could save you around £50 a year. (source: www.direct.gov.uk)
7. Save valuable seconds every time you cook by covering over pots and pans. This will make them boil faster – which really adds up over time!
8. It can be just as effective to wash your clothes at 30°C for a normal soiled load, so if you currently wash at 40°C this will not only save energy but also save you money.
9. According to www.direct.gov.uk if you replace an old, inefficient boiler with an A-rated model, boasting a full set of heating controls, it could save you up to £225 per year.
10. Over half of the heat in an uninsulated home is lost through the walls and roof. If you can afford it then buying insulation now, will pay off in the future.
11. If you live in a hard water area you should make sure you are regularly using descaling products to protect your washing machine, dishwasher, kettle, irons and coffee makers from limescale damage.
12. If you own a dishwasher then grease, grime and bacteria can get into places you can’t see. Using a degreaser will clean the internal parts you can’t reach.
13. Missing, broken or faded cooker knobs can make your cooker look dated and unloved. Most cooker control knobs and buttons simply push or clip in place, making them really easy to replace.
14. If you’ve got aluminum mesh cooker hood filters then some varieties are washable. The filters are used to trap oil and dirt, but putting them in the dishwasher every week or so will help keep them good as new.
15. If you are tackling the fridge then the door seal can be quite difficult. Clean fridge seals by using a toothbrush and toothpaste or bicarbonate of soda.
16. Be careful with the amount of rinse aid you use in your dishwasher. Too much rinse aid can leave glass items sticky, while too little can cause ring marks.
17. This is another one to watch out for when using the dishwasher. Overloading can result in poor wash performance and cause basket wheels to break!
18. There’s no doubt water filters improve the taste and quality of drinking water but they don’t last forever. If you have an American fridge freezer then it is recommended that you replace the water filter cartridge every six months. Replacing your water filter ensures that impurities like chlorine, rust, lime and dust are effectively removed.
19. The oven door gasket is important for maintaining the correct cooking temperature. If the seal is loose or damaged it allows heat to escape which leads to improperly cooked meals and higher utility bills. If your gasket’s damaged replace it today!
20. If knives and forks have started to fall through the cutlery basket, then it’s time to replace it. You can extend the lifespan of a cutlery basket by placing all cutlery items handle down and spreading them out evenly. Also place sharp knifes in the upper racks as these can cause damage to the cutlery holder.
21. If you are looking to tidy up the edges of your garden then you might need to change the line in your trimmer. Trimmer line degrades over time so you should replace it at the start of each season.
22. Nobody likes it when the dreaded weeds start taking over your outdoor seating area, but it is thought you can kill weeds between cracks in patios by spraying them with white vinegar.
23. If you are looking to re-hydrate your flowers and plants then it is always recommend that you water plants in the morning or late evening at the base, not the leaves!
24. Save money on expensive plumber call outs by keeping your drains clear of blockages with a drain attachment for your pressure washer. Using your pressure washer enables you to clear blockages in the drain or your pipes without the need to use chemicals.
25. Remove stains and dirt from your patio or other hard surfaces with a patio cleaning attachment for your pressure washer. Patio cleaners use less water than a conventional hose and can do the job in short time, plus they can also be used to clean garage doors, fences and decking.
26.When using garden appliances always plug the appliance into a socket with RCD protection that will switch off the electricity automatically when a fault is detected.
27. In the winter months, switch outside water taps off at the mains and leave the outside tap open, draining any water, so the pipes don’t freeze.
28. If you have left petrol stored in the tank of your lawnmower during the winter months then this can stop your lawnmower from starting. When petrol is stored for too long it degrades and it turns to a varnish-like substance, becoming ineffective. The easiest way to get your lawnmower up and running again is to drain the stagnant fuel and replace it with fresh petrol.
29. To prolong the life of your lawnmower you should clean it thoroughly after every use to remove grass. This will ensure that problems don’t develop. You should also do regular maintenance, including replacing any dull, blunt or damaged blades.
30. If you want to keep your lawn looking great then you should feed at the start of the new season. A spring feed will keep your lawn vigorous and will make it less prone to weeds and moss.
31. If you are thinking about painting one of your rooms and you are worried about the strong fumes and opening a window isn’t working, then Paul from our marketing team suggests cutting an onion in half as this soaks up the fumes.
32. This is a really good DIY tip to help you save water. Put a full half litre plastic bottle of water in the cistern of your toilet to reduce the refill amount of water used for every flush.
33. It can be tricky to get into the gaps in bathroom tiles for effective cleaning. If you save your old toothbrushes, these are ideal for cleaning grout in the bathroom.
34. When purchasing tools to help you with DIY projects such as screwdrivers and pliers remember that if you pay a little a more for quality, it will give you many years service and enable you to tackle project after project.
35. Radiators can be really tricky to paint with a brush, but you can buy spray paint from most DIY shops which takes the hassle out of reaching into tight spaces. It can get messy so make sure you do it in a well ventilated area. Ensure you mask areas well and use dust sheets and newspapers.
36. A simple DIY project that can save you a reasonable amount of money is draught proofing the windows. There are many ways to improve the seal around your windows, but draught proofing strips will be suitable for most window types.
37. Be a fix-it-yourselfer. If anything breaks around the home; from home appliances to wonky shelves, you can save money and gain a great deal of personal satisfaction by searching for a repair guide online and fixing it yourself.
38. If you like the idea of wallpaper but are put off by the prospect of having to shape your paper around light switches. This tip will help you get excellent cutting results, time after time. Simply hang the wallpaper as normal so that it completely covering the switch. Find the centre of the switch and cut an X shape and then work out at diagonals to the corners. Then, push back the four triangular flaps and trim to a neat finish.
39. Bathroom silicone is used to create a water tight seal around the bath. It can sometimes get black spots on it which is caused by dampness, forming mildew. So you want to replace it for cosmetic reasons. Never apply new silicone on top of the old stuff as it won’t bond. The way to do it is to remove the old silicone by cutting along the length of the silicone both vertically and horizontally with a sharp Stanley knife before gently peeling it away ready to be refilled.
40. If you are looking to fix a shelf or other object to one of the walls in your house then make sure you select the right type of wall plug. Types available include: concrete and brick, concrete and brick heavy duty, plasterboard and plasterboard heavy duty.
41. Timer switches are a really handy addition to your home security arsenal. Using a timer switch enables you to have the lights on when you’re out – giving the impression someone is home which is ideal on dark winter nights!
42. Never compromise safety when you do any project around the home. Always wear the appropriate safety equipment such as goggles, gloves, mask or ear defenders etc…
43. The risk of house fires is a constant threat. You should fit a smoke alarm on every floor of your house. You should test them weekly to ensure they are in full working order and ready to protect you and your family.
44. Most of us are familiar with smoke alarms and have them fitted in our homes; however carbon monoxide is also a concern. Known as the silent killer, it can only be detected using a carbon monoxide alarm. If you have aging gas appliances fit an alarm today and avoid the risk.
45. Many of us now rely on satellite navigation systems, or Sat Navs as they are better known, to help find our way around. Unfortunately, Sat Navs are also a target for thieves so never leave them in your vehicle and remove and mounts and suction marks when you disembark.
46. Another handy Sat Nav tip is to set your home address to the locality of your home rather than you exact address. This is because there have been cases where Sat Navs have been stolen from vehicles at popular attractions and then used to burgle homes as the thieves no they’re empty.
47. You want to make your home as secure as possible, and this includes outbuildings. You should avoid leaving spare keys outside or in a garage or shed. Keep garden sheds and garages locked and think about fitting a battery-operated alarm.
48. Many crimes are opportunist in nature. Make sure that garden tools or ladders that could be used to force entry into your property are not left lying around. You should ensure they are locked away securely.
49. The crime stoppers website (www.crimestoppers-uk.org) states that Visible burglar alarms, good lighting and security lighting can be deterrents. Particularly ensure that recessed areas and doorways have good security lighting.
50. A simple tip, but always worth remembering. Always lock the door and close the windows when you go out, even if you know it will only be out for a short time.
That’s it for part 1, but follows the link for more home and garden tips, which will be in 100 Tips For Your Home & Garden – Part 2.
*Hopefully you find these tips useful, but we haven’t put them all to the test. Remember to consult the manufacturers’ instructions or guidelines before attempting any of the tips suggested here.