I’m a big fan of The Homeworker magazine which is doing great things to provide advice and support for homeworkers everywhere.
Last week on Instagram @thehomeworkermag posted this:
A big shout out for one of our directory members who has possibly one of the best work from home products for chilly days…
If you haven’t heard of @rugbuddyuk then you need to take a look. This is a simple under rug heater- hidden from view but keeps you snug and warm on a cold day.
It is also incredibly inexpensive to run and saves you from heating the whole house if you’re just working in a small space.
I think these are great for garden studios and offices as well.
William from @rugbuddyuk is listed under our work from home products section in the directory.
This can help you work from home better and save you some pennies ?
Head to the directory or check out their website for more details ?
If you’re a homeworker and appreciate the support we can all give each other, and some of the finer things in life that make work a little more enjoyable, why not take a look at Homeworker Magazine? https://www.thehomeworker.com/
With everyone at home it makes sense to make best use of all the space available to avoid COVID confinement stress. Whether you're working from home, or just trying to find a quiet corner to enjoy your book, you'll really appreciate being able to claim a space you can call your own.
Here's how you can avoid frustration and squabbles with my 5 ways to avoid COVID confinement stress by making space at home.
1. Bring unused rooms in from the cold. If a room is cold and unwelcoming, it doesn't get used. Make it cosy with a RugBuddy under-rug heater. Spare bedrooms, dining rooms, box rooms, conservatories, garden rooms, and so on, are often hard to heat. Having a source of radiant warmth under your feet makes all the difference and a RugBuddy only costs a few pennies per hour to run.
2. Clear out the clutter. You've saved time on your commute so let's use the time to clear those piles of paper and cupboards full of clutter. Do you really need it? Remember, "if it doesn't spark joy....." Think of it as doing a home audit. You'll congratulate yourself every time you find yourself relaxing in the clutter-free room.
3. Build more storage. I have a theory that DIY stores are going to do very well over the next few months as it becomes harder to ignore the fix/repair 'to-do' list. Not only that, but we'll all be more critical of how space is used. You're likely to find there's dead space that can easily be converted into handy shelving or cupboards. How much better could the under-stairs* area be, for example?
4. Make rooms multi-functional. Combining a workspace in every bedroom, for study or working from home, is an obvious one. Try combining the functions of two rooms into one wherever possible. And use dead space on a landing or hallway to make a small sitting area. Flexible use of space increases the chance of everyone being able to find their own space when they want.
5. Pinch ideas. Go online and see how people get the most out of their studio flats and small apartments. You'll be amazed at the multi-functional furniture and hidden storage ideas you'll come across. Flex your DIY muscles a little and see what you can create.
Embrace the time at home to make improvements, learn a new skill, eat well, and spend time with loved ones. Stay safe, and I hope my 5 ways to make space help you avoid COVID confinement stress.
The weather's very mild as I write this but at least the reviewer had the sense to experience Rugbuddy on a cold day.....
She loved her RugBuddy despite commenting the RugBuddy sounded like crisp packets under her feet!
Happily, this is a temporary state of affairs. It only takes a few uses for the Rugbuddy to relax into its new surroundings. Indeed an Amazon customer recently wrote a 5-star review titled 'the crinkling goes away and leaves you gently warmed'.
Trying to stay warm working from home without racking up large central heating bills is a problem for many each winter. I know a lot of my customers are freelancers, homeworkers, and small business owners, who all have a keen eye on value for money and low running costs.
Understanding what it is that makes us feel cold (rate of body heat loss to nearby cold surfaces), and the solution (warm the cold surfaces, especially the floor), is straight forward. This post also explains why heating the air (which, let's face it, is what radiators and other heaters generally do) is actually a VERY BAD IDEA.
Why not give RugBuddy a try under your desk? You'll be amazed how comfortable it is and that you will be able to turn down, or even turn off, your other heating. And, of course, we operate a 30-day no quibble returns guarantee so you can try Rugbuddy risk free.
Freelancers and homeworkers all over the UK and Europe are discovering RugBuddy as the ideal under-desk heater. The Modern Work review is an honest appraisal of why this is.
Lots of people will have tuned into The Martin Lewis Money Show 'Switching Special' this week about energy bills. Lot's of the audience admitted to setting the thermostat to 21C or even higher. Martin's off-the-cuff money saving tip was to "set the thermostat at 18C and wear a jumper"!
This got us thinking about our favourite top 10 tips for keeping warm and money saving with the thermostat at 18C.
Here they are:
1. Get a RugBuddy under-rug heater where you sit. The RugBuddy warms the rug and the surface of the rug radiates gentle warmth to your feet and body. You'll feel comfortably warm even if the air is cool.
2. Cure draughts. We've all heard of 'wind chill' in the weather forecast. It's a fact that air will cool you quicker if it is flowing past you. You've probably blocked off obvious things like the letter box and the chimney, but what about 3. below?
3. Avoid convection heating. Wall mounted radiators can be to blame here. They cause convection currents that lead to cold feet and ankles. Turning back the thermostat to 18C will reduce the convection currents and could actually make you feel warmer!
4. Don't sit for long if you can avoid it. Use those times when you're up from your chair to be active and get the blood flowing.
5. Spend more time upstairs if your thermostat is downstairs! Hot air rises, remember?
6. Plan how you might get comfort from using household appliances. Some 'low and slow' cooking when you're sitting in the kitchen may give off all the warmth you need, for a while at least.
7. Ask the cat to sit on your lap. (Other house-trained warm-blooded furry creatures are available.) I know cats have minds of their own but a cat on the lap is a wondrous and calming way to stay warm.
8. Don't drink alcohol which slows down the circulation. Hands and feet will feel the effects first. Warming food and drink is the way to go.
9. Let in the sunshine. If you're blessed with a sunny day make sure curtains and blinds are fully open to get the benefit of those rays. After all, they've travelled 93,000,000 miles and it seems rude to block them out before they can warm you up.
10. Wear the jumper. This is Martin's favourite and may be all you need. If not, a warm hat, thick socks, and fingerless gloves, should guarantee total cosiness.
Your own way to stay warm with the thermostat at 18C? Let me know using the contact form.
Does your home have a condensation problem? Do you think it's impossible to cure condensation and mould?
You may be surprised that the way you heat your home can create condensation. But you shouldn't accept condensation as something you have to put up with. There are solutions out there and a little understanding of what's going on means you can probably avoid condensation all together.
Why is condensation something to be avoided? After all, drawing animal shapes or writing messages on steamy windows can be fun!
As the article states, mould arises from an excess of moisture. There are many reasons why there may be an excess of moisture in the home, but how to cure condensation and mould is the focus of this blog.
To understand how condensation forms we need to go back to school science lessons. The first lesson is that warm air can hold more moisture than cool air. We learned that when the warm air touches a cold surface, it rapidly cools and deposits some of the moisture it can no longer carry. This appears as condensation on the surface which, in the home, is usually a window or outside wall.
Every home is continuously adding moisture to the air: boiling kettles, running hot taps, drying the washing, and simply the occupants breathing, are all contributing factors. Ventilation helps stop the moisture build-up becoming excessive but condensation will still appear if warm, moist, air contacts a cold surface.
So let's look at the different ways home heating works, and whether condensation is more or less likely to occur depending on the type of heating you choose.
Conventional radiators, fan heaters and convectors
The first thing to understand is that, despite the name, the common wall mounted 'radiator' is mainly a convector. Convectors warm the air and set up circulation currents in the room. Circulation currents are created as the warm air (from the vanes at the back of the 'radiator') rises to the ceiling, gets pushed across the ceiling while cooling, and falls to floor level at the other side of the room.
Similarly, fan-assisted convector heaters and fan heaters heat the air directly and push warm air around the room.
We've seen from the science lesson above that circulating warm air will directly cause condensation when it comes into contact with cold surfaces. Problem areas are un-insulated walls and poorly glazed windows.
And there are other drawbacks. Convection currents mean that the coolest air will be felt as a draught at floor level even if windows and doors are tightly shut. Circulating air will also spread allergy-aggravating dust. See 'Why central heating radiators are bad for you'.
It's easy to see that if you were designing the perfect heating system, there would be no place for conventional radiators, fan heaters and convectors! Of course, most of us are unable to start with a clean sheet of paper and what we need is a simple change that can cure condensation and mould.
Radiant panels, underfloor heating, and on-floor heating
The second science lesson we need to take on board is that heat flows from hot to cold. This can either be by conduction, when 2 bodies are in contact, or radiation, which occurs when the 2 bodies are separated by air or even a vacuum. This is how the Sun warms the Earth from millions of miles away. How strongly it flows from one to the other depends on the difference in temperature, known as the 'temperature gradient'.
You are setting up a temperature gradient when you introduce a warm surface to a room. So long you are able to maintain the temperature of the warm surface, eventually the rest of the room will become just as warm assuming there is no rapid heat loss to the outside .
Most of us will have experienced how comfortable a well set-up underfloor heating system is. The floor is warm, every surface you touch is warm, and even the air is warm.
The heated floor is a 'radiant surface' and continually radiates warmth to the other cooler surfaces. In turn, the air in the room picks up warmth by being in contact with the surfaces. AND, MOST LIKELY, THERE WILL BE NO CONDENSATION.
This is because:
the air is not being artificially circulated
there are no cold surfaces on which condensation would form
This understanding gives us a clue how to avoid condensation: simply eliminate cold surfaces and don't promote warm air movement. Radiant heating from the floor or wall-mounted panels is ideal on both counts.
Radiant heating can cure condensation and mould
Assuming there is no easy way to eliminate the cold surfaces through insulation (if possible, always start with wall insulation, double-glazing etc. for energy efficiency reasons), then radiant heating will usually raise surface temperatures sufficiently so that condensation won't form. It helps if the cold surface has the ability to absorb and hold some warmth. In this respect a wall will be easier to warm than a single-glazed window.
If you don't have underfloor heating there are other effective ways you can introduce a warm radiant surface into a room. For example there are radiant panel heaters that can be fixed on the walls or ceiling, or mounted on castors to be wheeled where needed. Also RugBuddy under-rug heaters count as retro-fit radiant floor heating.
BeWarmer is running a trial this winter to record how effectively radiant heating is used to cure condensation and mould in a 1950's semi with un-insulated solid walls. Please check back to read about the the trial.
There's a new magazine aimed at freelancers and small home-business owners called The Homeworker.
Have you seen it?
It's beautifully produced and there's loads of interesting articles to read. In fact, it's so good that it has been shortlisted for 'Launch of the Year' by the British Society of Magazine Editors. Have a look at The Homeworker website here https://www.thehomeworker.com/
I'm delighted that RugBuddy was featured in the Home Edit section of the latest issue.
To celebrate, we took out an ad highlighting the virtues of a RugBuddy for anyone who works from home (see right).
This is what we said:
Add some warmth to your work
Boost productivity with RugBuddy under-rug heating
A RugBuddy is a little like an electric blanket, designed to be placed under a rug. Available in many different sizes, it’s perfect for use under your home-working desk or office, bringing warmth exactly where you need it – right under your feet.
RugBuddy is a completely silent, invisible, personal workspace heater. It keeps your working environment fresh, clear and warm, with no stuffy air and no distractions. A RugBuddy will transform any area within 20 minutes of being plugged in and works on any floor type, so simply relax and enjoy the warmth. And at just a few pence per hour to run, it’s extremely economical too, helping reduce your home’s heating bills by only heating the rooms you use.
Bring a little warmth into your working day!
Are you comfortably warm when working? If not take a look at how a RugBuddy makes an excellent under-desk heater.
I was invited to write an article for the Psychreg.org website to mark World Mental Health Day 2019 on 10th October.
Running a business like BeWarmer Ltd from home carries many of the same challenges that are faced by freelancers daily. I chose as my topic "7 Ways to Look After Your Mental Health and Well-being if You’re a Freelancer".
With World Mental Health Day coinciding with the start of Autumn's cooler weather in the UK, it is a good time to make sure you can stay comfortably warm while working. So, no surprises that I chose this as my first theme.
Most of us are lucky enough to have central heating. But if, like me, you work from one room then it is wasteful* to heat the rest of the home when it's unoccupied.
Having a RugBuddy under your desk or table is an economical way to stay warm and not have to worry about big bills.
Compared with other types of portable heater, RugBuddy is safe, silent, and healthy, and only costs a few pence per hour to run.
* There is a myth that it is better to keep the central heating on low rather than switching it off in the morning and back on again in the evening. Money Saving Expert has investigated and doesn't think this is true for most of us. Read the first Q. & A. on this page. And if you're doing it for your pet's benefit, you'd better read this.
The other 6 ways outlined in the article are
2. Avoid yo-yo marketing - what happens if you only do marketing when you're not busy
3. Keep active while working - the link between activity and mental health, and the benefits of balance balls!
4. Get paid what you’re worth - it's not just your time. And what about adding a results related element?
5. Get paid on time - how your 'marketing heartbeat' gives you confidence to ditch uncooperative clients
6. Eat good food you prepare yourself - it's an activity in itself and I've linked to some lovely recipes
7. Manage your time to leave time for yourself - achieve this, and all the above become easy!