General Home Improvement

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Telehandler

Telehandlers are extremely expensive to purchase, which is why companies tend to hire them instead. If your company needs to hire a telehandler there are a number of questions you should ask the rental company in order to make sure that you hire a telehandler that meets your needs and requirements. There are many different makes and models of telehandlers available, so it is essential to do your research and know what to ask. In this article we will share a few of the top questions you need to make sure you ask your chosen telehandler rental company.

It is essential to find out if the telehandler is compatible with the load weight you require.
It is essential to find out if the telehandler is compatible with the load weight you require.

How much can a telehandler lift?

The first question many people ask rental companies is how much can a telehandler lift. The answer to this will depend on the range and type of telehandler you are looking at. Each comes with different load capacities which are typically between two thousand and five thousand kilograms. When considering the maximum load capacity of a telehandler, it is essential that you keep in mind that this does mean it can carry the maximum load at every angle and extension. The load capacity will decrease significantly if you are extending the telescopic boom at the front. Your rental company should supply you with a load chart, providing you with everything you need to know about the various load capacities for different extensions and angles.

What make is the telehandler?

Today there are many different telehandler manufacturers, each of which has a wide range of models and specifications to choose from. In order to make sure you get exactly what you need, you should ask about the various different makes available. Make sure that you have also done your own research on different telehandler makes so you have a greater understanding of the similarities and differences between telehandler models.

How many steering modes does it have?

The manoeuvrability of a telehandler will play a big role in your decision whether to hire it or not. For this reason it is essential that you find out about its steering modes. There are a number of different steering modes available including two-wheel, four-wheel and crab. Four-wheel steering is particularly useful for navigating busy construction sights. Crab steering on the other hand is often considered to be more precise and particularly great for using on construction sites with tight spaces. Telehandlers that have two or three steering modes are the best choice as they offer much more versatility.

What attachments are included in the rental price?

Telehandlers are fantastic pieces of machinery as they can be fitted with a wide range of useful attachments. Some of the most common attachments include pallet forks, shovels and buckets. It is important to know what type of attachment you will need in order to carry out the task you need to complete. Some telehandlers will only be compatible with a couple of attachments, whereas others may be able to accommodate all types of attachments. Make sure you find out if the attachments are included in the rental price, or whether you are going to have to pay for them separately.

Some companies will include attachments in their rental price, whereas others will charge for them separately.
Some companies will include attachments in their rental price, whereas others will charge for them separately.


Although these four questions should be at the top of your list to ask your chosen telehandler rental company, you may also want to enquire about a telehandlers forward reach and engine size as these factors will also play parts in your decision. Obviously cost is another factor, along with the period of time you can hire a telehandler out for. Keep these questions in mind when looking to find a company who provide telehandler hire. By doing so you will stand the best chance at choosing the right one for your company!


Image credits: RON1EEY & stevendepolo

General Lifestyle Technology

A Review of the Swagbucks Survey Website

Swagbucks is one of the most popular online rewards programmes. Basically by carrying out various actions users can earn a virtual currency known as swag bucks and turn it into real prizes. In this article we will offer a full review on how the Swagbucks survey website works.

Earn a little extra money whilst you browse the internet by using Swagbucks!
Earn a little extra money whilst you browse the internet by using Swagbucks!

Signing up

It is completely free to sign up for a Swagbucks account. All you need to do is enter your email address and password and you will gain four swag bucks in the process! You will then need to fill in your profile information, for which you will be rewarded swag bucks.

Rewards for searching

Once you have signed up for an account you can begin earning swag bucks! Our review of Swagbucks reveals there is a number of ways you can earn money. The main way is by using the Swagbucks search engine. Basically you use the search engine like you would any other. Type in what you are looking for and you will be awarded a number of swag bucks. Although Swagbucks doesn’t like to giveaway how it goes about awarding points, it has been suggested that it is not for how many searches you perform, but how long you spend searching.

This rewards scheme is ideal for those who spend a lot of time online, searching for various different things. A great way to remember to use the Swagbucks search bar is to download the tool bar which can be pinned to your browser. Get into a routine of using the Swagbucks search engine bar and you could end up earning a significant number of reward points on a daily basis.

Other ways to earn Swagbucks

Recently Swagbucks have introduced various other ways you can earn reward points. If you enjoy playing games online, then you will love Swagbucks’ reward scheme! Basically by playing the games on the Swagbucks website you can earn a number of points. You can also earn Swagbucks for simply watching a few of their videos.

If playing games and watching videos isn’t for you, then you may prefer to earn Swagbucks by filling out the various surveys available on the website. However, if you are only going to use Swagbucks to fill out surveys, you may find that you earn little rewards compared to other paid survey sites.

Other ways you can earn Swagbucks include joining sweepstakes, finding the hidden Swag codes on the website, blog and social media pages and inviting your friends to join. You can actually earn a significant number of points by inviting your friends to join, however they must sign up and actively use the website in order for it to have any benefit to you.


Once you have got a decent number of swag bucks in your account then you can begin spending them on various awards. Obviously the more Swagbucks you save up, the better rewards you will be able to redeem. In the reward store you will find various prizes such as gift cards for places like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Pizza Express, Marks and Spencer and Starbucks.

Gain enough swag bucks and you’ll be able to redeem them for an Amazon gift voucher.
Gain enough swag bucks and you’ll be able to redeem them for an Amazon gift voucher.

Making money from home

If you are looking to make money from home, in all honesty, this isn’t the best way to do it. It is not a great source of income and you certainly aren’t going to become rich overnight from using it. However if you are looking to save a little money on treats for your family, then earning swag bucks and redeeming gift vouchers is a great way to do it. Although some paid reward sites can seem a little suspicious, Swagbucks is a reputable rewards site that you can trust.


Image credits: L Gnome & topgold

Home Improvement

Calling all Rotherham Homeowners: the Pros and Cons of Picking an Inset Fireplace

An area which is expanding rapidly, Rotherham is a collection of villages, suburbs and countryside which combine to make the historic and culturally diverse borough.

With its feet in agriculture and industry, the borough of Rotherham includes the towns of Maltby, Wath-upon-Dearne and Dinnington. Yet not content with this, it also includes districts such as Canklow, Clifton and Moorgate.

However, with Doncaster and Barnsley so close by, there is a lot of confusion about where the boundaries actually lie. Micklebring and Stainton are technically part of Doncaster, whilst Dearne and Goldthorpe apparently belong to Barnsley, yet all four have a telephone dialling code and postal code for Rotherham!

But whether you live in the heart of Rotherham town centre, a village in the borough such as Bramley or Hoober, or even in one of the borderline areas such as Braithwell, as the colder weather draws ever closer you might be wondering about whether you should install an inset fire in your home.

They undoubtedly offer convenience but can they ever match the appeal and practicality of an outset fire? We take a look at some of the pros and cons of an inset fireplace.

No more mess

Although the beauty of a real flickering flame is unquestionable, you have to ask yourself whether all the cleaning up and hassle is worth it in the long term.

It’s possible to install both gas inset fires and electric inset fires so you can pick a model which provides you with the look you want, without any of the mess.

More economical

There are not many households that wouldn’t benefit from saving a bit of money on their utility bills so inset fires score a big win in this area.

Much simpler to fit and install, you don’t need to go to the expense of installing a flue liner or paying a chimney sweep.

And in addition to the installation costs, you won’t need to find, locate and buy logs, coal or other fuel in order to keep your home warm.

Ready supply of fuel

By choosing either an electric or gas fire you have the reassurance of just simply flicking a switch or turning a dial and seeing your fire spring into life.

Residents of Rotherham unfortunately know only too well the perils which Mother Nature can bring. The floods of 2007 left many households cut off with supplies unable to be brought in.

For those individuals with solid fuel fires, not being able to receive their supply of fuel, or seeing their own stash washed away or rendered unusable, disasters like the Rotherham floodwaters of 2007 can be even more catastrophic.

Less effective

If you’ve ever sat in front of a stove, you will know how quickly the room can become not just warm, but positively tropical. And there’s an almost delicious delight in thawing out cold fingers and toes in front of a wood burner.

Inset heaters undoubtedly tick many boxes but these kind of fires are not as effective as flooding the room with heat as quickly. And this means it can not only take longer, but you can burn more fuel in your bid to take the chill out of the air.

Not as desirable

No matter how expensive a model you buy, an inset fire will never have the same kind of appeal as a more traditional kind of fireplace.

Although they take a bit more maintenance, it’s possible to buy smokeless fuel which produces less residual ash so that the work involved in having a real flame fire is minimal compared to what it may have been in the past.

And given the choice between lazing in front of a stove watching the flames flicker and the wood gently crackle and staring at metal bars, there isn’t really any debate about which would be the most popular.

Not as versatile

Not every kind of freestanding fire is attached to a flue; it’s possible to get freestanding electrical fires too. This provides all the advantages that an inset fire has, plus the versatility to unplug it and move it around at will.


Every type of fire has its pros and cons and inset fires are no different. The final choice you make will inevitably depend on your priorities, space and the access to fuel in your area. But whatever you finally decide, there are plenty of fireplaces for your Rotherham home. This will ensure your home is not just warm but beautiful too.

Home Improvement

5 Great Videos about Radiators on YouTube

When considering buying a new radiator, it’s good to do a little bit of research beforehand so you know what you’re buying and what to expect. Radiators aren’t exactly the most thrilling conversation topic and talking to friends and family for recommendations might seem a little boring. Instead, how about looking online for the best advice and to research the topic of radiators?

Thanks to YouTube, the internet is filled with videos; watching a clip is arguably one of the quickest and easiest means of learning things and acquiring information. This article shall look at 5 videos hosted on YouTube that look at the topic of radiators.

1) Vintage Cast Iron Radiators

This YouTube video gives a basic introduction to cast iron radiators. Cast iron is not the most popular choice of radiator and is often overlooked, despite the fact that there are many benefits to choosing a cast iron radiator over a conventional steel one. This video speaks about the functional benefits, as well as the advantages in terms of durability and aesthetics.

Radiators are an important part of any house
Radiators are an important part of any house

The clip then goes on to look at the possibility of recycling old cast iron radiators and refurbishing them for re-use, a very interesting idea for all potential home renovators!

2) Painting and Building Cast Iron Radiators

This video looks at how cast iron radiators are created. It’s a complex process and this video looks at the necessary steps before a cast iron radiator can take its place in your living room. Simple yet effective.

3) How to Install a Cast Iron Radiator

Once you’ve decided upon the type of radiator – and it has to be cast iron! – it’s good to know how exactly it should be installed. This video provides an in-depth guide to the installation of cast iron radiators.

The clip shows one cast iron model, using it as something of a case study and examines the make-up and design specifically in relation to how it would be installed into your home.

4) How to Paint a Steam/Hot Water Cast Iron Radiator

A radiator may be as functional and as efficient as possible, yet if it is a horrible eyesore plaguing the corner of your room, it is questionable whether or not the benefits of it outweigh the disadvantages. Having an ugly device in the room is very noticeable regardless of how warm you are.

This video looks at how you should go about painting a cast iron radiator, to ensure that it has an inoffensive aesthetic and complements your home decor. The video starts by looking at how to properly clean a cast iron radiator before going on to paint it, with the correct measures in place to prevent spillages and unwanted paint on other parts of the room. This can be a very helpful guide if your radiator is looking a little tired or if you’ve chosen to install an older model.

5) Cast Iron Radiators – Victorian Style

Cast Iron radiators have a rustic and stoic appeal to them, and really do deserve pride of place in your home. A plain and basic example is impressive enough. However, it is possible to choose a cast iron radiator with embellishments and patterns in the metalwork.

Radiators come in many different varieties
Radiators come in many different varieties

This video looks at some of the styles of cast iron radiators out there. They really do come in lots of different colours and a plethora of patterns, each one even more impressive than the last, visit Radiators Showroom to view a selection online.


When you’re choosing a radiator, make sure you pick the best one that’s available. These videos will hopefully help you in making your choice and give you a little information on how to look after them once you have them.




Image credits: purpaboo and Evan Prodroumou

Home Improvement

How to Care for Custom Made Home Cabinets

Taking good care of your custom made home cabinets will help to keep them in an excellent condition over the years. Those with wood finishes tend to require more frequent care in order to keep them looking good. Although your kitchen cabinets are exposed to all sorts from spillages, to light and cooking exhaust, you do not need to use any special products to keep them clean. In this article we will explain how to care for your custom made home cabinets.

The best way to clean your custom made home cabinets is to use soap, water and a soft lint free cloth.
The best way to clean your custom made home cabinets is to use soap, water and a soft lint free cloth.

Keeping your cabinets clean

If you notice that your custom made home cabinets are starting to look a little grimy or you feel like doing a spring clean, you will simply need to use soap, water and a soft lint free cloth. Start at the top of the cupboards and work your way down. You may find that there is a build-up of grime around the handles. This is caused by people touching the cabinet handles with oily, greasy and sometimes even dirty hands! The dirt may take a little effort to remove, but refrain from using a scouring pad as they can scratch the surface of your custom made home cabinets.

Once you have cleaned the cabinets make sure you dry them immediately with a separate clean cloth. Excessive moisture can cause permanent damage to cabinets with wood finishes. If you spill water or splatter your cabinets, make sure you dry them as soon as possible. Always make sure the cloths you are using are clean and refrain from using dish cloths as they may contain grease.

Cleaning products

Although many people think that wooden cabinets dry and crack due to lack of oil, it is actually a change in humidity that causes this issue. There is no need to use wax, polish or oil-based products on your cabinets. It is also important to avoid using cleaning products that contain bleach, ammonia and other harsh chemicals. These cleaning products can permanently discolour and damage your custom made home cabinets. If you feel the need to use a specific wood cleaner (though soap and water is just fine) make sure you test it on a small hidden patch first.

Hinges and handles

Over time you may notice that your cupboards begin to stick, making them hard to open and close. In order to prevent this from happening you will need to lubricate the hinges. White lithium spray grease is a good lubrication to use on the hinges, but it must not be sprayed onto the wooden surface. If the hinges or handles on your cabinets become loose, you will need to tighten the screws. Maintaining your custom made cabinets will help to extend their life and keep them in a good condition.

Organising your kitchen

When organising your kitchen take care not to place small kitchen appliances like kettles and toasters too close to your cabinet surfaces. The heat and steam produced by the appliances can cause a build-up of moisture on the surfaces, which as we mentioned before, could cause permanent damage. It is also a good idea to keep drawers and cupboard doors closed at all times to prevent a build-up of dust.

Taking care of your custom made cabinets will keep them in a better condition for longer.
Taking care of your custom made cabinets will keep them in a better condition for longer.


So there you have it, out guide to caring for custom cabinets is now complete, it’s hoped this article will help with your future care and maintenance.

Despite what others may say, there is no need to use any specific cleaning products on your custom made home cabinets. Simply using soap, warm water and a lint free cloth will do the job perfectly. Giving your cabinets a wipe every week will help to keep them in a good condition.

You may also want to think about doing regular ‘spring cleans’ where you remove all of the items from the cabinet so that you can wipe the shelves inside as well as the outside surfaces.



Image credits: Sound Racer & granite-charlotte

Home Improvement

Qualities to Look for in a Steel Beams Supplier

If you are undertaking a large building project and need to find a steel beams supplier who will be able to meet all your requirements, there are a few things you need to look at before you place an order with them. First and foremost, you need to know you are dealing with a reputable company that supplies steel beams and steel supplies sourced from British Standard certified manufacturers whose quality is second to none. The other important qualities to look for in a steel beams supplier are listed below. Once you have established they meet all these criteria, you’ll have the peace of mind that the company you choose to work with will be able to deliver your order in a timely fashion.

Steel beam being delivered on-site
Steel beam being delivered on-site

Are They Steel Fabricators?

These days you can check out a company’s credentials online which allows you to see whether they are steel fabricators or not. This is an important factor when it comes to specific orders whether large or smaller ones which DIY enthusiasts may require. If the company deals with professional and private individuals, the chances they will cover a whole range of steel related services. It goes without saying their customer service needs to be top notch too.

Are They Steel Stockholders?

You need to know whether the company holds standard size steel sections in stock or whether they would need to order these in to meet their customer’s orders. A company that boasts being steel stockholders will be able to deliver your order much faster than a company that has to order the steel in. It’s far easier to deal with steel stockholders and you have the peace of mind that projects will be finished on time rather than having to wait for the steel to be delivered due to delays at the suppliers end.

Steel beam in place
Steel beam in place

Are They Steel Erectors?

The company you plan to deal with needs to offer you a comprehensive service. They need to be steel fabricators as well as experienced steel erectors offering on-site services whether you are a big or small client.

Are They Builder and DIY Friendly

It is important to know that even a smaller customer is valued by the company and the service they offer is second to none whether they are dealing with a massive concern or a private individual ordering a smaller volume of steel to complete a private project.

Do They Offer Fast Delivery?

Fast delivery once an order has been placed is crucial, and you need to be sure the company you choose to work with can offer this each and every time you place your order with them, whether it is a large or small one. You need to know the company you order from always strives to meet their client’s steel requirements in a timely fashion. You also need to know that if an order is incorrect when it arrives on site, the company will deal their error in record time.

The value of a local supplier

It’s often best to order from a local supplier, you’ll be able to get references. Also you can travel to the site office to inspect the products. So if you’re in Essex, you can find the best Steel beams Essex has to offer not far down the road from you!

Do They Guarantee the Quality of their products

Customer satisfaction has to be the company’s number one priority; after all without clients the firm would not be in business. All fabricated steel supplies would need to be of the highest quality meeting all the standards required when it comes to engineering specifications as well as the all- important safety standards.


The qualities you should be looking for in a steel beams suppliers are whether they offer top customer service, the best quality steel that meets a customer’s requirements and a comprehensive list of steel products and services. Their approach to all orders whether large one smaller should always be the same. It’s important to find out what other customers think about the service they’ve received from the company which is possible to do by reading the testimonials on the company’s website. If the company meets all the criteria mentioned above, you know you will be dealing with true professionals who know their business inside and out.



Image credits: promaine and English Brothers Bespoke Timber Frames

Finance and Law Insurance

Why No Win No Fee is so important in clinical negligence claims

If you have suffered from clinical negligence then you may be entitled to compensation. Taking on a large national institution may seem a little daunting at first, but with the help of medical lawyers and experts you will soon have the confidence to win your claim and get the compensation you deserve. In cases of clinical negligence it is important that your lawyer works on a ‘no win no fee’ basis. In this article we will explain what ‘no win no fee’ means and why it is important in clinical negligence claims.

The ‘no win no fee’ system has encouraged more people to come forward and make claims of clinical negligence as they are no longer put off by the risk of expensive court costs.
The ‘no win no fee’ system has encouraged more people to come forward and make claims of clinical negligence as they are no longer put off by the risk of expensive court costs.

Clinical negligence

In order for clinical negligence to be proven the claimant must show that the medical practitioner was negligent in their duty of care to the patient. Clinical negligence can cover, but is not limited to delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, infection, pain caused by surgical error, inability to work and permanent disability. If you believe you have suffered from clinical negligence it is essential that you seek guidance on how to claim compensation from a qualified, experienced and reputable solicitor.

No win no fee explained

‘No win no fee’ is a conditional fee agreement made between a person seeking legal assistance and a law firm. The agreement states that the solicitor will only receive their fee if they win the case. If the solicitor does not win the case they cannot claim their payment. It was introduced in the UK in 1995 to replace legal aid.

Why it is important in cases of clinical negligence

In the past many people were put off from suing for clinical negligence because of the risk of having to pay expensive legal costs if they lost the case. No win no fee gives victims the confidence to sue national organisations without worrying about the expenses. It enables everyone, no matter how much money they have, to make a claim and get the justice they deserve.

In the past if your solicitor successfully won the case for you, your costs, compensation settlement and solicitor’s success fee were covered by the opposing party. Earlier this year the rules slightly changed so that the claimant now has to pay the success fee themselves if they win the case. The success fee can be no more than twenty five per cent of the compensation they receive.

If your solicitor does not win the case you will be technically liable for the defendant’s court costs. However providing that you have chosen an experienced and reputable solicitor, they will have taken out an insurance policy on your behalf that covers your legal fees and expenses.

If the solicitor does not win the case, they will not receive any form of payment from their client.
If the solicitor does not win the case, they will not receive any form of payment from their client.

Choosing the right solicitor

It is paramount that you find a solicitor that will successfully guide you through the proceedings, ensuring that you are kept informed every step of the way. Finding the right solicitor can be time consuming and tricky, but it is worth doing your research to ensure you choose the right person for the job. An experienced solicitor with successes can make a huge difference in a case verdict.

When looking into different law firms make sure that you check out the fields that their solicitors specialise in. Some solicitors work on specific types of clinical negligence claims related to illnesses like cancer or injuries to the brain and other vital organs. Having a solicitor with excellent communication skills and reasoning power on your side stands you in a much better place for winning your clinical negligence case.


The no win no fee system plays an important role in clinical negligence claims. It has given everyone the chance to receive the compensation and justice they deserve, no matter what their financial situation is. Expensive court costs and legal fees may have put people off suing large medical institutions in the past, but with no win no fee, claimants now have the confidence to take them on.



Image credits: Kevan & Images_of_Money

Home Improvement Real Estate

Floor Protection Sheets – Critical for Building Projects

Working on any construction project, no matter how large or small, brings a responsibility to contractors to protect the environment around the where the work is taking place and the workforce carrying out the construction. As a result, a number of products have been developed that enable protection of surfaces in the working area that are durable, safe to work with and cost-effective.

A range of floor protection sheets are on offer that will allow contractors to do what they need to do while showing due care for all those for whom they owe a duty of care.

Traditional solutions

For as long as renovations and building works have been done, builders have recognised the need to protect the area surrounding where the work is to be carried out. This is particularly true in areas where work is taking place on only part of an existing structure and other parts of the building need to be preserved.

Tiled floors need protection or they can be damaged during building works
Tiled floors need protection or they can be damaged during building works

Where tiled floors in properties have required protection, the traditional solution has been to put down a layer of plaster of Paris in order to prevent impact damage and scratching of the tiles beneath. Once the work was complete, the layer is removed and the tiles carefully cleaned to bring them back to their previous condition.

This method has its drawbacks. It is really only suitable for tiled floors and where wooden surfaces require protection, plaster of Paris isn’t an option. It is also a skilled job in itself, requiring a specialist contractor, and due to this can be costly and time-consuming to arrange.

Modern methods

Thankfully, there are now more modern methods of protecting the floor surfaces where building work is being undertaken that are more cost effective and versatile than the traditional plaster of Paris method. Floor protection sheeting is available with a range of different properties that make it suitable for use in a variety of circumstances, click here for more information on this topic.

Floor protection sheets allow surfaces to be covered while work is on-going
Floor protection sheets allow surfaces to be covered while work is on-going

In addition to its drawbacks as a limited use medium, plaster of Paris has further disadvantages in terms of being a single-use floor covering that is costly for removal and disposal. One of the great benefits of floor covering sheets is that they are not only useable on almost all types of flooring, they are easy to self-install, easily removed and reusable time and time again. The only consumable cost involved in their use is the tape needed to secure the joints between sheets to prevent leakage and tripping. Other than that, purchase of sheeting is an investment for regular contracts and will retain a salvage value once used for those who won’t need to use it often.


Floor protection sheets have a number of benefits for the property in which contractors are working and the workers themselves. Immediately ready to use after it has been laid, the sheets allow contractors to get right on with the job at hand without needing to wait for the covering to be set.

In addition to protecting the floor from impact and dust going on above the surface, any dust below the sheets is also contained, making for a cleaner working environment for construction workers. In areas where there is likely to be wet work such as removal of ceiling paper, the sheeting will both protect the floor beneath and also provide a non-slip surface on which construction workers can operate safely.

Combined with reusability and robustness, sheeting provides a great solution for providing protection for floors and workers while construction is undertaken.


While protecting the floor while building work is carried out isn’t a new thing, the introduction of floor protection sheeting has allowed the job to be done more quickly and effectively than before. Combining protection for the property with safety for staff, they offer a great solution for building contractors.




Image Credits: Onnola and James Naruke

Home Improvement

Winter of Content – the Wonder of a Fireplace in the Home

As the colder months approach, many homeowners will be thinking of ways they can keep warm without spending a small fortune on their utility bills. A great way to keep bills to a minimum, whilst still keeping your home warm and cosy is to make use of a fireplace. Not only do they provide a source of heat in the winter, but also a certain charm and aura that makes the winter months all the more bearable. In this article we will explain some of the benefits of using a fireplace to heat your home in the winter months.

Fireplaces can add a cosy and romantic feel to your home in the winter.
Fireplaces can add a cosy and romantic feel to your home in the winter.

The rustic winter lifestyle

There is something so romantic and cosy about sitting in front of fire in your living room on a cold winter evening. Fireplaces are great for giving your home a rustic, log-cabin feel that is currently very desirable in the world of interior design. Arrange your furniture around your fireplace, or lay down a rug in front of it so you can sit nice and close. If you have an open fire and young children in your household, you will need to purchase a screen so that they do not accidently burn themselves.

Fireplaces are usually found in living rooms as they were traditionally the most occupied room in the house. Today this isn’t always the case as many households have televisions in each bedroom, so children tend end up in one room and parents in another. Encourage the family to spend more time together by playing an old board game whilst you enjoy a mug of hot chocolate each in front of your fire.

Keeping warm this winter

Burning firewood is one of the most energy efficient ways to keep warm and cosy in the colder winter months. There is nothing quite like a crackling fire to beat the winter blues and lessen the effects of a chilly winter night. Bring in a small pile of firewood to put beside your fireplace so that you can keep topping it up throughout the evening, without having to take a trip in the cold to your shed outside.

If you live in a country where the weather never really gets that hot (like here in Britain), you can make use of your fireplace all year round, without feeling guilty about spending money on heating your home.

Reducing your winter utility bills

Making use of a fireplace can help to reduce your winter utility bills. The fire will produce heat, meaning that you do not need to have your thermostat on or plug in your electric heater. Using an electric heater may keep you nice and cosy, but they are also known for being extremely expensive to run. Let’s face it – a fireplace looks much more attractive in your living room anyway!

If you are thinking of installing a fireplace in your home, keep in mind that closed cast iron fireplaces are much more heat efficient. Although traditional open fires look very grand and beautiful, they tend to lose a lot of the heat produced from the fire up the chimney.

Nothing beats a fire on a chilly winter night!
Nothing beats a fire on a chilly winter night!


If you are looking for a greener and more cost efficient way to heat your home this winter, then why not make use of a fireplace? Not only will a closed fireplace provide the warmth and cosy feeling you desire, but it will also bring the family together and add a beautiful focal point to your living room. There is no longer a need to feel the dread of the colder months or the high utility bills that come with them!


Image credits: Jayphen & Tilemahos Efthimiadis

Business and EDU General

Pigging Systems for the Oil and Gas Industry

Pigging might sound like something related to the world of agriculture but in fact is an integral part of industry, offering not just time efficiencies but also convenience and a reduction in environmental impact.

Pipeline inspection gauges – also known as PIGs – are used in a number of industries, including oil and gas, and are responsible for carrying out routine maintenance without disrupting the flow of the pipe contents.

We take a look at some of the components of pigging systems frequently used within the oil and gas industry.

A cleaning pig for a 28” oil pipeline
A cleaning pig for a 28” oil pipeline

 Basic functionality

Before going into more detail about the various options which can be used within pigging systems, its worth first covering the basics of how the process works.

The pig itself is the tool which travels down the length of the pipeline either being propelled by the sheer force of the pipe contents or alternatively being dragged by a secondary cable or device. During its journey, the pig can clean the inner part of the pipe, clearing away debris and pushing it ahead, or scraping off corrosion and rust. Some types of systems use so-called “smart pigs” that can travel through the pipework collecting information about the quality of the walls and detecting cracks or weak points.

Pig systems are usually spherical or cylindrical in shape and are introduced into the pipework via a device known as a pig trap, which incorporates both a launcher and a receiver.

Incidentally, although the name ‘pig’ is said to be an abbreviation of ‘pipeline inspection gauges’ some sources suggest that there was another reason it is so-called. One of the first types of pigs was encased in leather, and as it travelled through the pipework it rubbed against the walls creating a squeaking sound not dissimilar to our curly-tailed pink friends.

Cleaning functions

Because pipelines are all so uniquely different there is no protocol which dictates exactly what should be used and in which way. This means the engineers at each site are responsible for deciding the type and size of pig to use.

The operating conditions and function the pig is to perform will in part decide what option is the most appropriate.

Those which are being sent through in order to clean and maintain the pipework are collectively known as utility pigs and must be fairly robust. They can clear out any debris in the pipeline and also scrape along the walls to prevent build-up reducing the potential flow of the oil or gas through the pipe.

Pigs used in cleaning an oil pipeline
Pigs used in cleaning an oil pipeline

Mandrel pigs are one of the most common types used for utility functions. With a metal body, usually carbon steel but can also be aluminium or stainless steel, mandrel pigs are strong enough to scrape the pipeline walls. With the facility to fit brushes, discs or caps, mandrel pigs are particularly good for removing wax build up in crude oil pipework.

Foam pigs are a more flexible option which is also designed primarily for cleaning duties. Unlike the solid-bodied mandrels, foam pigs are made from polyurethane foam and are less rigid. Despite this, they are still excellent for clearing through pipework interiors and as well as being extendable, can also carry wire brushes or carbon grit in order to remove even the most stubborn debris.

Foam pigs are the perfect choice for getting rid of condensate in wet gas systems, and clearing out paraffin from crude oil pipework.

A less traditionally-shaped choice, the spherical pig is essential a ball made from a combination of polyurethane, nitrile and neoprene and can be either solid or inflatable. Performing the same functions as both mandrel and foam pigs, spherical pigs are particularly good for systems which contain tight elbow joints.

Other operations

Of course, clearing out the pipeline and scraping off any product build-up is not the only functions that pigs are capable of performing.

Inline inspection is a common operation that pigs are used for as being able to accurately track the stability of the pipeline is an absolute essential, especially for expensive and potentially flammable contents such as oil and gas. A leak could lead to disastrous consequences so regular maintenance checks are an integral part of the process.

Pigs work in different ways to measure the diameter of the pipes as well as detect any cracks or thinning of the pipe walls.

A sizing pig is the most basic of all the designs and relies on notching in a metal plate to gauge the variations in the wall and diameter. More complex designs are available on the ‘smart-pigs’ which record data using ultrasound technology for later analysis. This allows very minute variations to be detected early on.


Pigging systems aren’t something which is commonly known about yet without them, industry would very quickly become paralysed or fraught with dangers. From cutting out paraffin build up to checking for cracks and thinning, pigging systems allow pipework in the oil and gas industry to run smoothly, efficiently and with the minimum risk possible.



Image Credits: Wikipedia and Arthur Chapman