In the pandemic world of varying forms of lockdown, many home owners have turned to renovating their properties; to pass the time but also to improve the value of their homes. With some spare cash saved thanks to travel bans, those long-awaited DIY tasks have finally been sorted out.

Some projects are quick and easy ‘fixer uppers’ whilst other projects are major overhauls, like extensions or renovations; both types can up the value of your property. Bathroom and kitchen tweaks and overhauls are obvious value adders but if you’ve ‘been there and done that’ and are thinking ‘what next?’, have a look at the list below for ten top renovations that will increase the value of your house:

Structural issues: these should be dealt with before making cosmetic improvements to your home. Things like: leaky roofs, damp, cracks to walls, bowing walls, rotten joists or roof timers, broken roof tiles, a collapsed floor etc.

New heating system: update an old-fashioned system (or install central heating if your home is older). This could mean a new boiler (if the one you have does not have adequate output or is archaic), adding insulation, sealing drafts, replacing/double-glazing windows, underfloor heating or new radiators.
Rewiring or replumbing: updating electrics and pipework is necessary before cosmetic work.

Solar panels: in today’s eco-conscious world, this could be a great way to increase the value of your property!

Paint work: this might be an obvious decorating project but clean, newly painted walls make a massive difference to first impressions when your home is viewed by potential buyers. It’s also nice to live in a newly painted home.

Garden work: some basic ‘tidy’ up jobs can make a big difference to the look and feel of your garden. The first thing to do is: weed, prune and plant. Then you could think about the privacy of your garden, which is high commodity if you’re in the city—fences and larger trees could add help achieve a feeling of seclusion.

Exterior: neaten up the exterior of your home, which could mean painting, tidying the front outdoor space or replacing your front door.
Built-in storage: this is a top selling-point for prospective home owners. Is there spare space in your home for shelves or cupboards?

Conservatory: if designed and executed well, this adds value to a property (it can also detract value if poorly done).

Outdoor office: in the new age of home working, an outdoor office space will be huge plus to the value of your home.

You’ll notice that not all of the above projects can be done without the help of heating engineers, plumbing specialists, building contractors and perhaps even structural engineers. Do ask for help if you need it as it will save you money in the long run!

For more DIY ideas, check out Homebuilding.co.uk. And for all your plumbing and installation needs, feel free to contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk – we’re happy to help.

It’s no secret that kitchen and bathroom renovations add the most value to properties but what specific renovations incite a bigger return on investment? Tap Warehouse consulted with property professionals to discover which elements in the kitchens and bathrooms are the most desirable for house hunters and could add the most value to your home. Here’s what experts said:

As far as kitchens go, the most valuable features are: glass doors, durable worktops, breakfast bar, quality tiles, kitchen islands, adequate lighting and modern storage units.
In terms of bathrooms, good quality tiles, power showers, bathtubs, walk-in showers, a neutral colour scheme, underfloor heating, and sturdy fixtures are the most desirable and valuable bathroom aspects. And to be even more specific, property experts hailed good tiles and grouting as the most popular bathroom investment by homeowners, and baths and power showers are the second most popular.

Popular renovations and profitable renovations are, of course, not necessarily the same thing. A critical consideration when renovating your property (with the intention to sell) is who is likely to be your buyer. For example, if you live near schools, it’s probable your house will attract family buyers, which means that space will be of optimum value; over-compensating in a bathroom with a bathtub and a shower cube is not likely a win, even if you really like the idea.

Tailor your renovations to the market, and when in doubt go neutral and stay simple.

For more information on kitchen and bathroom renovation costs and return, visit Tapwarehouse.com

For all your plumbing and installation needs, feel free to contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk – we’re happy to help.

Boiler niggles are typically annoying, especially when you can’t figure out what they are and whether
it’s worth calling in an expert. A boiler manual is a pretty great thing, in that it can help you hone in
on the problem and if you don’t have a hard copy there will almost certainly be a downloadable
version online.

Three common boiler issues identified by Which? that can usually be identified (and sometimes fixed)
by a seasoned DIYer are:

  • Frozen boiler condensate pipe – not quite a boiler fault but frozen pipes can put a boiler out
    of action.
  • Boiler losing pressure – usually the result of a leak, you’ve recently bled your radiators and
    the system has lost pressure, or your heating has been off for a very long time and lost
    pressure.
  • Water leaking from boiler – usually the result of old and corroded washers.

The aforementioned issues, whilst the most common, are three of many possible boiler faults that
require help from a heating engineer. To help you feel confident you’re not overpaying, here are
some average repair costs sourced by Which? from their Trusted Traders:

  • Thermocouple – £85
  • Automatic air vent – £98
  • Overheat thermostat – £101
  • Pressure relief valve – £106
  • Ignition – £106
  • Diverter/zone valves – £198
  • Water pump – £211
  • Gas Valve – £222
  • Fan for combustion – £229
  • Printed circuit board £259

The survey pinpointing these prices was taken in 2019 so costs may have gone up slightly. Which?
notes that there’s a difference of 44 percentage points between the best brand for sourcing the
correct part, and the ‘worst’ (according to Trader expertise). Lack of access to certain components
can add both time and money to a repair.

One of the best ways to avoid costly repairs is regular boiler maintenance – keep up with your yearly
inspection and always have a conversation with your go-to heating engineer if you have a boiler
problem.

For all your energy-related needs, contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007
or info@aacooper.co.uk.

Living with all of the distractions of pandemic life it is so easy to fall into the trap of letting seemingly minor repairs and checks fall into arrears. The palaver of social distancing and sticking to strict government guidelines makes something as simple as going to the shop or calling a tradesperson a massive (albeit understandable) inconvenience.

New research suggests that more than three million UK households have never had their boiler serviced. A report from the Benchmark Steering Group stats:

  • 76% of homeowners claim that boiler servicing is either important or very important to them, with almost half of them admitted that they don’t maintain their boiler in accordance to the manufacturer’s guidance.
  • 80% of breakdowns result in homeowners being left without heat or hot water for at least a day, and one in 10 enduring this for three days.
  • 15% of homeowners are not sure if their boiler is in or out of warranty, supporting the need to further educate consumers to ensure they are well informed.

It’s essential that boilers are serviced annually to improve efficiency, prevent the loss of heating or hot water, save money in the long run and protect resident. The numbers suggest that there is an understanding of the of the essentiality of boiler maintenance and yet this does not convert into a proactive response – i.e. boiler servicing and maintenance. It is entirely possible that pandemic life will also push these figures higher.

It is important to know that according to current government guidelines, tradespeople may continue to work in people’s homes although those who are clinically vulnerable have been advised not to go to work.

If your boiler needs servicing do call your go-to technician and if he/she is closed for business, source a referral (always consulting to Gas Safe Register https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/ to confirm credentials).

For all your energy-related needs, contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk.

In a world of lockdown and social distancing, many homeowners have turned to home renovations, bathroom especially – and the behaviour looks to continue into the new year. With much of life on hold, homes have become a necessary haven and 2021 design tends reflect the need for calm, comfort, space (clutter is a definite faux pas) and pure, unadulterated escapism.

For a bathroom that will allow you some peace and a place to reflect and relax, check out these 10 top bathroom design trends for 2021:

Minimalism – ‘less is more’ open-style bathrooms that are not crowded with stuff create a refuge for anxieties and cluttered thoughts.

Simple, geometric lines – design simplicity works in conjunction with minimalism to create a bathroom refuge. Organised, rectangular shaping is a consistent design choice in modern bathrooms, as is organised, subtle placement of features.

Efficiency – clean, practical design including adequate storage (for bathroom accessories) facilitates organisation and calmness of mind.

Home Spas – with people spending more time in their homes, luxury and comfort is high on the priority list. As well as home spas, massaging showers, hydrotherapy baths and steam rooms/saunas are up there on the list.

Green tones and wooden finishes – this clear hark back to nature reflects a desire to escape into the calm and quiet of a forest or meadow. These visual elements are not necessarily applied in conjunction but their synergy is obvious. A soft shade of green on a wall complemented with a contemporary wooden countertop is inspired.

Blooms and foliage – keeping with the nature theme, although a touch more vibrant, botanical walls and decors are an emerging design trend for 2021. Busy, bold, bright tropical prints or lush foliage and blooms area fun way to bring life to a tired, old bathroom!

Small tiles – mosaic tiling is being used more and more by home-owners; either in creative patterns or as a neutral wall covering to offer a bit of texture and interest in a bathroom.

Natural lighting – allow as much natural light into your bathroom as possible with large or cleverly placed windows, or mimic nature with adjustable lights that mimic the mood of the outside.

Big mirrors – a trend that has been around for a while; big mirrors create the illusion of space in a bathroom (big or small). Square or rectangular mirrors with rounded vertices are popular purchases for bathroom renovators at the moment.

Plants – another long-lasting bathroom trend adding a touch of beauty into a bathroom is the inclusion of indoor plants, which can be changed with season or design.

Whilst trends might seem contradictory (the excess of spas and saunas as well as geometry, minimalism, indoor plants and mosaic) there is scope to create one dedicated design or mix and match looks to reflect your ideal bathroom haven.

For more top bathroom design trends, visit Homesandgardens.com and Newdecortrends.com

For all your plumbing and installation needs, feel free to contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk – we’re happy to help.

The Government’s decision to extend its Green Homes Grant scheme for an extra year, up until March 2022, gives home owners extra time to apply for financial assistance for any energy-efficient improvements in their homes.

According to the scheme, the Government will provide a voucher of up to £5,000 that covers up to two-thirds of the cost of at least one primary home insulation or low carbon heating measure. If you choose to install at least one of the primary measures, you can use your voucher to help cover the cost of secondary measures, too.

The grant for the secondary measure is capped at the value of the grant provided for the primary measures. For example, if you receive a £500 voucher for a primary measure such as a cavity wall insulation, you will be able to receive a maximum of £500 for a secondary measure such as an energy efficient replacement door.

What are the primary and secondary measures acceptable under the guidelines of the scheme?

Primary measures: This can be an insulation measure and/or a low carbon heating measure.

Insulation measures:

  • solid wall
  • under floor
  • cavity wall
  • loft
  • flat or pitched roof
  • room in roof
  • insulating a park home

Low carbon heat measures:

  • air source, ground source or hybrid heat pump
  • solar thermal
  • biomass boilers

Secondary measures
 

  • draught proofing
  • double/triple glazing (where replacing single glazed windows)
  • secondary glazing (in addition to single glazing)
  • external energy efficient doors (replacing single glazed or solid doors installed before 2002)
  • heating controls
  • hot water tank thermostats and insulation

As part of what’s been hailed a “Green Industrial Revolution”, the government aims to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028, and there are also plans to develop the first town heated entirely by hydrogen by the end of the decade – all as part of a bigger initiative to decarbonise heat in homes across the country to meet the ‘net-zero carbon’ goal by 2050.

If you’d like to take advantage of the Green Homes Grant, visit Greenhomesgrant.campaign.gov.uk to apply, and for more information.

And feel free to contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk – we’re always happy to help.

The average person uses 149 litres of water per day. Does this mean anything to you? – Considering we live on an island with plenty of rain and a seeming abundance of water. The impact of the amount is likely to depend upon our attitude to water conservation, and how much effort we put into conserving water in our homes. In which case, 149 litres might seem excessive if we are careful with our water use. And if we aren’t counting droplets, perhaps we should be?

Using water is using energy, which impacts the environment. Cleaning waste water (or ‘grey water’, as it’s called) is an energy-intensive process, so is heating the hot water that comes out of your taps – doing less of both these things makes a difference to the health of our planet. (Using less also means spending less.)

There are many household appliances that use water (dishwashers, washing machines, kettles etc.) but the bathroom (home of the delectable bubble bath and steamy shower) is the biggest water usurper on your property. If you’d like to reduce the reduce the amount of water you use in your bathroom, here are five top tips to help you do that:

  1. Preference showering over bathing. The average bath consumes 80 litres of water; in comparison, a shower uses 46 litres per use.
  2. Turn your taps off! You don’t need to leave the water running when brushing teeth or shaving, or even when you are running the water warm before you wash your face in winter.
  3. Use water-efficient equipment. An aerated shower head, for example, or a cistern displacement device in your toilet cistern to reduce the volume of water used in each flush (you can get one of these from your water provider).
  4. Check for leaks (and have them fixed!). A dripping tap can waste 15 litres of water a day, or 5,500 litres of water a year.
  5. Install a water meter. When you’re paying your utility provider for exactly how much water you use, laid out in an itemised bill, there’s an incentive to waste less of the stuff.

The great thing about being economical with water is that it doesn’t cost money – only effort! Entirely worth it, if you ask us.

For all your plumbing and installation needs, feel free to contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk – we’re happy to help.

Sources: Edenproject.com, idealhome.co.uk

Your pipes are creaking, your tap’s leaking and your toilet won’t flush – but we’re living in a pandemic and you don’t really want to ask for help if you can fix it yourself.

The good news is: 24% of plumbers and heating specialist are starting to use technology to diagnose issues remotely (mobile app, video, photos), according to a new survey by Eurekasear.co.uk. This might sound like a small number but considering the current climate, it’s likely to grow.

It’s best not to DIY your plumbing problems if you are not sure what you’re dealing with and how to fix it – it’s not safe and you run the risk of a botch job that is likely to need fixing again anyway. If you’ve managed to organise a diagnosis via app etc. and feel confident that you can fix the problem – great! If not, nearly 4 in 10 installers are now considering quoting for jobs using remote technology.

If it is essential that a plumber or heating technician enter your house to do repair work, businesses have indeed changed their working policies to accommodate government guidance, which includes:

  • maintaining a 2-metre social distance from other people around me on a job
  • ensuring homeowners stay in a different part of the property
  • only using click and collect merchant services (or phone ahead)
  • wearing gloves at all times (when previously I didn’t)
  • wiping down where I have worked with anti-bac spray/ wipes
  • wearing a mask

And whilst the plumbing and heating sector are not likely to respond to an emergency call to fix householder’s DIY mistakes (with many businesses being hit hard by the corona-recession), many are operating a ‘normal’ emergency response service for issues relating to the following:

  • Boiler/ heating
  • Leaks/ burst pipes
  • Quick & easy repairs
  • Toilet issues

Be confident that there is help available if you need it. Equally, trust your common sense to made a safe, savvy decision – there’s no harm in calling an expert!

For all your plumbing and installation needs, feel free to contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk – we’re happy to help.

What do we do when we’re stuck inside our houses with nowhere to go and four months’ worth of free weekends? We renovate!

The 2020 Renovation Nation Report has found that UK homeowners have spent have spent £55billion on renovations to create their perfect property. That is an average of £4,035.70 each on home renovations since the lockdown restrictions began in March.

Of course, not everyone has had the financial freedom to fix up their living space but almost 65 per cent of homeowners did invest in their properties over lockdown. And even with lockdown easing, findings suggested that the trend for investing in homes is set to continue with three quarters (73 per cent) of homeowners questioned admitting they will continue to stay home as much as possible.

Other than the obvious ‘more disposable time’ factor, top reasons for fixing up homes in lockdown were articulated as: increasing the value of the home and making home more comfortable in anticipation of spending more time there (due to lockdown and the pandemic). Plus, 40 per cent of homeowners experienced ‘Zoombarrassement’ over the appearance of their homes, inspiring renovation projects.

Almost a quarter of homeowners (24 per cent) stated they have used money originally intended for a holiday to finance their new home improvements, which is second only to general savings (26 per cent). Some even admitted to sacrificing their ‘big day’ as 4 per cent of British homeowners revealed they used savings originally intended for a wedding or engagement ring.

How are people changing their homes in this new, pandemic-centric world in which we find ourselves? Garden upgrades (34 per cent) top a list for the most popular lockdown renovation project, closely followed by the living room (23 per cent), bedroom (22 per cent), kitchen (22 per cent) and keen to make the most of staying home, green-fingered Brits have also been turning their hand to growing their own vegetables, with just over one in five (21 per cent) homeowners investing in a greenhouse or vegetable patch during the pandemic.

We strongly suspect that with people at home more, bathrooms will become a top priority for keen renovators. With home-working the status quo for now and probably the next while, bathroom footfall in our homes is on the up, the natural result of which is an increase in general wear and tear. We are also more likely to want a comfortable, relaxing, pleasurable facilities space in our homes as we spend more time there. Another key thing is the importance of good ventilation in terms of keeping coronavirus in check. Now this is less of a deal in our homes than in our work space but as lockdown eases and winter approaches, it’s important for us to think about keeping our bathrooms (and homes in general) free from stale air.

If you decide that you could do with advice or specialist help on certain jobs, do get
in touch! We’d love to help you put together your dream bathroom but also understand that installations can be costly. Why not apply for finance online? Visit our dedicated page HERE. The application form is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

Limescale. It’s a villain; taking over our kettles, pipes, taps, shower heads, and it’s tough to clean – the toughest! The hard, chalky deposit (consisting mainly of calcium carbonate), whilst not unsafe in a consumption capacity, will take away hours of your life in a “cleaning it away” capacity – especially in relation to shower heads, where a build-up of limescale can quickly block the flow of water.

So, how do you clean it?

The first cleaning tip to note is that not all showerheads are removable, and cleaning/descaling a fixed shower head is likely to be a touch more difficult than an adjustable one (so remove it before cleaning if you can) but the principles are the same:

  1. Use a sponge/scourer to wipe as away as much debris from the holes as you are able.
  2. Place the shower head in a plastic container and submerge it white vinegar for 30 minutes to an hour, depending how bad the limescale build-up is.
  3. Take the shower head out of the vinegar and rinse it with cool water. Be sure to spray some water inside the handset to help dislodge internal limescale.
  4. Give the shower head a good scrub and remove any remaining limescale with a toothbrush, paying special attention to the nozzle. This shouldn’t be too difficult as most of the surface limescale should have been dislodged, if not removed.
  5. Rinse again with water and rub clean with a soft cloth.
  6. Reattach the shower head to the hose and turn on the shower to flush out any remaining limescale.

(With fixed shower heads, fill a plastic bag filled with vinegar and submerge the head using an elastic band to tie the bag in place.)

How can you maintain this beautiful state of cleanliness? It requires a simple routine:

  1. Keep your shower head dry; after every shower use a small towel to wipe off any surface water.
  2. Clean your shower head once a month – it should simply require a rinse to remove limescale preventing a mega build-up over a long while.

For all your plumbing and installation needs, feel free to contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk – we’re happy to help.

Source: Mirashowers.co.uk.