What are the top six ways to improve your property which make it a nicer and more cosy place to live, reduce your monthly running costs, and add value for when you come to see it. We have been crunching the numbers and here’s our advice together with helpful and useful extra information.
Get a new boiler
If you’re constantly having to have your old faulty boiler repaired during the winter, you really should consider getting a new boiler. So what do you need to know?
What benefits will a good boiler bring my home?
New boilers are nearly always far more efficient than their older counterparts. This means that they use less energy to deliver the warmth and the hot water throughout your home. The result of this is that your energy bills will be lower – without having to sacrifice your comfort.
New boilers work a lot faster too so you don’t have to wait around to get hot water and heat into your home. The beauty of these new systems is that they are more compact than old boilers and safer at the same time.
Finally, when the time comes to sell your home, buyers will appreciate the investment you’ve made. This is because these combi boilers last a long time and they’ll pay less to keep it running each month.
How do I know it’s time to replace my boiler?
There are some sure-fire signs that it is time to get rid of your old boiler in favour of getting a newer model installed. The first of these signs is that your boiler plays up a lot. When it comes to reliability, you want your boiler to be performing every day and every time it is needed.
Secondly, your energy bills are too high. How much of that is attributed to your boiler and how much would you save if you replaced your old boiler? With a new boiler, you can expect up to £300 a year savings on your utility charges though.
Finally, if you’ve had your boiler for ten or more years, ongoing maintenance and repair fees will add up. It might be a good financial move to replace your boiler sooner rather than later.
Get new double glazing
Double glazing is one of the best-known ways to cut back your energy bills, reduce noise and generally add value to your home.
What benefits does modern double glazing bring a home?
Double glazing helps your home stay warmer in winter. Because of how good it is at insulating heat, you don’t have to worry about the heat escaping your home on colder days. Additionally, double glazing keeps your home cooler in the summer.
The amount of condensation that your windows produce will also drastically decrease with new double glazing. More condensation means that you have a higher chance of developing mould around the corners of your window which could pose a threat of damp in your home if left untreated.
Finally, the addition of double glazing will mean that you will have to spend less on your energy bills each year.
Can I choose from different types of windows if I decide to replace them?
Yes. Here is a list of four of the most popular kinds of double-glazed windows that you can choose:
- Standard (annealed) glass – This is the most common kind of window. You can find these in most conservatories and large glass fittings around your home.
- Tempered and toughened glass – This glass is up to four times as strong as normal glass, making it great for both security and longevity.
- Self-cleaning glass – this kind of glass has a coating which uses the moisture from the atmosphere to clean the glass without no assistance from you.
- Noise control glass – this glass reduces the sounds coming into your home and coming out of your home, making it perfect for those living next to a family with young children who play out in the garden a lot or if you live by a busy road.
What about the frames used on double glazing?
There are also several options to choose from for the frames on your new windows in including:
uPVC windows are one of the most common options for window frames. This is because they are easy to maintain and look very nice on newer build houses. They are also completely recyclable.
Hardwood window frames – These windows are growing in popularity for three reasons. One, they look beautiful. Two, they are sturdy and can last for many years to come. And three, they are perfect for older and period houses.
Softwood frames – these frames offer the same benefits as the hardwood frames and they’re cheaper. The only downside to these frames is that they need painting regularly (around once a year) so they need a little more maintenance than hardwood frames.
Composite window frames – these are timber window frames that are overlaid with additional weatherproof coatings. This means that they are resistant to the elements, and the more pronounced the weathered appearance they have, the better they look – especially on older builds.
Aluminium frames – very much in fashion right now, very durable, and very customisable, aluminium frame windows are more expensive than uPVC windows but some of that increase in cost can be offset by their much greater longevity.
Get a new conservatory
Conservatories are one of the best ways to add value to your home and, of course, you expand how much room you have for you and your family at the same time.
How could we use a conservatory?
Many families choose to use their conservatories as additional living space. In particular, people tend to use their conservatories as a go-between for their gardens and their homes during summertime.
Conservatories are great whatever the weather. For many, reading a book while the rain patters on the glass rooftop is an absolute pleasure. For others, it’s a temporary respite from the noise and activity of a young family.
Additionally, many conservatories can add up to 6 or 7% of additional value to a home. So if your conservatory costs less than the equivalent rise in your home’s value that an installation would bring, then you can expect to make a profit when it comes time to sell up.
Will the conservatory need repairing or replacing?
If your conservatory looks old and is in need of repair, it may be worth getting a new conservatory fitted. This is because new conservatories are fitted with double glazing (so you can experience all of the benefits that were mentioned previously) and you won’t have to pay for additional repairs for many, many years to come.
Get a burglar alarm
With crime beginning to slowly rise again and people having goods in their home worth more than ever, a burglar alarm makes a sound investment for those keen to protect their property, their family, and their possessions.
Is it really worth having a burglar alarm these days?
75% of ex-criminals told a recent survey that they were deterred by the sight of a burglar alarm. This is reason enough to invest in one. They don’t cost very much, they require very little maintenance, and they may prevent a robbery.
What types of burglar alarm are there?
You can choose either a wired burglar alarm or a wireless burglar alarm. Here are the key differences:
Wireless burglar alarms – These are the most common type of burglar alarm. They are battery operated however, because of how little energy the alarm and its components use, the batteries will often last five or more years before they need replacing. If the battery in the sensor is running low, it will, send a signal to the main control, panel (usually situated near your front door) which tells you that the battery needs replacing shortly.
Wired burglar alarms – These alarms are wired directly into your main electrical supply. This means that they are always on (in the event of a power shortage, many run off their own internal reserves until supply is restored). It is worth mentioning that wired systems tend to have higher installation costs than wireless systems.
What are the options available to me if I want to replace the current burglar alarm?
If you want to replace your current burglar alarm, you need to consider which parts you need to provide the level of protection you want.
Your burglar alarm control panel is the panel that allows you to control the functioning of your alarm system. You can activate and deactivate various sensors, depending on what your security requirements at the time. If you have an older system at the moment and the control panel needs replacing, then you should strongly consider replacing your entire system as finding compatible parts will prove a challenge to your installer and maintenance person.
If you choose to replace the sensors themselves then you have the option of choosing “pet friendly” sensors. These are monitors that don’t detect movement 1m from the ground, meaning that pets are free to move without setting off any of the alarms. There are also sensors available for outbuildings and garages too.
You can also get key fobs that turn on your alarm, just as you would lock and unlock your car. This is particularly useful for making sure your house is alarmed each time you leave and that it’s easy to deactivate the alarm when you go out to work or for the evening.
Many alarms also offer monitoring meaning that, if a break-in is detected, you will receive an alert on your mobile phone. Alternatively, you may choose that you want an alert to go direct to a monitoring centre representative who can then call the police on your behalf.
Get solar panels
Solar panels are a great way to make your house more energy efficient while helping you do your bit for the good of the environment.
How do solar panels work?
There are a group of cells inside a solar panel which are grouped together within the frame. These cells absorb sunlight and turn it into electricity which can then be used throughout your home. An electrical circuit is formed as each conductor is attached to both positive and negative terminals and it’s from this that the electricity is generated.
How much will you save on your electricity?
On average, you are looking at saving around 1.5% of the cost of the installation each year in your electricity bills. However, it is worth mentioning that this will change based on the direction that your roof is facing, the general weather conditions that you live in, and how many panels you have installed.
Insulation is another tried and tested way to save money on your energy bills. Your home retains heat in during colder months meaning a significant reduction in what you pay for central heating over time. With insulation, once your home is heated, it will stay that way for a lot longer than otherwise because the hot air is less prone to escaping.
Loft insulation costs anywhere between £285-400 depending on the size of your house. The annual savings that these will bring are anywhere between £135 and 250. So, in terms of reducing your bills and making a profit when coming to sell, most estate agents believe that insulation is a sound investment.
What types of loft insulation are there?
You can choose between blanket insulation and loose-fill insulation.
Blanket insulation is cheap and quick to install, making it a short job for a tradesman to do for you. Loose fill insulation is more for filling gaps and topping up your existing insulation. The combination of these two types of insulation will drastically reduce your energy bills month after month.
Can I get a grant?
It is possible to get a government grant for insulating your home, whether you live in the property or rent it out to tenants. To qualify, you (or your tenant) need to be either:
- Receiving universal credit,
- Receiving pension credit guarantee credit,
- Tax credits,
- Disability benefits, or,
- Ministry of Defence benefits.
To find out more about the scheme, click here.
Where can I find out more?
All six of the ideas we’ve discussed offer a better standard of living in your home with the potential for increasing the value of your home if you decide to sell it.
The best way to get the cheapest quote is to get quotes from 3-4 established suppliers. Competition always brings the price down while the quality stays high on the job.
Choose the home improvement you’re interested in from the menu at the top of the page. Then fill in the form and we’ll put you in touch with tradesmen we’ve vetted and passed ourselves.
Our service is free, the quotes you receive from the installers are free, and there’s no obligation on you to accept any of the quotes given to you.