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SILENT AND DEADLY How to protect your family against the dangers of carbon monoxide

AUTUMN 2009


HELLO and a warm welcome to your first Progress Plus Newsletter! We hope this newsletter will inform you of new services and products, keep you up to date on changes to Progress Plus and give you helpful hints and advice on how to keep your home safe and warm. Who is Progress Plus? Progress Plus was set up by the Property Services Division of Progress Housing Group, a charitable organisation providing housing and related services throughout the country. As Property Services Division already provided repairs and maintenance to over 10,000 rented homes throughout the north west, we were perfectly placed to offer the same high standard or service to private home owners and Landlords – Progress Plus was born!

Now in our third year, we have grown from strength to strength – increasing our customer base and our range of plans to meet an ever changing market. You can read about some of our additional services in this newsletter.

Geoff Atherton Business Development Manager Progress Plus Lancashire Business Park Centurion Way, Leyland, PR26 6TZ 0845 389 9519 progressplus@progressgroup.org.uk

TOP TIPS FOR A HAPPY BOILER Keeping your boiler healthy will save you money and hassle in the long run. Here’s our top tips for avoiding boiler breakdown. Switch on your central heating once a month for ten minutes, even during summer. This will keep your system ticking over and it can reduce problems in the colder months. Check your radiators monthly for leaks. This should be done when the system is cold as heat can temporarily seal leaks. Bleed your radiators regularly. Make sure you check the boiler pressure afterwards. Service your boiler in summer - we are happy to complete your annual inspection in summer to prepare your system in good time for winter.


Carbon monoxide: the silent killer

Over 50 people die each year in the UK as a result of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. So what can you do to protect your family from this silent and deadly killer? The most common causes of poisoning are faulty central heating systems, gas appliances and fires. Blocked flues and chimneys mean that the gas cannot escape and can build up to lethal levels. Defective systems can also leak gas into confined spaces creating a potentially fatal situation. Once inhaled by the unsuspecting individual, damage can be long-term and even result in death.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of mild carbon monoxide poisoning are easy to confuse with that of a cold. You may experience the onset of headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, a sore throat and a dry cough. However, unlike colds and flu, carbon monoxide poisoning doesn’t cause a high temperature. You may also find that symptoms are relieved if you go on holiday or you are absent from home for a time. Severe poisoning caused by the sudden exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide can include an irregular heart rate,

hyperventilation, confusion, drowsiness, breathing difficulties, seizures, loss of consciousness and even death.

How can carbon monoxide poisoning be prevented?

You can protect your family against carbon monoxide poisoning by following the safety tips below: • Have your chimneys and flues checked annually by a professional contractor • Make sure your gas appliances and heating systems are inspected every year – your boiler is checked as part of your Progress Plus cover • Fit carbon monoxide alarms - available from most DIY and home ware stores. Make sure you regularly check your alarm’s batteries. Alternatively, ask a qualified electrician to hardwire one into your home. DID YOU KNOW: Progress Plus can check the safety of all your gas appliances for an additional £2 per month. T & Cs apply.


Great little gadgets to save you ££s HOT IDEA

BE A FREE LOADER

Ever wondered what it would be like to have free power? Well now you can with the Solarmonkey - a fantastic portable solar charger for Ipods and mobiles. Cost: £25 Buy: www.mymemory.co.uk

The Eco Kettle has been invented to specifically meet the challenge of reducing the amount of energy wasted by overfilling your kettle. Cost: £25 Buy: www.ecokettle.com

TAKE A DIP

The Eco Shower drop Shower Meter’s simple digital display lets you know exactly how much water your shower dispenses through user-friendly graphics. The savings can be substantial for a family of four that could be over £180 a year saved on water and energy bills Cost: £12 Buy: www.nigeeecostore.com

DRYER BALLS

Replace your fabric conditioner and save up to 25% on drying time by popping dryer balls in your tumble dryer. Cost: £8 Buy: www.nigelsecostore.com

DRAUGHTY SOLUTIONS

Gapseal Roll stops the draughts that come through your floorboards and can help save on energy bills and is an easily fitted (without adhesive) draught excluder which fits into the gaps between floorboards, keeping cold air out, and is almost invisible. Cost: £20 Buy: www.gapseal.co.uk

MOW IT!

Forget the heavy manual lawn mowers of old, these handy mowers are light and convenient and require no electric or petrol. Ideal for lawns up to 200sq.m, these mowers make mowing a simple pleasure. No noise, no pollution, no energy cost and no CO2 emissions! Cost: £45 Buy: www.nigelsecostore.com

UPGRADE YOUR OLD BOILER Upgrading your old boiler to a new ‘A’ rated system could save you up to £360 on heating bills. You could have a new boiler full installed from £950 + VAT. Ask your Progress Plus engineer for more details.


We look at what’s new in greener living and help you to save pounds whilst saving the planet...

CRUSH IT

COOL IDEA

It’s been estimated that every household in the UK gets through around 200 aluminium drink cans, and 600 tin cans (which are mostly made from steel), every year. Each one of these can be recycled into new tins and cans ad infinitum. This nifty foot operated can crusher will help you save space and the planet by squashing cans to a thrid of their size. Cost: £15 Buy: www.nigelsecostore.com

BRIGHT IDEAS

Who says you have to compromise design for efficiency? These beautiful solar powered garden globes blends modern technology with centuries old skills of hand blowing glass. Cost: £20 Buy: www.nigelsecostore.com

Sometimes the simple ideas are the best - keep your fridge at the right temperature and save energy and money This simple to use fridge thermometer will ensure that your fridge or freezer is set at the optimum temperature without wasting energy.‘easy to read’ display. Cost: £5 Buy: www.nigelsecostore.com

GO PAPERLESS! Progress Plus reduced its use of paper by 20% in the last year by using email instead of paper correspondence. If you would like to help reduce it further, please call us on 0845 389 9519 or email us at progressplus@progressgroup.org.uk with your email address

BATTERY MAGIC

The Battery Wizard is a new gadget that is capable of charging conventional non-rechargeable batteries up to 10 times. Cost: £18 Buy: www.amazon.co.uk


A room with a view

Househunters spend an average of just 96 minutes making one of the most important decisions of their lives. We’ve provided you with a handy checklist to help make sure you get the most out of your next viewing - and avoid potential money pit rather than palatial pad!

VIEWING CHECKLIST Bills - ask to see council tax, water rates and utility billls. If you are moving to a larger property, it’s vital that you budget for energy costs on top of your mortgage payments. Exterior - check pipes, drainage and the roof for damage such as leaking pipes, sagging and slipped tiles. Check brick pointing. Damp - check for mould or signs of damp, particularly around bathrooms, windows and doors. Electrics, plumbing and heating - confirm that the boiler, electrics and plumbing in the property are all in decent working condition, and ask to see copies of guarantees and service certificates. Check how old sockets and switches appear to be. Ask to see the heating in action - and test taps, showers and flush toilets. Subsidence - inspect the walls inside and out for large cracks, and ask about any history of subsidence. Are there any trees growing close to the property’s foundations? Insurance - check if there have been any recent claims on the property’s buildings insurance - including flooding.

THE COST OF PUTTING THINGS RIGHT According to a Which survey, nearly a quarter of people found a problem with their house after they’d moved in. Almost a third of people said they’d missed a problem because it hadn’t occurred to them to look, while a quarter felt that problems had been hidden from them. Progress Plus can take some of the worry out of your biggest investment. We now offer pre-purchase checks for gas and electrical problems. Our skilled assessors will check for warning signs and potential problems - so you can make informed decisions. A check could save you £1000s on the cost of putting things right - plus give a useful negotiating tool. Call us to find out more.

WHAT WHICH FOUND Poor heating accounted for 20% of all problems and gas/electricity, 8%. Those who missed problems spent an average of £2,500 putting them right; one in ten spent more than £10,000.

We think that peace of mind is priceless. We offer pre-purchase system checks for home buyers and sellers from just £69.

41% of those who spotted a problem negotiated a reduction in the asking price and 10% ensured that the problem was corrected.


COOL IDEAS TO KEEP WARM

WRAP UP YOUR HOME FOR WINTER

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Autumn is just round the corner and getting your home ready for the big chill can save you money, energy and cold toes in the morning. Here’s our top tips for winter proofing your home. • Draughtproof your windows by sealing the gaps and fit heavy, well-fitting curtains to provide insulation and reduce draughts.

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• Lag your hot water cylinder and pipes, including those in your loft. • Make sure that you have had your annual heating service - remember you can bring it forward to late summer. • Bleed your radiator valves by opening them slightly and when water appears, closing them. • Insulate exposed plumbing pipes - and leave your heating on low in the event of a freeze. • Fit energy saving lightbulbs - get a quote for a new boiler from Progress Plus and we’ll give you FIVE energy saving lightbulbs free of charge!

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7 1. partito bench by aestus from £551 2. curved chrome towel radiator by screwfix from £162 3. energy efficient fires by platonic from £700 4. palladio remote control fire by platonic £1775 5. provence portable gas stove by calor £325 6. honeywell retro fan heater £39.99 7. utopia steam sauna by di vapor from £3000 Progress Plus can help with new gas installations - please ask your engineer.

Get covered! Progress Plus Product monthly payment plans will keep you warm and dry throughout this winter. Call us now on 0845 389 9519 if you would like to amend your cover. Boiler only Boiler and system cover Plumbing and drains Electrical Complete cover Gas appliance safety check Landlords’ Gas Safety Certificate

£9.99 per month £12.99 per month £4.99 per month £3.99 per month £20.99 per month £2 per month £2 per month

Pre-purchase inspections Energy Performance Certificates

£69 £69

New boiler installations from

£950 + VAT


Don’t leave your friends and family out in the cold this winter!

RECOMMEND A FRIEND TO PROGRESS PLUS AND GET A FREE £20 HIGH STREET VOUCHER YOUR DETAILS Name Address Telephone Email YOUR FRIEND’S DETAILS Name Address Telephone Email Return FREEPOST to:

FREEPOST, Progress Plus, Lancashire Business Park, Centurion Way, Leyland, PR26 6TZ

T&C: New customers only. Minimum charge of £55 if an inspection or any works are required.

Progress Plus Newsletter Autumn  

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