World Mental Health Day 2019

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I was invited to write an article for the 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".

feeling cold working from homeWith 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!

You can read the article here

If World Mental Health Day is important to you, please do get in touch.

Do you feel underfloor heating is out of your reach?

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Lots of new homes and extensions boast underfloor heating. After all, who wouldn't want their crisp new space to be free of ugly wall mounted radiators.

The benefits of underfloor heating are well known:

  • * even temperature across the room
  • * draught free - no convection currents
  • * clear, unstuffy, air
  • * limits spread of dust
  • * none of the hard, sharp, corners and surfaces you get with radiators
  • * no dangerously hot surfaces

But how can you get underfloor heating, or a simple plug in floor heater, in your existing home?

3 Underfloor Heating Options

Extra floor level warmth where you need it with an under rug heaterA quick and flexible solution is an on-the-floor heater that you cover with a rug and simply plug in. Your flooring remains undisturbed and you can move the on-the-floor heater anywhere you need it in the house. You can even take it with you if you move. Try that with underfloor heating!

The RugBuddy under-rug heater, as it's known, works in the same way as the new electric underfloor heating systems described below. It's a bit like an electric blanket you simply spread out on the floor and cover with a rug.

RugBuddy is as powerful as underfloor heating systems (about 120 Watts per m2) and quickly warms the surface of the rug. It's an ideal solution where you would otherwise end up feeling cold after sitting for a while. Why not have one:

  • * in front of your favourite chair or sofa
  • * under the kitchen table
  • * at your workstation or desk
  • * in a conservatory or cold extension?

Running costs are low - about 4p per hour for a typical 125 x 160 cm RugBuddy - and when you get your electricity from renewable sources, electric heating is as environmentally friendly as you can get.

If you want something installed, a conventional water-based system involves ripping up the floors, laying out a maze of pipes, and finding space for a complicated manifold to connect to your boiler. And then you face a life of maintaining the boiler, valves, and pumps for it all to work. This is not viable, or attractive, to most people.

Instead many opt for electric floor heating which is a great choice when you are also changing your floor finish. Nowadays there are systems to go under tiles, wood, laminate, carpet, and even vinyl, with air and floor temperatures controlled in each room by the thermostat controller. See The Room by Room Heating Revolution for more on this aspect of electric floor heating.

The best electric systems sit on insulation directly under the floor finish. When switched on from cold, they quickly heat the floor surface. This responsiveness means the floor will also cool quickly when the thermostat controller signals the room is up to temperature - perfect should the sun start to stream through the windows.

New electric systems save you from the 'storage heater effect' you get with old systems set in a heavy concrete screed. The weight (thermal mass) of the screed means old systems take a long time to heat up, and they continue to give off heat even when the system has switched off. Understandably, old thermal mass systems have a troubled reputation for comfort and running costs.

So, we have 3 choices for bringing that underfloor heating feeling to our homes:

  • * a simple and effective on-the-floor plug in heater like RugBuddy
  • * a traditionally installed piped water system, powered by your boiler, requiring ongoing maintenance
  • * a modern electric system that responds quickly to the ambient temperature

We used to think gas central heating with wall mounted radiators was the cleanest and most economical way to comfortably heat the home. But the direction of travel is now firmly towards electric floor heating.

RugBuddy survey results in!

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A typical end of season activity for me is to take a look back at customer feedback and see what we can improve for next year.

Part of my welcome to new customers is a short survey. I invite them to take the RugBuddy survey about 6 weeks after delivery when they have had a bit of time using their RugBuddy. I want to know how they are getting on.

RugBuddy surveyOne of the survey questions is "What 3 things do you like most about your RugBuddy?" There are no suggested answers, so the customers use their own words. This can be very revealing!

I've just done an analysis, grouping comments under various headings, and the feedback is overwhelmingly positive.

There were just 2 suggestions for improvements: 'A longer lead' (it's 2.5m), and 'It could be warmer' (heat output at 120W/m2 is dictated by the need to conform to IEC tests, and is equivalent to installed underfloor heating). I'll ponder these a bit longer, but I believe we've got it about right.

The analysis also helps me understand which of RugBuddy's attributes are most valued.

Unsurprisingly for a heater, most comments relate to RugBuddy being 'Warm and Effective'. A massive 92% of respondents made positive comments relating to this.

But some of the other attributes - and selected customers' comments - may surprise you. Starting with 'Warm and Effective', here they are:

Warm and Effective - say 92% of respondents

"Early morning toastie feet while making coffee."

"I don’t go to bed with cold feet - previously unknown!"

"Constant heat for both feet and room"

"Seems to stop drafts from under couch"

"Makes a real difference to comfort of the whole room."

"Makes such a difference to the comfort in the room I use the most"

"The large sitting room feels so welcoming when people are seated, they never notice why they are warm. Never think about the cold on winter days when I’m working."

"My grandchildren are warm as toast playing on the floor"

"You can throw your clothes on top of it while you shower and they’re warm when you get out!"

"It keeps hubby’s feet warm"

Easy - say 33% of respondents

"It is so uncomplicated that even I can set it up and I’m no technician."

"Provides an easy way of using underfloor heating"

"Easy to use RCD is a welcome addition"

Cheap to Run - say 31% of respondents

"Low energy use. 80W but Works better than my 500w oil filled radiator."

"Cheaper than switching on an electric room heater."

Hidden - say 22% of respondents

"It's discreet"


"I appreciate the extra warmth without a bulky heater, which I have little room for in a small flat."

Main Heating on Less - say 18% of respondents

"We have been able to turn down the thermostat on our central heating (gas)."

"It warms at the right level. So I don’t turn up central heating. So partner who doesn’t like room hot (and also has cold feet) is happy too."

(To see what this might save you, go to Energy Saving Trust and scroll down to '7. Take control of your heating'. William)

Other attributes that were mentioned: Speed of Heating Up, Runs off Renewable Energy, Portable, Pets Like It, Safe, and the Service from BeWarmer Ltd.

Separate from the official RugBuddy survey, many customers write in with their Rugbuddy Reviews. And if you have any questions whatsoever, please contact me and I'll be pleased to help.

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


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.

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