Top remodelling projects for homeowners

If there’s cash to spare, what home owner doesn’t love to invest in a little DIY project around the house? That wall you’ve been meaning to paint or that cupboard that needs a lick of varnish…or how about an entire room?

According to the National Association of Home Builders’ Remodelling Market Index report covering the first quarter of 2017, bathroom renovations, which previously held the number one spot on the ‘top remodelling project’ list, have been bumped down the list by none other than…(drum roll)…kitchens.

The other categories trailed kitchens and baths by a substantial margin yet whole house remodelling was cited as a common project by 53 percent of remodelers, room additions by 46 percent, and window or door replacement by 36 percent, so these all qualify as relatively popular projects.
Check it:

• Kitchen remodeling: 81%
• Bathroom remodeling: 80%
• Whole-house remodeling: 53%
• Room additions: 45%
• Windows/door replacement: 36%
• Finished basement: 27%
• Repairing property damage: 27%
• Decks: 25%
• Bathroom additions: 24%
• Roofing: 23%
• Enclosed/added porch: 23%
• Handyman services: 22%
• Siding: 19%
• Second story additions: 16%
• Enclosed/added garage: 12%
• Historic preservation: 9%
• Finished attic: 7%

Historically, kitchen and bathrooms have consistently ranked as the two most common types of remodelling projects since the inception of NAHB’s RMI survey in 2001. All those toilets, tiles, baths ad sinks – sat on, stood on…so much food and feet; remodelling seems inevitable!

For more information on all your plumbing needs, contact the AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk

Source: Eyeonhousing.org – “Remodeling in 2016: Kitchens Reclaim Top Spot from Baths”

How to tell if there’s a water leak on your property

Is there a water leak on your property? Perhaps your bill is higher than usual – in which case, you may have a leaky pipe or appliance. Other common signs that you might have a leak on your home or business premises are:

  • Your water pressure is reduced to a weak trickle.
  • You might have a swamp for a front lawn.
  • There are worrying new soft patches and depressions in the ground. Your lawn might be looking much healthier in some areas than others, despite your efforts at watering evenly.
  • The outside paving, bricks or concrete around your house are damp and unstable.
  • There are damp patches inside your property.
  • You’ve noticed a constant noise of flowing water coming from the pipes in your home or business.

It’s not always easy to tell if there’s a leak but you can do an initial check yourself by following these steps (if you’re on a water meter):

  • Turn off all the taps in the house and make sure there is no water being used.
  • Write down your current meter reading.
  • Take a second reading after a few hours, making sure no water has been used in the meantime.
  • Check the meter reading again. If the reading is higher, this means there could be a leak in your home.

If, after doing the checks, there’s a strong possibility that there is a water leak on your property, you’ll need to contact a plumber immediately. Leaks that are not tended to can damage buildings, foundations, and landscaping, and can result in a mega water bill! (In the case of water leaking from a pipe outside your home; contact your water supplier to have the pipe repaired.)

If you suspect faulty plumbing; contact the AA Cooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk. AA Cooper offers free consultation and no-obligation quotes, and we will take your problem seriously, no matter how minor you think it might be.

Sources: Mottplumbing.com.au – “How to Spot the Common Signs of a Water Leak” and Watersafe.org.uk – “How do I know if I have a leak in or around my home or business”.

Why fixing small leaks is important to the environment

Faulty plumbing can be the cause of some major pollution – one poorly connected piece of pipe in your home could result in waste water from toilets, showers and washing machines flowing into rivers and seas. Andrew Broadbent, chair of the National Misconnections Group, explains the effect a minor misconnection could have on the environment:

“Sewage and wastewater from toilets, baths, showers, dishwashers, washing machines and sinks should go straight into the sewers. From there it flows safely to wastewater treatment works where it is cleaned and recycled back into our rivers and seas. However, sometimes these appliances can be wrongly plumbed into surface water drains –separate pipes which should only collect rainwater (from roofs). Not only are these misconnections illegal, but they can result in chemicals, sanitary items and faecal matter flowing directly into our water environment and even harming our health and wildlife.”

No one wants live or holiday near dirty, smelly water, or to destroy nature in order to save a few bucks. The burden of responsibility (legally) is on you, as homeowner, to make sure that you’ve hired a qualified, accredited plumbing business that has the knowhow to connect waste pipes properly.

Homeowners also need to be proactive in ensuring that their property does not become part of the pollution problem; this means keeping a look out for leaky taps, toilets and radiators. Tell-tale signs are loss of pressure, rust, water stains on the walls, floors or carpets, or mould on ceilings and walls Underground leaks outside can sometimes be identified by patches of lush or dead grass.

It’s true that one little leak is not going to do too much damage; it’s the build-up of pollution over time that will have a serious impact on the environment…but imagine if we all ignored the signs of misconnected pipes. Fixing even a small leak will not only save you money in the long run, it will also save our earth.

If you suspect faulty plumbing; contact the AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk. AACooper offers free consultation and no-obligation quotes, and we will take your problem seriously, no matter how minor you think it might be.

Source: Watersage.org.uk – “How Poor Plumbing is Causing Pollution”

Top Tips when it comes to starting a bathroom refurbishment

Once you’ve made the decision to refurb your bathroom, you’ll need to figure out whether you’re going to do it yourself, project manage other traders to fit your bathroom, or get a bathroom specialist to design and then see it through to completion for you. The experts at Home Owners Alliance has some great advice when it comes to starting a refurbishment project; here are some top tips that you might like to consider:

  • The type of bathroom you want – a practical family bathroom, en-suite, wet room or full-on home spa and personal sanctuary – as well as how much money you plan to spend, are factors that will help you decide who will fit your bathroom.
  • If it’s a fairly straightforward refurb, you might consider doing it yourself, which can save you up to 60 per cent of the cost! But before you decide to take on the project, do consider the time and difficulty of the job, and always get a professional in when it comes to gas or electric.
  • If you have a tradesman fitting your bathroom then buying the goods yourself – with their approval – can help to reduce the cost dramatically.
  • Whether buying the products yourself or getting someone in, it’s worth looking at the guarantees, especially for things such as grouting or sealant, which are costly to replace if they spring a leak. Look for lifetime or ten-year-plus warranties.
  • When deciding what your bathroom will look like, it’s better to start with a blank canvas to create a space that enhances your lifestyle, as opposed to using your existing bathroom as a template.
  • When it comes to practicalities it is important to consider what constitutes a realistic time-frame. Bathrooms can take between one and three weeks to complete (sometimes longer), and depending on the size of your house the work could be rather intrusive. It might be a good idea to wait until you go on holiday or even stay with friends or relatives.

For more advice on bathroom refurbishments, contact the team contact AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk.

What homeowners value most when hiring tradespeople

Whether you’re looking for a tradesperson to tile your bathroom, fix your boiler or install a heating system there’s one thing that homeowner’s value above all else – punctuality! Punctuality is the single most desirable quality that homeowners look for in a tradesperson, according to new research by Plentific.com.  There’s nothing more frustrating than taking a day off work only to wait…and wait…and wait – and then be let down at the last minute.

Homeowners also like to know what’s going on; communication and organisation are top priorities when looking to get building, plumbing or engineering done around the house; 78 per cent of homeowners are more likely to hire someone who sends through a professional quote and 69 per cent prefer a tradesperson who creates a solid schedule.

Appearance is not that important for homeowners, which ranked somewhere near at the bottom of the ‘essentials’ table, with a modern, clean and professional looking van only influencing 47 per cent of homeowners, and a branded uniform influencing just 22 per cent. Age, last on the list, is also irrelevant when it comes to hiring!

Spokesperson for Plentific, Stephen Jury, said: “To improve the odds of hiring, tradespeople should focus more on their schedule, process and attitude before spending their well-earned money on appearances!”

As a homeowner, the biggest compliment you can offer a tradesperson who embodies all of the aforementioned characteristics is to recommend his/her services. At AA Cooper we offer free consultation and no-obligation quotes, and we pride ourselves on being punctual.  For more information, contact the AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk.

Source: hvpmag.co.uk – “punctuality is ‘most influential’ when hiring tradespeople”

Why all homeowners should check their gas fitters’ qualifications!

New research by the Gas Sage Register has revealed that people are most likely to employ a tradesperson based on recommendations from friends or family members (53 per cent), and trust them based on their personal presentation (41 per cent) or how official they look (30 per cent), rather than on their qualifications (11 per cent).

Not only that but only one in five people (19 per cent) who employed a tradesperson to work on a gas appliance did not check their ID card or qualifications. As a result, 65 per cent of gas jobs carried out by ‘illegal’ fitters have been deemed unsafe, with one in five gas appliances were so dangerous that they had to be disconnected immediately.

Where does this information come from, you might wonder? An investigations team from the Gas Safe Register analysed and released four years’ worth of data, based on searches singling out unqualified and unregistered gas fitters across the UK. The team followed up on a total of 2300 illegal jobs and even tallied the percentage of illegal gas jobs found to be unsafe, per city. Check it out:

Leeds — 96 per cent
Nottingham — 86 per cent
Southampton — 80 per cent
London — 74 per cent
Edinburgh — 71 per cent
Manchester — 68 per cent
Sheffield —63 per cent
Liverpool — 61 per cent
Glasgow — 59 per cent
Birmingham — 54 per cent

To avoid spending more money on patching up poor workmanship, it’s important to always check a gas fitter’s qualifications, even if referenced by a friend or colleague.

At AA Cooper our engineers have many years of hands-on experience in their field and are all Gas Safe registered. For more information, contact the AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk.

Source: Phamnews.co.uk – “ALMOST FIVE MILLION HOUSEHOLDS AT RISK FROM ILLEGAL GAS FITTERS”

A new boiler could sell your house, according to research

Thinking of selling your house? Upgrade your boiler and you’ll wield the power of influence over prospective home buyers. A new survey by Plentific.com has revealed the home improvements that are most likely to sell your house are kitchens and bathrooms, with a new boiler likely to play a deciding factor 43 per cent of the time.

According to research, 47 per cent of potential homeowners would make an offer on a property that has a recently fitted kitchen, with 28 per cent likely to pay a higher price for this feature. A new bathroom is the second most sought after improvement, influencing a decision to buy 46 per cent per cent of the time, with 27 per cent of prospective buyers willing to offer more money.

A new boiler comes in at number four when ranking the improvements most likely to sell a home, just behind new windows, which are likely to influence a decision 45 per cent of the time. A new extension is fifth most important on a buyer’s list, clinching the deal 34 per cent of the time. Loft insulation comes next, with 33 per cent influence.

Thirty-one per cent of home buyers claim that a new conservatory will affect their decision to buy.  New garden landscaping (29 per cent) follows this and new lighting (23 per cent) sits at the bottom of the table.

Spokesperson for Plentific, Stephen Jury, said: “Many property buyers keep an eye out for particular home renovations when searching for their next home. It goes without saying that costly renovations are high on the wish list for most buyers. These can add significant value to a property and incentivise buyers to offer a higher price. If a seller is looking to get a better offer, our insight could provide useful guidance on which home improvements to invest in.”

For more information on all your plumbing/home improvement needs, contact the AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk

Source: Plentific.com: “New Kitchens, Bathrooms and Windows are Key Influencers for Home Buyers”

Best bathroom trends for 2017

The start of a year is always the perfect time for new beginnings…or bathroom makeovers. If you’ve decided that your bathroom is finally due the refurbishment you’ve been promising for months, the first thing you’ll need to do is figure out what you’d like it to look like. Ideal Home, font of all design knowledge, has happily pinpointed five bathroom trends that are sure to perforate stores and home shows this year:

  • Heritage style – created with period fittings and vintage-inspired glamour. Victorian- and Edwardian-style reproduction fixtures are popular, as is a geometric Art Deco look. Salvage yards, restoration specialists and auctions are great for heritage-style bathroom accessories. As for colours, soft blues and green are on trend. Metro tiles are great for Victorian and Edwardian bathroom themes, and black-and-white tiles create a distinct Art Deco vibe.
  • Glossy surfaces – create the illusion of space; adding shine they can boost light levels and are also easy to clean (bonus!). Flat-fronted, handleless high-gloss fitted furniture is a good choice if you want to achieve a modern feel. 
  • Natural – a natural-style bathroom can be achieved through the earthy elegance of natural materials like smart stone or wooden paneling (which is also a good insulator). Textured wall-coverings, antique taps and wooden elements, such as shelving and duckboards all serve to create a warm, relaxing atmosphere in your bathroom.
  • Drama and impact – juxtaposing bright, intense colours with statement patterns will certainly draw attention to your bathroom. Go for a modern look with high-gloss lacquered storage cabinets and coloured-glass shower panels. Or use iridescent wall tiles to add glamour to period pieces. Metal accessories will also add a hit of drama to your bathroom design.
  • Show stopping showers – wetrooms are hugely popular at the moment; they may involve some initial building work but the end result will be worth the investment. A gloss finish and materials such as glass and chrome will add to the sense of light, emphasizing your show-stopping shower, and key pieces (a vintage basin unit, for example) will imbue your bathroom with character.

Ideal Home has great suggestions (pertaining to all of the aforementioned trends) for bathroom makeovers that are budget-restricted, as well as those that can afford to splash out. Read “Brilliant bathroom trends you don’t want to miss in 2017” for more ideas on how to make your bathroom amazing!

For more information on all your plumbing needs, contact the AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk

Top tips for checking your heating and plumbing before you travel

It’s a new year; a great time to get those travel plans in the diary – and also, make sure that our heating and plumbing needs are attended while we’re traversing the globe. The practicalities of travel are perhaps less attractive but always necessary; no one wants to be stuck with a bill for thousands after a fun holiday.

Cold weather is the most likely to induce heating or plumbing damage, especially if temperatures are likely to plummet below zero. The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) has some good advice for anyone travelling during winter months:

  1. A week or so before you go, have a quick check round of any exposed pipework, including outdoor taps, overflow pipes and pipes in your loft space. If your pipes could do with a bit of thermal help, take a quick trip down to your local plumbing or DIY merchant for some lagging. It’s cheap, easy to fit and something you can do yourself or call your favourite plumber if you’d rather leave it to the professionals!
  2. If your plumbing system incorporates a cold water tank (normally found in the loft space) this should be adequately insulated too. Again, you can insulate this yourself but might prefer a pro service.
  3. On the day you leave, turn off your water supply at the main stop valve (sometimes called a stop cock). If a very cold snap is forecast you may wish to drain down water in the system to prevent the pipes freezing. This can be done by opening the cold taps / flushing the toilet until the system runs dry. Make sure you remember to close the cold taps after.
  4. If you have pipework/cold water storage tank in the loft space, open the loft hatch a little so that warmer air within the house can rise.
  5. Central heating systems can normally be set to a ‘frost’ setting, which will keep the heating system ticking over at a temperature low enough to not hit you hard on the heating bills, but high enough to stop your home from going below freezing.
  6. Double check the small print on your house insurance policy too. They may require you to take the steps above to prevent water damage. If the worst did happen, you don’t want to find out your insurance policy is void.

For more information on all your plumbing needs, contact the AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk

Source: ciphe.org.uk – “Going away for the festivities?”

How to get your pipes ready for winter!

This year, Watersafe, the register for approved plumbing businesses, has teamed up with the government and the Met Office for the Get Ready for Winter campaign, which aims to let homeowners know what they can do to make sure their plumbing can weather the icy temperatures forecast this winter season.

Julie Spinks, Director of WaterSafe said: “We are delighted to be co-ordinating the water sector’s efforts around the Get Ready for Winter campaign.

“One key area of preparation homes and businesses can take is to make sure their property is wrapped up – cold temperatures can cause water inside pipes to freeze leading to bursts, floods and the misery of being without water for drinking, cooking and washing.”

There are lots of simple steps households can take to prepare for a cold winter and now is a great time to get ahead and make sure homes are snug:

  • Wrap up pipes and water tanks with lagging – DIY stores have everything you need
  • Fix dripping taps – even a small trickle can result in a frozen pipe
  • Find your home’s stop tap and make sure you can turn it off – most are under the kitchen sink
  • Leave the heating on low if you go away
  • Check that your central heating boiler has been serviced
  • Keep the name of a plumber handy.

The worst that can happen is a burst pipe; if this does happen, Spinks suggests turning off the water at the stop tap and allowing the thawed water to escape through your tap as normal. Then call a plumber!

For more information on all your plumbing needs, contact the AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk