Although radiators are vital to keeping a warm home in the UK, one of the greatest issues with them is that they don’t actually do a very good job of it. There are several suggested solutions to this; fitting radiator reflector foils, replacing radiators with fan-assisted radiators and perhaps the most low-tech suggestion and common myth, putting a plank of wood above the radiator, otherwise known as a radiator shelf.   Radiator shelves are just that – shelves that sit above a radiator. They may be attached to the wall or fit on brackets that slot behind the radiator. They...

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It may surprise you, but an energy efficient dishwasher actually uses less water and energy to run, making it cheaper than washing up by hand. If you have a water metre in your house, one cycle on a typical dishwasher costs the same as filling five washing up bowls or running the hot tap for nine minutes. If your water is unmetered, it’s even better; one dishwasher cycle is equivalent to filling four washing up bowls or running the hot tap for six minutes. If you can manage to completely wash a full dishwasher’s load of cutlery and crockery in...

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The absolute best way to dry your clothes is to peg them up outside and let the wind dry them naturally. This is very low cost, and uses no gas or electricity as the wind and the sun do all the work. It can even help with the ironing as a breeze will help smooth out wrinkles. However, this option is not always possible. Some clothes labels state they should not be dried outside, many people have no outdoor space and it is often not the weather for it. We have looked into the alternatives for indoor clothes drying to...

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Radiator reflectors are shiny sheets that sit behind your radiator. They are designed to prevent heat radiated from the radiator becoming lost into the wall by reflecting this heat back into the room.  The heat radiated from a radiator travels in infrared waves. These waves are small enough to become absorbed by the wall. Reflector foils have a much smaller lattice structure than a wall so infrared waves are reflected rather than absorbed. Ordinary tin foil also has this property but would not be as effective for as long as radiator reflector foils because the surface of tin foil oxidizes...

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When you put your heating on, the gas from your boiler enters a combustion chamber and an electric ignition lights the gas. The heat from the gas is used to heat water carried in a pipe. This network of water pipes will connect to all radiators in your home. A radiator is essentially a copper pipe bent back and forth to give a large surface area so more heat can be radiated into the room. Radiators should really be called convectionators as 80% of their heat is lost by convection, not radiation. Of the 20% of the heat that is...

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  Clare Fearon