How To Save Money On Your Heating Bills

How much do you think you spend on your heating bills at present? According to the Energy Saving Trust, on average half the money spent on utility bills in the UK goes towards heating and hot water.

Is it therefore any surprise that come the first sign of winter, many households have the same debate rumbling on, whether to put the heating on. But, did you know that by taking precautionary steps, you can reduce your energy bills at the same time as keeping your home warm. Five top tips we recommend are…

Make an Extra Layer Your First Choice:

Many of us opt to switch the heating on the moment that we feel a chill in the home. Automatically reaching for the heating will cause your energy bills to rocket. Instead, your first option should be to make an extra layer of clothing your first choice to keeping warm.

Have Your Boiler Serviced Annually:

As with all appliances within the home, general usage can take its toll on your boiler. This wear and tear will leave your boiler performing below its optimum level, hindering its efficiency and costing you more in energy bills.

To reduce the risk of wear and tear on your boiler, you should have it serviced annually. Ideally the service should take place before winter takes hold.

Along with getting your boiler serviced, it’s also recommended to install a CO2 alarm next to the boiler.

Bleed Your Radiators:

If you’ve put your heating on and found that the top of your radiator is cooler than the bottom, then you’ll need to bleed them. This isn’t a difficult task, nor is it time consuming. But it is one which should be carried out at the earliest opportunity to save you money on your energy bills.

To bleed your radiators, all you’ll need is a radiator key and a towel.

With your heating off, use the radiator key to turn the valve at the top of the radiator to release any trapped air. Whilst doing this, hold the towel just below the valve to catch any water which may trickle out. As soon as water appears, close the valve.

Set TRVs Low:

Many modern radiators come with TRVs, which enable you to set the temperature of the individual radiator. Whilst many of us will turn the TRV to six, this will cost you money without heating the room any quicker.

To help save money on your energy bills, set the TRV to its lowest setting, before gradually turning them up until you find a comfortable room temperature. It’s also recommend to keep the TRVs on a low setting in rooms which aren’t frequented often. This will help keep the room warm without wasting heat.

Utilise Natural Heat:

OK, so the sun isn’t as strong during the winter months, it can still provide the required warmth to naturally heat your home. To make the most out of the natural warmth from the sun, leave your curtains open during the day, and closed during the evening.

Along with closing your curtains during the evening, it’s also a good idea to keep internal doors closed where possible.

These five simple steps will help you to save money on your heating and energy bills, at the same time as keeping the house warm. But, for those who are looking for an additional heat source there are a number of portable radiators available which will provide the heating requirements you need.

What Does the Word Website Designer Stand For?

Today anyone seems to call themselves web designer just because the learned to create a web site.

Is it traditional graphic design involved or is it just experts on programs like Flash, Dreamweaver, etc. who call themselves designers?

One guy looking for work told me he had a web design education and when I looked at his work it was like 5 pages crap made in FrontPage!

For me as an art director and graphic designer it all seems a bit strange. I have spent years in art- and advertising classes, over 30 years in the advertising business in Sweden and Spain and I’m still not sure I can use that title. Even if I have designed hundreds of websites last 10 years.

So be aware when you looking for help, with internet anyone seems to be whatever they like and advertise their services, trust them or not. You will never know for sure.

Today I saw the following ad in a local magazine: “We design web sites for 130EUR”. That guy must be something of a superman. Or is the education these days so fantastic that you can learn it all in a few years?

The “Graphic design” education is just a small part in building your web site.

The natural way was (back in the 80:s in Stockholm) that your advertising agency produced your website and designed it so it fit your company’s profile. A few years later a lot of digital production companies started, but still with people educated in the advertising business.

Short after that anyone with money could buy a computer, copy machines and some colour printers and start a Copy shop without any education in advertising. Unfortunately they after a while also offered help in layout and design.

That’s where we are today. Anyone with a computer can offer you anything online.

It’s up to you to find out who they are.

How to Set Up a Family Game Night

Family Game nights allow you to bond with your family and just have a fun time. Here is how you can go about setting one up.

1. Find a time when everyone will be available

Were all busy, the first thing you need to do is to plan it in advanced. Ask other people when they will be available and make it a date to look forward too. Put a reminder on the refrigerator so everyone knows when it is.

2. Find Some Games to play

You can’t have a family game night without games, so try to find some games somewhere; you may only need a deck of cards. You could also ask around and see if anyone knows of a fun game that you guys could play.

3. Decide what snacks you will have

People like to munch on things. Putting out a few cut up vegetables, or some chips can be a great idea. You might even want to replace dinner with snacks at family game night, just to mix things up a little.

4. Decide if it will be in the family

You have to decide if it will only be in the family, so only people in your family will be there, or not. I like the fact of inviting other people. You can invite other people and see if your kids want to invite other people the more the merrier.

This also is a great way to meet who your kids are hanging out with.

5. Have Fun

Family game night is all about everyone having fun and making good memories. So remember to go in it with a positive attitude and be happy. Remember if you aren’t having fun it can rub off and make it so no one is having fun either.

Going Loco for Logos

You have just opened your business and are about to place your first ad in the newspaper or Yellow Pages. The rep requests you if you have a logo. Gulp. A logo? You panic and realize you have to have one and fast. After all, every business has a logo and look how successful they have become. Check out Coke, Microsoft, Honda, Wal-Mart, and the list goes on and on. So you grab the local directory and pick a graphic designer or ad agency and get moving. Thousands of dollars later, you present the new logo to your ad rep and are well on your way to success, fame and fortune. After all, now you have a logo.

Let's back up. Take a look at the process where a business is born and think about the timeline. When Bill Gates began tooling with operating systems for Microsoft, did he start by designing a logo? If you look at the first Coca-Cola logos, you would not even recognize them today. Other companies simply returned to their initials such as RCA, IBM, or UPS in a slightly distinct typeface. You see, their focus was actually on the business, rather than the public's perception. Later, they would hire advertising agencies to do the promotion and, if warranted, promote their logo.

Can a logo build a brand and make the company more money? Of course it can. Branding is a huge business in itself. It's been proven in surveys that people remember certain logos better than past Presidents or world capitals. But these international symbols took time to be established and the company became successful on its on merits first. They built a following and customer base before marketing the logo as their representative. If Nike had begun with their stylized 'V' followed by their slogan, 'Just Do It,' how would anyone know what they were selling?

I have been an advertising consultant to thousands of businesses and designed hundreds of logos. I've never seen an awful business made better with an award-winning logo. Conversely, I've seen many successful businesses that thrived for decades without any logo at all. Most of them used their name in a variety of type styles that were easily read and, instead, communicated the nature of the company. "Fred's Fine Custom Homes," or "XYZ Creative Web Design," still gets the message across.

It all depends on your market and purpose. If you are a small, local business, with customers located within your city, having a logo probably serves no real purpose, other than giving you a unique identity. If you do a lot of mixed-media advertising, such as TV, radio, and news, the logo can help tie your promotions together and create a branding awareness. For example, if a business called, "Party Heaven," uses a red balloon with angel wings on it's signage, it's smart to carry that logo through all it's advertising. Also, a company with a national scope that has multiple locations or a country-wide franchise, needs to have a consistent theme that's aided by a well-conceived logo and color scheme.

But the local plumber or air conditioner repair service mostly often does not require a cute or complicated logo, to satisfify their customers. They can simply market and offer good service to build their client base. Especially when there are hundreds of plumbers, all using a wrench or pipe as a logo in the Yellow Pages. There obviously must have been a run on clip art that day. I knew one that actually used a toilet with something dark floating in the bowl in their ads. Ergo, a lousy logo can actually hurt a business's image.

So, to summarize, a logo is something that derives a well-implemented business plan. It can enhance and establish the company's image. But it should not be relied upon for attracting customers or making up for a weak product or service. After all, when all is said and done, it's still a miniature piece of artwork. You can look at one of my creations by going to thenurseschoice.com and check out their logo. It's the lamp of knowledge and well known to most nurses. In the meantime, consider your business and what a logo can do for you. And if you're a plumber, pipe down.