Top tips for tech

Whether you’re do­ing a big ren­o­va­tion and want the lat­est so­lu­tions to prob­lems, or you just like new tech­nol­ogy, here are some of the best in­no­va­tions

Solihull News - - YOUR HOME -

1 You may think win­dows are just win­dows, but there are in­no­va­tive ones that make life eas­ier. Sky­lights are a pop­u­lar choice for big home im­prove­ments like loft con­ver­sions and ex­ten­sions, and they’re of­ten fit­ted high up out of reach.

That’s why Velux does re­motely con­trolled sky­lights ( Velux Mains Electric Cen­tre- Pivot Roof Win­dows, from £ 549.99) – the touch- screen re­mote is pro­gram­mable, and the win­dow has a clever rain sen­sor that shuts it when rain starts.

Velux So­lar Cen­tre- Pivot Roof Win­dows ( from £ 584.99) also have a rain sen­sor and pro­gram­mable touch­screen re­mote con­trol, but are so­lar pow­ered, per­fect for sunny roofs. You can even retro­fit th­ese tech­nolo­gies with the Velux Mains Electric Win­dow Au­to­matic Con­ver­sion Kit (£ 335.29), which con­verts ex­ist­ing cen­tre- pivot sky­lights to electric op­er­a­tion, in­clud­ing a rain sen­sor. And if you’re a light sleeper and have a sky­light in your bed­room, Velux’s noise- re­duc­tion glass ( Velux Man­ual Cen­tre- Pivot Roof Win­dow with Noise Re­duc­tion Glaz­ing, from £ 299.99, all prod­ucts Screw­fix) could be for you – it also has an easy- to- clean coat­ing on the outer pane.

2Lots of homes have so­lar pan­els that gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity, known as pho­to­voltaic or PV pan­els, but it’s not widely known that they can also be used to heat wa­ter.

Usu­ally you need so­lar ther­mal pan­els for this, which are rel­a­tively rare, but so­lar PV pan­els can be adapted to heat the wa­ter in your home’s hot- wa­ter- stor­age cylin­der if a spe­cial di­verter is fit­ted.

“The di­verter en­ables ex­cess so­lar en­ergy from the pan­els to be used to heat your house­hold’s wa­ter, rather than be­ing ex­ported to the grid,” says Stu­art Elsy from the Hot Wa­ter As­so­ci­a­tion ( hot­wa­ter. org. uk).

“We cal­cu­late that the sav­ings made can be around £ 90 a year com­pared to heat­ing wa­ter us­ing gas, and around £ 220 to £ 240 com­pared to us­ing elec­tric­ity.”

3Dig­i­tal show­ers are one of the best bath­room in­no­va­tions in re­cent years and have fea­tures like LCD dis­plays and touch- screen and wire­less con­trols.

Turn­ing the shower on via a re­mote con­trol is ideal if the wa­ter takes a while to warm up in your home – some dig­i­tal show­ers have a warm- up mode so you don’t have to wait.

Cer­tain dig­i­tal show­ers can also be con­trolled via an app. Each mem­ber of your house­hold can pre- set their shower pref­er­ences, in­clud­ing their ideal tem­per­a­ture, and the dig­i­tal shower will au­to­mat­i­cally de­liver th­ese pref­er­ences ev­ery time.

Some dig­i­tal show­ers have a bath­fill op­tion, which means you can pre­set your bath pref­er­ences in the same way and it will fill your bath for you ac­cord­ingly.

4They may not be com­mon­place, but wi- fi- en­abled do­mes­tic ap­pli­ances, such as dish­wash­ers, wash­ing ma­chines and fridge- freez­ers, which can be con­trolled and mon­i­tored via an app, are avail­able.

You may al­ready con­trol your home’s cen­tral heat­ing and hot wa­ter via an app and smart con­troller, and it’s a sim­i­lar prin­ci­ple.

For a con­nected home, Bosch re­cently launched a range of Smart Home prod­ucts in the UK, many of them se­cu­rity re­lated, such as the Win­dow/ Door Con­tact (£ 34.95), which de­tects open win­dows and doors and sends an alert to your smart­phone.

An­other in­no­va­tive prod­uct from the range is the Smart Plug (£ 54.95, bosch- smarthome. com/ uk/ en), which dis­plays power con­sump­tion and con­nects elec­tri­cal items to the Bosch Smart Home Sys­tem, so, for ex­am­ple, you can re­motely turn con­nected lamps on and off to make it look like you’re at home when you’re not.

5Some of the best emul­sion paints harness tech­nol­ogy to solve com­mon prob­lems, in­clud­ing new Du­lux Easy­care ( from £ 22.03).

This emul­sion is 20 times tougher than stan­dard Du­lux emul­sion and uses stain- re­pel­lent tech­nol­ogy so liq­uids sit as beads on the sur­face, mak­ing it easy to wipe them off.

For rooms like bath­rooms and kitchens that take a toll on emul­sions, there are ded­i­cated prod­ucts, such as Du­lux Bath­room+ ( from £ 9.97), which is mois­ture, mould and steam re­sis­tant, and Du­lux Kitchen+ ( from £ 15.29), which is grease and stain re­sis­tant. And for dark rooms, which are al­ways a chal­lenge to dec­o­rate, Du­lux Light + Space emul­sion ( from £ 22.03 all prod­ucts du­lux. co. uk) is a good so­lu­tion, as it con­tains lightre­flec­tive par­ti­cles that re­flect up to twice as much light back into the room as stan­dard Du­lux emul­sion.

Velux of­fers re­mote con­trol sky­lights that have a clever rain sen­sor that shuts them when it starts to rain

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