There are some fairly obvious factors that have been (and continue to be) priority for house buyers, like location, local amenities, employment opportunities and property specifics. There are, however, some new and interesting ‘must haves’ creeping onto the list.

Prospective homeowners have always wanted to know that they have easy access to transport routes that will enable a convenient commute. Important amenities include gyms, shops, bars, restaurants and, for young families, schools! Also important is the quality of the neighbourhood.

Whether prospective homeowners are looking for a fixer-upper or a minimum maintenance property, the size and design of a property (number of bedrooms, bathrooms, en-suites, a good-sized kitchen, gardens, off-street parking) have huge impact on a decision to buy but something that house buyers are adding onto their wish list is energy efficiency.
New research by YouGov has revealed that 64% of house hunters want solar panels to be fitted as standard to a new home. Forty-two per cent said EV charging points in homes are a must-have and 35% said an air source heat pump was top of their list.

In addition, a massive 71% surveyed felt that high-quality insulation was a deciding factor when looking for a new home.

Rising energy costs and an increased awareness of climate change are likely to change the landscape of the property market. If you’re thinking about home improvements (plumbing, energy or installations), feel free to contact the team on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk – we’re happy to help.

If you are the owner (or user) of a small bathroom, do not despair! Check out these ten top space optimising hacks that will allow for improved functionality in your small space:

  • Wall-mounted storage: Utilise vertical space by installing shelves, cabinets or floating shelves on the walls. This keeps the floor clear and provides additional storage for toiletries and towels.
  • Over-the-door organisers: Use over-the-door hooks or organisers to hang towels, robes or other frequently used items behind the bathroom door.
  • Under-sink organisation: Make use of the space under the sink by adding storage solutions like drawers, baskets or stackable containers. This helps keep cleaning supplies and toiletries neat and easily accessible.
  • Corner shelves or cabinets: Corners are often underutilised. Install corner shelves or a corner cabinet to maximise storage without taking up too much floor space.
  • Mirrored cabinets: Opt for a mirrored medicine cabinet or a mirrored cabinet above the sink. It serves a dual purpose: storage and a mirror, which helps create an illusion of more space.
  • Slim or compact fixtures: Choose compact fixtures like narrow vanities, small sinks and slim-profile toilets to free up more floor space.
  • Towel bars and hooks: Install multiple towel bars or hooks on the back of the bathroom door or on the walls to hang towels and washcloths, saving space on towel racks.
  • Hidden storage: Consider using furniture or accessories that double as storage, such as ottomans or storage benches.
  • Utilise vertical towel racks: Instead of traditional horizontal towel racks, choose vertical towel racks that take up less wall space.
  • Use recessed storage: If you’re remodelling or building from scratch, consider incorporating recessed shelves or niches in the shower or walls to save space.

Often, all it takes is some lateral thinking.

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.

Does it surprise you that women tend to be more frustrated by bad bathroom habits at home than men? A survey conducted by Mira Showers has not only revealed some of the most common bathroom pet peeves among people but also, that men are more tolerant.

  1. Not flushing the toilet after going
  2. Leaving urine on the toilet seat
  3. Leaving stains in the toilet
  4. Forgetting to replace the toilet roll or soap
  5. Leaving wet towels on the floor
  6. Never cleaning the bathroom or shower themselves
  7. Clogging the shower drain with hair and never cleaning it out
  8. Leaving the toilet seat up
  9. Causing a mess in the bath or shower with bathing products (i.e. spillage or leaving remnants behind)
  10. Not turning the shower or tap off properly.

Twelve per cent of women said their biggest pet peeve are people who use up all the hot water.  Women are more likely to clean unpleasant stains off a friend or family member’s toilet (26%) than men (19%). Twenty-five per cent of women would never take a number two in a friend or family member’s toilet unless they absolutely had to, whereas only 18% of men said the same.

Fifty-seven per cent of those aged between 44-54 and 67% of those over 55 would always wash their hands in their personal bathroom, compared to just 23% of 16-24-year-olds and 30% of 25-34s.

Another juicy fact from the survey is that over a quarter of all respondents (27 per cent) said their own bad bathroom habits have improved since lockdown was first introduced. Hopefully it won’t always take a pandemic for us to remember to pick up our wet towels and flush the toilet!

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

How can you create and energy efficient bathroom that reduces water and electricity usage, saving both money and valuable resources? Check out these 10 top tips:

  1. Install LED lighting: replace traditional incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient LED lights. LEDs consume less energy and last longer, reducing electricity usage and the frequency of bulb replacements.
  2. Use natural light: maximise natural light by incorporating larger windows or skylights in your bathroom design. This reduces the need for artificial lighting during the day.
  3. Optimise ventilation: proper ventilation is essential to prevent mould and moisture build-up. Install an energy-efficient exhaust fan with a timer or humidity sensor to automatically turn it off when not needed.
  4. Upgrade to water-efficient fixtures: replace old faucets, showerheads, and toilets with water-efficient models. Look for fixtures with a WaterSense label, which indicates they meet EPA standards for water efficiency.
  5. Fix leaks: leaking faucets or toilets waste a significant amount of water. Repair any leaks promptly to avoid unnecessary water consumption.
  6. Insulate pipes: insulate hot water pipes to reduce heat loss and minimize the time it takes for hot water to reach the faucets, thereby saving energy and water.
  7. Install low-flow showerheads: switching to low-flow showerheads can significantly reduce water usage without sacrificing water pressure or shower experience.
  8. Choose water-efficient appliances: when it’s time to replace bathroom appliances like washing machines or dishwashers, choose models that have high energy and water efficiency ratings.
  9. Install a dual-flush toilet: dual-flush toilets offer the option to use less water for liquid waste and more water for solid waste. This allows you to conserve water based on your needs.
  10. Use energy-efficient heating: consider installing an energy-efficient heating system, such as a programmable thermostat or radiant floor heating, to efficiently heat your bathroom and reduce energy consumption.

It may not be possible to do optimise your bathroom in one go but even a little bit at a time will make a difference!

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

Did you know that the UK’s residential sector accounts for 16% of total greenhouse gas emissions, with space and water heating being the predominant sources of energy consumption and emissions.

For the UK to mitigate the effects of global warming, the residential sector must reduce its green house has emissions.

One way to do this is to use heat pumps instead of traditional heating systems, such as furnaces or boilers, which burn fossil fuels (like oil or gas) that release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Heat pumps, on the other hand, use electricity to move heat, making them much more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

However, a new study by a University of Glasgow led research centre has found that the UK housing sector is lagging over 30% behind neighbouring countries when it comes to the adoption of heat pumps, despite their enormous potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide cost savings for households.

Barriers to adopting heat pumps as a key renewable source for space and water heating in UK homes include: higher capital costs compared to conventional heating systems, mistargeted deployment, and competing economic interests among stakeholders.

What needs to happen to encourage homeowners to install heat pumps in place of traditional heating methods? Dr Sohail Ahmad, lead author of the study, has three key ideas, namely:

  1. Enhancing financial incentives
  2. Increasing demonstrator projects
  3. Targeting the right segments of households who are potential innovators and early adopters.

What do you think? Would you consider adopting heat pump technology in your home?

To find out more about the use of heat pumps in your home, feel free to contact the team on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk – we’re happy to help.

Source: Phamnews.co.uk

Whether a hobby or a necessity, there are some DIY jobs that simply stress us out. Perhaps our new home improvement task ended up taking more time, costing more money or was more difficult than we originally thought, turning something fun into something less fun.

Using the most-searched DIY jobs in the UK (using ‘difficulty queries’ across UK Google), researchers have honed in on the tasks we find the most taxing. Check out the top ten:

  1. Plastering a ceiling
  2. Hanging wallpaper (one wall)
  3. Unblocking drains (using chemicals)
  4. Tiling a bathroom floor
  5. Removing grout from bathroom tiles
  6. Hanging doors
  7. Installing a toilet
  8. Assembling flat pack furniture
  9. Changing a door handle
  10. Installing a power shower

What about which areas in the UK are most stressed about what?

  • Plymouth – Plastering a ceiling
  • Aberdeen – Hanging wallpaper (one wall)
  • London – Unblocking drains (using chemicals)
  • Cardiff – Tiling a bathroom floor
  • Bristol – Removing grout from bathroom tiles
  • Aberdeen – Hanging doors
  • Northampton – Installing a toilet
  • Leeds – Assembling flat pack furniture
  • Norwich – Changing a door handle
  • Liverpool – Installing a power shower

One of the biggest causes of DIY stress is time – often, the longer a job takes to complete, the greater the chance of something going wrong and the more likely we are to get worked up about it.

It’s also interesting that four of the most stressful DIY jobs in the top ten are directly linked to bathroom improvement – tiling a bathroom floor, removing grout from bathroom tiles, installing a toilet and installing a power shower.

The antidote to stress could be to allow for a margin of error. Things may take longer, cost more and we may not get it perfect the first time. Planning is also important – working out a maximum budget and time scale. If you’re still uncertain it might be worth your sanity (and budget) to consult a professional.

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

Source: Victorianplumbing.co.uk (To find out more about this research, visit Victorianplumbing.co.uk)

Guess what? It is entirely possible to upgrade your bathroom without turning it into a massive DIY project – you can do it in a weekend without overspending. Whether it’s style or functionality you’re after, we have some top tips for you:

  • Accessorise – candles, towels, interesting trinkets (vintage, modern, eclectic) all make a massive difference to the personality of your bathroom. Swap some old accessories with new ones or simply move things around. You could also change fixtures, including towel bars, toilet seats and toilet roll holders.
  • Hang artwork – bathrooms are usually the last space one might think to hang some art but it makes the entire room look more luxurious and interesting, and creates a focal point for the space.
  • Update your lighting/fixtures – brighten or dim your lighting (depending what mood you’re going for), which you can do by exchanging your bulbs. A new light fixture can also change the atmosphere; from something simple and understated to something more dramatic, and vice versa.
  • Increase your shower pressure – a new showerhead really will bring you so much joy! There are many affordable spa-type showerheads available and if you don’t want to spend any money, clean your existing showerhead until it’s shiny and as good as new.
  • Wallpaper – an easy win here. Whether its textures or patterns, a new wall aesthetic can make a space feel very different.
  • Backsplash area – the space behind your basin is usually small and therefore the perfect mini-DIY project when it comes to updating your bathroom. You could tile this area, wallpaper or repaint.
  • Paint – a fresh coat of paint on the wall is an easy way to refresh a bathroom but you could also paint cabinet doors or door handles, or go big and choose a whole new colour.
  • Hang or upgrade your mirror – if you don’t have a mirror in your bathroom, get one. If you do have a mirror, do you need a new one? Or could you shift the old one to a new spot? Mirrors, as well as a practical bathroom necessity, create an illusion of space.
  • Hang a new shower curtain – choose a stylish pattern to emphasise the mood in your bathroom.
  • Repurposed storage – whether it’s a shelf, decorative baskets, a vintage cabinet or modern vanity, think of ways you can remodel your storage; remove doors, repaint, add shelves, have fun with ribbon or material.

They say that change is as good as a holiday. Go for it!

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

For many of us, energy bills have doubled over the last month and there’s no getting around the fact that the kitchen is one area in the home where energy use is unavoidable. There are state of the art low-energy cooking appliances on the market but there are some simple things we can do to maximise efficiency, reduce waste, and, of course, save money.

Here are some top tips for energy-efficient cooking:

  • The microwave is generally the most efficient way to heat up and cook food (because it’s small and the heat is more focused, thus quicker). Opt for this appliance whenever possible.
  • Use the kettle to boil water quickly and transfer to a pan on the hob for steaming and boiling vegetables or pasta.
  • When boil anything in a pan, only use as much water as is needed to cover the amount of food you’re cooking – one of the most common forms of energy wastage is the energy it takes to boil water you don’t need.
  • Cook as much as possible in the oven in one go to make sure all the space and heat is being used.
  • Keep the oven door closed while you’re cooking. Each time you open the door, the oven loses heat (sometimes as much as 25 degrees) and requires more energy to get back up to temperature.
  • Defrosting food in advance not only typically halves the cooking time but also means that you don’t need to use the energy of a microwave to defrost more quickly.
  • Use glass or ceramic dishes in the oven. They retain heat better than their metal counterparts, making them the most efficient to use in the oven.
  • A fan-assisted or convection oven uses fans to circulate heat around the food as it cooks, making it a more energy-efficient way of cooking because it means the heat doesn’t have to be as high as it would in a conventional oven.
  • When using an electric oven, turn it off ten minutes before the food’s finished cooking. The oven temperature will remain the same so the food will still cook through to completion without the oven using energy.
  • Keep heating rings on an electric hob as clean as possible – any food that sticks to the ring will absorb heat, making it less efficient.

Mostly it’s about being more mindful when cooking and developing good kitchen habits. For some more common-sense cooking tips, visit uSwitch and for detailed info on energy use and spend, a smart meter will tell you how much your appliances cost in pounds and pence accurate to your tariff and the current price of energy, thereby enabling you to monitor which appliance is costing you the most so you can minimise your use of it.

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

With energy prices set to rise in January 2023, heating our homes without spending a fortune is on everyone’s minds as we move into the new year. As far as gas or electric heating, what’s the best option? Let’s have a look:

The difference between gas and electric heating

A gas system consists of a single boiler that heats up water and then pumps it through pipes to radiators throughout the property. It also provides hot water to the kitchen and bathrooms.

Electric heaters don’t require flue or pipework, only a connection to the electric circuit. They don’t burn fuel to generate heat and can be used for both air and water products.

Pros and cons

Gas heating – pros

  • Quick to reach temperature – as long as your system is well-maintained.
  • Easy to repair – the most commonly used system in the UK, with many professionals familiar with systems and expertise to sort our problems.
  • Low ongoing costs – a cheaper energy source than electricity.
  • Tailor to property – large choice when it comes to styles, finishes and colours.

Gas heating – cons

  • High initial cost – a brand new heating system (boilers, multiple radiators, copper piping etc.) plus installation is expensive.
  • Annual maintenance – a boiler and its components need to be checked and maintained by a Gas Safe Registered engineer every 12 months.
  • Less efficient – up to 50% of the heat produced by a boiler can be lost through the pipes.
  • Shorter lifespan – a gas boiler lasts around 15 years before it requires replacing.

Electric heating – pros

  • Easy to install – simple connection to power supply.
  • Low initial cost – no complicated installation work required.
  • Easy to maintain – minimal components to go wrong and you don’t need an annual system check.
  • Highly efficient –100% efficient; every watt of energy used by the heater is converted into heat.
  • Longer life span – expected to last longer than gas heaters.

Electric heating – cons

  • Slow to reach temperature – think about how much quicker water boils on a gas hob as opposed to an electric ring.
  • High ongoing cost – a unit of electricity costs more than a unit of gas.

Cost

Prices are in flux but according to Ofgem Energy Price Guarantee (https://www.checkatrade.com/blog/cost-guides/gas-vs-electric-heat-cost-which-is-cheaper/) that came in on 1 October 2022:

Ongoing

  • Gas heating: 10p/unit
  • Electric heating: 34p/unit

Installation

  • Gas heating: low range – £4,500, high range – £6,000, average – £5,250
  • Electric heating: low range – £3,230, high range – £4,350, average – £3,790

 

*The cost of the installation will depend on the complexity of the size of the property.

For more detailed information about costing and the differences between gas and electric heating, visit Checkatrade.com and traderaradiators.com, and for all your energy-related needs, contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk

Whether your house is on the market or you’re simply wanting to add value, 70% of estate agents have surveyed that an extra bathroom will help sell a home. Professionals cite the perfect bathroom to bedroom ratio as follows:

  • One-bedroom and two-bedroom houses should have one bathroom.
  • Three-bedroom and four-bedroom houses should have two bathrooms.
  • Five-bedroom houses should have three bathrooms.

If you’re thinking about adding a bathroom in a flat or smaller property, you might consider a shower room or extra toilet rather than a full bathroom because space is critical to value. But in a bigger property, full-bathrooms plus a shower room or extra toilet are essential (especially in family homes).

According to the experts at Park & Bailey Real Estates, en-suite bathrooms are a big win and updated bathrooms are hugely attractive to prospective buyers (great motivation for home owners thinking of renovating!).

Another top tip: bathrooms are no longer considered purely functional but rather a space for rest and relaxation, which means that a clean, stylish bathroom can add a significant amount of value to your property.

Essentially, there is no downside to adding a bathroom – for you and those who will be using it, and for any future date when you hope to sell you property for maximum value.

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.