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The best winter energy saving tips for your home

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There is no doubt that winter is the favourite time of year for many people, especially with Christmas and the prospect of getting together with family to celebrate. However, it can also be an expensive time of year for your energy bills if you don’t take steps to address this issue in your home. Luckily, there are lots of easy ways to save energy and money this winter:

Turn down your heating

Many people think you have to do major things to make a difference, but this is not always true. The Energy Saving Trust has reported that turning down your heating thermostat by just 1 degree can save you lots of money. They even found that your annual heating bill could be reduced by up to 10% from following this one simple tip.

Layer up

In the same vein as above, you should really think about putting more layers on when it starts to get colder. An extra jumper or a snuggly blanket will keep you warm without costing you money. Many people will simply turn their central heating on instead, but this is an expensive way to do it when you can simply put an extra sweater on.

Insulation is key

One great way to become more energy-efficient is by making sure your property is insulated well. Cavity wall insulation could save you up to a couple of hundred pounds in bills per year, which is sensational. Simple to have done, it will fill any gaps in your walls with the relevant insulating material to leave you feeling snug.

You should also think about your loft insulation as a lot of heat can be lost this way. You will need at least 270mm of standard insulation to get the best results in terms of energy savings. This measure is one of the most inexpensive and easiest to install, so it’s worth considering if you haven’t got it already.

Get rid of those draughts

If you have any gaps around door or window frames, then you will be letting warm air out and cool draughts in. Not only will this make your house colder but it is also terrible for your energy bills! To combat this, you can buy draught excluders for doors or fill in any gaps around frames with common DIY materials. Just remember that you must not block up any air bricks that provide essential ventilation.

Make use of a smart energy meter

The most recent innovation in heating technology is a smart energy meter such as a Hive. These are highly energy-efficient as they mean you only use as much heat as you need, when you need it. Most will connect to your smartphone via an app which gives you the flexibility to amend your heating before you even get home.

Invest in new windows from Countryside Windows

One of the biggest drains on your energy bill by far can be old, draughty windows. This is especially true if you do not have double glazed windows at present. Here at Countryside Windows, our fantastic windows are highly energy efficient. This means that the heat is kept in and the cold is kept out to give lower energy bills along with a cosier house. The superb insulation they will provide is a sure way to save money this winter!

Why not give us a call today on 01242 821 122 to see how we can reduce your bills and keep you warm this festive season?

Five tips to secure your house this winter

Five tips to secure your house this winter

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Every year, there are over one million burglaries or attempted burglaries in the UK – roughly one every 40 seconds! As winter approaches and the nights get longer and darker, instances of burglaries increase by up to 20% across the country. With this in mind, we present our top tips to protect your home during the winter.

1. Security alarm system

A decent home security system is a great deterrent for would-be intruders. Indeed, the sight of an active alarm is often enough to put them off altogether. At the very least, if they do attempt a break-in, the alarm going off will make them leave in a hurry. Making sure potential burglars know your house is alarmed is vital: put stickers in your windows showing that your house has a security system in place.

2. Lighting up the property

Most burglaries happen in the hours of darkness, which is why winter is such a hotspot for them. Having a well-lit property affords would-be burglars fewer opportunities to hide as they approach. Motion sensor lights at the front and rear of the house are ideal ways to increase your home security.

3. Keep approaches to the house tidy

Untrimmed hedges, disused garden furniture, and stacks of bin bags all over the back garden are ideal hiding places for the potential intruder. Keeping all approaches to your home tidy means you’re depriving someone of an easy route to creep up unseen.

4. Lock all doors and windows

Most burglars are opportunistic. Locking windows and doors avoids handing them an easy way into your home. Countryside’s range of doors and windows include such security features as multi-point locking mechanisms, as well as strong, high-quality glass that is capable of withstanding any effort to break in.

5. Get a CCTV system

Not only an excellent deterrent, a good quality CCTV system can be useful in prosecuting any offender who does manage to get inside your home. Focus the cameras on the main entrance routes (front and back door approaches, for instance), as well as areas that are hidden from view from the main road. As with the security alarm system, be sure to sticker your house so a would-be intruder knows you are protected.

But, the best advice we can give you to keep your home secure, is to replace your old windows with new ones from Countryside Windows. Modern windows have strong glass, more secure locking systems and are much harder to damage or break. So call Countryside Windows today on 01242 821 122, and speak to a member of our team about keeping your home and family safe this winter.

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Why you should replace your windows now, before winter arrives!

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Winter is on its way, which means to cold is coming too. Cold weather can weaken the glass and allow it to develop cracks. Leaving old, decrepit windows standing during the winter can actually be quite dangerous, especially if you have children in the house. So why not replace your windows now, and keep your house warm and safe in winter!

A reason to replace leaky old windows before the winter is that you can avoid the draughts of cold air it would allow in. This means that the windows no longer fit in properly. The discomfort can be completely prevented by just putting up new windows before the onset of cold weather.

By installing well-fitted windows, you can also actually decrease your heating bill by a large amount. If the windows keep the cold out, then naturally less energy will be used for heating. The same goes for the summer months when less energy would be used for cooling the place.

If your window leaks, then any dampness that seeps in can damage your walls and furniture. It can also destroy draperies and carpets. Replacing the furniture and draperies, and repainting the walls would be definitely more expensive than repairing or replacing the windows.

Every year, there are new window technologies on the market. You can replace your old windows with glass that protects your home better from the outside elements. You can make a choice depending on the climate of the place you live, the size of your house, and other factors to give you best results.

And last, but not the least, new windows will improve the curb appeal of your home and give it an automatic facelift. You can increase the visual appeal of your home by choosing decorative glass too. It is one way of sprucing up your home for the Christmas season.

A question that arises here is how you would know if your windows need replacement. Obviously, warped or broken windows would need replacement. It is time to act when your windows don’t operate smoothly, get stuck, allow air draughts inside, or don’t stay open. You can get them checked out by an expert and then proceed with any repairs or replacements required.

So call us today on 01242 821 122 to get your new windows before winter arrives!

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Window condensation: what is it and how to stop it!

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Window condensation

Autumn is here, and winter is fast approaching! As the days get colder this means one thing; condensation. Condensation can cause huge problems for homeowners and cause real damage to your property if left unmanaged. Here is a guide to what condensation is, what problems it can cause and how you can prevent it throughout your home.

What causes condensation?

Briefly, condensation occurs when warm air that contains water vapour cools down. This can happen anywhere from windows during the winter to bathroom mirrors after you have had a shower and even on a cold glass of water in the summer months. However, it is a common misconception that condensation on windows during the winter months means that your windows are faulty. This is far from the truth, but condensation can be problematic in the long-run, so it’s good to look at measures you can take to prevent it.

Problems caused by condensation

You might think that a bit of excess moisture won’t cause any harm. This is true to some extent, but if your windows are clouding up with condensation often then it could become troublesome over time. Excess moisture left on surfaces effected by condensation can quickly turn to mould if it is left untreated. Inhaling mould spores can be problematic if you have respiratory problems, a weakened immune system or are allergic to spores as this could cause further health problems.

How to stop it

You can’t get rid of condensation 100%, but you can take measures to prevent the annoying and unsightly problem from happening in the first place. Windows have a “dew point” and when the temperature goes below this point, condensation will start to form. Making sure that your home is well insulated is one of the best ways to discourage condensation from forming. Insulating your home can be as simple as installing double or triple glazed windows because they retain more heat, which means a lower “dew point”.

What is the best solution to combat condensation?

The best solution to minimise condensation is to buy efficient double glazing from Countryside Windows. Our windows are made to measure boasting either double or triple glazing meaning that your windows will be warmer and therefore attract less condensation. So what are you waiting for? We have a huge range of window solutions to fit your needs, so call us for a free and no obligation quote today!

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Window Security

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Safe and Secure Windows

We all want to feel safe and secure in our home. One way of doing this is by fitting secure windows. The problem with this is what is it that makes windows safe and secure? The best option is to make sure that any new windows have the latest features that support safety and security. This can be anything from strong window frames and locks to being able to limit window openings.

Comparing Windows Security
If you’re going to install new windows, you want to know that they are safe and secure. You can find this out by comparing the different features windows have. For any home, there are a minimum set of standards that define the features that new Windows should have. This is PAS 24:2012 set by the British Standards Institute. Also, there is a project that aims to reduce crime through the use of secure glazing. The project has the backing of the UK police. This can lead to official recognition of windows as being ‘Secured by Design’.

Beaded Windows
If you look at a window, there is a small strip known as a ‘bead’ that runs along the edges of a window. It’s this small strip that keeps the window glazing in place against the frame. In the early days, these strips would be on the outside and not as secure. These days’ windows have internal glazing beads as they tend to be more secure.

Locks and Handles
You’ll find that the handles on today’s modern windows are lockable with a key. Although it makes things hard for intruders trying to break in, it does keep children safe. It’s not so easy for children to open windows and fall out. Also, on older windows, adding locks around the window can help improve security. By adding two or more locking points, the window is ‘multi-locking’ and secure.

Hinges and Brackets
Windows can help you feel safe in your home by offering you a way of escaping a fire. Egress hinges on a casement window allow you to fully open a window to make your escape from the house. On the other hand, strong interlocking brackets can help secure a window from the outside. When shut and locked an intruder won’t be able to force a window open.

Opening Restrictions
One way that you can stop someone from falling out of a window is to use opening restrictors. These limit how far you can open a window. It does this by connecting the window and frame via a cable. Another way of securing windows involves using a key to lock restrictors. Although restrictors mean you can open windows for ventilation, they stop you from opening them fully.

And Finally
Staying safe and secure in your home is important. Do this by making sure that you install windows that include the latest security and safety features.

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Keeping Your House Cool in the Summer

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Ways to Keep Your House Cool in the Summer.

Air conditioning units, fans and chillers can keep your house cool during the scorching summer months. However, they are not energy efficient and you will notice a rise in your electricity bills associated with their use. There are other, cheaper energy efficient ways to keep your home cool in the summer.

Using your windows is a simple way to keep your home cool. Opening windows around the house can result in increased air circulation which reduces the mugginess associated with hot summer days. Heat rises, so opening upstairs windows allows heat to escape, whilst downstairs windows draw cooler air in and create some much needed air movement that can help to keep the house cool.

Double glazing is often associated with keeping the house well insulated and warm during the colder months. But not only does it keep the heat inside the house during winter months, it can also keep hot air out during the scorching summer months. Double glazed windows prevent the convection of heat from the outside to the inside of the house. They do this by the empty space in between the two panes of glass that is found in double glazed windows not allowing the heat to pass through. Double glazing is an energy efficient way of keeping your house cool during the summer and is an excellent investment.

Shutters, blinds and curtains can also keep the house cool during the summer. Closing them shuts out the sun and prevents it from beaming into the room and heating it up. Working out when the sun is due to be beaming through your windows allows you to close the shutters, blinds or curtains, and opening them once the sun has moved around to allow the cool air to circulate and to enjoy natural daylight without your room becoming uncomfortably hot.

We can provide you with energy efficient double glazed windows that can help keep your house cool in the summer. The insulation provided can keep cool air in and hot air out, and is an investment that will ultimately save you money. Use our online form to contact us to request a callback or to arrange a free, no obligation quote or one of our brochures. Alternatively you can call us and one of our knowledgeable and friendly customer support assistants can help with your questions or enquiries and help to arrange a quote for your double glazing.

How to Design Your Perfect Conservatory

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Designing Your Perfect Conservatory

With summer here it is the ideal time to begin looking at new conservatories for your house. They are a great way to make the most of the sun’s heat and help push the days of relaxation later into the year. If it is something you are interested in then we have the design guide to help you along the way.

Your House
It sounds obvious but this step is not to be underestimated. Your conservatory will be an extension of your house. As such it needs to be more than a physical extension, it needs to be an aesthetic one too. The first thing to do is go to the section of your house where you would like it to be and take photos. Familiarise yourself intimately with that part of your home and began to imagine how to draw it outwards into the area you want.

Planning Permission
Before we get too far we have to address this. For most homes this is a simple thing. So long as the conservatory does not exceed the size restrictions already in place on your home you are free to do as you wish. However, if you live somewhere like a heritage sight or conservation area then you need to ensure that you meet any legal requirements. Just ask if you are unsure. It is much easier to tackle this early on, before you start contracting people to do work they will not be allowed to do.

Research
Now that you have an idea of what you want and you know that you can do it, we can begin to look at the existing market. You want to check out as many different sources as possible. Magazines, websites, blogs and television programs are all great sources of information. Take pictures and screenshots and start to collect a portfolio of things that you like.

Find a Specialist
It is time to take all of your hard work to an expert. Speaking to someone from the industry will help refine your ideas into something achievable. They will be able to provide you with physical samples of things like handles and window frames. Being able to take these home and look at them in the context of your house will help bring your imagined design to life. You will also want to get advice. The experts will help you identify any potential problems and deal with them before they turn into real issues. They may also have ideas that would not have occurred to you. These people are experts for a reason so utilise them.

So what are you waiting for? Projects like this are loads of fun and the end result will add a great and long-lasting improvement to your home.

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Your Perfect Conservatory Dining Room

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Conservatory Dining Room

Being able to sit down with friends over a glass of wine, good food and great conversation is something that we all dream off. The conservatory dining room offers a great way of achieving this. It provides the perfect all year round space for relaxing and entertaining friends and family.

Types of Dining Rooms

The conservatory dining room offers you a space that allows you to entertain your guests. Being able to create the right atmosphere with your conservatory dining room will go a long way to making sure that everyone enjoys their dining experience. The type of dining room you go for will depend on how you want to use the room. If its fine dining and dinner parties that you are after, then you might consider something sophisticated. A dining room that involves modern furniture in dark colours is one option for that chic look. To top it off, you might want to think about lighting the room with something grand. If you are instead looking for a conservatory dining room that is bright and airy keeping things simple will help. One way of doing this is with a neutral colour scheme and wooden furniture. Including plants and flowers in the room will help achieve an indoor/outdoor atmosphere. If it is a dining room for the family that you are after, then you might use a mixture of patterns and colour in the room.

Getting the right atmosphere

Using the conservatory as a dining room gives you the chance to use them all year round. In the summer months, you have the benefit of an adjacent patio for after dinner drinks. As the evening cools or the winter sets in you can enjoy the warmth of the conservatory while being able to look out onto the garden.

For that all year round use, a conservatory dining room that’s hard to keep warm is not ideal. Ensuring that you stay warm means insulating both the floor and the windows. If you insulate the floor, it is also important to think about the floor covering you use. Floor tiles might look great, but in winter they can be cold. Making sure that your conservatory stays warm also means choosing glass for the windows that will help manage the heat.

Being able to use the conservatory dining room all year round works best if you can create the right atmosphere. Lighting is one way of achieving this. How you light the room can help give the room character. This can mean having plenty of suitably placed power points in the conservatory. These allow you to make use of lamps to give the room character. Alternatively, in a family dining room, you might want to have enough power points to place your gadgets and devices around the room.

Want to know more?

If you are interested in knowing more about conservatory dining rooms, then why not give us a call.

improvements advantages of replacing your old windows with brand new ones

The advantages of replacing your old windows, with new, modern ones

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What impact can new windows make on your home?

A new set of windows on your home can make a real impression, not just on the look of your home but on the function of it as well. Do you know everything your windows do for your home? Have a look at our list and find out.

The best-looking home on the street

We know it shouldn’t matter to any of us, but it really does. There is a sense of pride in every single one of us when we pull into the drive after a long, hard day at work and we can see this stunning house in front of us.
The windows are a huge part of the appearance of your house. They are not only the accent pieces but often they are the distinguishing feature. They allow you to create an individual house among a street full of replicas.

Create instant energy savings

Your home is not energy efficient and your windows are a large part of the energy loss. Installing energy efficient windows with proper insulation is the best way to not only lower your heating costs in the winter but they will help to keep your home cool in the summer.
You can opt for double-glazing or even triple-glazing to really lower your energy bills.

Increased security

Old and broken windows are a flashing advert to a burglar. They are screaming about how easy it is to break into your home. When you install new windows into your home, not only are you getting the latest technology in toughened glass but you are also getting the latest and the greatest lock systems. This extra layer of home security is easy to overlook yet it is vital in keeping your home and your possessions safe.

Quick value added

If you are thinking of selling your home, you must consider the first impressions that any would-be home buyer is getting from your house. Do they see a tired, old facade with jobs which immediately need to go on their to-do list, or do they see a brand new set of windows which create the perfect first impression?
A small outlay in the short-term on new windows will make a huge impact on your overall asking price.

Keep the outside out

The biggest advance in window technology has come in the form of noise reduction. You are now able to keep all of the outside noises, outside where they belong. You won’t hear the sound of trucks and buses driving through your front room and you can relax in peace and quiet.

There are many reasons for upgrading your home’s windows and installing a set of new ones, these are just five of the most common. If you want to save money on your heating, create a nicer looking front, increase your security, add value before selling or would just like to reduce the incoming noise, there has never been a better time to upgrade your windows.

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Your Planning Permission Guide for Conservatories 

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A conservatory gives you a bright and attractive new space to enjoy your home. Making sure you have planning permission for a new project is essential if you want to avoid costly and lengthy delays. Knowing what is needed before you start your conservatory project will help you plan properly.

When planning permission is needed

Unlike an extension, a conservatory is a simpler and more affordable solution to adding space to your home. Building a conservatory is considered as ‘permitted development’, so you typically do not need planning permission. There are limitations and you will need to make a planning application before starting your project if your conservatory goes beyond these limits.

To be exempt from seeking planning permission, your conservatory can not occupy more than half of the area around the existing building. It must stay within the principal or side elevation facing a public road. A single-story rear conservatory can extend up to three metres from an attached house or four metres for a detached house. If you are building a conservatory with more than one storey, it can extend up to three metres and be within seven metres of any boundary.

Your conservatory must be lower than the highest part of the existing roof. Planning permission is not necessary for a single-storey conservatory with a height of four metres or less, or a maximum eaves height of three metres when it is within two metres of your property’s boundary. Generally, conservatories can be up to four metres high and half as wide as your existing house. The roof pitch of a multi-storey conservatory must match the existing house. There can also be no verandas, balconies or porches.

If you are building a conservatory in a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the new structure can extend six metres for an attached house and eight metres for a detached house, although neighbours need to be consulted. A conservatory of more than one storey is not permitted on designated land, which includes national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas, The Broads, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

What about Building Regulations?

Like other building projects, a conservatory needs to comply with design and construction standards set out in the Building Regulations. These regulations ensure that your project is safe whereas planning restrictions allow local authorities and government to regulate the appearance and protection of buildings and landscapes.

Conservatories are exempt from building regulations if they are built at ground level and have a floor area of under 30 square metres. The conservatory also needs to have its own heating system with separate controls and be separated from your house by external walls, doors and windows. All glazing on the conservatory’s doors and windows as well as electrical installations must comply with building regulations. A new structural opening between the existing house and the conservatory will also need building regulations approval.

Navigating various requirements related to planning permission and building regulations approval can be complicated. Our experienced family-run business provides the support you need to ensure your conservatory project goes smoothly. If you are planning to build a conservatory in and around Gloucestershire or need more information, give us a call.

Call or e-mail today for a free and no obligation quote. Contact Today