Every year at this time, millions of teenagers across the country summon up their courage and tear open the envelopes containing their exam results, taking out the pieces of paper that will decide what they’ll be doing for the next year, and beyond.
Many of us swear that school will be the end of our exams, but the truth is, we never stop being put to the test. From our jobs to our homes, we always have questions to answer and goals to achieve. If you want to see if your home is up to standard, we’ve posed some brain teasers that you can tackle - but don’t worry, there’s no pass or fail here… because we’ve given you the answers too!
Is your home light enough?
If your home feels dark and dingy, there are a number of ways to approach the problem. First, are your windows being blocked, either by towering walls and fences or by looming plants and trees? In the first instance, a bricklayer or fencer may be able replace your problem fence with an alternative such as trellis, which allows more light through, while a tree surgeon can tackle unruly trees and overhanging branches.
Secondly, are you using lighting properly? A few well-placed lamps can help illuminate your home, but more permanent solutions can have more dramatic results - spotlights in a hallway, or above-cabinet lighting in a kitchen for example. An electrician can help install these fixes.
Thirdly, think about the role decoration plays. Dark shades of paint and heavy woods can drain the lightness from a room. A painter and decorator can introduce brighter tones and help lift a space.
Is your home well ventilated?
If your home has issues with damp and mould, you’re not alone - but there are simple ways to overcome the problem. Buying a digital hygrometer can help you keep tabs on the moisture levels in your property, but the key things are to keep air flowing and avoid producing too much moisture to begin with. Open windows where you can, and try to steer clear of drying clothes on radiators or taking long, steamy showers. You should also check your extractor fans to make sure they’re working, or have them installed if you don’t have any. If there are persistent damp spots in certain places, such as under windows, then you check if there are issues with leaks, either from the window itself or from the brickwork around the windowsill.
Is your home well insulated?
If your home feels too hot during warm summer months, but freezing cold in winter, you should consider your insulation. As well as saving money on heating bills, it will also make your home more energy efficient.
Windows are doors are prime candidates for being upgraded if you want to improve your insulation. Properly-fitted double glazing will make a big impact. Cavity wall insulation and loft insulation are bigger steps, but can also produce great long-term results. You can also insulate beneath the floors and target things such as pipes to prevent them freezing during winter.