A good intruder system, to Irish Standard 199, will secure your house in your absence or at night, and can reduce the cost of your household insurance.
Systems can be connected by wires to a central monitor in a convenient location (under the stairs for example), and if incorporated at an early stage can be run unobtrusively in floor voids.
Wireless systems are also available – they save the expense of chasing walls for rewiring and don’t disrupt existing walls and decorations.
Smoke alarms can be easily installed on ceilings and are useful in the early detection of fire – they can be wired centrally so you don’t need to insert new batteries.
Using natural and sustainable materials in the construction and finishings of your house benefits both you and the environment. It is also good if a member of the household has asthma or allergies.
Natural flooring materials include linoleum, wool carpet and cork.
Where possible, use organic paint for internal walls and ceilings.
Use thermostatic radiator valves to regulate where and how much energy you use for heating.
A lagging jacket (minimum width 80mm) on your hot water storage cylinder will save energy and keep your water hot longer. Insulating the flow and return pipes between the hot water cylinder and the boiler also gives hotter water.
A good level of roof space insulation is cost-effective. Remember to insulate the cold water storage tanks leaving the space under the water tanks uninsulated to prevent freezing. Leave a gap at the eaves for ventilation.
The ESB runs a night saver scheme where electricity is supplied at a lower cost. Using time clocks on hot water cylinders and appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers can reduce electricity costs.
Choose household appliances which use less energy and water. The extra cost will be offset by savings in running costs.
Tiled flooring in conservatories will soak up daytime heat and release it at night, and ventilation will help to prevent summer overheating.
By Caterina Nolan.