Archive for the 'building work' Category

Building a Conservatory that you can use all year round with heating etc…

You might want a conservatory look and feel, a room with plenty of windows, a glass roof perhaps, the feeling of a sun room or garden room.  So many people contact Tara Plumbing & Heating about putting a radiator into a conservatory they have already built – but that is the wrong order of things.  Not to mention, may not comply with building regulations and may not work well with your existing heating system.

You can’t comfortably use a cheap conservatory all year round.

  • Too hot in summer – and by summer I do mean when the sun is up – even when it is cold and miserable outside.
  • Too cold inside when it is cold outside as all that glass just lets the cold in.

You need to get it right at the planning stage, design and build a room for use:

Fully insulated floors & walls.  The right kind of heating. Compliance with building regulations if necessary. The best balance between glass and solid walls. What type of glass.

Also think about: air conditioning, blinds & awnings, opening windows, keeping the insects out.

A good conservatory or sun room can be built at quite a reasonable cost. Of course all the features which could make the room more comfortable will cost more but not that much more. Also, they are easier to address and build in at the planning stage.

New Conservatories in Kent and Thanet

As I said people often think of Tara Plumbing to sort out heating and Air Conditioning in existing conservatories.

Regretably Mr TP could have given great advice and built the whole thing quite differently… too late.

Tara Plumbing have lots of experience in the complete construction of conservatories and extensions.  So if you are at the planning stage do contact Mr TP for a quote to design and build the whole thing.  Tara will liase with Building Control as well, if necessary.

How important are ventilation bricks when a freezing cold wind is blowing outside?

Is it OK to cover some of them up? Ventilation is vitally important for health is the short answer and sometimes covering up the ventilation can be extremely dangerous – risking CO poisoning and death.

So if you think you don’t need some breezy ventilation I would check it out with a gas safe registered expert first.

Modern building regulations & gas regulations set out the ventilation required in houses & buildings.

I am NOT a qualified expert, so don’t just take my advise.  But I am pretty sure you need some ventilation where ever you have a gas cooker, gas hob, flueless gas fire, or open flue appliance.  If you are burning other fossil fuels you might need ventilation as well.

Personally, I also would not sleep in a room with the gas fire left on and same goes for those portable calor gas heaters.  In fact, if I had one of thse portable gas heaters I would want to be sure there was plenty of ventilation – it probably says that in the user instruction book when you buy them.

I Wouldn’t Buy Any Thing From An Annoying Saleman – Double glazing, Blinds, Awnings, Boiler, Bathroom, etc…

Life is too short so I had to tell the awnings salesman from Nationwide Home Innovations who was in my house today:

“You are just annoying me I want you to leave.”  I have reached grumpy old woman age and I just have no time for suffering fools…

I went on to explain to him that we visit people in their homes every day because they want new heating or bathrooms.  High value products which should last them for years.  So we give the customer a price in writing and leave them to think about it.

  • We DO NOT try to get them to sign up there and then.
  • We expect customers to think about it and get other quotes and leave it for them to call us back.
  • We DO NOT tell them we can give them a better price but ONLY if they sign up NOW!
  • And we DO NOT pretend that we are the only company who can do what we do.

I told him I thought his behaviour was just unacceptable.  It was no way to sell a product.

So what did he do.

Well he was just one of those salesman which consumers need extra legislation to protect us from.  Mr TP made it clear to him from the start that we will NOT sign up today and we are getting other quotes.

He gave us a price which he told us was fixed for a certain time.  SO far so good.

  • Then he said he could give us another price if we said YES today.
  • What price is that? WEll, he won’t tell us unless we say YES.
  • How can we say yes when we don’t know what the price is?
  • He said today only he can give us the Jargon-Jargon deal.
  • What is the Jargon-Jargon deal, I ask.
  • He is not prepared to tell us but he will be happy to come back and see us and go through all this nonsence again if and when we want to say YES – what a waste of time!

You can see how the conversation is going and I know I would never give this annoying person the benefit of the commission so lets not play games – I tell him to leave.

I assume that this is the way this company sell their products.

In fact, it was Mr TP who booked the appointment and found the company to be equally annoying on the phone.  Experience tells me that it is always a bad sign when the telephone opperator wants to ask too many questions and wants to make sure husband and wife are at the sales appointment.  Usually the sign of a hard sell to a high price.

If you have found this blog because you are thinking about buying an awning (or anything else from a salesperson in your home) let me warn you about other things which took place.

First of all was the very strange psychology of telling me I couldn’t have this product because my conservatory is on the northern wall not the southern wall.  OK. so  i know from the start that this person is ridiculous but I humour him.  What is the problem.  Well it is going to be so expensive he says.

I think the idea is to tell me that i can’t have it because i won’t be able to afford it is a cunning way of making me expect a high price and to make the product seem more desirable.


I already know the product is made by a German company and not exclusive.  Ha.  But other companies will not be using this thermal reflective fabric – he tells me.

Go on phone the other people who are going to be giving you quotes, he says, and ask them.  As if we are going to jump up now and phone around.  Again I think this is a saleman ploy to make us believe him.

Problem is i don’t believe him.

I know his company buy the fabric and buy the fame and put them together.

After he has left I look at the email I have from another conservator awnings company who will be giving us a quote – sure enough they use the same thermal reflective, aluminium coated fabric which reduces heat in the conservatory.

I VERY rarely say a bad ord about anyone.  I go with the idea that if i have nothing good to say then say nothing. And people in glass conservatories shouldn’t throw stones.  After all what bad things might people write about me and my company.  And there are often 2 sides to a story.  BUT just this once…

If you are thinking of getting a quote for awnings I would not recommend this company.

I would never sign up to anything on the day – but if you do, you have the legal right to cancel within 7 days.

If you want a quotation from Tara Plumbing & Heating Mr TP does NOT behave like this.

Do Plumbers Earn More Than Teachers or Doctors or Cabbies?

Some mums have told me that they feel embarrassed to say their husbands are in the building trade when other parents have university degrees, are doctors and teachers.  There is no reason to be and if success and status is ONLY measured by monetary income then there is good reason to be proud of your hard working husbands.  Research by S Dale & A B Krueger in the US has shown that, on average, plumbers earn about the same as medical doctors and both earn lots more than teachers.

The researchers examined the life time disposable income of 4 theoretical people who all achieved good grades at school and all retired at 62.  Figures are based on published data for average salaries of each person for every year of their different careers. At age 50 income peaked and the medical GP made $186K, teachers between $90 to $103k and at 50 the plumber only earned $72,000.

When you take account of the expenses each professional incurred studying for their profession and the number of years in financially rewarding work the income over the lifetime of employment is very different. Averaged out over a life time the typical US annual spending power for 4 professionals is as follows:

  • Plumber $33.2k
  • Doctor $33.7k
  • Teacher with MA $26.5k
  • Teacher without MA $27.6k

The doctor who went on the medical school and some low paid long hours training has less than $500 per year more than the plumber.

I don’t know how this would compare to disposable income in the UK because obviously there are differences.

One thing my American friends have told me is that plumbing is very different in the US. Here we call gas heating engineers plumbers whereas I am told that in the US plumbers and Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning engineers are a very different profession.

I don’t know about American plumbers but plumbers/heating engineers in this country will have A level equivallent qualifications, have had an apprenticeship and will have had continuous education and assessment throughout their career.  Failure to keep up to date and pass the exams would mean they were disqualified from working with gas.  It is not a career path for the less able and it particularly requires strong mathematical ability.

So back to the school gates, personally I think that doesn’t sound like a great place to hang out if parents are in competition with each other.

When I lived in London I met qualified doctors who chose to work as London Mini cab drivers and run Kebab shops for the better income not for status!

I first came across this study via a link to their blog from a tweet by

New Conservatory? Radiator or Underfloor Heating?

At the moment you might be thinking of insect zappers, fly & wasp repelants for the conservatory, along with blinds or screeens to stop sun & greenhouse temperatures.  An air conditioning unit might be a good idea, some will double up to provide heating in the winter.

In Thanet, Tara Plumbing often get calls to install a radiator in a conservatory some months after it has been built. It would be better to plan for heating before then.

There are various options for heating the conservatory, not just sticking a rad on the wall. You could consider invisible forms of heating such as:
1. skirting board heating – yes heat from the skirting boards,
2. underfloor heating – powered by gas or electric.

Radiator in Conservatory

One of the problems Mr TP has come across in a new conservatory built in Broadstairs was the radiators simply not getting hot. Reason being that you cannot just keep adding more and more radiators to the existing central heating system. It may be that the boiler needed to be upgraded (I can’t quite remember).

What happens is that as the hot water leaves the boiler and travels around all the pipes in the house, and through all the radiators, it is losing heat all the time. Too many radiators, too many metres of pipework and the heat is just all used up.

Boiler in Conservatory & Boiler Flue

Another problem found in that plumbing black spot we call Broadstairs was a flue on an old boiler located in a conservatory.  The new conservatory was built sometime after the boiler flue was put there.  This is a dangerous no, no. It is OK to put a boiler in the conservatory, even a conservatory in Broadstairs, but the flue gases must be escaping clear to outside.

Skirting Board Heating in a Conservatory

Skirting board heating has been around for many years, but rarely seen! Ha! Ha! This can be an ideal way of adding invisible heating to a room after the event.

Underfloor heating, on the other hand, is excellent. It can get a room very toasty, but it needs to be thought of in the planning stage.

Building a Conservatory to use as a Room all Year in Ramsgate

If you want to a conservatory that will be warm in winter do not skimp on insulation, put as much in as possible. Under floor insullation will make a lot of difference to the warmth of the room, so you should insist on the floor being insulated to the standard of current building regulations, even though it is not necessary for a conservatory. It will add just a few £100 to the building costs and you be there to supervise to make sure it happens.

We have talked to many conservatory salesmen here in Ramsgate and were surprised to here them say not to bother with underfloor insulation it makes no difference. Yes. It makes no difference to them, they are not going to use the room!

For more information about heating & central heating in a conservatory see this article.

Consumer rip off in Ramsgate

Have you noticed that Fry’s Vegan Hot Dogs now come in packs of 8 instead of 11. 11 who ever thought they might want to cook 11 hot dogs anyway? 5 for you and 6 for me! What a strange number? 27% less hot drops but has the price gone down?

Does it matter anyway, perhaps you aren’t big consumers of animal free hotdogs. What about olives? Mr TP is rather fond of those green, pitted olives, marinated in herbs, which come in a nice little tub. Just lately he has noticed there is no longer a cocktail stick in the lid. How is a plumber to eat his olives? Not with his fingers!

I fear this is just the tip of the iceberg, prices aren’t rising, we just get less for our money. I wonder if there are less tea-leaves in that box of 240 round bags, after all, I have bought it by the number of bags, not the weight so how will I know.

I have suggested to Mr TP that if you can’t beat’em… What about offering to install a boiler with eight radiators but only enough copper pipework to connect 6 of the rads. No, male pride, he insists he will be completing the whole job to perfection.

Installing Gas Boilers & Central Heating in Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Margate, Whitstable & Kent

Installing Gas Boilers & Central Heating in Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Margate, Whitstable & Kent

Tara Plumbing World Cup Garden Party, the biggest party in Ramsgate!

If you are planning a garden party in England in June how do you prepare for the unpredictable British weather?

Many people might be either hiring a marquee or investing in a few pop-up gazebos. If you work in the construction industry, however, then you might think scaffolding. This was Mr TP’s idea, not mine. But now it is erected in our back garden I love it!

It gives a nice level of shade and the corrugated roof is water tight. In fact, I wouldn’t mind keeping it up all year, painting it groovy bright colours. I wonder what the planning regulations would be… I expect I will find out soon enough, it is bound to be a matter of days before one or other of the neighbours complains to Thanet District Council with concerns that we might be constructing something illegal.

Mr TP thinks we should tell people that the is an archaeological or palaeontological dig going on after we discovered dinosaur bones or medieval artefacts. Take your pick!

If you do happen to be a concerned neighbour, here in Ramsgate. Fear not, the party will end by midnight, noise will be reduced after 10 and 11pm and much as I love it, unfortunately, Ramsgate Scaffolding are wanting all their tubes, poles and metal bits and bobs back in the near future.

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    If you are looking for a garden that can maintain a great appearance, with ease, then hardy plants could be for you. Hardy plants are those that can withstand low temperatures and this makes them great for gardens in the UK. With the ever unpredictable British weather, there aren’t even any guarantees when it comes ... Read more The post Hardy Plants for you […]

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