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Home Improvement in Sudbury, Suffolk – Here’s everything you ever need to know!

Are you looking to improve the look and feel of your home? Have you been planning a project and are chomping at the bit to get on with that new house project? Then look no further. In this post we will show you how to seek inspiration and help develop your ideas. We’ll detail some of the things that you need to consider ahead of taking on a project or hiring contractors, then how to deal with them and if you need to, how to get the permissions that you may require. We’ll also point you to some of the highest rated workmen in the Sudbury, Suffolk area and make some recommendations on how to get started with your next home improvement project. So.. Shall we get started?

Home Improvement Sudbury Suffolk

Getting Inspired

Perhaps, like most people, you need some inspiration to help you recognise the potential of a room or your future home. To engender some fresh ideas that would improve the house or flat where you live at the moment. There are a great deal of sources that will help you to kick-start your imagination, below is a few of our favourites sources.

Social media

Home Improvement project Sudbury Suffolk
Set up a Pinterest board to inspire you! 

The number one favourite place for us to start is social media in particular, Pinterest. If you are not aware of Pinterest, Pinterest is a social media network where users share inspiration about a whole host of ideas, everything for home improvements to food, the latest fashion to pictures of cute animals. Aside the puppy pics and ever so tasty recipes there is literally millions and millions of pictures of people’s home improvements and projects. To use Pinterest simply set up an account, which as easy as logging in and confirming your email address. Then start searching for things that you like. This could be ‘Home Improvement Projects’ to more specific searches such as ‘bathroom lighting’ or ‘industrial feel kitchens’. Soon enough your feed will be loaded with inspiration and you’ll be able to define exactly what you like by saving your favourite pictures to ‘boards’. Boards that you can set up by room or by the name of the project you have in mind. The great thing about Pinterest is it not only inspires but also helps you to really create views on what you do and do not like. It will really help your project come to life.

 

Visiting Friends
Don’t underestimate the value of comparing what friends and family have done with their houses, especially your neighbours who may have had to tackle problems identical to your own. You will find that most people are only too happy to talk about how they came to a decision on a particular decorative scheme, or perhaps how they got on with a particular layout. For example, and then consider whether the solution they have come up with would suit your own requirements.

Other places to get inspired in Sudbury, Suffolk:

Planning for People

Try to give function, comfort and appearance equal priority when you are planning your home improvements. The best designers build their concepts around the human frame, using statistics from research into the way people use their domestic and working environments.

Study Anthropometrics
Although human stature varies a great deal, the study of anthropometrics has determined the optimum dimensions of furniture and spaces around it that are required to accommodate people of average build. These conclusions have been adopted by both designers and manufacturers, so that most shop-bough fittings for kitchens, bathrooms and living and dining areas are now built to standardised dimensions.

This is especially true of kitchen units, which are designed for compatibility with appliances such as cookers and fridges to make a scheme that fits together as an integrated, functional whole. The standard worktop height allows fridges, dishwashers and washing machines to fit beneath it, while hobs are designed t be let into the counter top and stand-alone cookers match the height of kitchen base units. Designers adopt the same criteria for other items of furniture: Standard -size chairs, tables and desks allow most people to work and eat comfortably.

An appreciation of anthropometrics cuts down on accidents – for instance, correct instance, correctly positioned shelves and worktops in the kitchen preclude climbing onto a chair to reach a top shelf. It also helps you to choose appropriate furniture around the home, avoiding low level easy chairs and soft beds that offer no support for your back.

Before starting the project for your home, take this into account, scratch down some drawings and make your plans.

Working with Professionals

There are certain jobs it is worth paying to have done quickly and efficiently, some where you have to call in the professional e.g. A qualified electrician to fit bathroom or kitchen electrics, you may prefer to take on the major peripheral labouring works and / or finishing yourself.

Then there are certain skills that require time and practice before you can become really proficient at them. In a house of an average size you might develop a knack of plastering as the work is coming to an end – but you probably won’t need to plaster another wall until you buy your next house.

You need to way up what you can and can’t do to a high standard and what you are and aren’t able to complete from a technical perspective. Consider your time and the cost, as well as any potential delays to the project (and what the knock on’s of those delays may be).

Below we have listed some of the top-rated contractors that are in and around the Sudbury and Suffolk areas. Once you have an idea of what you want and you are confident that you can brief this to these professionals give them a call and start to put together some quotes.

  1. Top rated Architect in Sudbury: Tricker Blackie Associates; 51 Station Rd, Sudbury, Suffolk. Visit website
  2. Top rated Builder in Sudbury: Gainsborough Building Contracts; Stour Valley Business Centre, Brundon Lane, Sudbury Suffolk. Visit website
  3. Top rated Interior Designers in Sudbury: KSL; Churchfield Bus Park, Churchfield Rd, Sudbury, Suffolk. Visit website

Scheduling a major home improvement project

When scheduling a straightforward DIY project there is usually nothing but your own time to consider – the more hours you put in the faster the job is completed. But it’s not quite so simple when you have to employ professionals. Their work has to be coordinated, and quite often a project cannot move forward until a particular specialist has been consulted or the relevant authority has given consent. Each design and building project is different, and tricky planning problems can add weeks to a schedule, so it’s impossible to be precise about how long it should take for each stage of the process to be completed.

  • First there is your own decision process, which you shouldn’t rush under any circumstances. You need to do your research thoroughly before you can brief say an architect.
  • Once the design process is under way, there is bound to be a number of meetings with the architect, who will explain the results of any preliminary surveys undertaken and discuss with you his or her ideas for you building project. You must allow plenty of time for this process – everything that follows hinges on the design being right.
  • Then the process to obtain planning permission and Building Regulations approval begins. At the same time, you need to as suitable builders and tradesmen to submit tenders.
  • Once you have official approval to proceed and you have appraised and accepted the best tender, the builder may need time to engage other contractors before the actual wok on site can begin.
  • From commissioning your architect to design a typical extension to the first day on site is going to take at least 4 to 5 months. Anything more ambitious is going to take considerably longer. What happens after the builder goes on site is difficult to predict.

Here are some other useful places to get inspiration and help you on your home improvement project:

  • Howdens Joinery; Unit 7, 8 Addison Rd, Sudbury Suffolk.
  • B & Q; Woodhall Business Park, Sudbury, Suffolk.
  • Homebase; Waldingfield Rd, Sudbury, Suffolk.
  • Topps Tiles; Shawlands Retail Park, Northern Rd, Sudbury, Suffolk.

Conclusion

Still chomping at the bit to get started? Great. You should be! Your house is more than that, it is your home. Improving the place that you and your family spend so much time should be a goal. Although the process of improving your house can take a lot of time.. And your time! The rewards and outcome can be spectacular.

We hope that you found or guide to improving your home useful and if you have a project in mind make sure that you give us a call.

At Mr Fix Electrician we love working with our customers to improve their homes. Whether large or small your home improvement projects mean a lot to us. We can work alongside you architect or builder, solo or as part of a team.

Mr Fix Electrician, helping customers in and around Sudbury, Suffolk turn their houses into beautiful homes. Do you have a home improvement project in mind or underway? Call us for a no obligation quote on 01787 852069.

Mr Fix Electrician Sudbury Suffolk

How to protect your home from fire

No one needs to be reminded about the potential risk of fire -and yet nearly all domestic fires are caused by carelessness. Many fires could be prevented by taking sensible precautions.

Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors save lives

Avoiding the risks

Make sure your electrical installations and equipment are safe and in good order. Don’t overload power sockets with adaptors: fit more sockets instead. Don’t trail long extension leads and flexes under carpets or rugs: if the wiring becomes damaged, it could overheat and start a serious fire.

Never leave fires or heaters unguarded, especially when there are children in the house. And don’t dry clothes in front of a fire – they could easily fall onto the elements or flames.

Take particular care with smoking materials. Empty ashtrays at night, but dampen the contents before discarding them. Don’t rest ashtrays on chair arms: a burning cigarette’s centre of gravity shifts as it burns, which may cause it to topple off and ignite the upholstery. Never smoke in bed: fires are frequently caused by smokers falling asleep and setting light to the bedclothes.

Keep your workshop or garage clear of shavings and flammable rubbish – especially oily rags, which can ignite spontaneously. If possible, store flammable chemicals and paints in an outbuilding away from the house.

Fire Extinguishers and Blankets
Fire Extinguishers & Blanket

As a means of fighting a fire, install an all-purpose fire extinguisher in a prominent position, preferably on an escape route. Mount a fire blanket close to – but not directly above – the cooker. Your local Fire Prevention Officer will be able to recommend equipment for domestic use. Don’t buy inferior items: they may not work in an emergency.

Providing escape routes

Your first responsibility is to ensure that your family can escape safely if your house should catch fire. Before you go to bed, close internal doors – which will help to contain a fire – but don’t lock them. Locked internal doors rarely deter burglars, anyway.

Although you shouldn’t leave a key in an external lock, keep it close by but out of reach of the door or windows. Make sure everyone in the house knows where the key is kept, and always return it to the same place after use. Ensure some accessible part of double-glazed windows can be opened to afford an emergency escape route. Consider keeping a chain escape ladder in a bedroom or in a cup-board on your upstairs landing. Keep stairs and hallways free from obstructions: they may be difficult to see in dense smoke. Avoid using oil heaters to warm these areas, in case they get knocked over during an escape and spread the fire further. Communal stairs to flats are especially important, so try to persuade neighbours to keep them clear.

In the event of a fire, get everyone out of the building quickly, alert neighbours and call the fire brigade. Never that feels warm – it could be protecting you from a dangerous smouldering fire.

Tackling a fire

Don’t attempt to tackle a fire yourself unless you discover it early – and then only with the right equipment. Make sure that everyone in your family knows what to do in the event of a fire.

Fat fire
Cooking oil ignites when it reaches a certain temperature – unattended chip pans cause a lot of domestic fires. Don’t attempt to move a burning pan. Instead:
Turn off the source of heat if it is safe to do so.

  • Smother the fire with a close-fitting lid or a fire blanket.
  • Alternatively, quickly soak a tea towel in water, wring it out, and drape it over the burning pan.
  • Leave the pan to cool for at least half an hour.
  • If you aren’t able to extinguish the fire immediately, call the fire brigade.

If there is a blaze in a chimney, phone the fire brigade, then stand a fireguard on the hearth and evacuate the house.

Smoke Detectors

A smoke detector will identify the presence of smoke and fumes and sound a shrill warning. Although detectors can be incorporated into an alarm system, self-contained battery-operated units are easier to fit yourself. Change the battery at least once a year, and check that the detector is working by pressing its test button.

There are two basic types of detector. Photoelectric devices detect smoke from slow-burning fires, which give off large quantities of smoke. Ionisation detectors are less sensitive to smouldering fires but are attuned to particles of smoke produced by hot, blazing fires, such as a burning chip pan. Some detectors combine both systems.

Siting a smoke detector
The best place for a smoke alarm is on the ceiling, at least 300mm (1ft) away from any wall or light fitting, If it’s wall mounted, it should be 150 to 300mm (6in to 1ft) below the ceiling. Don’t install a smoke detector in a kitchen or bathroom.

In a bungalow, mount a detector between the bedrooms and living area(s). In a two storey home, fit one detector in the hallway, directly above the bottom of the stairs, and if possible fit a second one on the landing. Some smoke alarms can be linked – if one detects smoke, they are all triggered at once.

Carbon Monoxide

carbon monoxide detectors
Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas produced by poorly maintained or badly fitted heating appliances, such as gas fires and boilers. Because the gas is colourless and odourless. It’s worth installing simple carbon- monoxide detectors, similar in size and appearance to a smoke detector. One alarm should be installed near your bedrooms and it is worth having a second alarm where the boiler or heater is located, but at least 2 metres (6ft 6in) away from the appliance itself. Screw each detector to a wall at eye level. When carbon monoxide is detected, a red LED comes on, accompanied by a loud siren.

Have you got old smoke detectors? Do you want to bolster the fire safety of your home? At Mr Fix Electrician we can help you update or install the very latest in fire precautionary equipment. Get in contact with us today and let’s talk about making your home even safer from fire. Call us on 01787 852069.

Providing and installing fire safety equipment for customers in Suffolk and North Essex.

Use passive infa-red lighting to bolster your home security!

Exterior lights connected to a passive infra-red detector illuminate only when the sensor picks up the body heat of someone within range. The detector is also fitted with a photocell, so the lights operate only at night.

Passive Infa Red Lighting

A passive infra-red system has two advantages over simple dusk-to-dawn lighting. A porch light, for example, switches on only as you or visitors approach the entrance, then switches off again after a set period. This means you’re not wasting electricity by burning a lamp continuously all night. Secondly, remote passive infra-red detectors can be positioned to detect an intruder almost anywhere around your home and will switch on all your security lights or only those you think necessary. The effect is likely to startle intruders and deter them from approaching any further.

Light fittings and sensors
Because infra-red detectors are designed to be mounted about 2.5m (8ft) above ground level, light fittings made with integral detectors tend to be for porch lighting and most of them are styled accordingly. However, since the lighting needs to operated for more than a few minutes at a time, remote infra-red detectors are often used to control powerful halogen floodlights. Floodlights are also available with built-in detectors, which simplifies the wiring.

Positioning detectors
Unless you position detectors carefully, your security lighting will be activated unnecessarily. This can be a nuisance to neighbours and, as with any security device that’s constantly giving false alarms, you will soon begin to mistrust it and ignore its warnings. Infra-red detectors have sensitivity controls so that they won’t be activated by moving foliage or the presence of small animals. However, if your house is close to a footpath, you will need to adjust the angle of the detectors so that the lights don’t switch on every time a pedestrian passes by. When fitting a remote detector, make sure it isn’t aimed directly at a floodlight that it is controlling – or its photocell will try to switch it off as soon as it comes on and the likely result will be a light that simply flickers and never fully illuminates the scene. It is also important not to position an infra-red detector above a balanced flue from a boiler, or any other source of heat that could activate the sensor.

The circuit
It is usually possible to wire infra-red security lighting in exactly the same way as dusk-to-dawn lighting. However, as some detectors are capable of controlling several powerful floodlights, you may not be able to run them from the domestic lighting circuit. In which case, you will need to run a 2.5mm2 two-core-and- earth spur from a power circuit and
control the lighting with a switched fused connection unit. Use a 3amp fuse in the connection unit for a combined rating of up to 690W; a 13amp fuse for anything greater.

Wiring a remote Sensor
Unless the manufacturer’s instruction suggest an alternative method, wire an individual light fitting with an integral infra-red detector in the same manner as a dusk-to-dawn fitting.

Wiring an infa red sensor

To wire a remote sensor controlling light fittings mounted elsewhere, take the incoming cable from the junction box or fused connection unit into the back of the fitting and connect its brown and blue conductors to the second cable of the same size from the Load’ terminals back through the wall and on to the first light fitting. Sleeve both are copper earth conductors and connect them to the earth terminal. Wire the first light fitting using the method described for a dusk-to-dawn fitting, then connect another cable to the same terminals and run it on to the second light fitting, and so on.

Adjusting detectors
Once all the connections are made, you need to set the infra-red detector’s adjustment knobs or screws. One of them is for setting the photocell so that the system operates only during the hours of darkness. A second control dictates the period of time that the lights will remain on – three or four minutes should be sufficient.

If you live in the Sudbury, Suffolk area and are thinking about upgrading your security get in touch with Mr Fix Electrician today by calling 01787 852069. Thank you!

Mr Fix Electrician Sudbury Suffolk

A dummies guide to light switches.

At Mr Fix Electrician we often get asked what switch is what, what do you call this type of switch? We thought we would make it easy for our customers by sharing some of the most commonly used light switches, their names and a little about fitting those light switches.

The type of switch that’s most commonly used for lighting is the plate switch. This has a switch mechanism mounted behind a square faceplate with either one, two or three rockers. Although that’s usually enough for domestic purposes, double faceplates with as many as four or six rockers are also available.

light switchesA one-way switch simply turns a light on and off. Two-way switches are wired in pairs so that the light can be controlled from two places – typically at the head and foot of a staircase. It’s also possible to have an intermediate switch, to allow a light to be controlled from three places.

Any type of switch can be flush-mounted in a metal box buried in the wall plaster or surface-mounted in a plastic box. Boxes 16mm and 25mm deep are available, to accommodate switches of different depths.

Where there is not enough room for a standard switch, a narrow architrave switch can be used. There are double versions with two rockers, one above the other.

As well as turning the light on and off, a dimmer switch controls the intensity of illumination. Some types have a single knob that serves as both switch and dimmer. Others incorporate a separate knob for switching, so the light level does not have to be adjusted every time the light is switched on. Some can be operated by remote control.

The Wiring Regulations forbid the positioning of a conventional switch within reach of a washbasin, bath or shower unit – so only ceiling-mounted double-pole switches with pull-cords must be used in bathrooms. With this type of switch, both live and neutral contacts are broken when it is off.

Here’s a selection of the most commonly used light switches:

1: One-gang rocker switch

One Gang Rocker Light Switch
2: Two-gang rocker switch

Two Gang Rocker Light Switch
3: Primary-coloured rocker switch

Primary coloured rocker light switch
4: Reproduction retro switch

Reproduction Antique light switch
5: One-gang dimmer switch

One Gang Dimmer Switch
6: Two-gang dimmer switch

Two Gang Dimmer switch
7: Touch dimmer switch

Two Gang Touch Dimmer Switch
8: Two-gang architrave switch

Two Gang Architrave Switch
9: Ceiling switch

Ceiling switch

Installing light switches and cable

Light switches need to be installed in relatively accessible positions, which normally means just inside the door of a room, at about adult shoulder height. In order to reach the switch, lighting cable is either run within hollow cavity walls or buried in the wall plaster.

Choosing switches

Most light switches are made from white plastic, but you can buy other finishes to compliment your decorative scheme. Coloured switches can look striking in a modern house, while reproductions of antique brass switches are both appropriate and attractive in a traditional interior.

Are you thinking of updating your light switches? Perhaps you have an inconveniently positioned switch that needs to be moved. At Mr Fix Electrician we will be able to help you adapt or move your light switches creating that great look and finish that you are after.

If you live in or around the Sudbury, Suffolk area why not give Mr Fix Electrician a call on 01787 852069.

Considering adding security to your Suffolk home?

Then you’ll love this post. Within this post we’ll tell you everything that you need to know about home security and adding items like closed circuit television to your property.

Surveillance by closed-circuit television acts as a deterrent to would-be intruders and if you choose to record the output from your cameras, in the event of a burglary it may help the police to apprehend the perpetrator and recover your stolen property.

Home security systems Suffolk

There are numerous CCTV systems at your disposal, including highly sophisticated equipment primarily designed for protecting commercial premises. You are required to notify the BCO before installing most types of CCTV system, but if you choose one of the relatively inexpensive but effective plug-in DIY kits you can install without notification. However, if a kit that involves fixed wiring and external lighting is installed the system will be notifiable or require a qualified electrician to install. Here’s the low down on DIY security kits and the kind of items that come with them.

Do-it-yourself CCTV kits

Not every CCTV kit contains the same equipment, but illustrated below is a selection of accessories sold for DIY installation. Light fittings are rarely, if ever, included in these kits, but since a great many attempted burglaries occur after dark, it’s hardly worth the expense of installing CCTV unless you are prepared to buy and install compatible security lighting. A monitor is not required, as DIY kits are designed to be connected to ordinary television sets and video-cassette recorders and even via apps on your phone.

Cameras
Security cameras

Up to four cameras can be connected to the average CCTV system. Black-and-white cameras are the least expensive and tend to give a sharper image in low light levels. Most cam

eras incorporate a microphone, and some have built-in PIR (passive infra-red) movement detectors.

Home security power supply

Power-supply unit

CCTV power-supply units have Power-supply unit built-in 13amp plugs. There are heater elements in the cameras to prevent condensation, so they have to be connected to the electrical supply permanently. Power consumption, however, is negligible.

Distribution Box

This compact unit sends the signals from the camera to your tele

vision set. You can make the connection using phono plugs but a Scart connector is preferable.

Switcher unit

You will only need a switcher unit if you have more than one camera. Connected to the distribution box, it has a socket for each camera input.

VCR Controller - Home security

VCR controller

This device switches on your VCR when a camera detects movement in the vicinity of your house

Audible warning

A buzzer will alert you when a camera picks up a possible intruder, even when your TV set is switched of. The unit, which also includes a small flashing light, plugs into the distribution box.

Cable

Special colour-coded multi-core cable transmits the signals from the camera to your TV set. It is supplied in standard lengths, and extension cables are available.

If you are considering adding security to your home and live in the Sudbury, Suffolk area you should give us a call. Particularly if you are looking for something more sophisticated than a DIY kit can provide such as a smart system, external lighting or additional items such as the latest digital cameras and sensing devices.

For more information on home security set ups contact Mr Fix Electrician and call us on 01787 852069.