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The unique travel hack that is guaranteed to help beat jet lag

<p dir="ltr">Experts have revealed how to beat jet lag on your next overseas holiday, and it all comes down to your modes of transport. </p> <p dir="ltr">Sleep researchers said it's good news for cruise lovers, as exposure to sea air and bright natural light improves sleep to cure the annoying condition quickly.</p> <p dir="ltr">Some experts say to avoid travelling by plane all together, and always opt for cruising holidays instead. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, if you have to travel to your cruise by plane, being on board is a great way to tackle the dreadful feeling, compared with holidaying on land, Panache Cruises said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Dr Lindsay Browning, expert at Trouble Sleeping said exposing yourself to bright lights at the right time after a long-haul flight is one of the most powerful things we can do to boost and help shift circadian rhythm, and being on a ship is the perfect place for that.</p> <p dir="ltr">"As a general rule, you want to get lots of bright light exposure during the daytime and avoid light at night," Browning said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"When travelling on a cruise ship, you will naturally get a lot of bright light exposure during the day, helping your circadian rhythm.”</p> <p dir="ltr">"Further, when travelling by ship you will have a cabin with a proper bed and curtain, enabling you to sleep at night when you want to."</p> <p dir="ltr">The company claimed research showed how prolonged exposure to sea air can improve blood oxygen levels, boost vitamin D, and improve breathing leading to higher-quality sleep, helping to rid travellers of pesky jet lag so they can enjoy their holidays. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Travel Tips

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Flight attendant reveals how to score a free upgrade

<p dir="ltr">A flight attendant has shared her number one trick for securing an upgrade on your next plane journey. </p> <p dir="ltr">American flight attendant Cierra Mistt revealed the one question you should ask at check-in to score an upgrade to first class, with the hack working almost every time.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mistt started her now-viral video by saying her hack to get a free upgrade was top secret. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Let’s look at the big picture. Everyone is flying right now, and no one is more excited about that than commercial airlines,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The majority of airlines are overbooking every single flight they have.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“It comes from the last month of me trying to get home and not even being able to get on standby because every single flight has been oversold,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I am not talking about one or two seats. I am talking about 10-30 seats that have been oversold.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mistt said this overselling of flights presents an opportunity to travellers.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If everyone does show up, including the extra passengers that were oversold their tickets, the airlines have no choice but to financially compensate,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">The flight attendant shared that airlines “normally start off with vouchers for $500 or something”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Normally they say a voucher but you can ask for it in cash,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Depending on the flight and how desperate they are, they will go up to, like three, four, five thousand dollars.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is where the free upgrades come in.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mistt said not only could you ask for a free upgrade in such circumstances, but you could “also ask for other incentives”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“For example, drinks, dinners, breakfast, even a hotel if you have to stay overnight until the next flight,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And, yes, you can also ask to be upgraded to first class.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Her video received more than a million views, with people praising the hack and sharing how it has worked for them. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I got upgraded to first class by doing this,” said one person. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: TikTok / Getty Images </em></p> <p> </p>

Travel Tips

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Days are getting shorter and colder. 6 tips for sticking to your fitness goal

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/juliana-s-oliveira-709434">Juliana S. Oliveira</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anne-tiedemann-409380">Anne Tiedemann</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cathie-sherrington-561141">Cathie Sherrington</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leanne-hassett-1497197">Leanne Hassett</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Daylight saving ends this weekend. The days are shorter and getting colder. It’s less appealing to cycle to work, walk after dinner, or wake up early to hit the gym. But we all know daily physical activity is essential for our health and wellbeing.</p> <p>Physical activity releases feel-good neurotransmitters in our brains, which help to alleviate <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/57/18/1203">stress, anxiety, and depression</a>. It also helps <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/physical-activity.htm#:%7E:text=Regular%20physical%20activity%20helps%20improve,depression%20and%20anxiety%2C%20and%20dementia.">prevent diseases</a> such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Regular physical activity can prolong life and improve overall quality of life.</p> <p>However, many of us find it difficult to achieve the <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/54/24/1451">recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity</a> each week. In fact, three out of ten Australians and half of Australians aged 65 and over are <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/physical-activity/physical-activity">inactive</a>.</p> <p>So, what can you do to stay motivated and keep moving regularly through the darker months? Here are some tips.</p> <h2>1. Nail those goals</h2> <p>Goals can provide us with a sense of purpose, meaning and direction. But just aiming to “get fit” is less likely to cut it than goals that are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.</p> <p><strong>Specific</strong> goals are based on an observable behaviour or activity, such as step count, yoga, or competing in an event.</p> <p><strong>Measurable</strong> goals can be tracked, so you can easily tell whether you have ticked them off.</p> <p><strong>Achievable</strong> goals are realistic and based on your current fitness and abilities. But they can and should still be challenging. If you’ve only ever run 5 kilometres, it won’t be realistic to aim for a half marathon in the next month. But you could aim for 10 kilometres.</p> <p><strong>Relevant</strong> goals hold personal meaning for you. Articulating why it’s important will help motivate you to do it.</p> <p><strong>Time-bound</strong> goals include a target date for achieving them. You can always revisit your deadline if you’re ahead of schedule or if it’s too unrealistic.</p> <p>An example of a SMART goal could be: “I will walk 10,000 steps every weekday within a month.” Then you can break it down into short-term goals to make it more achievable. If you currently walk 6,000 steps each day, you can increase steps by 1,000 every week to reach 10,000 by the end of the month.</p> <h2>2. Keep track</h2> <p>More than <a href="https://www.deloitte.com/au/en/Industries/tmt/blogs/digital-consumer-trends-who-is-purchasing-what-now.html">90% of Australians own a smartphone</a> and more than <a href="https://www.deloitte.com/au/en/Industries/telecom-media-entertainment/blogs/digital-consumer-trends-touch-less-healthier-wiser.html">two in ten own a fitness tracker or a smartwatch</a>. These devices can help you track your goals and activity, keep you accountable and increase your motivation.</p> <p>A 2021 systematic review suggests fitness trackers and smartphone apps <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/55/8/422">can assist people</a> to increase their step count by up to 2,000 steps per day. <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/54/20/1188">Our research</a> demonstrated fitness trackers can also be helpful in increasing physical activity among older people. If you don’t have a fitness tracker, you can buy low-cost pedometers or track your activity times using paper and pen.</p> <h2>3. Plan for success but prepare for barriers</h2> <p>Take some time to think about the potential barriers that could prevent you from being active and plan solutions to overcome them.</p> <p>For example, if the cost of physical activity is too high for you, try to find options that are free, such as walking or running. You can also consider free online programs or streaming videos.</p> <p>If you find it difficult to fit exercise into your busy schedule, try exercising early in the morning before you start your day and laying out your workout clothes the night before. You could consider joining a gym with flexible timetables. A good strategy is to try to fit physical activity into your daily routine, such as walking or cycling to work.</p> <p>If you are living with a chronic health condition or disability, consider seeking guidance from a health professional such as an <a href="https://www.essa.org.au/Public/SearchAEP.aspx?WebsiteKey=44cfee74-3fc3-444e-bb5f-77729c390872">exercise physiologist</a> or <a href="https://choose.physio/find-a-physio">physiotherapist</a>. Start slow and gradually increase your activity and find something you enjoy so you are more likely to keep doing it.</p> <h2>4. Team up with a workout friend</h2> <p>Physical activity can be more fun when you do it with someone else. Studies show <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167494322002953?via%253Dihub&amp;sa=D&amp;source=docs&amp;ust=1712015093947627&amp;usg=AOvVaw1XGQBMDMFspL5YrQtKo3h">working out with friends can be more motivating and enjoyable</a>. It can also help with accountability, as some people are more likely to show up when they have a workout partner. So, <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)60407-9/fulltext">find a friend</a> who supports your goal of being more active or maintaining your current activity levels.</p> <h2>5. Plan yourself a little treat</h2> <p>Make an appointment with yourself in your diary to exercise. Approach it as just as important as meeting a friend or colleague. One idea is to delay something you’d rather do and make it a reward for sticking to your activity appointment. If you really want to go out for coffee, do a hobby, or watch something, go for a walk first.</p> <p>Research shows <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41746-019-0164-3">incentives can dramatically increase physical activity levels</a>.</p> <h2>6. Find a coach</h2> <p>If you want more support, <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/51/19/1425">health coaching</a> might be an option.</p> <p>Trained professionals work one-on-one with people, sometimes via telehealth, to find out what’s reducing their motivation to make healthier choices, such as exercise. Then they employ behaviour change techniques to help them meet their health goals.</p> <p>Our recent research suggests health coaching can improve physical activity in <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/58/7/382">older people</a> and those with <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S183695532400002X">chronic pain</a>. In <a href="https://www.gethealthynsw.com.au/#:%7E:text=About%20the%20Get%20Healthy%20Service&amp;text=Delivered%20by%20NSW%20Health%2C%20the,and%20achieve%20your%20health%20goals">New South Wales</a>, <a href="https://lifeprogram.org.au/">Victoria</a> and <a href="https://www.myhealthforlife.com.au/">Queensland</a>, these sessions are government-subsidised or free.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226619/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/juliana-s-oliveira-709434">Juliana S. Oliveira</a>, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Physical Activity, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anne-tiedemann-409380">Anne Tiedemann</a>, Professor of Physical Activity and Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cathie-sherrington-561141">Cathie Sherrington</a>, Professor, Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, School of Public Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leanne-hassett-1497197">Leanne Hassett</a>, Associate Professor in Physiotherapy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/days-are-getting-shorter-and-colder-6-tips-for-sticking-to-your-fitness-goals-226619">original article</a>.</em></p>

Body

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Here’s why having chocolate can make you feel great or a bit sick – plus 4 tips for better eating

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/saman-khalesi-366871">Saman Khalesi</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p>Australians are <a href="https://www.retail.org.au/media/sweet-spending-boon-predicted-for-easter-retail">predicted</a> to spend around A$1.7 billion on chocolates, hot cross buns and other special foods this Easter season.</p> <p>Chocolate has a long history of production and consumption. It is made from cacao beans that go through processes including fermentation, drying, roasting and grounding. What is left is a rich and fatty liquor that is pressed to remove the fat (cocoa butter) and the cacao (or “cocoa”) powder which will then be mixed with different ingredients to produce dark, milk, white and other types of chocolates.</p> <p>There are several health benefits and potential problems that come in these sweet chocolatey packages.</p> <h2>The good news</h2> <p>Cacao beans contain <a href="https://foodstruct.com/food/cocoa-bean">minerals</a> like iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus and some vitamins. They are also rich in beneficial chemicals called <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23150750/">polyphenols</a>.</p> <p>These are great antioxidants, with the potential to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5465250/">improve heart health</a>, increase <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25164923/">nitric oxide</a> (which dilates blood vessels) and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3488419/">reduce blood pressure</a>, provide food for gut microbiota and <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/7/1908">promote gut health</a>, boost the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5465250/">immune system</a> and reduce inflammation.</p> <p>However, the concentration of polyphenols in the chocolate we eat depends largely on the cocoa solid amounts used in the final product.</p> <p>In general terms, the darker the chocolate, the more cocoa solids, minerals and polyphenols it has. For example, dark chocolates may have around <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10942912.2011.614984">seven times more polyphenols</a> compared to white chocolates and <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10942912.2011.614984">three times more polyphenols</a> compared to milk chocolates.</p> <h2>But also some bad news</h2> <p>Unfortunately, the <a href="https://theconversation.com/treat-or-treatment-chocolate-is-good-but-cocoa-is-better-for-your-heart-3084">health benefits of cocoa solids</a> are easily offset by the high sugar and fat content of modern-day chocolates. For example, milk and white chocolate eggs are on average 50% sugar, 40% fat (mostly saturated fats) – which means a lot of added kilojoules (calories).</p> <p>Also, there may be some side effects that come with ingesting chocolate.</p> <p>Cocoa beans include a compound called theobromine. While it has the anti-inflammatory properties responsible for some of the health benefits of chocolate, it is also a mild brain stimulant that acts in a similar way to caffeine. The mood boost it offers may also be partly responsible for how much we <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2015.00030/full?crsi=662496658&amp;cicada_org_src=healthwebmagazine.com&amp;cicada_org_mdm=direct">like chocolate</a>. Dark chocolate has higher theobromine compared to milk and white chocolate.</p> <p>But accordingly, overindulging in chocolate (and therefore theobromine) may lead to feeling restless, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3672386/">headaches</a> and nausea.</p> <h2>What else is in your chocolate?</h2> <p>Milk and dairy-based chocolates may also cause stomach upset, abdominal pain and bloating in people with <a href="https://dietitiansaustralia.org.au/health-advice/lactose-intolerance">lactose intolerance</a>. This happens when we don’t produce enough lactase enzymes to digest milk sugar (lactose).</p> <p>People with lactose intolerance can usually tolerate up to 6 grams of lactose without showing symptoms. Milk chocolate can have around <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310258/">3 grams of lactose</a> per 40 grams (the size of a standard chocolate bar). So two chocolate bars (or the equivalent in milk chocolate eggs or bunnies) may be enough to cause symptoms.</p> <p>It’s worth noting that lactase enzyme activity dramatically declines as we age, with the highest activity in newborns and children. So lactose sensitivity or intolerance may not be such an issue for your kids and your symptoms may increase over time. Genetics also plays a major role in how sensitive people are to lactose.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6815241/">Allergic reactions</a> to chocolate are usually due to the added ingredients or cross-contamination with potential allergens such as nuts, milk, soy, and some sweeteners used in the production of chocolate.</p> <p>Symptoms can be mild (acne, rashes and stomach pain) or more severe (swelling of the throat and tongue and shortness of breath).</p> <p>If you or your family members have known allergic reactions, make sure you read the label before indulging – especially in a whole block or basket of the stuff. And if you or your family members do experience symptoms of an allergic reaction after eating chocolate, <a href="https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/allergic-reactions-emergency-first-aid">seek medical attention</a> immediately.</p> <h2>4 take home tips</h2> <p>So, if you are like me and have a weakness for chocolate there are a few things you can do to make the experience a good one.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/202848/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <ol> <li>keep an eye out for the darker chocolate varieties with higher cocoa solids. You may notice a percentage on labelling, which refers to how much of its weight is from cocoa beans. In general, the higher this percentage, the lower the sugar. White chocolate has almost no cocoa solid, and mostly cocoa butter, sugar and other ingredients. Dark chocolate has 50–100% cocoa beans, and less sugar. Aim for at least 70% cocoa</li> <li>read the fine print for additives and possible cross-contamination, especially if allergies might be an issue</li> <li>the ingredients list and nutrition information panel should tell you all about the chocolate you choosing. Go for varieties with lower sugar and less saturated fat. Nuts, seeds and dried fruits are better ingredients to have in your chocolate than sugar, creme, syrup, and caramel</li> <li>finally, treat yourself – but keep the amount you have within sensible limits!</li> </ol> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/saman-khalesi-366871">Saman Khalesi</a>, Postdoctoral Fellow of the National Heart Foundation &amp; Senior Lecturer and Discipline Lead in Nutrition, School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/heres-why-having-chocolate-can-make-you-feel-great-or-a-bit-sick-plus-4-tips-for-better-eating-202848">original article</a>.</em></p>

Food & Wine

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Why you should travel solo this summer

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/claire-mccamley-446927">Claire McCamley</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-huddersfield-1226">University of Huddersfield</a></em></p> <p>When you think about booking a summer holiday, you might think of trips with partners, friends or family. The idea of going on holiday alone can be daunting, or even unappealing. It raises all kinds of questions – who will you talk to? Who will you eat with? Will you be safe?</p> <p>There has long been a <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0267257X.2015.1073170?journalCode=rjmm20">stigma against solo consumption</a>. Societal norms encourage us to be with someone – leisure experiences are billed as something to <a href="https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/IJCHM-06-2019-0584/full/pdf?title=dining-alone-improving-the-experience-of-solo-restaurant-goers">share with others</a>. There may also be a level of guilt or self-indulgence associated with solo travel, feeling as if you are shirking responsibility or abandoning time with family.</p> <p>An increase in <a href="https://www.euromonitor.com/article/single-person-households-to-record-128-percent-growth-by-2030">single-person households</a>, however, means the hospitality industry is now serving solo consumers in addition to families and couples. The continuously <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/adigaskell/2020/05/11/is-a-blurred-work-life-balance-the-new-normal/?sh=5c9db6341813">blurred line</a> between work and play, particularly for Millennials and younger generations, makes it easier to work remotely or travel as part of our jobs. We are more transient than ever, and have more opportunities to work and travel alone without feeling completely disconnected from the rest of our lives.</p> <p>In recent years, people have been <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/comment/whats-behind-the-rise-in-solo-travel/">increasingly</a> travelling alone – including younger vacationers. They also share their experiences to a large audience on social media – the hashtag #SoloTravel has over 7 million posts associated with it on Instagram. Solo travellers are taking part in the growing <a href="https://www.futuresplatform.com/blog/solo-economy-new-consumption-patterns">solo economy</a> – new products and services targeting the lone consumer.</p> <p>Hotels, <a href="https://www.ncl.com/uk/en/freestyle-cruise/solo-cruising">cruises</a>, restaurants, tourism <a href="https://www.flashpack.com/">companies</a> and festivals are showing how design, staff and technology can be tailored to accommodate – and even encourage – solo consumption in travel. <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/14705931211017184">Our research</a> into the experience of solo consumers in coffee shops offers insight into how solo consumption can be as pleasurable and fulfilling as going with a partner or friend. Through <a href="https://www.research.ucsb.edu/sites/default/files/RD/docs/FREEWRITING-by-Peter-Elbow.pdf">freewriting</a> exercises, these consumers shared their own experiences. Their words offer some reasons you should try it too.</p> <h2>Be together, alone</h2> <p>Our research participants highlighted key factors that help them enjoy their solo experience – high seats and window views allowing them to sit back and observe others’ lives without any direct interaction or connection. You don’t need to arrive with others to feel part of a social environment. Alone in a crowded square or on a busy beach, the proximity of other people and their conversations can be a source of comfort, distraction or even entertainment.</p> <blockquote> <p>The seat is important -– I like the window especially a stool and “shelf” table facing out … I see people, imagine their lives, see cars and life pass by. I watch other customers, I watch the street out the window, the cliché of “watching the world pass by”. The setting, context and environment of the café are important to that moment of pause.</p> </blockquote> <h2>Take time for yourself</h2> <p>Being alone can be a <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/14705931211017184">therapeutic experience</a>, a time to process thoughts, feelings and emotions and leave you ready to tackle the world again. Perhaps take time to write, draw or practice another creative activity in your own time. Bask in your own thoughts without feeling pressure to please anyone else or force a conversation.</p> <blockquote> <p>Sitting alone with my thoughts can be a comforting experience; picking a seat, getting comfy…I can find silence with my thoughts and don’t feel any pressure to act for anybody or involve myself in a conversation that doesn’t interest me.</p> </blockquote> <h2>Get out of your comfort zone</h2> <p>Being able to do your own thing, without needing to consider others can be relaxing and can also give you the opportunity to do something you’ve never done before, free of judgement. You might want to go to some sort of class, shop or have a complete chill-out day.</p> <p>Findings from our research indicate that time spent doing things alone can relieve some of the pressures that companions can bring. Alone time gives you the space to experience things in your own time and take in your surroundings without distraction. In doing this, you may find yourself in new situations, away from your comfort zone – an energising and enthralling experience.</p> <h2>Embrace solo traveller culture</h2> <p>Solo travellers have their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278431921002516">own way of doing things</a>, they have a shared behaviour and process and often become a collective in themselves. They acknowledge the process of travelling alone and respect others doing the same, and may even seek out spaces to be alone, together. Solo travellers can engage in a shared experience and dialogue while maintaining their own individualism – helping each other when needed, but also leave one another alone.</p> <blockquote> <p>We search for places where we feel we fit … We are happy to smile at one another. We don’t need to chat to engage. We are happy on our own with a coffee. I am amongst my tribe.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/184000/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> </blockquote> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/claire-mccamley-446927"><em>Claire McCamley</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-huddersfield-1226">University of Huddersfield</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-you-should-travel-solo-this-summer-184000">original article</a>.</em></p>

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How long does menopause last? 5 tips for navigating uncertain times

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yvonne-middlewick-1395795">Yvonne Middlewick</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p>Around half of the world’s population are women or people who menstruate – yet the way their body works can be a mystery, even to them.</p> <p>Most women will experience periods roughly every month, many will go through childbirth and those who live into midlife will experience menopause.</p> <p>While menopause is a significant time of change, it isn’t talked about much, other than as a punchline. This may contribute to keeping it a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/membership/2019/sep/21/breaking-the-menopause-taboo-there-are-vital-stories-we-should-continue-to-pursue">taboo topic</a>.</p> <p>So, what happens during menopause? How do you know when it is happening to you? And – the thing most women want to know – how long will it last?</p> <h2>What is menopause?</h2> <p>Menopause is <a href="https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-menopause">defined</a> as the permanent cessation of menstruation, which is medically determined to be one year after the final menstrual period. After this time women are considered to be postmenopausal.</p> <p>The <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26598775/">average age</a> of “natural menopause” (that is not caused by a medical condition, treatment or surgery) is considered to be around 51 years.</p> <p>However, natural menopause does not occur suddenly. <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Riitta-Luoto/publication/46425690_Prevalence_of_menopause_symptoms_and_their_association_with_lifestyle_among_Finnish_middle-aged_women/links/5c5704ac458515a4c7553c7b/Prevalence-of-menopause-symptoms-and-their-association-with-lifestyle-among-Finnish-middle-aged-women.pdf">Changes can begin</a> a number of years before periods stop and most often occur in a woman’s 40s but they can be earlier. Changes <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25686030/">can continue</a> for 10 years or more after periods have stopped.</p> <p>Using hormones such as the oral contraceptive pill or hormone intrauterine devices may make it more <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31934948/">difficult to determine</a> when changes start.</p> <p>Menopause that occurs <a href="https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/early-or-premature-menopause#:%7E:text=Menopause%20that%20happens%20before%20age,to%20come%20earlier%20than%20usual.">before 45</a> is called “early menopause”, while menopause before 40 is called “premature menopause”.</p> <h2>What about perimenopause?</h2> <p>Various <a href="https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/glossary-of-terms">terms</a> are used to describe this period of change, including “menopause” or “the menopause”, “menopausal transition”, “perimenopause” or “<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12188398/">climacteric</a>”.</p> <p>These terms tend to refer to the period before and after the final menstrual period, when changes are considered to be related to menopause.</p> <p>The difficulty with the definition of menopause is it can only be decided retrospectively. Yet women can experience changes many years before their periods stop (a lead up usually called “perimenopause”). Also, any <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/sdfe/pdf/download/eid/1-s2.0-S0889854518300627/first-page-pdf">changes noticed</a> may not be associated with menopause (because people might not be aware of what to expect) or changes may be associated with a combination of factors such as stress, being busy or other health issues.</p> <h2>So, what is going on?</h2> <p>Through a feminist lens, menopause can be seen as a <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/354652248_The_volcano_within_a_study_of_women's_lived_experience_of_the_journey_through_natural_menopause">complex and diverse experience</a>, influenced by biological, psychological, social and cultural aspects of women’s lives.</p> <p>However, it is usually viewed from the biomedical perspective. This sees it as a biological event, marked by the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091302220300418">decline</a> in ovarian hormone levels leading to a reduction in reproductive function.</p> <p>The female reproductive system operates because of a finely tuned balance of hormones managed by the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6466056/#:%7E:text=The%20hypothalamic%2Dpituitary%2Dovarian%20(HPO)%20axis%20must%20be,priming%20the%20endometrium%20for%20implantation.">hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis</a>. International <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3340903/">experts</a> have developed a staging system for female reproductive ageing, with seven stages from “early reproductive” years to “late postmenopause”.</p> <p>However, female reproductive hormones do not just affect the reproductive system but <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091302220300418">other aspects</a> of the body’s function. These include the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26007613/">neurological system</a>, which is linked to hot flushes and night sweats and disrupted sleep. Hormones may also affect the <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nrdp20154">heart and body’s blood circulation</a>, bone health and potentially the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091302220300418">immune system</a>.</p> <p>Menopausal hormone changes may <a href="https://www.thewomens.org.au/health-information/menopause-information/menopause-symptoms/">cause</a> hot flushes, night/cold sweats, mood swings, sleep disruption and tiredness, vaginal dryness.</p> <p>Medical confirmation of menopausal changes in women over 45 years is based on two biological indicators: vasomotor symptoms (those hot flushes and night sweats again) and an <a href="https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/early-or-premature-menopause#:%7E:text=Menopause%20that%20happens%20before%20age,to%20come%20earlier%20than%20usual.">irregular menstrual cycle</a>.</p> <p>In early perimenopause the changes to the menstrual cycle may be subtle. Women may not recognise early indicators, unless they keep a record and know what to watch for.</p> <h2>How long does it last?</h2> <p>The body demonstrates an amazing ability to change over a lifetime. In a similar way to adolescence where long-lasting changes occur, the outcome of menopause is also change.</p> <p>Research suggests it is difficult to give an exact time frame for how long menopausal changes occur – the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085137/">average</a> is between four and eight years.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085137/">Penn Ovarian Ageing Study</a> found 79% of the 259 participants experienced hot flushes starting before the age of 50, most commonly between 45 and 49 years of age.</p> <p>A later report on the same study found one third of women studied experienced <a href="https://womensmidlifehealthjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40695-016-0014-2">moderate to severe hot flushes</a> more than ten years after their periods had stopped. A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Abstract/2017/03000/Cultural_issues_in_menopause__an_exploratory.11.aspx">2017 study</a> found a small number of women continued to experience hot flushes and other symptoms into their 70s.</p> <p>So overall, the research cannot offer a specific window for perimenopause, and menopause does not appear to mark the end of changes for everyone.</p> <h2>5 tips for uncertain times</h2> <p>Shifts and changes can be recognised early by developing knowledge, paying attention to changes to our bodies and talking about menopause and perimenopause more openly.</p> <p>Here are five tips for moving from uncertainty to certainty:</p> <p><strong>1.</strong> talk to people and find out as much information as you can. The experiences of mothers and sisters may help, for some women there are familial similarities</p> <p><strong>2.</strong> notice any changes to your body and make a note of them, this will help you recognise changes earlier. There are <a href="https://www.redonline.co.uk/wellbeing/a36980118/menopause-apps/">menopause tracking apps</a> available</p> <p><strong>3.</strong> keep a note of your menstrual cycle: start date, duration, flow and note any changes. Again, an app might help</p> <p><strong>4.</strong> if you are worried, seek advice from a GP or nurse that specialises in women’s health. They may suggest ways to help with symptoms or refer to a specialist</p> <p><strong>5.</strong> remember changes are the indicator to pay attention to, not time or your age.</p> <p>Menopause is a natural process and although we have focused here on the time frame and “symptoms”, it can also be a time of freedom (particularly from periods!), reflection and a time to focus on yourself.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/195211/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lhosPUwWhfI?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Women speak about their experiences of menopause.</span></figcaption></figure> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yvonne-middlewick-1395795">Yvonne Middlewick</a>, Nurse &amp; Lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-long-does-menopause-last-5-tips-for-navigating-uncertain-times-195211">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Five tips for developing and managing your budget – even in tough economic times

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/oluwabunmi-adejumo-1370664">Oluwabunmi Adejumo</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/obafemi-awolowo-university-2843">Obafemi Awolowo University</a></em></p> <p>There’s nothing quite like a new year to prompt us to take stock of our lives, our health, our goals – and our finances. Many people will start a new year by contemplating how best to budget, plan and save. This is always a good set of aims, but it’s especially important in the inflation-prone and unpredictable economies we’re seeing <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/268225/countries-with-the-highest-inflation-rate/">all over Africa and the world</a>.</p> <p>Budgeting is especially key. It is the most effective method to <a href="https://www.thebalancemoney.com/how-to-make-a-budget-1289587">monitor income and expenditure</a>. <a href="https://www.uslendingcompany.com/blog/key-differences-in-writing-a-household-budget-vs-a-personal-budget/">Personal budgets</a> can help you to monitor your resources in pursuit of larger financial goals. Budgeting also offers <a href="https://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/v46/acr_vol46_2411998.pdf">more opportunities</a> to save money, reduce your debts and live a comfortable life. It can even <a href="https://prucomm.ac.uk/assets/uploads/blog/2013/04/Personal-Budgets-review-of-evidence_FINAL-REPORT.pdf">improve your mental health</a>.</p> <p>But where should you start? What questions do you need to answer in creating a budget? Here are some tips that I’ve learned – not just as an economist, but as a research cost analyst and someone who keeps a budget too.</p> <h2>1. Understand the broader economic conditions</h2> <p>It is imperative that individuals keep themselves aware and up-to-date on the realities of their country’s economic landscape. You don’t have to be a professional economist, but keep an eye on new developments like free business registration, small business development funds and printing of new money notes. What is the current exchange rate? What’s the political landscape and what international factors, like the price of crude oil, are at play? You should also watch the inflation rate and have a sense of unemployment trends.</p> <p>This economic awareness will prepare you to draft your own budget and you’ll have a sense of when external factors mean it’s time to revisit your plans.</p> <h2>2. Review your income sources</h2> <p>The ability to earn income is critical to sustaining livelihoods. Having a definite source of income is the bedrock of budgeting.</p> <p>Some important questions you should ask about your income – and how you might budget with it – include:</p> <ul> <li>What is my current income?</li> <li>What do I use my income for?</li> <li>Am I able to save, given my current income?</li> <li>What proportion of my income do I save and what proportion do I spend?</li> <li>Do I have the capacity to earn more than this?</li> <li>How can I improve my income?</li> </ul> <p>Your answers can help you to identify gaps or untapped potential. Those with irregular or unpredictable income should factor in the element of time-gap in their income, for effective budgeting. Time gap is when they are not earning income. And everyone should make allowance in their budgets for uncertainties like health issues, social engagements, inflation, unemployment, recession and price shocks.</p> <h2>3. Appraise your expenses</h2> <p>Expenses can be broadly categorised into “variable” and “fixed”.</p> <p>Fixed expenses recur within a short period: housing, food, transport, medical costs, electricity, utilities, toiletries and clothing. Variable expenses are more long-term and irregular, such as investment in property or interest-yielding assets, and the purchase of machinery.</p> <p>The main essence of revising our expenses is to analyse and possibly improve our spending habits. In reviewing our expenses, we can consider issues such as:</p> <ul> <li>What is the proportion of consumption-savings ratio from my income? This is how much do I spend compared to how much I save.</li> <li>What are my regular expenses?</li> <li>What are my fixed, capital or investment expenses?</li> <li>What are my extraordinary expenses that need modification?</li> <li>Have there been emergency or extraordinary expenses?</li> </ul> <p>A careful response to the issues raised above offers an occasion to re-evaluate the pattern and direction of our expenses. For instance, overspending, unplanned or extraordinary expenses can be identified. This can lead to an optimal, efficient reallocation of available resources.</p> <h2>4. Stabilise your finances through savings</h2> <p>Savings have been <a href="https://klinglercpa.com/bedrock-principles-for-saving-money/">described</a> as a financial stabiliser, given their potential to cater for urgent needs and create opportunities for investments.</p> <p>Of course, savings have more value when they grow faster than the rate of inflation. Inflation erodes the value of savings. For instance, an amount of 300,000 naira (US$676) saved to purchase an autorickshaw today may be impossible in two months’ time with an inflation rate of 10% when the tricycle price rises to 330,000 naira (US$744). The reverse is the case when there is deflation.</p> <p>Therefore, it is advisable to improve the value of savings through investments in interest-yielding assets such as stocks, shares, bonds, microfinance and production.</p> <p>That’s not to say it’s always easy to save. Many income earners spend as they go, not seeing savings as part of their budgets. Harsh economic realities can also make it difficult – sometimes seemingly impossible – to save. But it’s not impossible: savings can be made in small amounts, through a daily, weekly or monthly contribution to collections, cooperative schemes or microfinance affiliations. For instance, a point of sale business in Nigeria can permit a daily contribution of 500 naira (US$1.13) over 25 work days, giving an average saving of 12,500 naira (US$28.18) per month.</p> <p>The Point-of-Sale business started in Nigeria in 2013 when the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced the agent banking system. A POS agent operates and processes transactions through a POS service provider. Providers of such services include banks, microfinance banks and fintech companies.</p> <h2>5. Run a flexible budget</h2> <p>Once your budget is created, remember that it’s not set in stone. It should be flexible if anything changes in your life. For instance, an amount saved to buy a car can be invested in a promising venture buying shares through public offerings or private placements in multinational organisations like Nestle or Unilever.</p> <p>Also, health emergencies or career advancement programmes can require taking some money out of our savings.</p> <p>In all, budgeting should be flexible enough to incorporate exigencies, especially when catering for the current situation will culminate into a greater good.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/195590/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/oluwabunmi-adejumo-1370664">Oluwabunmi Adejumo</a>, Lecturer/Researcher, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/obafemi-awolowo-university-2843">Obafemi Awolowo University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/five-tips-for-developing-and-managing-your-budget-even-in-tough-economic-times-195590">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Flight attendant reveals why you should never use the toilet paper on a plane

<p dir="ltr">A flight attendant has revealed the gross reason why you should never use the toilet paper on a plane journey. </p> <p dir="ltr">The seasoned cabin crew member, an American woman named Cheryl, shared the three things she would never do on a plane after seeing what really goes on behind closed doors on an aircraft. </p> <p dir="ltr">Her first tip for any traveller was not to use the toilet paper in a plane bathroom. </p> <p dir="ltr">Sharing her tips in a TikTok video, she wrote, "If you examine the toilet paper, I promise you're going to see water droplets on it, or what you think are water droplets."</p> <p dir="ltr">"I don't think we can trust most men to make it in the toilet on a normal day, let alone flying at 36,000 feet with turbulence."</p> <p dir="ltr">To combat this, the flight attendant recommends bringing a travel pack of tissues in your hand luggage to use instead. </p> <p dir="ltr">She also warned her viewers against wearing shorts on their next flight.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I would never wear shorts on a plane. You're going to freeze to death," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Cheryl pointed out another valid reason to opt for long pants on a flight, stating, "Say we have an evacuation. You have to go down the slide. Your butt cheeks are going to be sizzled off.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Lastly, Cheryl urged travellers to never book less than a three-hour connection between flights.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Delays can happen for a million and one reasons. The likelihood that you're going to miss your connection is pretty high if you're booking shorter than three hours," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

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Top tips for happy and healthy eyes this Autumn

<p dir="ltr">As the season changes, so do our healthcare needs as many people struggle with irritating allergies. </p> <p dir="ltr">With cooler temperatures, dry air and an increase in pollen often being synonymous with autumn and spring, for many people, leaving the house means having irritated eyes. </p> <p dir="ltr">Luckily, leading Ophthalmologist, Dr. Jacqueline Beltz has shared her essential tips for eye care during autumn with OverSixty, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the change of seasons without jeopardising your vision. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>1. Keep your sunglasses handy</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While the sun is usually not as intense in autumn as it is during summer, Dr Beltz says that using sunglasses can benefit your eyes in many ways. </p> <p dir="ltr">“ Not only do they shield your eyes from harmful UV rays, but they also guard against wind and debris,” she said. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>2. Increase your lubricant eye drops</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Dr Beltz said, “The drop in temperature and the dryer air can contribute to discomfort and dryness in your eyes, so consider increasing the use of lubricant eye drops to keep your eyes moist and comfortable.”</p> <p dir="ltr">By keeping up your eye drops in autumn, you can prevent further damage to your eyes in the long run. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>3. Clean your eyelashes daily</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">According to Dr Beltz, keeping up with good health and hygiene along the eyelid margins is essential, especially during the autumn months. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Cleanse your lashes daily and use a warm compress to optimise the quality of your tear film. This helps in preventing irritation and supports overall eye health.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>4. Consider a humidifier</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">To ensure a more comfortable environment for your eyes, Dr Beltz recommends adding moisture to the air can help alleviate dry eyes.</p> <p dir="ltr">She said, “Combat the dry indoor air by using a humidifier in your room, especially while you sleep.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>5. Be proactive with allergies</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">If you are prone to allergies, Dr Beltz said it's best to always be prepared ahead of time. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Autumn allergies are a reality, with triggers like pollen, mould, and dust prevalent during this season,” she said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“If you experience red, itchy, or swollen eyes, consider antihistamine eye drops. Keep your hands clean and avoid rubbing your eyes.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>6. Revitalise your eye makeup</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While replacing your eye makeup is important all year around, the addition of allergens makes it even more important to Change mascara and non-cleanable products like liquid eyeliner at least every three months. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Especially if you have sensitive eyes, makeup products can harbour bacteria, leading to increased eye irritation.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Refreshing your eye makeup products to options that are designed to be better suited for dry eyes or eye sensitivity.”</p> <p dir="ltr">If you are <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/beauty-style/embracing-the-art-of-beauty-without-compromise">prone to sensitive eyes</a>, consider trying the OKKIYO <a href="https://www.okkiyo.com/products/protect-and-preserve-mascara#xd_co_f=NzdiNzdlNTctNTA1MS00NTBkLWE1MGEtNjRkMGE2OTI1N2Vj~">Prioriteyes Mascara</a>, which was developed by Dr Beltz to prioritise both style and eye health.</p> <p dir="ltr">While these tips for eye health can seem simple and seemingly unimportant, Dr Beltz assures that by following these tips, you will make a world of difference for your eye health overall. </p> <p dir="ltr">She said, “Implementing these simple tips can make a significant difference in keeping your eyes comfortable and vibrant throughout the season.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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After a lifetime studying superannuation, here are 5 things I wish I knew earlier

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-thorp-214">Susan Thorp</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Amassing the wealth needed to support retirement by regular saving is a monumental test of personal planning and discipline. Fortunately for most Australian workers, the superannuation system can help.</p> <p>Superannuation uses the carrot of tax incentives, and the sticks of compulsion and limited access, to make us save for retirement.</p> <p>There are benefits to paying timely attention to your super early in your working life to get the most from this publicly mandated form of financial self-discipline.</p> <p>I’ve been researching and thinking about superannuation for most of my career. Here’s what I wish I knew at the beginning of my working life.</p> <h2>1. Check you’re actually getting paid super</h2> <p>First, make sure you are getting your dues.</p> <p>If you are working, your employer must contribute <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/businesses-and-organisations/super-for-employers/paying-super-contributions/how-much-super-to-pay">11% of your earnings</a> into your superannuation account. By July 2025 the rate will increase to 12%.</p> <p>This mandatory payment (the “<a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/tax-rates-and-codes/key-superannuation-rates-and-thresholds/super-guarantee">superannuation guarantee</a>”) may look like yet another tax but it is an important part of your earnings (would you take an 11% pay cut?).</p> <p>It is worth checking on, and worth <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/calculators-and-tools/super-report-unpaid-super-contributions-from-my-employer">reporting</a> if it is not being paid.</p> <p>The Australian Tax Office <a href="https://oia.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/posts/2023/05/Impact%20Analysis%20-%20Unpaid%20Superannuation%20Guarantee%20package.pdf">estimates</a> there is a gap between the superannuation employers should pay and what they do pay of around 5% (or $A3.3 billion) every year.</p> <p>Failing to pay is <a href="https://oia.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/posts/2023/05/Impact%20Analysis%20-%20Unpaid%20Superannuation%20Guarantee%20package.pdf">more common</a> among the accommodation, food service and construction industries, as well as small businesses.</p> <p>Don’t take your payslip at face value; cross-check your super account balance and the annual statement from your fund.</p> <h2>2. Have just one super account</h2> <p>Don’t make personal donations to the finance sector by having more than one superannuation account.</p> <p>Two super accounts mean you are donating unnecessary administration fees, possibly redundant insurance premiums and suffering two times the confusion to manage your accounts.</p> <p>The superannuation sector does not need your charity. If you have more than one super account, please consolidate them into just one today. You can do that <a href="https://moneysmart.gov.au/how-super-works/consolidating-super-funds">relatively easily</a>.</p> <h2>3. Be patient, and appreciate the power of compound interest</h2> <p>If you’re young now, retirement may feel a very distant problem not worth worrying about until later. But in a few decades you’re probably going to appreciate the way superannuation works.</p> <p>As a person closing in on retirement, I admit I had no idea in my 20s how much my future, and the futures of those close to me, would depend on my superannuation savings.</p> <p>Now I get it! <a href="https://www.nber.org/papers/w27459">Research</a> <a href="https://economics.mit.edu/sites/default/files/publications/pandp.20221022.pdf">shows</a> the strict rules preventing us from withdrawing superannuation earlier are definitely costly to some people in preventing them from spending on things they really need. For many, however, it stops them spending on things that, in retrospect, they would rate as less important.</p> <p>But each dollar we contribute in our 30s is worth around three times the dollars we contribute in our 50s. This is because of the advantages of time and <a href="https://moneysmart.gov.au/saving/compound-interest">compound interest</a> (which is where you earn interest not just on the money initially invested, but on the interest as well; it’s where you earn “interest on your interest”).</p> <p>For some, adding extra “voluntary” savings can build up retirement savings as a buffer against the periods of unemployment, disability or carer’s leave that most of us experience at some stage.</p> <h2>4. Count your blessings</h2> <p>If you are building superannuation savings, try to remember you’re among the lucky ones.</p> <p>The benefits of super aren’t available to those who can’t work much (or at all). They face a more precarious reliance on public safety nets, like the Age Pension.</p> <p>So aim to maintain your earning capacity, and pay particular attention to staying employable if you take breaks from work.</p> <p>What’s more, superannuation savings are invested by (usually) skilled professionals at rates of return hard for individual investors to achieve outside the system.</p> <p>Many larger superannuation funds offer members types of investments – such as infrastructure projects and commodities – that retail investors can’t access.</p> <p>The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) also <a href="https://www.apra.gov.au/industries/superannuation">checks</a> on large funds’ investment strategies and performance.</p> <h2>5. Tough decisions lie ahead</h2> <p>The really hard work is ahead of you. The saving or “accumulation” phase of superannuation is mainly automatic for most workers. Even a series of non-decisions (defaults) will usually achieve a satisfactory outcome. A little intelligent activity will do even better.</p> <p>However, at retirement we face the challenge of making that accumulated wealth cover our needs and wants over an uncertain number of remaining years. We also face variable returns on investments, a likely need for aged care and, in many cases, declining cognitive capacity.</p> <p>It’s helpful to frame your early thinking about superannuation as a means to support these critical decades of consumption in later life.</p> <p>At any age, when we review our financial management and think about what we wish we had known in the past, we should be realistic. Careful and conscientious people still make mistakes, procrastinate and suffer from bad luck. So if your super isn’t where you had hoped it would be by now, don’t beat yourself up about it. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/217922/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-thorp-214">Susan Thorp</a>, Professor of Finance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/after-a-lifetime-studying-superannuation-here-are-5-things-i-wish-i-knew-earlier-217922">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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14 personal finance tips you were never taught – but need to know

<p><strong>Take a day to think about large purchases to avoid impulse buys</strong></p> <p>“Delaying your purchases for a day gives you time to think about whether or not you really need the items, and it curbs regrettable impulse buys,” advises Marc Diana, CEO of MoneyTips.</p> <p>“Sale items may be an exception to this rule, but even then, question how badly you need the item compared to saving or investing the money you would use to purchase it. When times are tough, and you’re cutting expenses, would you rather have a rarely worn $300 pair of shoes or $300 cash?”</p> <p><strong>Budgets are freeing, not constricting</strong></p> <p>Says financial educator Tiffany Aliche, “Keeping a budget allows you to say yes to your goals in a strategic way. If you have a budget, you can save for the holiday, house or car you want to get. You can look at it as ‘No dining out,’ but I see it as ‘Yes to a trip to Paris.’ A budget is not a NO plan, but a YES plan with actual steps towards achieving your goals.”</p> <p><strong>Budget with the 50/20/30 rule</strong></p> <p>Lynn Toomey, co-founder of Your Retirement Advisor, suggests following this easy budgeting rule:</p> <p>Use 50 per cent of your income for non-discretionary necessities like food, rent/house payment, utilities, and transportation.</p> <p>Put aside 20 per cent of your income for an emergency fund (three to six months’ salary is a good target), retirement, savings, and to pay off any debts.</p> <p>Use 30 per cent of your income for discretionary (non-essential) spending such as entertainment, holidays and gifts.</p> <p><strong>Penny-pinching is not the road to wealth</strong></p> <p>Spending less doesn’t mean you’ll have more. Saving is a good way to stabilise your finances, but you still need to invest. “Pretend there are two islands,” advises Aliche, who is also known as The Budgetnista: “Financially Stuck Island and Wealthy Island.”</p> <p>She says that your savings can be like a car – you can’t drive off Financially Stuck Island without a bridge. Investing is the bridge to financial success. “To get from one island to another, you need to get in your savings car and drive it over your investment bridge.”</p> <p><strong>It’s OK to put yourself before your kids</strong></p> <p>Many people want their kids to go to university, says Aliche, “but it’s more important for you to save enough for retirement. Because the best gift you can give your child is not a free ride to school, but rather not to be a financial burden on them when it’s time to start their own family. Kids can get student loans; no one is going to lend you money without collateral when you’re retired.”</p> <p><strong>Financial advisors aren’t only for wealthy people</strong></p> <p>Millions of people have trillions invested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other stock exchange investments, but just because you can easily make trades yourself doesn’t mean you should. “Why not do what you do best to earn money and let a trained professional invest it for you?” asks Brian Saranovitz, president of Your Retirement Advisor. “A recent Vanguard Investments study indicated that integrating proper retirement strategies can add as much as 3 per cent efficient return to a retirement portfolio.”</p> <p>Adds Aliche, “You need to purposefully seek out knowledge. If you break a leg, you know that you need to go to a doctor. With personal finance, people have got the notion that they could just fix it themselves. When it comes to investing, don’t be afraid to seek professional help.”</p> <p><strong>Get a clear picture of yourself at 80</strong></p> <p>Barring tragedy, you will live to a ripe, old age. Aliche recommends naming your 80-year-old image of yourself. “Mine is Wanda. I imagine Wanda sitting on the front steps in her yard. People feel disconnected from their older self. The more you can picture her, the better. I don’t want to see her mopping floors at 80. When I’m making a decision, I think, ‘How will this affect Wanda?’ If I dip into my retirement funds to buy an expensive car, that’s going to hurt Wanda.”</p> <p>If it’s easier, pretend you’re living with your grandfather or grandmother. “You’re not going to tell Granny, ‘You have to go to work. We need the money,’” she says.</p> <p><strong>You can never have too much retirement savings</strong></p> <p>Says Lynn Toomey, co-founder of Your Retirement Advisor, “Life is good. Retirement is better, if you are prepared.” She points out that retirement is laden with potential costs, such as healthcare, longevity, market volatility and inflation.</p> <p>“Even if you think you’re saving enough and have assets, it still may not be enough. The earlier you start saving and investing, the longer compound interest can work its magic to help you achieve a successful retirement.”</p> <p><strong>Don’t blow your tax refund</strong></p> <p>“What are you planning on doing with your tax refund?” asks financial advisor Mike Zaino. “If you’re like most people, the world of instant gratification is beckoning. It could be extremely damaging to your retirement account, however, especially given the time value of money and what Albert Einstein called ‘The eighth wonder of the world” – compound interest.”</p> <p><strong>Ask current lenders for a better rate</strong></p> <p>“Banks, credit unions and other lenders are keenly aware of their competition,” says Diana of MoneyTips.com. “If your credit score qualifies you for a better rate from another credit card issuer or lender, ask them to match the rate. There’s no downside to asking; the worst they could do is refuse.”</p> <p><strong>Asking for your credit limit to be raised can improve your credit score</strong></p> <p>Keep your credit utilisation – the amount of credit you use compared to your credit limit – low to boost your all-important credit, advises Diana. “You can borrow less, or you can ask for a raise in your credit limit.”</p> <p>A recent study from CreditCards.com found that only 28 per cent of respondents have never asked for an increase in their credit limit. However, a whopping 89 per cent of those who asked for a credit limit increase received one.</p> <p><strong>Unless they have a high annual fee, don’t close your old credit cards</strong></p> <p>“The longer your stable credit history, the better it reflects on your credit score,” explains Diana. “The age of accounts is averaged over all of your credit accounts, so closing an older account that is infrequently used actually harms your credit score in two ways: it lowers your credit limit, which raises your credit utilisation; and it lowers your average account age. If you have an old card with a decent credit limit, use it at least annually to keep it open. But don’t forget to pay the bill on time!”</p> <p><strong>Don’t ever co-sign a loan</strong></p> <p>“Co-signing a loan isn’t just vouching for someone’s character,” explains Toomey. “Understand that if the borrower doesn’t pay, then you’re responsible for every single missed payment. If they don’t pay, it’s your credit that will be ruined.”</p> <p><strong>Being debt-free should not be your goal</strong></p> <p>Says Aliche, creator of the Live Richer Challenge, “People focus on getting out of debt. If they use that money to grow wealth instead of getting rid of debt, they could be debt-free faster. Do you pay off your student loans to get debt-free, or invest money in your business to grow and secure wealth for yourself? If you focus on being debt-free, that’s all you’ll be. If you focus on building wealth, then you can be wealthy and debt-free.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/money/14-personal-finance-tips-you-were-never-taught-but-need-to-know?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Money & Banking

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Ultimate holiday hack to turn just 17 days of leave into 45 days of leisure

<p>As we bid a fond farewell to 2023, it's time to embark on a journey to the land of strategic annual leave planning!</p> <p>If you've ever dreamed of turning 17 days into a mind-blowing 45 days of leisure, all while maintaining the illusion that you're a dedicated worker, you're in for a treat. Let's delve into the art of time manipulation, the Australian way!</p> <p><strong>1. The Great Christmas/New Year Escape: 10 Days of Holiday Magic</strong></p> <p>Picture this: You, sipping a cocktail on a beach, far, far away from workplace shenanigans. To achieve this utopia, sacrifice a mere three workdays from December 27–29, and voila! You've magically transformed a three-day leave into a decadent ten-day escapade. Christmas and New Year's resolutions? More like "Avoiding Office Drama and Perfecting My Tan".</p> <p><strong>2. Australia Day 2024: Because One Long Weekend Isn't Enough</strong></p> <p>To those who believe in the power of the long weekend, rejoice! By judiciously taking a single day off on January 29, you can extend the Australia Day break into a glorious four-day affair. This means more time for BBQs, cricket, and pretending to understand the rules of cricket.</p> <p><strong>3. The Great Easter Egg Hunt (for Extra Leave Days): 10 Days of Bunny Bliss</strong></p> <p>Hop into Easter with a bang by utilising four days of leave (April 2–5). This cunning plan transforms a regular four-day weekend into a lavish ten-day extravaganza. You'll have so much time; you might even consider crafting an intricate Easter egg treasure map for your colleagues. After all, sharing is caring.</p> <p><strong>4. ANZAC Day 2024: A Gallant Nine-Day Journey</strong></p> <p>For those who appreciate a good remembrance day, why not remember to take four days off? By strategically choosing your leave days around ANZAC Day, you can turn a regular nine-to-five existence into a leisurely nine-day bliss. It's the perfect opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices of the past while contemplating your sacrifice of precious annual leave for maximum leisure.</p> <p><strong>5. The Grand Finale: Christmas and New Year 2024/25</strong></p> <p>Looking to dominate the festive season and secure a 12-day break? Fear not! By cunningly using five days of leave (December 23–31), you can transform a modest two-day weekend into a 12-day holiday bonanza. It's like taking a break in 2025 while still clinging desperately to the end of 2024. Time travel, anyone?</p> <p>In conclusion, dear Aussie worker bees, remember that strategic annual leave planning is an art, a dance between days off and public holidays. While others are stuck in the mundane, you'll be sipping piña coladas in your time-warped holiday paradise.</p> <p>So go forth, plan wisely, and may your leave days be as abundant as your laughter during this comedic time-travel adventure!</p> <p><em>Image: Getty </em></p>

Travel Tips

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The sky’s the limit: A brief history of in-flight entertainment

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/olusola-adewumi-john-1490381">Olusola Adewumi John</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-regina-3498">University of Regina</a> </em></p> <p>As the winter holidays draw near, many of us are already booking flights to see friends and family or vacation in warmer climates. Nowadays, air travel is synonymous with some form of in-flight entertainment, encompassing everything from the reception offered by the aircrew to the food choices and digital content.</p> <p>These services all add value to flying for customers. Passengers are now so familiar with in-flight entertainment that to travel without it is unthinkable.</p> <p><a href="https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2023/10/19/2762903/0/en/In-Flight-Entertainment-Connectivity-Market-to-Worth-21-03-Bn-by-2030-Exhibiting-With-a-15-9-CAGR.html">The in-flight entertainment and connectivity market grew to US$5.9 billion as of 2019</a>, a testament to its economic impact on both the airlines and the GDP of countries with airline carriers.</p> <p>In-flight entertainment is so ubiquitous that, even if all other airline services were offered, <a href="https://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/19427/will-airlines-compensate-me-if-my-entertainment-system-is-not-working">the airline ensures a refund is made to the passenger affected</a> if television content cannot be accessed.</p> <h2>A brief history</h2> <p>In-flight entertainment has evolved significantly over the years. Before in-flight entertainment media was introduced, passengers entertained themselves by reading books or with food and drink services.</p> <p>The original aim of bringing in-flight entertainment into cabins was to attract more customers, drawing inspiration from a variety of sources, including the theatrical and domestic media environments. It was not initially for the comfort and ease of travelling, as it is today.</p> <p><a href="https://www.academia.edu/5023683/A_History_of_INFLIGHT_ENTERTAINMENT">Inflight entertainment began as an experiment</a> in 1921, when 11 Aeromarine Airways passengers were shown the film <em>Howdy Chicago!</em> on a screen hung in the cabin during the flight. Four years later, another experiment was carried out in 1925 when 12 passengers on board an Imperial Airlines flight from London were shown the film <em>The Lost World</em>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/air-space-magazine/when-did-inflight-movies-become-standard-on-airlines-180955566/">It wasn’t until the 1960s</a> that in-flight movies became mainstream for airlines. Trans World Airlines became the first carrier to regularly offer feature films during flights, using a unique film system developed by <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1962/06/02/inflight">David Flexer, then-president of Inflight Motion Pictures</a>.</p> <p>Starting in 1964, in-flight entertainment evolved to include various media types like 16-mm film, closed-circuit television, live television broadcasts and magnetic tape. In the 1970s, for example, airplanes might feature a large screen with a 16-mm projector in one part of the plane, while small screens hung overhead in another section.</p> <p><a href="https://www.smh.com.au/traveller/reviews-and-advice/when-did-airlines-install-seatback-entertainment-20190711-h1g51b.html">Seatback screens were introduced in 1988</a> when Airvision installed 6.9-centimetre screens on the backs of airline seats for Northwest Airlines. They have since morphed into the larger screens we are familiar with today, which are found on nearly every airline.</p> <h2>In-flight entertainment today</h2> <p>Most airlines nowadays have personal televisions for every passenger on long-haul flights. On-demand streaming and internet access are also now the norm. Despite initial concerns about speed and cost, in-flight services are becoming faster and more affordable.</p> <p>In-flight entertainment now includes movies, music, radio talk shows, TV talk shows, documentaries, magazines, stand-up comedy, culinary shows, sports shows and kids’ shows.</p> <p>However, the rise of personal devices, like tablets and smartphones, <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/comment/the-weird-and-wonderful-history-of-in-flight-entertainment/">could spell the end for seatback screens</a>. A number of U.S. airlines, including American Airlines, United Airlines and Alaska Air, have <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-09/airline-seatback-screens-may-soon-become-an-endangered-species">removed seatback screens from their domestic planes</a>.</p> <p>This decline is par for the course. To arrive at the complex system used by aircraft today, in-flight entertainment went through a number of different stages, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-0641-1_10">as identified by aviation scholar D.A. Reed</a>.</p> <p>It started with an idea phase, which saw the conception of the idea, followed by an arms race phase where most airlines adopted some form of it. Currently, airlines are facing challenges in the final — and current — phase of evolution, and are dealing with failures linked to business concept flaws or low revenue.</p> <p>Now that most air travellers carry electronic devices, fewer airlines are installing seatback screens. From an economic standpoint, this makes sense for airlines: removing seatback screens <a href="https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/01/01/business/airlines-travel-entertainment.html">improves fuel costs</a> and allows airlines to <a href="https://www.flightglobal.com/systems-and-interiors/united-ups-757-density-with-new-slimline-seats/126574.article">install slimmer seats</a>, allowing for more passengers.</p> <h2>More than entertainment</h2> <p>At some point in the evolution of in-flight entertainment, it started to serve as more than just a form of entertainment or comfort. Now, it’s also a competitive tool for airline advertisements, and a form of cultural production.</p> <p>In-flight entertainment has become an economic platform for investors, business people, manufacturers and entertainment providers, especially Hollywood. It also plays a key role in promoting the national culture of destination countries.</p> <p>However, the evolution of in-flight entertainment hasn’t been without its challenges. As a form of cultural production, it often reflects the interests of advertisers, governments and business entities. It also follows that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-0641-1_10">certain ideas, products and cultures are sold to passengers</a> via in-flight entertainment.</p> <p>The lucrative practice of capturing and selling passengers’ attention to advertisers was not limited to screens, either. In-flight magazines have always been packed with advertisements, and by the late 1980s, these advertisements had spread to napkins and the audio channels.</p> <p>Despite its shortcomings and precarious future, in-flight entertainment still offers passengers a sense of comfort, alleviating concerns about being suspended over 30,000 feet above sea level. If you end up flying during the holidays, remember your comfort is partly thanks to this innovation.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/218996/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/olusola-adewumi-john-1490381"><em>Olusola Adewumi John</em></a><em>, Visiting Researcher, Centre for Socially Engaged Theatre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-regina-3498">University of Regina</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-skys-the-limit-a-brief-history-of-in-flight-entertainment-218996">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Tips

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5 ultimate tips before you schedule heating and cooling maintenance in Adelaide

<p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">In Adelaide's climate, a reliable heating and cooling system isn't just a luxury – it's a must-have! Beyond comfort, maintaining these lifesavers at peak efficiency helps you tackle the temperature swings. But how do you ensure they're up to snuff year-round?</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Walk about our </span><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.metropolitanheatingandcooling.com.au/blog/how-often-should-i-schedule-heating-and-cooling-maintenance/"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #1155cc; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: underline; -webkit-text-decoration-skip: none; text-decoration-skip-ink: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Maintenance and Routine Services Guide</span></a><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">. They'll arm you with everything from understanding your unique system, spotting trouble early on, the cleaning nitty-gritty, right to zeroing in on the best time for that crucial maintenance in Adelaide.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Now, let’s dive into these handy pointers and get you sorted, shall we?</span></p> <h2 dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 18pt; margin-bottom: 4pt;"><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">What You Need to Remember</span></h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/12/HeatingCooling02.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Aside from air conditioner repairs and ducted gas heating repairs, diligently scheduling heating and cooling maintenance in Adelaide is just as important. Whether it's your first time scheduling one or you've done this before, these five tips can surely help you.</span></p> <h3 dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 4pt;"><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Tip #1: Understand Your Air Conditioning System</span></h3> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">The kind of air conditioning unit you have can make a big difference to your maintenance schedule. Could be split systems, ducted gas heating systems, or the lot. Most Adelaide homes use evaporative coolers, and servicing these units is quite a different ball game compared to reverse-cycle systems.</span></p> <h3 dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 4pt;"><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Tip #2: Recognise Signs of Trouble</span></h3> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Today's air conditioning units are excellent at giving you a heads-up about an upcoming hassle. If it's not putting out enough cool air, or it's not running as it should, it might be time to call someone for those heating and cooling repairs. Nipping these problems in the bud is what you should be aiming for.</span></p> <h3 dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 4pt;"><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Tip #3: Regular Cleaning and Air Filter Changes</span></h3> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Keeping your air conditioners' filters clean and changing them regularly is a clever way to keep your air conditioning service in tip-top shape. The air filters, in particular, play a big role in this. Blocked air filters can lead to poor airflow and overworking of the system, which bumps your running costs up the wall.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">However, don't stop at just swapping out the generic filters. Give the other components like the coils and fins in your air conditioner system a good clean as well.</span></p> <h3 dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 4pt;"><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Tip #4: Regular Cooling and Heating System Checks</span></h3> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Keeping up with regular air conditioning repair services makes sure your system is always raring to go. Your system needs to be a ripper, ready to go the minute you need it. Maintenance involves cleaning and checking big brands like Mitsubishi Electric, making sure any faults are out of the picture.</span></p> <h3 dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 4pt;"><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Tip #5: Knuckling Down the Right Time for Check-up</span></h3> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">The best time to schedule air conditioning services or ducted gas, heating, and cooling systems repairs is before peak use - early autumn for heating systems and early spring for your cooling systems. This way, you're sorted with a climate-controlled environment just when you need it.</span></p> <h2 dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 18pt; margin-bottom: 4pt;"><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">The Importance of Scheduling Heating and Cooling Maintenance</span></h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/12/HeatingCooling03.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">We have our busy days, and there are times when scheduling maintenance for our heating and cooling unit is the last thing on our list. However, there are plenty of reasons why sticking to heating and cooling maintenance like glue is so important:</span></p> <h3 dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 4pt;"><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">It Keeps Your Systems Efficient</span></h3> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Routine maintenance keeps your system running efficiently. A well-maintained unit uses less energy to run and is therefore less likely to punch a hole in your wallet when the energy bill shows up.</span></p> <h3 dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 4pt;"><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">It Helps Prevent Breakdowns</span></h3> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Regular maintenance can spot potential problems and get them sorted before you're left stuck without climate control on a stinking hot day or a freezing cold night. It's a lot cheaper and less hassle to prevent problems than to fix them once they've happened.</span></p> <h3 dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 4pt;"><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">It Prolongs the Life of Your Unit</span></h3> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Frequent maintenance can extend the lifespan of your heating and cooling system. Like a meticulously serviced engine, it promises to function efficiently for a long haul.</span></p> <h3 dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 4pt;"><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">It Keeps You in Warranty</span></h3> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">A lot of manufacturers require regular maintenance to keep the warranty valid. You'd want to avoid voiding your warranty for lack of looking after your investment well.</span></p> <h2 dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 18pt; margin-bottom: 4pt;"><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Choosing the Right Professionals</span></h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/12/HeatingCooling04.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">When it comes to air conditioning installation, repairs, and maintenance, make sure you're seeking out the right professionals. Some folks might be game for a bash at DIY, but trust us, most air conditioning repairs need the know-how of a trained pro.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Whether it's regular </span><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.metropolitanheatingandcooling.com.au/locations/sa/heating-cooling-adelaide/"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #1155cc; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: underline; -webkit-text-decoration-skip: none; text-decoration-skip-ink: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">heating and cooling installation in Adelaide</span></a><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">, system updates, or tweaks for maximum efficiency, the role of the professionals is crucial. They ensure vital parts, such as your air conditioning unit, are installed well, functioning properly, and maintained to provide <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/retirement-life/5-reasons-to-check-on-your-elderly-neighbour-during-a-heatwave" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cool air in summers</a> and warm air in winters. That's precisely why heating and cooling installations in Adelaide should only be carried out by seasoned pros.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">In Adelaide, you're in luck with professional, reliable air conditioning services. Keep an eye out for fully trained and licensed heating and cooling technicians who are accredited to work on big brands.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Look after your system well, and you'll be cool in the summer and cosy in the winter. Keep cool, Adelaide!</span></p> <p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-f55474ea-7fff-8d26-6743-0e1ae38713e8">Images: Supplied.</span></em></p> <p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-f55474ea-7fff-8d26-6743-0e1ae38713e8">This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Metropolitan Heating and Cooling.</span></em></p>

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Hydronic heating maintenance: Tips for a cosy winter

<p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Hydronic heating systems, often called radiant heating, utilise a closed-loop system to circulate hot water through pipes, providing efficient warmth to spaces. This blog post will delve into the </span><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="https://airconrepairnearme.com.au/blog/is-hydronic-heating-sustainable/#:~:text=Advantages%20of%20Hydronic%20Heating"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #1155cc; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: underline; -webkit-text-decoration-skip: none; text-decoration-skip-ink: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">advantages of hydronic heating</span></a><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> and the </span><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">significance of regular maintenance for these systems, ensuring optimal performance during the chilly winter months. Let's explore critical aspects that contribute to a cosy and well-maintained hydronic heating system.</span><strong id="docs-internal-guid-43a50dd5-7fff-83c3-b866-681029940351" style="font-weight: normal;"></strong></p> <p><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Why Hydronic Heating Maintenance Matters</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Maintaining your hydronic heating system is not just about comfort; it's a practical step towards energy efficiency and cost savings. A well-maintained winter heating system operates more efficiently, requiring less energy to achieve the desired temperature. It reduces utility bills, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/property/home-hints-tips/9-cost-effective-ways-to-warm-your-home-this-winter" target="_blank" rel="noopener">giving you a cosy home</a> without breaking the bank.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Extended Lifespan of the System</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Regular maintenance is like an investment in the longevity of your hydronic heating system. Simple tasks, such as cleaning and inspecting, can prevent wear and tear, ensuring your system lasts for years without significant issues. This foresight can save you from the inconvenience and expense of premature system replacement.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Improved Heating Performance</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">A well-maintained system translates to consistent and energy-efficient heating. By addressing potential issues early on, you ensure each room receives the warmth it needs, avoiding cold spots and discomfort. It enhances your overall living experience and contributes to a healthier and more enjoyable home environment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Enhanced Safety Features</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Safety should always be a top priority for home heating systems. Regular maintenance checks help identify and address potential safety hazards. From leaks to faulty components, addressing these issues promptly ensures your family's and property's safety, providing peace of mind throughout winter.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Seasonal Maintenance Checklist</span></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/12/HydronicHeating02.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Fall Preparation</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">As the temperatures drop and the leaves begin to fall, it's time to prepare your hydronic heating system for the colder months ahead.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Checking and Cleaning Radiators or Baseboards:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Start by inspecting each radiator or baseboard for dust or debris. Clean them thoroughly to ensure unobstructed heat distribution. This simple task can significantly enhance the efficiency of your system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Inspecting the Boiler for Any Issues:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Give your boiler a once-over, checking for any signs of wear, corrosion, or leaks. Addressing minor issues now can prevent major breakdowns later.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Testing Thermostat Functionality:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Test your thermostat by adjusting the temperature settings. Ensure that it responds promptly and accurately. It may be time for a thermostat replacement or recalibration if you notice any discrepancies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Bleeding Air from the System:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Bleeding air from the system is crucial to maintaining optimal water flow. Follow these steps:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Turn off the heating system.</span></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0; padding-inline-start: 48px;"> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Use a radiator key to open the bleed valve.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Allow warm air to escape until the water starts dripping.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Close the valve tightly.</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">This process prevents hot air from pockets that can impede water circulation, ensuring efficient heating throughout your home.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Winter Best Practices</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Monitoring Water Levels:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Check the water level in your hydronic heating system regularly, especially during winter. Low water levels can cause the system to overheat or shut down. Consult your hydronic system's manual for specific instructions on maintaining water levels.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Adjusting Thermostat Settings for Efficiency:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Optimise your thermostat settings based on your daily routine. Lowering the temperature when you're away or sleeping can yield substantial energy savings without sacrificing comfort.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Regularly Checking for Leaks:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Inspect your system for leaks, paying attention to connections, valves, and the boiler. Addressing leaks promptly prevents water damage and ensures the continued efficiency of your system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Troubleshooting Common Heating Issues:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Proactively troubleshoot common heating issues, such as uneven heating or unusual noises. Understanding your system's behaviour helps you address problems early, preventing extensive damage and costly repairs.</span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"> </strong><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Tips for Hydronic Heating Maintenance by Professionals</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Maintaining a hydronic heating system is crucial for optimal performance and longevity. Here are some tips for hydronic heating maintenance by professionals:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Regular Inspections:</span></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0; padding-inline-start: 48px;"> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Schedule regular inspections by qualified technicians to assess the system's overall condition.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Check for leaks, corrosion, or damage to pipes, valves, and components.</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Pressure Check:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Monitor and adjust system pressure as needed. Low or high pressure can affect the heat pump's efficiency in the hydronic heating system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Flush the System:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Periodically flush the system to remove any accumulated sediment or debris hindering the system's efficiency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Bleed Radiators:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">I bled the air filters from the radiators to ensure they heated evenly. Trapped air can cause cold spots and reduce the system's effectiveness.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Inspect Pumps and Motors:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Check pumps and motors for proper operation. Lubricate components as necessary and replace any worn-out parts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Boiler Maintenance:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Service the boiler regularly to ensure it operates efficiently. Clean the burners, heat exchanger, and flue to prevent efficiency loss.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Thermostat Calibration:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Calibrate and test thermostats to ensure accurate and consistent temperature control. Replace batteries if applicable.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Check Expansion Tank:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Inspect and maintain the expansion tank to accommodate water volume changes and prevent damage to the piping system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Test Safety Controls:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Test safety controls, such as pressure relief valves and high-limit switches, to ensure they function correctly in emergencies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Water Quality Maintenance:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Monitor water and air quality in the system and treat it with inhibitors to prevent corrosion and scale buildup.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Evaluate Insulation:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Check the insulation on pipes and components to minimise heat loss and improve heating performance and the system's overall efficiency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Update Controls and Sensors:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Consider upgrading control systems and sensors to the latest technology for better energy efficiency and system management.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Documentation:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Keep comprehensive records of maintenance activities, inspections, and any repairs performed on the hydronic heating system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Training for Staff:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Provide training for facility staff on basic maintenance tasks and early detection of potential issues.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Regular professional maintenance ensures the hydronic heating system operates efficiently, reduces energy consumption, and extends lifespan. Always consult with qualified HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system professionals for specific maintenance requirements based on the type and complexity of the hydronic heating system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Professional Maintenance Services</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/12/HydronicHeating03.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">When to Call a Professional for Maintenance</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">While homeowners can perform some maintenance tasks, there are instances when professional assistance is necessary.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Benefits of Professional Inspections:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Professional technicians have the expertise to identify and address issues that may go unnoticed. Regular professional inspections can extend the life of your system and ensure its continued reliability.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Finding a Qualified Hydronic Heating Technician:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">When seeking professional services, look for technicians with experience in hydronic heating systems. Check reviews, ask for recommendations, and verify their certifications to ensure that you entrust your design to capable hands.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">When to Seek Professional Help:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">If your energy bills remain high despite your efforts, involving a professional is essential. They can conduct a thorough assessment to identify and address underlying issues affecting your system's efficiency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Winter Energy Saving Tips</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Setting Optimal Thermostat Temperatures</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Guidelines:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature when at home.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Lower the temperature when sleeping or away, aiming for energy savings reduced efficiency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Consider investing in a programmable thermostat for automated temperature adjustments.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Benefits:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Optimising thermostat settings ensures comfort and contributes to significant energy savings over the winter months.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Proper Insulation for Energy Efficiency</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Areas to Insulate:</span></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0; padding-inline-start: 48px;"> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Walls and ceilings.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Attic and basement spaces.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Doors and windows.</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Benefits:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Proper insulation prevents heat loss and leaking of warm air, reducing the workload on your hydronic heating system. It translates to lower energy consumption and improved efficiency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Utilising Programmable Thermostats</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Advantages:</span></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0; padding-inline-start: 48px;"> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Automated temperature adjustments based on your schedule.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Energy savings by reducing the heating costs when not needed.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Remote access for constant temperature control, even when away from home.</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Installation Tips:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation, or consult a professional if needed. Programmable thermostats offer a convenient way to optimise heating and energy usage.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Keep Your Place Cosy</span></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/12/HydronicHeating04.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">In conclusion, maintaining your hydronic heating system is essential for a cosy and worry-free winter. By following the seasonal maintenance checklist and knowing when to seek professional help like</span><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="https://airconrepairnearme.com.au/"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #1155cc; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: underline; -webkit-text-decoration-skip: none; text-decoration-skip-ink: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #1155cc; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: underline; -webkit-text-decoration-skip: none; text-decoration-skip-ink: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">airconrepairnearme.com.au</span></a><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">, you can ensure the efficient operation of your system. Troubleshooting common issues and adopting winter energy-saving tips further contribute to a warm and inviting home. Embrace these practices, and may your winter be filled with comfort, warmth, and the joy of a well-maintained hydronic heating system. Stay cosy!</span></p> <p><em>Images: Supplied.</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Air Con Repair Near Me.</em></p>

Home & Garden

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4 tips to help your loved one with dementia enjoy the festive season

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nikki-anne-wilson-342631">Nikki-Anne Wilson</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>The festive season is fast approaching, and if you’re organising celebrations with family or friends, you might be grappling with a seemingly endless to-do list. But as you make these plans, it’s important to consider how you can best include any friends or loved ones living with dementia.</p> <p>While no two people experience dementia in the exact same way, <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au/about-dementia/what-is-dementia">dementia</a> often affects the way people process and respond to their environment. Too much stimulation – like a lot of noise and activity at a Christmas party – can be overwhelming and may cause confusion or agitation.</p> <p>Finding ways to create a <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/creating-a-calming-home-for-people-with-dementia#:%7E:text=The%20physical%20environment%20is%20important,in%20and%20enjoy%20everyday%20activities.">safe environment</a> at home for your loved one with dementia will help maximise the chances everyone has a good time.</p> <h2>1. Plan ahead, but be flexible</h2> <p>Planning celebrations can be overwhelming for everyone involved, and having excessive expectations can raise stress levels. Try to keep <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au/information/about-you/i-am-a-carer-family-member-or-friend">expectations realistic</a> and in line with the current needs of your friend or loved one living with dementia.</p> <p>For example, people with dementia may experience <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au/information/about-you/i-am-a-carer-family-member-or-friend/personal-care/eating">changes in their appetite</a> or food preferences, or difficulties chewing and swallowing. These changes might make some of the things on your festive menu unappetising or difficult to eat. Be guided by the needs and preferences of the person with dementia and keep options limited to one or two special foods if larger banquets are likely to be overwhelming.</p> <p>Things can change quickly for people living with dementia and their abilities will likely <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au/about-dementia/what-is-dementia/progression-of-dementia#:%7E:text=A%20person%20with%20dementia's%20abilities,over%20a%20number%20of%20years.">vary from day to day</a>. Try to be flexible and have a backup plan in place. For special events, plan to record speeches or ceremonies to share when things are quieter.</p> <p>If you’re planning a large event, consider having a smaller gathering with your loved one with dementia and just a few special people.</p> <h2>2. Stick to the familiar</h2> <p>The sudden appearance of lots of decorations <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au/sites/default/files/helpsheets/Helpsheet-TipsToAssistSocialEngagement03-TipsForHolidayCheer_english.pdf">may be overwhelming</a> for a person with dementia and trigger a negative sensory reaction or distress. Ensure decorations are safe and familiar and put them up slowly over a period of a few days.</p> <p>Try to also stick to familiar traditions and routines. <a href="https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/daily-care/daily-care-plan">Daily routines</a> are an important way of supporting people with dementia and sudden changes <a href="https://memory.ucsf.edu/caregiving-support/behavior-personality-changes#I-Investigate-Possible-Causes">may result in agitation and distress</a>. Stick to routine eating, bathing, and rest times where possible throughout the holiday period.</p> <p>For many people with dementia, long-term memories are less affected than <a href="https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/symptoms-and-diagnosis/symptoms/memory-loss">more recent memories</a>. Familiar family traditions can therefore be a good way to <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au/national/support-and-services/carers/therapies-and-communication-approaches">reminisce</a>. Family keepsakes or <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au/sites/default/files/20110303-NSW-LifeHistoryBook.pdf">memory books</a> can also help connect with stories from past celebrations.</p> <h2>3. Have a quiet space</h2> <p>Try to have <a href="https://www.scie.org.uk/dementia/supporting-people-with-dementia/dementia-friendly-environments/noise.asp">a quiet place</a> where the person living with dementia can go if things become overwhelming. Designating a support person who can stay with them throughout the day and take them to a separate room or area away from the action can help to keep things calm.</p> <p>Having some familiar objects or <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5432607/#:%7E:text=Passive%20music%20listening%20is%20reported,et%20al.%2C%202013">quiet music</a> in the space can be a good way to block out the noise of activities and reduce agitation.</p> <h2>4. Make sure everyone has a part</h2> <p>Everyone wants to feel a part of the activities on a special day, including people living with dementia. Ensuring everyone has a role to play may mean modifying tasks to suit the abilities of the person with dementia.</p> <p>For example, if you’re hosting an event at home, try to get your friend or relative with dementia involved in the kitchen by tossing the salad or helping to set the table.</p> <p>People with dementia are still the same person, even if their abilities have changed or they can no longer communicate their needs and feelings like they used to. It’s important to treat everyone with dignity and try to include your friends and loved ones with dementia in celebrations whenever possible.</p> <h2>Sometimes, you can’t be together</h2> <p>Despite the best laid plans, sometimes it won’t be possible to share in festive celebrations with your loved one living with dementia. More advanced dementia, <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/racf-latest-advice.aspx">aged care visitor restrictions</a> or even just distance can keep many of us apart from our loved ones.</p> <p>Be prepared for this separation to bring up your own feelings of <a href="https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/caregiver-health/grief-loss-as-alzheimers-progresses">grief or sadness</a>. Look after your mental health as well as the person with dementia.</p> <p>Caring responsibilities still largely <a href="https://www.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/resource/download/national-strategy-gender-equality-discussion-paper_0.pdf">fall to women</a> and it’s important to share the load. Where possible, the holidays can be a good time to think about giving primary carers a break to help them recharge for the year ahead.</p> <p>If you’re caring for someone with dementia and need support, <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au/support">Dementia Australia</a> or <a href="https://www.carergateway.gov.au/about?utm_source=google&amp;utm_medium=paid-search&amp;utm_campaign=10841470526&amp;utm_adgroup=146956908840&amp;utm_term=&amp;gclid=CjwKCAjw9-6oBhBaEiwAHv1QvI1uJVJRppcDJtdgYNTDeObUk1tyrNUtLGBqpp3ytjb_khYkGExICBoC_5EQAvD_BwE">Carer Gateway</a> offer useful resources.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/214944/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nikki-anne-wilson-342631"><em>Nikki-Anne Wilson</em></a><em>, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image </em><em>credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/4-tips-to-help-your-loved-one-with-dementia-enjoy-the-festive-season-214944">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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8 signs you should be booking a group tour

<p>Not sure if you should take a tour or go it alone? These are the times you’re going to want that expert on hand.</p> <p><strong>1. When you’re on a really tight schedule</strong></p> <p>A tour will help you squeeze in as much as possible in a very short time. It will plan out a sensible itinerary with no backtracking or wasted journeys and will give you a realistic idea of how much you can fit in for a day. Plus you won’t have to puzzle out public transport for yourself.</p> <p><strong>2. When you’re feeling nervous</strong></p> <p>Arriving in a new place can be scary sometimes, so having someone to walk you through it will make all the difference. If a city has a reputation for being unsafe or if it’s just your first time in a foreign country, a tour will give you a great worry-free introduction.</p> <p><strong>3. When there’s a big language barrier</strong></p> <p>We’re lucky in that much of the world speaks English, so we can usually muddle our way around. But in some countries you’ll find there’s a significant language barrier, so having a native speaker is going to make all the difference.</p> <p><strong>4. When you want to meet some locals</strong></p> <p>This might sound counterintuitive, but an organised tour can be one of the best ways to meet some locals. First of all, your guide is likely to be local and can introduce you to their hometown. Secondly, it’s daunting to walk into a crowded bar or cool café when you don’t know anyone. A guide can smooth the way and ensure you don’t get stuck in tourist traps.</p> <p><strong>5. When it’s really busy</strong></p> <p>If you don’t fancy joining the huge line outside a popular museum or waiting hours for tickets, a tour could be the way to go. They can often organise private or after hours visits, get special passes to cut the line or take you to areas that are off limits to the general public.</p> <p><strong>6. When it’s the law</strong></p> <p>Want to visit North Korea? You’re going to need to join a tour. Some governments have restrictions in place that mean foreign tourists can only visit when accompanied by a registered tour guide and independent travel is simply not an option.</p> <p><strong>7. When you’re doing something really adventurous</strong></p> <p>Trekking, white water rafting, canyoning or safaris – for safety reasons you’re going to need to join a tour. These kinds of activities can be dangerous, so you don’t want to be risking them on your own. A tour or private guide will show you the best way to get your heart pumping.</p> <p><strong>8. When you’re going right off the grid</strong></p> <p>Places like Antarctica, the Arctic, remote corners of Africa or tricky countries like Russia are best done on a tour. Often the logistics of simply getting there are impossible for the independent traveller or you will need help navigating the complex visa process. In these instances, it’s a relief to put yourself in someone else’s hands and just concentrate on having fun.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Travel Tips

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12 expert ways to manage stress at airports

<p><strong><em>Betsy Goldberg writes for <a href="http://blog.virtuoso.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Virtuoso Luxury Traveller</span></a>, the blog of a <a href="http://www.virtuoso.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">global luxury travel network</span></a>, and she enjoys nothing more than taking a holiday.</em></strong></p> <p>Airports should be happy places. They’re the beginning of a journey, either to a new place, a vacation, business meetings, time with family and friends, or back home.</p> <p>If you’ve spent even a brief amount of time inside an airport, though, you know that’s not the case. They can be stressful places with people running to and fro trying to make flights. All while dealing with their day-to-day life via their phone. No surprise that a psychologist has even developed an air travel stress scale.</p> <p>Air travel stress gets to virtually all of us. But it doesn’t have to. How can you reduce the drama?</p> <p><strong>1. Put things in context</strong></p> <p>A lot of reducing air travel stress comes simply from having a good mindset.</p> <p>The most important thing is to start with the right attitude, says Rishi Piparaiya, author of Aisle Be Damned: “We’re talking about an extremely complicated industry, where millions of people fly in the skies in metal tubes at the speed of sound. Sure, something may go wrong, but our ancestors would spend a lifetime to make the journey we make in half a day.”</p> <p>Here’s another take from Brent Bowen, dean of the College of Aviation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He noted that in 2013 the overall performance of U.S. airlines hit its highest point in 24 years.</p> <p>“The number of customer complaints has gone down,” he says. “Mishandled baggage has gone down and on-time performance has improved. So technically, based solely on the data, (the flight experience) has improved over the last 25 years substantially.”</p> <p><strong>2. When to fly</strong></p> <p>Leisure travellers tend to fly on weekends. Business travellers are crowding airports Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Therefore, book your flights for the quieter days of Tuesday and Wednesday when you can.</p> <p>Book an early-morning flight if possible to avoid more air travel stress. Airlines are less likely to have delays first thing in the day.</p> <p><strong>3. Use a packing list</strong></p> <p>This prevents “Oh no!” moments at the airport. If you’re not even at security yet and you already think you’re missing something and don’t have the time to go get it, the rest of the airport experience probably won’t be great.</p> <p>Avoid that kind of air travel stress before you get to the airport by starting with a packing list. Also, learn how to effectively pack a bag.</p> <p><strong>4. Check in promptly</strong></p> <p>Airlines let you check in online 24 hours before your flight. Do that to avoid lineups at the airport. Another bonus: it may help prevent you from being bumped off an oversold flight.</p> <p><strong>5. Carry on what you can</strong></p> <p>The advantages: less to potentially lose in your checked luggage. No baggage fees. And a faster exit from the airport when you arrive.</p> <p>Always carry on essentials like keys, medications, valuables and anything critical for business meetings. You don’t want to arrive in the Caribbean and be waiting days for everything you need to actually enjoy the Caribbean.</p> <p>So remember that air travel is actually much more effective than almost any human mode of transport in history. And in the past few decades, the experience has technically only improved. Take a deep breath when that air travel stress hits you.</p> <p><strong>6. The early bird approach</strong></p> <p>People fall into very distinct camps on this. Earlier tends to be better (especially around peak travel times like holidays). If you know security lines might be longer, why gamble and add more air travel stress?</p> <p><strong>7. The full charge</strong></p> <p>Phone batteries are getting better as technology continues to develop. And more airports are offering outlets and charging stations. But always get to the airport on a full charge. If you encounter a hiccup, you’ll need your device as a resource.</p> <p><strong>8. What to wear</strong></p> <p>Layers will help you navigate varying temperatures inside the airport and on the plane. Wear comfortable clothes you can move in, in case of a last-minute dash to a connecting flight. Wrinkle-free clothing is great, both for the journey to your destination as well as your trip itself.</p> <p>As far as footwear goes, wear something easy to slide on/off to get through security faster. In larger airports, you’re likely in for a big walk to and from your gate, so comfort is a must as well.</p> <p><strong>9. Entertainment</strong></p> <p>Unless you’ve booked an entire row on the plane, your seatmates are a random act of chance. They could be great – and not bother you. Or they could be challenging in many ways.</p> <p>So load up on distractions. Those include magazines, books, e-books, movies, TV shows and work you need to complete. They’ll also help in case of delays while you’re still in the terminal.</p> <p><strong>10. Your fellow passengers</strong></p> <p>Airports are amazing places for people-watching. If you stop at an airport bar or restaurant, you can usually strike up a conversation easily. You might be sitting next to someone from halfway around the world. You don’t get that chance every day, so take advantage of it.</p> <p>Want a conversation starter? Talk about the fastest way to board passengers. You’ll make some new friends and relieve your mutual air travel stress.</p> <p><strong>11. Airport lounges</strong></p> <p>Another place to meet new people: an airport lounge. You’ll await your flight in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. And you’ll enjoy peace and quiet, comfortable seating, food, drinks and reading materials.</p> <p>First-class and business-class travellers and elite frequent flyers have access to their airline’s lounge. Also, certain credit card holders enjoy complimentary access. For everyone else, there’s a day pass. A pass at an independent lounge will run you about $30 to $50.</p> <p><strong>12. Advisors as air travel stress relief</strong></p> <p>There are dozens of reasons why working with a professional travel advisor is a good idea. See here for real-life stories from actual travellers. One of those: an advisor can reduce air travel stress. Your advisor will work with you on itineraries, the best flight times, and any adjustments. If something crops up at the airport, you have a trusted resource one call away.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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"Absolutely insane": Dad's plane act goes viral

<p>A man has gone viral on TikTok after his daughter posted a video of him sleeping on the airplane floor during a long-haul flight. </p> <p>"More room for everybody," she captioned the video of her dad lying down wedged between two rows where their feet would normally go. </p> <p>In the video she also added an overlay text which said: "you have ur airport dad I have my Asian dad." </p> <p>The video has since racked up over 12.4 million views, and while most were impressed by the "hack" others were appalled. </p> <p>"This is so smart – never thought of that," one person wrote. </p> <p>"Smart but I'd lay a blanket down underneath. Thank you airport dad I will steal this idea," added another. </p> <p>"I been alive 25 years, ain't never seen this move before," commented a third. </p> <p>"They do [allow it] on long flights. As long as nobody complains then they don't bother you," added a fourth. </p> <div class="embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, 'Noto Sans Hebrew', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; background-color: #ffffff; outline: none !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; vertical-align: baseline; width: 580px; max-width: 100%; outline: none !important;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7290309715286904095&amp;display_name=tiktok&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40bynataliebright%2Fvideo%2F7290309715286904095&amp;image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign.tiktokcdn-us.com%2Fobj%2Ftos-useast8-p-0068-tx2%2FoclABAhjhvzjImA6AdbRfwsiNEqBAyICYXEzX8%3Fx-expires%3D1700780400%26x-signature%3D8dYowfoSYD7T5QgGgwn53z%252B4BI8%253D&amp;key=5b465a7e134d4f09b4e6901220de11f0&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>A few others were shocked and pointed out that airplane floors aren't exactly clean. </p> <p>"As a past flight attendant, you don't want to know what I have seen on those carpets," wrote one person. </p> <p>"When I was taking my flight attendant course one thing they said to us over and over was to never walk barefoot on the aircraft... nevertheless lay down," added another. </p> <p>"Man made his own trundle bed," joked a third. </p> <p>While another eagle-eyed commenter was shocked that he would voluntarily wear jeans for 15-hours, "jeans for 15 hours is absolutely insane," they wrote. </p> <p><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

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