It’s Spring, right? So why do I still feel cold sat at my desk?

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We're all looking forward to the warmer weather. But there will be times when you sit down to work, only to soon start feeling cold.

feeling cold working from home
Young woman which has a flu working from home on a laptop

Freelancers, home office workers, and occasional work-from-homers may all be affected by this. This post explains what's going on and recommends the best way to get comfortably warm again so you can concentrate on your work.

Most of us have wall-mounted radiators or convector heaters in the rooms we work from. These do an OK job of heating the air and, while this may seem good enough, there are unwanted drawbacks and side-effects:

  • warm air rises but where you're sat is the bottom third of the room height so this can't be efficient
  • floors are often cold and un-insulated, and no amount of warm air at ceiling level is going to warm a cold floor
  • warm air draws in moisture which can turn to condensation on colder surfaces like windows

Matters are made worse by the inevitable cool floor level draughts; the warm air rises to the ceiling, starts to cool, is pushed along by warmer air above the heater, drops down the far wall and back along the floor to the base of the heater. All radiators and convector heaters are guilty of creating these convection currents.

What you want is all the warmth at floor level so that you get maximum benefit. This is why underfloor heating is so popular. But most of us can't contemplate the cost and upheaval of fitting underfloor heating in our home office.

Thankfully there is a simple plug-and-play solution - more on this later.

By heating the floor you turn the floor into a 'radiant surface'. Think of stepping from shade into sunlight. The air temperature doesn't change but you feel instantly warmer. You directly feel the effect of the Sun's radiant warmth.

Sitting over a floor surface that gently, silently, healthily, radiates warmth means you can work all day without needing radiators or convector heaters. So you can concentrate better and not be distracted by stuffy air and cold draughts at floor level.

The simple floor heating solution

RugBuddy working from home
The simple solution I mention above is a bit like an electric blanket for the floor. It's called a RugBuddy under-rug heater. You lay it out and cover with a rug. Plug the RugBuddy in and, within minutes, the surface of the rug will become warm and you have created the radiant floor surface that is so desirable. That's how easy it is.

If you have been relying on your home's central heating to keep warm, there are cost savings to be had, as well. The running costs of the RugBuddy are very low - around 5p an hour for a typical 250 Watt 125 x 160 cm installation - perfect for your workspace. You will save a lot over the course of a year by using the central heating less. Energy Saving Trust estimates you save £75 per year for every degree you turn down the central thermostat.

By the way, it isn't a problem to have your desk and office chair on the rug - the Rugbuddy won't be damaged and will work perfectly. A top tip is to have a non-slip underlay under the RugBuddy and rug, to keep everything firmly in place when you start wheeling your chair around.

Heading into Spring and Summer is a good time to equip your home office with a Rugbuddy under-rug heater. You'll be able to turn down, or turn off, the central heating earlier than in previous years.

And the RugBuddy will be there, ready at a flick of a switch, to take the chill off a cool morning or evening. Roll on Summer!

RugBuddy Featured in Moneywise Magazine

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Here's a fun and practical guide to cutting your energy bills in this month's Moneywise magazine. And it features Rugbuddy as one of the star performers!

The guide's writer, the excellent Rebecca Goodman, points out the number-one way to save money on your bills is to switch energy company if you haven't done it for a while. She says the average savings amount to around £287 per year.

But there are lots of other things you can do easily around the home to reduce your bills.

As Rebecca explains in the guide, she has selected 10 ways to cut your energy bills and has estimated the savings:

  1. Fit foil behind your radiator - £40 a year
  2. Banish 'energy vampires' - switch off appliances left on standby - £30 a year
  3. Grab an extra jumper and socks and turn the thermostat down a degree - £75 a year
  4. Try a self-heating rug - get a Rugbuddy and turn the thermostat down a degree or two - £75 - £150 a year
  5. Put a sheep in your chimney - a wool bung will to stop your chimney sucking warm air from the house - £50 a year
  6. Wash your clothes on a cooler setting - from 40degC to 30degC - £13 a year
  7. Put clingfilm on your windows - £40 a year
  8. Change the way you cook - £36 a year
  9. Cut water and heating bills with a washing up bowl - £55 a year
  10. Keep warm with a DIY draught excluder - £20 a year

Why not grab a copy of the magazine? It has all the details of how to go about achieving these savings. I bought mine in WH Smiths but it is widely available.

moneywise under rug heater on screenOr you can read it online here http://bit.ly/2SJelQB

Enjoy!

RugBuddy featured in Moneywise magazine
RugBuddy in moneywise magazine spread

Is there a way to heat this cold floor without installing underfloor heating?

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Family on the sofa feeling the effects of a cold floorA cold floor is a sure way to drain away any feeling of warmth or cosiness in a room. The wall mounted radiators most of us have circulate warm air but this often isn’t enough to warm the floor too. This is most noticeable with hard floors like tiles and laminate.

So, if you’re suffering with a cold floor, what can you do?

Most of us are familiar with the idea of underfloor heating, but did you know that ‘on-floor’ heating is a thing, too?

Let me explain the differences so you can have a clear idea which may be best for you.

Your choices to beat a cold floor

Underfloor heating comes in 2 types – wet and dry.

The wet systems circulate hot water from your boiler in a continuous snake of flexible pipe set in a screed under your floor.

The dry systems use electric heater elements which are either set in the tile cement (tiled floors) or laid as a mat under a laminate (or wood) floor.

Both systems have their pros and cons but it’s worth noting that electric systems are particularly responsive being just under the floor finish. This means they are easier to control than wet systems that take time to heat up and cool down.

These underfloor heating solutions are possible if you are planning to replace your flooring. You need to consider the extra upheaval created by the heating installation and that you may also run into issues with raised floor levels to incorporate the new heating. It all needs careful planning.

For most people, installing underfloor heating is not an option. This is where on-floor heating comes in and it’s a great way to go.

Simply put, the on-floor heater is a bit like an electric blanket you place on the floor (usually on an underlay), cover with a rug, and plug in. The heater – known as an ‘under-rug’ heater – warms the rug right through so that the surface of the rug becomes a warm radiant surface – just like a floor with underfloor heating!

Jeans, socks, tea on a warmed rug (to beat a cold floor)It’s unlikely the under-rug heater will cover more than a fraction of the total floor area of your room, so it can’t be relied on to heat the whole room. You’ll still need your central heating ticking over. But you will feel a lot warmer when you sit with your feet on the warmed rug instead of a cold floor.

This is perfect for anyone who spends time sitting and finds their feet and ankles soon get cold. They can switch on the under-rug heater when they need it and there’s no need to worry about the cost of keeping warm. For example, the 100x150cm RugBuddy (£149) only costs about 3p per hour to run.

You can read more about RugBuddy under-rug heaters here.

Looking forward to Winter? You soon could be!

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window looking out on snowOut of all the seasons, do you look forward to Winter the most? Or do you dread it?

What would it mean to you if, this Winter, you could

Be warmer at home?
Have lower heating bills?
Look after your health better?

The solution is straightforward and cost effective. This blog post explores what you need to consider so you, too, will be looking forward to Winter - just like Katie:

“very pleased with the rug buddy, can’t wait until next winter.” Katie (Avon)

Take a look at your existing heating

Do you rely on wall mounted radiators, or convector heaters, or even fan heaters?

All of these - if working efficiently - can quickly warm the air in the room. That's great, but warm air brings its own set of problems.

  1. We all learned in school that hot air rises. So, the warmest air in the room is at ceiling height, and the coolest is at floor level. If you're sitting down, you are, of course, much closer to the floor than the ceiling.
  2. The air is continually on the move creating convection currents which add 'wind chill' to the cooler floor level air. When you start to feel cold, do your feet and ankles feel it first? This can be down to blood circulation but it feels much worse if there's a cold draught at floor level.
  3. The warm air picks up moisture which can turn to condensation when it comes into contact with cold surfaces. Single glazed windows and uninsulated exterior walls are often much colder than the rest of the room in Winter and condensation can quickly form.

Convection draughts leave you with cold feetSo, heating the air and moving it around the room via convection or fans actually isn't very clever.

It may leave you uncomfortable with cold feet and ankles.

It can be expensive to run, which is not surprising when you realise most of the warmth is above your head.

Health-wise, it carries dust lowering the quality of the air you breath. Coupled with that, condensation can promote the growth of mould which can have a serious impact on your health.

A better way to heat your room

The answer - as it has been since Roman times ( Roman floor heating ) - is to turn the floor into the source of warmth for the room.

Making the floor a 'radiant surface' puts warmth where you need it - under your feet - and doesn't impact on air quality. With a floor gently radiating warmth, other surfaces quickly warm up and you feel warm. You can read more why this is in my blog post the Science of Feeling Cold.

Underfloor heating achieves all this and is a feature of most luxury homes.

But traditional 'wet' underfloor heating is difficult - and expensive - to retrofit. Plus it's complicated, requires regular maintenance (boiler, valves, pumps, manifolds, and 100's of metres of pipe), and can also be unresponsive and wasteful to run (heating a mass of water and concrete screed before heating the room).

Modern electrical 'in-floor' heating that sits just under the floor finish is very responsive, can be fitted when you change floor coverings, and can be tailored to only be on when you need it, making it cost-effective to run.

But if retro-fitting underfloor heating is not an option, the best thing is to reduce your reliance on your main heating.

By being able to turn down, or turn off, your radiators, convectors and fan heaters, you will reduce the impact of their drawbacks. What you need is a secondary source of heating, which is also floor heating, so you stay nice and warm.

RugBuddy under-rug heater with RCDThe RugBuddy under-rug heater meets this need.

Available in a range of sizes to suit most situations, you simply lay the RugBuddy on the floor, cover with a rug, and plug in. There's no messy installation, or special wiring or controls.

The RugBuddy warms the rug and the area around allowing you to turn down, or turn off, the main heating. Your feet and ankles will be warmer and air quality will be maintained. The risk of mould is reduced, and your heating bills will be lower. Compared with other electric portable heaters RugBuddy is very economical, costing only a few pence per hour to run.

As well as Katie, I know there are quite a few Rugbuddy customers who no longer dread Winter:

"When it’s really cold in the winter, I find the Rugbuddy keeps my feet warm and supplements the gas central heating, with high ceilings the floor is cold and the heat from the radiators rises.” Marjo (Bristol)

 “The rug buddy is installed under my desk in the office. During the winter months it has been brilliant and kept the office warm and cosy which it certainly wasn’t before.”  David (Taunton)

 “Just want to say how delighted we are with the Rugbuddy, almost makes me kind of look forward to winter!!  Only one draw back, could not get the dog off the rug and into the garden!!” Julie (Devon)

RugBuddy in The Lady magazine

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I was pleased to get a call from Hugh St-Clair who pens the 'Home Help' page in The Lady magazine.

A reader had written in asking if there was a way to 'heat rugs'. They didn't want the expense and upheaval of lifting their stone floor to install underfloor heating. They wrote to Hugh wondering if there was an easy and affordable alternative.

Hugh had found out about RugBuddy and gave me a call to check out some facts. His reply to the reader's question was published in the 19th October 2018 edition of the magazine and you can read it below.

This is exactly what RugBuddy is for!

Nice mention for RugBuddy in The Lady magazine October 2018

RugBuddy in The Lady 19 October 2018Q:"Everyone is encouraging us to fit our cottage with underfloor heating when upgrading the central heating system. We would like underfloor heating under an original stone floor, but it will be prohibitively expensive to lift in order to lay pipes underneath. Can you heat rugs somehow?" RJ, email

A: "A company called Be Warmer (sic) sells the Rug Buddy - a heated mat that is a bit like an electric blanket - to fit under your rug. It comes in nine rectangular sizes. First measure your rug, then subtract about an inch all around to give you the size of the under-rug you need. The electric cord comes in one corner, and typically people place a sofa or chair between the rug and wall socket to cover it. The cost of a Rug Buddy ranges from £90 to £300, and costs around 5p an hour to run. The Rug Buddy does not come with a timer."

NEW RugBuddy has arrived!

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We're excited to introduce the NEW RugBuddy! All sizes now in stock.

Under rug heatingNEW RugBuddy has some great additional features (see below) to aid ease of use,  and to ensure safety in the event of accidental damage.

If you've been patiently waiting to order and wondered why we never seem to have any stock, it's because we needed to clear the decks for the new model.

The good news is the new stock arrived yesterday, the website has been updated, and we're now ready to launch NEW RugBuddy on the world.

NEW RugBuddy features:

  1. The same comfortable heat output that has made the original RugBuddy such a success. Of course!
  2. New in-line RCD for RugBuddy under-rug heaterReversible design - so no label saying "This Side Up", like we used to have. Couple this with a corner mounted power cable and NEW RugBuddy is much easier to place conveniently, by turning or flipping over. The power cable remains a useful 2.5m long.
  3. Built-in RCD (Residual Current Device) protection. RCD protection is vital in case your RugBuddy is accidentally damaged. You no longer need a separate RCD plug adaptor if your house circuit is not already RCD protected. The built-in RCD is rated at 10mA, which is 3x more sensitive than standard protection, and has an easily accessible test button.
  4. With both sides of the NEW RugBuddy being the same silver metallic material, heat is distributed evenly across both surfaces.

When the RugBuddy is on, care should still be taken to avoid placing anything with a flat bottom (e.g. blanket chest, filing cabinet, box, mattress etc.) on the rug. As before, placing furniture with feet or legs on the rug is fine.

Click the link to go to the main RugBuddy page for more information.

The Father’s Day gift that will boost his hobby or craft

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Here’s a Father’s Day gift that won’t be for everyone, but will be hugely appreciated (and unexpected) by Dads with hobbies.

workshop floor heatingAsk yourself: is his shed, hobby, or music room, a little unwelcoming? Maybe there’s no heating, or the floor always seems cold?

RugBuddy is the perfect Father’s Day gift that will transform the place – without taking up space! – and will make the room far more welcoming.

It’s well understood that you need to be comfortable to be able to concentrate. Sitting, or standing, over a concrete floor can never be described as comfortable.

If you’re going to get cold, it’s generally the feet that feel it first. And then you wish you had a foot warmer!

So it makes sense to have somewhere warm to sit, or stand, and that the source of warmth should be the floor itself.

music room floor heatingIt’s so easy! You lay the RugBuddy heated floor mat on the floor (see advice about rug underlay), cover with a rug or mat, and plug it in.

Very quickly the surface of the rug will be a similar temperature to underfloor heating, and contentment will reign!

Because it’s on the floor under a rug, the RugBuddy under-rug heater takes up no space – no clutter. So the room can continue to be laid out just how he likes it – “a place for everything, and everything in its place” as he (probably) says.

And here is what 2 of my customers say:

“Yes the RugBuddy is proving to make a big difference in my pottery work shop. The difference is that the warmth is to my feet ,yet is not enough to circulate the air , carrying the dust with it.” Sue (Devon)

“I am a returning customer and this is my second RugBuddy. …. This second one is for my partner’s new workshop and I have no doubt that he will kept be just as snuggly warm as I have been!” Lynda (Surrey)

If you think this is a great idea for a Father’s Day gift, please go here.

Image Credits: https://www.maxpixel.net

RugBuddy supports Work Wise Week

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Supporting Work Wise Week (Sun 13th May – Sat 19th May) is a natural for me as Smarter Working embraces flexible working from home. Many ‘at-home’ workers already rely on RugBuddy under desk heaters to create a comfortable and productive working environment.

Under Desk Under-rug Heater from RugBuddyIt makes sense that if you’re the only one at home, having the central heating on is a bit of a waste. Fine if you are flitting from room to room but if, like me, you find you spend a few hours at a time at your desk or table, heating those other rooms is pointless and expensive.

So the usual solution is a portable electric heater.

But traditional portable heaters aren’t that great. They clutter up the room, can be noisy, and are often expensive to run. Worse, they don’t really provide heat that is effective and comfortable. Fan heaters and convectors make the air stuffy and stir up dust, while an electric radiator is rarely effective unless you are actually touching it.

RugBuddy avoids all the drawbacks by being out of the way (under a rug), totally silent and healthy, and costing just pennies per hour to run.

It’s obvious you can’t concentrate when you are cold. The reason why so many at-home workers love their RugBuddy under-rug heater is that it puts warmth where they need it, under their feet, and allows them to work away even when the central heating is off. Better concentration means better productivity, and the work gets done more quickly and easily.

With National Work From Home Day (Friday 18th May) coming up at the end of Work Wise Week, Work Wise UK are aiming to promote modern “smarter” working practices. We’re doing our bit by helping people create the perfect at-home working environment easily and affordably.

Image: maxpixel.net

Conservatory Too Cold To Use This Easter?

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Conservatory heating

We love conservatories. The way natural light floods in, and how they link the house with the garden beyond, often makes them our favourite place to relax. But only if they have efficient conservatory heating.

Conservatory heatingWithout exception, they are hard to heat. This blog looks at the different ways you can add conservatory heating and use your conservatory more this year – starting now!

Building Regulations now demand that conservatory heating should be independent of the house’s central heating.

So, what are the options for an independent system?

 

Electric floor heating – in-floor, or on-floor

It’s probably no surprise that I’m a fan of electric floor heating. Here are the reasons why:

  • You get warmth where you need it – from under your feet
  • The heaters are hidden, freeing up wall space and avoiding clutter in the room
  • Modern electric floor heating is quick to heat up – and cool down when the sun comes out!
  • It is silent in operation and doesn’t stir up air currents and draughts

The question is, do you go for an ‘in-floor’ or an ‘on-floor’ conservatory heating solution?

‘In-floor’ heating is a DIY option if you are planning a new floor finish – tiles, laminate or wood are all ideal – but this is an unrealistic prospect in time for Easter! See TileWarm DIY Under Tile Heating, WoodBWarmer DIY Under Wood Heating, or WoodBWarmer DIY Under Laminate Heating for more details.

Under-rug HeaterTo have a heating solution up-and-running ‘out of the box’, by far the best option is ‘on-floor’ heating. This is also known as ‘under-rug heating’ and is  type of heated floor mat.

You lay the under-rug heater out on an underlay and cover with a rug. Simply plug in (it comes fitted with the standard 3-pin plug) and start enjoying floor heating.

Floor heating has never been so easy with this conservatory heater.

 

Electric radiators

wall mounted electric radiatorModern electric radiators can be quite stylish and are worth considering if you have the wall space. They heat the air through convection just as central heating radiators in the house do.

Of course, there are pitfalls with wall mounted radiators:

  • Warm air rises so you can be sure that the warmest air is up by the roof! Worse, the resulting convection currents soon make their presence felt with a cold draught at floor level
  • It takes time for the warm air to warm the surfaces in the conservatory, so, if you have a particularly cold floor it will likely remain cold unless you run the radiator continuously

 

Wall mounted radiant panels

Wall mounted radiant panelRadiant warmth is what you experience from a good floor heating system, so we know this can be a comfortable way to provide heating.

If you’ve got the wall space, wall mounted radiant panels are well worth investigating but they won’t warm a cold floor, and most of us feel the cold through our feet first….

Also, with a fixed radiant panel, you might find it difficult to find the ‘sweet spot’ distance from the panel where you are most comfortable. And, if you are in the ‘sweet spot’, what about everyone else in the conservatory? At least with floor heating everyone gets the same benefit.

 

Freestanding electric heaters – fan heaters, oil filled radiators

Fan heaterPlugging in a fan heater is the traditional quick fix.

They can be powerful (but expensive to run) and can quickly warm the air in the conservatory. This is fine so long as you don’t mind the noise, air movement, and the risk of tripping over the darn thing!

Because of heat loss you will probably need to keep the fan heater running while you are sitting in the conservatory. As with an electric radiator, it takes a fan heater a long time to take the chill off a cold floor.

Oil filled radiatorOil filled radiators are a better option if you need something running continuously in the background.

They are cheaper to run than fan heaters and are silent in operation. They just don’t have much oomph, but I know many people quite like them.

 

Conservatory heatingSo there you have it – time to put some heating in the conservatory and get more use out of it this year.

I hope these tips go some way to helping you make a choice of the best portable electric heater so you benefit from a nice and cosy space whatever the weather and time of year.

The Answer Under My Feet

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How Cold Feet Sparked a Global Search

William at BeWarmerOctober 2016 – I work from home and used to dread the winter months. I didn’t want the central heating on as I was working from just one room. So I’d wear jumpers and fleeces but had nothing under my feet to keep me warm.

But within a few minutes of sitting down my feet would be cold and the warmth would slowly drain from me. Believe me, it’s hard to concentrate with cold feet. So I searched for a solution.

All the portable heaters on the market seemed to have drawbacks. They can be noisy, cause stuffy air, cost a fortune to run, or simply just not work very well. And they all get in the way taking up valuable floor space.

This caused me to scan the international market and I discovered a type of heater that had none of these drawbacks.

RugBuddy under-rug heaterA Heated Floor Mat Under My Feet

The under rug heater is spread out on the floor, covered with a rug, and plugged in. It is a type of heated floor mat that effectively gives you underfloor heating in the area of the rug.

Of the very few heaters of this type on the market, none is as reputable as the RugBuddy under rug heater with over 10 years of sales success in the US and South Africa.

I had to get one of these under my feet! And, if it worked for me, surely there would be a business opportunity to bring RugBuddy® to the UK?

There was only one way to find out. There were hurdles to overcome to make it suitable for the UK and European market. Finally, working closely with the manufacturer, I launched RugBuddy® in the UK late in 2013.

The RugBuddy under my feetIt works brilliantly for anyone who spends time in one room and doesn’t want to run the central heating during the day. Home office workers, like me, find it a god-send as an under desk heater.

But you can also use it as secondary heating in front of your favourite chair or sofa. Used like this, a RugBuddy® becomes your foot warmer and allows you to turn down the central heating thermostat and yet still be comfortably warm when you sit down.

Energy Saving Trust estimates you save £85 per year for every 1degC you turn down your central heating thermostat.  Some of my customers report turning down the thermostat by 3degC. You can see, with the RugBuddy® only costing a few pence per hour to run, they are making serious savings.

And many of us have hard-to-heat areas where a RugBuddy® is the ideal solution.  As a conservatory heater, in extensions, and dining rooms,  a RugBuddy® can discreetly hidden under a rug, ready to be switched on when the room is occupied.

Now, you too can benefit from the answer under my feet!