The 50plus

Winter 2017-18


Winter 2017-18

It's winter again in the Northern Hemisphere and so far it's brought its fair share of what we Brits like to call 'weather' in the form of storms, snow in more than the usual quantities for many and the inevitable murky dank wet.
We hope you are warm and snug. To help you keep that way whilst maintaining a semblance of financial wellbeing there is an article on some of the do's and don't of heating control in our features section.
For the 50plus Team winter has has sent us the usual bouts of failed heating systems, outside lighting and the odd leaking pipe. Bursts due to cold are unusual nowadays as supply pipes use the more resilient MPDE (Medium Density Polyethylene for those not in the know and more commonly known as blue plastic) and we keep our houses a lot warmer with central heating. The cause of an internal leak is more often than not a connection failing rather than a pipe bursting. Our love affair with showers though provides a steady stream (no pun intended) of work to stop water dripping through ceilings.
Only a small fraction of UK homes are without central heating today, around 97% have some form of system. Gas is the dominant fuel source with mains gas being available to around around 85% of homes. It's a far cry from 1970 when, despite a post war boom, only around 30% of households had central heating. Some of a certain age will if remember ice on the inside of bedroom windows.
Far from being a modern invention central heating systems were installed in ancient Greece, and later the Romans of course perfected systems to heat public baths and private houses. The Victorians, true to form also got in on the act with some wealthy homes such as Cragside in Northumberland, the residence of engineer Lord Armstrong, using ducts built into the floors to carry warm air around the building. Cragside by the way also led the way in lighting, the house was the first in the world to be lit by hydro-electricity.
Still warm? Good but do consider that it's often just as good for you and certainly cheaper and more eco friendly to put on that delightful sweater your nearest and dearest gave you for Christmas instead of turning the heating up another notch!

The image is a frosty early spring sunrise looking out over a patchwork of fields and rolling hills at Helman Tor, a rocky outcrop of rugged moors near Bodmin in Cornwall.


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