Outdoor living in a garden room

As summer looms, many customers are looking to outdoor living in the garden.

Apart from adding value to your home a Garden Room or alfresco dining space is great fun and top of many homebuyers wish list, if you are looking to sell.

Recent surveys have shown that over 80% feel an entertainment space in the garden is very desirable, even in this English climate. So clearly it’s something worth considering with a great return on your investment

Creating an outdoor living area that may include a Garden Room can be an great way to differentiate your property if you’re looking to sell, and some of our ideas to make the most of your outdoor space are very easy and won’t break the bank.

  • alfresco eating: I don’t know how, but it seems to improve the food and with a simple fire pit for background heat it’s a great way to entertain under the stars
  • outdoor lighting: simple low voltage or even solar lamps turn the average garden space in to something special.
  • screening: with cane or bamboo screening being such good value you can easily create an outdoor living area separate from the rest of the garden, incorporating heat lamps and fire pits
  • water elements: you only have to look at garden images online to see that water is a great feature in a garden, so try for something no matter how small, as it adds a feeling of tranquillity
  • garden room: a very worthwhile investment as they have many year round uses and will always add value to your property

If you’d like to enjoy the great outdoors a little more, improve it with outdoor garden rooms from Outdoor Living Rooms.

Getting the best out of your boiler

We all know heating your home can be expensive but there are lots of ways to help keep costs low. One sure way is getting the most out of your boiler to keep you warm but at the same time save you money.

60% of your energy bills each year is spent on your heating so getting an efficient boiler can make a lot of difference. If your home is heated by either a gas or an electric boiler, you can reduce your bills by making it work better, exactly when you need it. Here are some tips on saving money by making your boiler more efficient:

  • The best way to use a boiler is setting the times for it to turn on and off such as switching it on just before you get up in the morning and back off again before you go to bed, this way you don’t waste any energy.
  • It is much cheaper to keep the boiler switched off while you are out and have it come on only when you get home.
  • We have found that setting your boiler timer to come on half an hour before you get up and switch off about 20 minutes before you leave the house is the most efficient use of energy.
  • Turning down your thermostat by just one degree can save approximately £90 a year on your heating bills as well. The recommended healthy room temperature for your living room is 21 degrees and 18 for the rest of your home. Try turning your central heating down by one degree, leave it for a day and see if you still feel warm enough. Keep doing this until you find the right temperature for you and your family.

We regularly check the boilers in our homes to make sure they are working as they should. If there are any problems or your boiler needs updating we will then book in our repairs team to complete the work.

What if I notice a problem with my boiler?

It is important to report the problem as soon as you can so we can help straight away. But there are a few simple boiler checks you need to do before you contact us which will help us solve the issue.

  • Is the boiler gas or electric?
  • Have you checked if there are any supply problems in your area?
  • If you have a payment plan, have you checked if there is enough credit on your card?
  • Is the thermostat in the correct place?
  • Are the radiator valves open properly?
  • Can you hear any noises coming from the boiler?
  • Is there a pressure reading on your boiler? What does it say?

If you need boiler repairs in Blackpool, contact APG Domestic Services for more information.

How to Add a Garden Office

How to Add a Garden Office

An increasing number of people are choosing to work from home, but hate having their home office on top of them all the time. Mark Ramuz reports on an easy and popular alternative, the garden office

Over two million of us work from home and that figure looks set to grow as more people swap office life for home working. However, the convenience of teleworking comes with its own drawbacks, in particular the loss of a room in the house and the feeling of never really ‘leaving work’.

This is why many people are now creating dedicated work spaces in their gardens, away from home life and all of its distractions. Whether you fancy a big DIY project, or will find a specialist company to take on the work, we look at what to consider when building a garden office.

How Big Can a Garden Office Be?

There’s no hard and fast rule on the optimum size, but a garden building should never look overbearing or take up more than half of your garden. However, if you plan to build it without planning permission you will be restricted to:

  • an eaves height of 2.5m,
  • an overall height of 3m (or 2.5m if within 2m of a boundary)

Where you plan to site the new building is also important. If it will be within five metres of your home (and over 10m²) it will be treated as an extension to your house. Your local authority will then count it as part of your permissible development. This may be a problem if you already have a large extension to your home. It also cannot sit forward of the principal elevation of the original property.

Design Practicalities

At the planning stage, consider creating a hard path leading to its entrance so you don’t churn up the grass. Trees or shrubs screening the building will make it less conspicuous, and maintain privacy for you and any neighbouring properties.

In addition, your neighbours may object if the room blocks light to their property or overlooks them. Always contact your local authority planning department and ask their advice. You may be asked to send in a sketch with the dimensions and location in your garden. Your council office’s planning department should let you know within two weeks if it needs planning permission.

Building Regulations don’t apply to the building of a timber cabin as it is classed as a ‘temporary structure’.

If you have a large garden, aim to get your new building to face south. You can even add roof windows, as well as a sink, toilet or work surfaces.

How to Secure a Garden Office

Bear in mind that a garden room is often an easier target for an intruder than a house. Police initiative Secured by Design offers tips on keeping your property safe.

  • Fit a PIR light and alarm to sense movement.
  • Buy metal security casings for PCs and lock these to the walls.
  • A gravel path to the building can act as a deterrent to intruders.
  • Ensure all doors and windows have locks that meet your insurer’s standards (BS 3621 is usually cited).

Choosing a Garden Building

Timber clad buildings are a popular choice as they can match both traditional and contemporary properties. For a low maintenance option, choose thermally-modified timber — it will cost more initially, but the alternative if treating the cladding with preservative every two to three years.

Brick and block requires very little maintenance, but will add to the cost of the project. As will the inclusion of a lot of glazing.

Alternatively, you could look at the many unusual buildings such as shepherds’ huts, tabernacles and modified gypsy caravans that can be quickly installed as garden offices.

To meet planning requirements (or not need planning as the case may be), find a garden room which meets the permitted development criteria listed above.

How Much Does a Garden Office Cost?

Size, construction type and whether you take the DIY approach will all have an impact on the overall cost of your garden office. A DIY kit can cost as little as £1,000 for a 3x3m, uninsulated cabin. Bespoke options can cost as much as £30,000 for a fully-insulated, glazed, wired, heated and finished option.

As a guide:

  • Cabin Style: Softwood tongue-and-groove boards interlock at the corners to form a cabin with a pitched roof. You only need a few metal fixings for the roof and floors and the rest locks together and can be built up in a couple of days. B&Q’s range starts from around £1,600. The glazing is plastic but you could fit your own double glazed units. A 3x3m cabin from Garden Affairs in 44mm timber and a range of door/window styles starts from £3,815.
  • Modular: Basically mini houses, with softwood clad walls filled with insulation and plasterboard interiors. These buildings can also be assembled quickly. Doors and windows are often Pilkington K double glazed units. The Garden Escape can supply anything from a 7.2 to a 19.8m² unit with insulation, electrics and phone points installed from £7,500.
  • Timber Frame: If your wallet stretches to £10,000+ a timber framed building is the ultimate hideaway. Choose weatherboarded or rendered panels, an oak frame, roof tiles or even a thatch roof. Courtyard Designs offer 10x15ft–20x15ft offices with a double glazing, high security locks, wiring, lighting and insulation from around £21,000–£28,000.

How to Heat and Insulate Your Garden Office?

A cold and draughty garden office is not going to be an appealing place to work, so when it comes to insulation, treat it like a habitable space. Basic versions, or glorified sheds, will need added insulation, but most garden offices on the market are either modulate or closed-panel builds with insulation already incorporated.

You will also want to choose double glazing and a well-insulated door to keep a comfortable temperature year-round.

Electric radiators or electric underfloor heating are practical as your office will need to be connected to main electricity anyway. However, heating with electricity can be expensive so consider adding a woodburning stove instead, and focus on good insulation. It might also be worth considering renewables.

If you would like to look into garden room kits, take a look at Outdoor Living Rooms.


Claim for a roofing repair in Blackpool with your insurance company

A roof repair can be stressful because not only can repairs be costly but the overall issue can affect your day to day living. The latter means that the roof damage repair is not something that you can delay. For this reason, insurance companies can help you out with the costs. However, several things need to be considered before your insurance claim is granted.

Full coverage for repairs

In some cases, full coverage is given for roof repairs but this is not common and most of the time, only parts of the costs would be covered. Full coverage is only given if your roof was previously in very good condition, was brand new, or if the cause of the damage, such as a storm, was included in the coverage.

Coverage for roof replacement

Another important issue is whether your insurance company would cover the costs of a new roof or a full roof replacement. This will depend on the damage that has been done to your roof. If it can be proven that a new roof is actually needed and that the damage cannot be fixed by repairs alone, then the insurance company may cover the full costs of a replacement. It also helps if the cost of a new roof would be less than repairing every damaged area.

Estimation of costs

To file an insurance claim for a roof repair you first need to get an estimation of the cost of repairs. To do this, you need to contact a reputable roofing company to give you an estimation of costs. Many roofing companies will do this for free, so it’s worth your while spending some time giving a number of companies a call. It also helps to hire a roofing company that has insurance expertise so that they can help you out with any questions that you may have throughout the process.

Factors to be considered

When looking at your insurance claim for roof repairs, the insurance company would look at several factors and use these to determine whether or not your claim is valid and how much of the costs they can cover:

Age of roof

The age of your roof will affect the extent of the damage done therefore this will be one of the main factors that an insurance company will take into consideration. Generally, a roof that is less than ten years old will be considered fairly new.

Condition of roof

If your roof is more than ten years old, but it was well maintained, and in good condition before the cause of damage, it’s likely that you will get better insurance coverage. Getting your roof checked at least once a year and providing proof of this to your insurance company will stand you in better stead when putting in a claim.

Cause of damage

This is the most important factor that insurance companies will consider as it will determine whether or not they will even consider providing you with anything for the required repairs. Insurance companies will not cover damage caused by regular wear and tear but causes that are unexpected such as natural disasters (storms and hurricanes), unexpected disasters (fire) and outside factors like vandalism. It is worth asking your insurance company which causes they do cover because each company and policy will differ.

If your roof is in need of repair, checkout Total Roofing Solutions for roofing repair in Blackpool.

Looking for boiler service in Lytham

At APG Domestic Services we have a qualified team of registered Gas Safe engineers in Lytham who are on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for all your boiler related needs, including boiler servicing. They have experience working with both gas and combi boilers, in both residential and commercial properties in Lytham, so rest assured you’re in safe hands.

Why service my boiler?

It is important to consider boiler servicing regularly and an annual service is highly recommended. Our Gas Safe engineers, based throughout Lytham, will ensure your boiler is in good working order and does not have any problems which could be dangerous to your health. We can service your boiler at a time that is convenient to you – we work out of hours so there is no need to take time off work just to have your boiler serviced.

If your boiler is ageing or your heating system contains an open flue it is even more important to think about boiler servicing, as your heating system is at higher risk of leaking carbon monoxide into your home or workplace, which can lead to death if undetected.

A boiler service will involve our gas engineers turning on your system, checking for gas leaks, cleaning boiler parts where required – like an MOT for your boiler! Depending on your boiler and how often you have had it serviced, this can take as little as 30 minutes.

Our engineers in Lytham are experienced in servicing both gas and combi boilers.

Boiler maintenance and servicing

Another reason you should be thinking about boiler servicing on an annual basis is that your boiler’s warranty may depend on it, and without it you may not be covered if you need your boiler repaired. The number one company for boiler service in Lytham.

APG Domestic Services covers London and the surrounding areas, our team are familiar with all the major brands and models including: Baxi, Broag (Avanta), Glow Worm (Ultracom, Flexicom, Betacom), Ideal (Classic, ICOS, ISAR, ESPRIT, ELISE, Mexico), Keston (Qudos), Main, Potterton (Suprima, Promax, Performa, Gold), Vaillant (Ecotec), Worcester (Greenstar, Highflow) and Honeywell Controls.

Get the best boiler installation

Buying a new boiler tends to be a decision that most people need to make in a hurry. Usually, your old boiler has broken down, it’s the depths of winter and you need to get your hot water and central heating restored to its former working glory.

Unfortunately, buying a new boiler and getting it installed can be a bit of a minefield of big decisions. Choose an unreliable boiler or make the wrong decision about part of the installation, and it’s a mistake you and your bank balance will later regret.

We’ve consulted industry experts so that you can know how to get the best boiler installation. This includes key decisions you need to consider that could prolong your boiler’s life. Read on to find out what you need to ask and tell your engineer when they visit to give you a quote, how to spot the telltale signs of an engineer who knows their stuff, and what you should expect from a proper boiler installation quotation.

Boiler installation

When you invite a heating engineer to give you a quotation for a new boiler, it should not be a quick conversation. We think a good installer should take the time to conduct a full heating survey of your home and learn all about your heating and hot water requirements before giving you their recommendation on the type and size of boiler you need.

Here are a few questions to think about before you have a conversation with your installer: What you need to know to get the best boiler installation Tell your boiler installer all about your heating and hot water needs in detail, and also any future plans you might have for your home. Have a think about the following questions and make sure you relay the answers to your heating engineer:

How do you use your hot water?

For example, do you regularly need hot water to more than one tap or shower head at once? Do you have a pumped power shower, or have plans for one in the future?

Changing to a combi boiler can have many benefits, such as space-saving in the loft or airing-cupboard, but this type of boiler is not usually compatible with a shower that has a powerful electric pump. So if you do decide to get a combi boiler, you will have to ditch the pump on your shower.

Do your hot water requirements change throughout the year?

So do say if you regularly have family or friends stay over – such as at Christmas or parties.

What home improvements are you planning?

Your installer will need to know if you’re thinking about adding an extension, loft conversion or solar panels, or if you think you might install a new bathroom or under-floor heating.

Are you having any problems with your system?

Take the time to think about any concerns or performance issues you have with your current system, and tell your installer about them.

What brand of boiler do you want?

The reliability of boilers varies wildly by brand, with the worst more than three times as likely to break down in the first six years compared with the best. Pick a boiler from one of the most reliable brands and be prepared to fight your corner if your engineer recommends another. Some engineers are incentivised to install boilers from particular brands, so be sure that they are recommending a brand of boiler that benefits you, rather than them. The least reliable brand is more than three times as likely to break down, compared to the best.

The answers to these questions will be vitally important for the engineer to correctly recommend the right type and size of boiler for your home.

What to ask the heating engineer to get the best boiler installation

When you talk to the heating engineer about your hot water needs, we think a good installer will mention some or all of the following for you to consider. If they don’t come up in conversation, ask about them. A good installer will be able to give you a full understanding of the benefits of each extra and advise whether they are necessary. Not all these extras will be necessary for many installations.

The cost, which will vary by property, will need to be weighed up against the benefit of having each of them done. However, extras such as a system flush and a water filter are likely to be good for the ongoing health of your boiler and prolong its lifespan.

Condensate disposal

This is the pipework that takes water produced from the boiler away to the drain. External pipework should be kept to a minimum. If installation options only allow for external routing, the installer must ensure that the pipework is protected from freezing temperatures, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Water treatment (cleansing and flushing – around £375, based on a three-bed semi-detached house with 10 radiators) Most heating systems will require at least a simple gravity cleanse and flush, with the addition of a chemical inhibitor on the final fill of the system. Heavily sludged systems may require a powerflush. Your installer should advise you of which is most appropriate and why.

Some basic signs of a heavily sludged system include cold spots on radiators, system noise, and excessive heat-up times. You can often get a rough idea of how clean or dirty the system is yourself by carefully bleeding a little water from a radiator valve, with a tissue. When refilling the heating system, ensure the installer adds a chemical inhibitor to safeguard against the formation of sludge, corrosion and scale build–up. System filters / scale reducers (around £120, plus installation) Ask your installer if you need them, as they can prolong the life of a boiler.

Scale reducers are particularly important for combi boilers installed in a hard-water area. It may be that a powerflush (above) or system filter is not necessary in all cases, but each of them should at least be considered by you and the installer before the installation begins. Fitting a new boiler into a dirty or unsuitable system is a shortcut to future reliability problems. Plume effect (water vapour from the boiler flue)

How big a plume are you likely to get from the condensate and where is it going to be situated? Will it bother the neighbours because of where it is situated?
It’s possible to take the plume away using an additional pipe called a plume management kit.

Heating controls

Ask if you have the required heating controls and what other options are available to you. See our guide to heating controls for more information.


Some older radiators may be inefficient or have internal corrosion – which means they may need replacing. Ask your installer’s advice.

Additional energy-saving measures

New government legislation requires that each new boiler installation includes at least one of four energy-saving measures. You can choose from: flue gas heat recovery, load-compensating thermostats, weather-compensating thermostats or smart heating controls. Your installer should be able to talk you through the pros and cons of each and advise on the most appropriate for your home.

Checks after your boiler installation

After installation, your installer should complete a series of safety and performance checks. The results of these should be recorded in the back of the instruction manual; this forms part of the benchmark process, which is important for the warranty. You should make sure that your installer registers your boiler with the manufacturer to activate the warranty. If, after these checks, you notice cold spots on a radiator or it is taking too long for some radiators to heat up, this is a sign that your system hasn’t been balanced or cleaned properly, so you should contact the installer immediately. Getting the best boiler installation depends a lot on the installer you choose for the job, so pick a Trusted Trader.

To replace a gas boiler, the installer must be Gas Safe registered – so ask to see a registration card. But we also think that you, the customer, have an important role in getting across to the installer exactly what it is you want from your new boiler.

What should be included in a boiler installation quotation?

While quotations from heating engineers should be clear and correctly itemised, we have seen many that are bewildering. Considering that a typical boiler installation can cost between £2,000 and £3,000, we think it is important that you know what you are paying for.

Here is what you should look for in a correctly itemised installation quote:

Essentials of an installation quote:

The model, make and price of the boiler being installed. There should also be a full explanation of why that boiler has been recommended, with reference to type and size. Any extra heating controls should also be listed separately and costed.

The location of the boiler.

An explanation of whether the boiler will remain in the same place as the previous boiler, or whether it needs to be moved. If it needs to be moved, there should be a full explanation of why.

Water treatment.

Cleaning the system is always required, but the type of cleaning will depend on how dirty your system’s water is. There are three options: gravity flush, mains flush and power flush. Your installer should be able to advise you on the most appropriate method for your heating system.

An overview of the works (labour costs).

System balancing/post-installation checks. This shouldn’t necessarily incur any extra cost, but it should be mentioned by the engineer that they will make the necessary checks that your radiators are working and correctly balanced after the installation is complete. A full explanation of the warranty you are receiving with your boiler, and what needs to be done to maintain the terms of the warranty, such as an annual service.

Boiler Plus New regulations were introduced in 2017 to govern UK boiler installations. All new gas boilers installed in England need to have an ErP efficiency of at least 92%. If time and temperature controls aren’t already installed and working, any new installation must include them. One energy-saving measure, in addition to time and temperature controls (if needed), must be included with the boiler installation.

You can choose from: Flue gas heat recovery – which reuses heat from your boiler that would otherwise be wasted. Load-compensating thermostat – this adjusts the radiator temperature to be hotter when your home is cold, and cooler when your home is closer to the desired temperature. Weather-compensating thermostat – which is the same as a load compensating thermostat, but it adjusts the radiator temperature depending on the outside temperature. Smart thermostat – which allow you to control your heating through a tablet or smart phone, whether you are inside our outside the home. Speak to your engineer about which additional energy-saving device is the best for you and your budget. Some of the energy-saving devices, such as flue gas heat recovery may already be included with the boiler you have chosen.

If you’d like to enquire about central heating in Preston, contact APG Domestic Services.


Tips on buying a used car

Buying a used car is a great way of cutting the cost of your driving as most new cars lose around 40% of their value in the first year.

But there are risks so it’s important to take your time rather than rush into any deal, and to buy as far as possible with your head rather than your heart.

Pitfalls to watch out for when buying a used car

Clocking is the illegal practice of winding back the odometer on a high–mileage car to increase its apparent value and asking price. Every 1,000 miles removed increases the value substantially.

Car cloning

Sometimes one car is given the identity of another by replacing the number plates with those from an almost identical vehicle – same make, model and colour.


This is when the remains of two or more cars, which have usually been accident–damaged and written off by insurers, are welded together, then illegally given the identity of one of the wrecks.

The cosmetic work is often outstanding, and it’s usually very difficult to spot a ‘cut–and–shut’ from the outside.

General advice
Budget carefully

Get insurance quotes and check car tax rates before signing on the bottom line, and remember to factor in the cost of any work that might be needed too.

If you’re going to borrow money to buy the car it’s a good idea to get loan quotes before you go out to view any cars.  That way you’ll know what you can afford and will be able to tell whether any finance a dealer offers you is good value or not.

Do your homework

Check price guides and compare similar cars in the classifieds so you know as much as you can about the value of different cars to avoid being overcharged.

Having a quick Google can be a useful source of information on ‘common’ faults and ‘what to look for’ tips but bear in mind that the few who’ve had a poor experience are likely to be more outspoken than satisfied customers.

Don’t view a car in the rain, in poor light or at night

You won’t be able to check the condition of the car properly if it’s wet – water hides scratches, dents and other problems. Make sure you can see the vehicle clearly and from all angles.

Ask about service history

Most cars require some work during the year so the owners of a car a few years old should have amassed quite a sheaf of garage bills for work or parts as well as previous MOT certificates, and records of regular servicing.

  • If there’s no history then ask why
  • Does it look like there might be a persistent fault that still may not have been fixed?
  • Does the history tell a consistent story
Check for outstanding finance

Buying, leasing or hiring a car on finance is more popular than it’s ever been.  This means that a large proportion of vehicles on the road are actually owned by finance providers until their customers, the driver or keeper, pay off the finance agreement in full.

If you buy from someone who’s not paid off their finance agreement, the finance provider could recover the car, potentially leaving you out of pocket and without a car.

This makes it more important than ever to carry out a Car Data Check, particularly if you’re buying from a private seller or online auction/advertising site.  Most reputable dealers will have carried out a vehicle check before putting the car on the forecourt, but we’d advise you to check with the dealer that it’s been done.

V5C registration document

Insist on seeing the V5C vehicle registration document – this shows the registered keeper and not the legal owner.

Is the present keeper the person selling you the car?  If not, then why are they selling the car for someone else?

The V5C shows the details of previous keepers too. Why not contact them to find out more about when they owned the car, what work was done and how many miles they covered?

Previous keepers have no vested interest so you should be able to rely on their comments

  • Did they service it regularly?
  • Did they do much mileage in it?
  • Did they have any major servicing work done it?
  • Did they modify the vehicle in any way?

If the car is three years old or more make sure there’s a continuous series of annual MOT ‘certificates’.

If you know the vehicle’s registration number and the document reference on the V5C you can check a vehicle’s MOT status and history (back to 2005) online too.

Recorded mileage should increase steadily with age and be consistent with the service record. If it doesn’t then you’ll want to hear a good explanation as to why not.

Buyer beware

Be wary of anything that seems like a real bargain, or has a very low mileage for its age.  There are bargains to be had but in general, if a deal looks too good to be true then it most likely is.

If you know what you’re doing then use our DIY inspection checklist to help make sure you look the car over thoroughly.

Cam belt

As well as regular (usually annual) servicing there are major items like brake fluid, antifreeze or cam belt renewal that car manufacturers specify should be done at a certain age or mileage.

If a cam belt breaks the resulting damage is likely to run into several thousand pounds and often a new engine is the most economical option.

Some engines have a chain instead of a belt and these normally last the life of the vehicle but if your car does have a belt you must make sure it’s replaced when due.

If a belt change was due but the service record doesn’t show clearly that it was done then the belt will have to be renewed as soon as possible for peace of mind.


Make sure the handbook is in the car as they can be expensive to replace if not.

Look to see how the security system works – and check that it does – and find out what keys were provided when the car was new. Modern car keys can cost £100+ to replace so if you need more than one key and there’s only one available you’ll need to bear that cost in mind.

Coloured ‘master’ keys provided by some manufacturers to programme new spare keys for the car are even more expensive to replace.

There’s no legal requirement but cars are generally sold new with at least one spare key.  If there’s not a spare now ask why not.

Test drive

The test drive is your only opportunity to check the car’s general mechanical condition and to find our for sure that it meets all your needs:

  • Is the driving position comfortable?
  • Can you reach/operate all the controls easily?
  • Do the child seats fit?
  • Does the golf bag or pushchair fit in the boot?
Look carefully

Misaligned panels or mismatched colours on doors, bonnet and tailgate can indicate that the car has been repaired after a shunt.  Traces of spray paint on door handles, window seals and mouldings can indicate repairs too.

If the engine bay looks like it has recently been power-washed clean the owner could be trying to remove evidence of fluid leaks.  A check under the bonnet after a lengthy test drive should reveal any problems.

Other quick checks can be:

  • The close-up: Inspect each body panel for scratches, dents, or rust. Masking-tape marks ­under window sills or fender edges indicate paintwork.
  • Straight and narrow: Uneven panel gaps around the fenders, doors, hood, and trunk can indicate shoddy repair.
  • Blend well: Be sure the paint color and finish are uniform, and check inside door jambs for dull-looking overspray.
  • Attractive personality: Run a magnet along doors and fenders. If it doesn’t pull toward the car, there may be body filler under the paint, indicating body repairs.
  • Crystal clear: Check for moisture fogging in the lights.
  • Tread lightly: Make sure the tyres have even tread wear. New tyres may hide problems.
  • Rust bucket: A coating of rust on bolts or hinges inside the door jamb is a clue that the car may have been submerged.
  • Sniff test: A musty, moldy smell in the interior or boot could indicate water damage.
  • Check the exhaust: Black, greasy residue inside means the engine is burning oil.
Seats and carpets

Seats and carpets can always be cleaned, or even replaced, but stains on internal fabric head–linings are impossible to remove completely.

If seat covers have been fitted, check underneath them for signs of damage.  You can get seats replaced but this can be very expensive, particularly if they contain electric motors or airbags.

Locking wheel nuts

Adaptors for locking wheel nuts have a habit of going missing. If locking wheel nuts are fitted, check to make sure that the special adaptor required is included with the toolkit and that it fits the nuts.

Don’t be pressured into buying

There are always other vehicles out there so if this one doesn’t feel right in any way it’s time to walk away.

Be wary of and don’t be swayed by  ‘sob stories’  like change of job, break-up of relationship, moving aboard, new baby on the way and so on.  The bottom line is that you’re buying a car to help yourself, not anyone else.

Before you hand over any money
  • Agree collection/delivery arrangements
  • Confirm exactly what’s included in the price
  • Confirm any work that the seller has agreed to do
  • Make sure you get a receipt showing vehicle details, price, terms of sale and the seller’s details.

If you are looking at purchasing a used car, go to West Lancs Motors, top for used cars in Preston.

Twenty Reasons to Choose APG Domestics for New Boilers on Finance

A boiler is the heart of your home’s central heating system and getting new boilers on finance is a breeze with APG Boilers on Finance.  A boiler works by burning gas to heat water, before feeding it into the central heating system which means it’s a complicated and expensive piece of machinery.

So, your problematic boiler is on its last legs and you’ve decided it’s time to get a new one instead of spending a small fortune on replacement parts. Buying a new boiler outright is expensive and if you don’t have the budget it can be tempting to turn to cheap boilers on finance on the market to cut the costs down in the short term. However, you can end up spending more money on repairs and heating bills if the boiler isn’t operating at a high efficiency.

For most of us, the upfront costs and installation of a new, energy efficient boiler can seem quite expensive, but at APG Boilers on Finance we offer pay monthly options for your boiler, meaning that you don’t have to hand over all your savings at once.

If you don’t know whether buying new boilers on finance is for you then we’ve put together 22 reasons why our boilers on finance are the perfect choice:

  1. We provide you with low finance offers on our new boiler systems so, you can be assured that you are not paying anymore for new boilers on finance
  2. Spreading the cost on your new boiler means we can provide you with low monthly payments from as little as £10.50 a month for your new boiler installation
  3. Many of our new boilers come with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty, so you can have the peace of mind when you purchase your new boiler
  4. We employ a team of experienced heating engineers who are all expertly trained and Gas Safe registered
  5. Here at APG Boilers on Finance, we specialise in new and replacement boiler finance so you can be assured you receive the best service, guaranteed.
  6. Our flexible payment options make buying a new boiler more manageable
  7. You can choose the length of your payment term to suit your budget and lifestyle
  8. A new boiler from us can potentially save you money on your heating bill if it’s more energy efficient than the one it replaces
  9. Buying a boiler on finance is a great way to spread the cost
  10. We arrange home consultations to suit your availability
  11. We pride ourselves on high levels of customer service so you can be assured you receive a hassle-free experience with no pushy salesmen
  12. Take the hassle out of heating with our which gives you piece of mind and includes 10 years warranty, 10 years parts cover, 10 years labour cover and 10 years annual servicing
  13. We have over a 100 reviews on TrustPilot and 83% of customers rated our service as ‘excellent’
  14. We have the latest energy efficient ‘A’ rated boilers all of which are available on finance
  15. We have a great range of boilers to choose from including leading brands such as Vaillant, Worcester, Veissmann, Baxi, Zanussi and Ideal
  16. Our ‘A’ rated boilers are the latest efficient boilers on the market that can provide you with huge savings of up to £340 per year *
  17. We always provide our customers with a reliable service they can trust which is why 98% of our customers would recommend us to their family and friends
  18. Here at APG Boilers on Finance, we provide a range of boiler servicing and boiler repairs. We have a range of monthly boiler plans to suit your needs for all of our boilers on finance options which are all available on no contract plan so you aren’t contracted into any lengthy agreements like many other boiler service plans. Find out more about our servicing plans
    1. Bronze Plan
    2. Silver Plan
    3. Gold Plan
  19. We promise to beat many of the ‘usual’ new boiler companies quotes on price daily with our price promise
  20. Our experienced surveyors can come out to your home and discuss your options and requirements so you could have your new efficient boiler within a few days

So if you’re looking at boilers on finance in Preston go to APG Domestics first.

Having trouble with moss on your roof?

If you live in a rural area or one that is particularly green (lucky you!) you may have a lot of problems with moss on your roof, or are worrying that it could be causing damage that could cost you money in the long run.

We’ve written a guide to help you make a decision regarding the moss on your roof, and understand why it is there and to dispel any myths. And of course we’ll be showing you how to prevent or treat moss on your roof.

Why has moss started growing on my roof?

With the industrial revolution bringing massive change to the UK resulting in factories and power stations churning out chemicals into the atmosphere, acid rain was a massive problem. These days with the onset of environmental awareness and less pollutants the atmosphere is a lot less toxic than it once was.

Algae and moss are very sensitive to acid rain, and back in the 80s when the clouds were full of pollutants the rain prevented any growth – now the air is so much cleaner moss is able to grow in abundance.

Will it damage my roof?

Depending on what your roof is made out of, yes, moss could damage your roof. Check our list below to see whether you need to be concerned.

Concrete tiles

Moss can grow in holes or cracks that are a natural part of concrete, however it is not the moss that causes the problem, and rather the poor quality of the tile itself.

Clay tiles

Moss can cause problems with clay because clay needs to be kept dry. Moss will only grow in moist conditions, and will prevent clay tiles properly drying out.


Slates are a natural material but is non-porous, so even if a slate roof is covered in moss the slate will not be affected.


Cement can develop cracks and holes, and eventually decompose over time. Moss can weaken cement further.

Pipes and gutters

Moss can block pipes and gutters, then expand resulting in brittle plastic snapping and breaking. If left long enough, moss can become very heavy and overwhelm the structures holding the gutters and pipes in place.


Lead like slate is totally natural and non-porous and will not be damaged by moss growth.

How to remove moss from your roof

There are two ways to remove moss from your roof, and you can either do it yourself if you feel confident doing so, or get a roofing firm in to do the job for you. You can either remove the moss by scraping and brushing it away, or power wash. Sometimes it is a better idea to have a roofing firm in to do the job because most times there will be some repair work required that the moss has hidden from view., and they can advise on the best course of action.

How to prevent moss growing on your roof

You can prevent moss from growing on your roof by chemically treating your roof with a specialist fungicide, and only then once the moss has been removed, and this will only last a couple of years (at most) before requiring treatment again. You can reduce moss growth by removing anything that could block sunlight hitting your roof. Look at any trees nearby that could be blocking the sun, or a TV aerial or dish. These will create a shadow and moss loves to grow in shady areas.

If you’d like to get a professional roofing firm to have a look at the moss on your roof, contact Total Roofing Solutions. They are a top firm for roof repair in Preston.


What’s involved in relocating your combi boiler

Your combi boiler is a complicated bit of kit, and no doubt many of the pipes go underneath the floor. Should you have tiles, floorboards or laminate you’re probably wondering how they go about removing the flooring to get to the pipes. Here we go through the work involved.

Sheet or floorboards

If you have carpets it can be a good idea to know what is underneath them. Once the carpet is taken up, floorboards are very easy to remove and replace and makes anything underneath them accessible. Sheet flooring is a lot more complicated, and may have to be cut with industrial tools.

Engineered wood and polished floorboards

If you have engineered wood floorboards we would advise getting a specialist flooring contractor in to tell you the best course of action. These are expensive and you don’t want them to be damaged if they do need to be taken up.


Tiles do need to be taken up, and this means breaking the grout and prying up the tile. Some could get broken, so you may want to look out those spares or order in a few in the same style. You may even have to consider getting the floor redone if the tiled floor is a large area with a lot of pipes underneath.


Laminate flooring, once lifted, won’t go back down unless refitted by a flooring specialist.

How long can it take to lift the flooring?

It can totally depend on where your pipes are located, how many radiators you have, and what type of flooring you have throughout your home. Sometimes flooring, on initial observation, can look quite simple to remove and then when uncovered another layer is exposed.

What we would always recommend is that you get a flooring professional in to advise on how to get your floors looking their best should they need to be removed and replaced. Even better, make sure you have hired a reputable boiler engineer to relocate your combi boiler, who will be sympathetic and professional, and not wreck your home. We would recommend APG Domestic Services who will be able to advise on any issues with your central heating in Preston.