An older home offers a touch of historic charm and beauty which is hard to replicate today. If you are planning to update a period property, you need to plan carefully so you can find the right balance between modern conveniences and preserving the character that led you to buy the house. Here are a few of the updates you can do, while keeping your home’s charm intact.
1) Replace Poor Quality Insulation
Older homes usually have poor insulation and you can see the effects of this on your monthly bills. You pay extra for heating and cooling your home, which in turn increases your carbon footprint. CosyHome Company points out the ways in which your home loses heat if you don’t have good insulation:
• Draughts – 30% heat loss
• Walls – 25% heat loss
• Glass – 20% heat loss
• Floors – 15% heat loss
• Loft – 10% heat loss
Professionally installed insulation can reduce heat loss and offers additional benefits; reduction in moisture problems and improvements in air-quality, for instance. If you choose to install insulation yourself, don’t forget to wear goggles, a face mask, and proper clothing. Loft insulation particles are extremely irritating to the skin and lungs.
Draughts are the biggest cause of heat lost through poor insulation around windows and doors. Over time the seals degrade; if the seals on your windows look old or you can feel draughts then it’s time to consider upgrading your windows and/or doors. KJM Group will remove and fully recycle your old uPVC windows, so the impact on the environment is as minimal as possible.
2) Replace your Boiler
An old boiler will fail, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as you can replace it with a high-efficiency, condensing boiler which can save you £235, or more. These new boilers work at an amazing 86% efficiency compared to the 65% of many older boilers. A new boiler may cost around £2,500, but you can recover the cost quickly through ongoing savings on your monthly bills.
3) Update your Electrical System
Electrical wiring in many older homes is dangerous because it does not meet current safety standards which can lead to a higher risk of fire, electrical shocks, and damage to your modern appliances. Period properties were often built before electrical lighting and sockets were commonplace, meaning the wiring was retrofitted at a later date. Real Homes suggests any wiring over 30-years old should be checked and replaced as necessary.
Here are a few of the common signs your electrical system needs to be updated:
• Does your home still use a fuse box? Old fuse boxes have wooden backs, ceramic fuses, or a mix of different fuses, and cast iron switches. You should have an electrician examine your fuse box and recommend a proper replacement.
• Does your home have a mix of different style light switches and sockets? This is an indication your house was wired in different stages, or that only part of the house was rewired. Have your electrician look at the wiring and determine what needs to be replaced.
• Check your wiring cables. Are they coated in black rubber, wrapped in fabric, or lead? This shows the wiring is extremely old and unsafe. Modern wiring uses uPVC coverings. It is time to have the wiring updated.
• Do you notice your lights dimming and brightening? Do they blowout too often? This is a sign of electrical issues which need to be checked out.
4) Honour the Original Features of your Home
One of the joys of owning a period property is the beauty and charm of its original features. It is why you bought the home after all. The original features are what makes each room special. Do careful research before you make changes to original features which add character to your rooms.
In a recent article, The Telegraph recommended doing gentle restorations to period features. You do not want to remove the charm that comes with age. Those tiny flaws are what provides interest in the feature. Work to integrate their charm into your updated room, instead of eliminating their old-time character.
One area most homeowners want to change is their kitchen. You can create a beautiful kitchen by adding modern features. Choose a look which is clean and simple. It will flow perfectly into the period charm of the home. A recent FMB survey showed redoing the kitchen in a period home in Dorset raised the value of the home by nearly £27,000, and took only 8 days to accomplish. Updating your kitchen provides the greatest return on investment and is a wise upgrade.
Owning a period home is rewarding, but does come with a few added challenges. You will need to do a little work and updating to bring your home up to modern standards of living. The four areas above will get you started in the right direction.