Older houses are typically full of character and charm but if you live in a period property there may be certain things that need updating. You’ll want to strike the right balance between making your home more comfortable with modern tweaks, and keeping the character that made you want to live in an older property in the first place.
1) Poor quality insulation
Most old homes aren’t properly insulated and neither your bank account nor carbon-conscience will thank you if you don’t address this. According to CosyHome Company, your home loses heat in five key ways:
- Draughts 30%
- Walls 25%
- Glass 20%
- Floors 15%
- Loft 10%
It is a good idea to have insulation professionally installed to avoid moisture-related and air quality problems but remember to wear a facemask, goggles and protective clothing if you want to do it yourself.
2) Replace the boiler
Replacing an old boiler is unfortunately an expensive necessity. You may want to consider investing in a high efficiency condensing boiler. It is widely reported that high-efficiency condensing boilers can convert at least 86% of their fuel into heat, as opposed to around 65% for old G-rated boilers. The Guardian has written that although a boiler could cost approximately £2,500 it could reap annual savings of £235 a year.
3) Outdated electrical system
An outdated electrical system is not just inconvenient, it can also be a serious safety hazard and can cause fires or electrical shocks. Period properties were likely built in a time before electrical lighting was standard in all homes. According to Real Homes, if your home has not been re-wired in the past 30 years, you will likely need to re-wire it in part.
Some of the top signs that you need to update your system are:
- If your home has an old-fashioned fuse box it is time to hire electrician. Old fuse boxes often have a wooden back, cast iron switches, white ceramic fuses or a mixture of fuses;
- If your home includes a mix of different socket and switch styles, this strongly indicates that a partial rewire has taken place - it is time to get it checked out;
- If your cables are covered in black rubber, lead or fabric then your electrical wiring will definitely need to be updated. Modern cabling is uPVC coated;
- If you find that your light bulbs are blowing too frequently.
According to Real Homes, the average cost for rewiring a three-bed semi in the UK is £3,500, although remember that this will vary depending on where you live. Get a competent electrician round to give you an estimate – the unsafe (and unlicensed) alternative isn’t worth the risk.
4) Respect original features
Original features bring buckets of charm to a period property and will no doubt be part of the reason you bought it in the first place. Original features can be beautiful focal points for a room. You should do research before adding to original features. The Telegraph also recommends that you refrain from the urge to restore period features to a perfect condition. They think you will lose part of their character, and make them blend into, rather than stand out from, the contemporary setting.
As much as might love your period property, you’ll no doubt want to update your kitchen if it is very old. Don’t be afraid to bring modern elements into a period home. Keeping the design clean and functional will limit how outdated it will look in the future. Indeed, recent FMB research shows that investing in kitchen improvements such as new flooring, a new worktop and new cabinet doors can add almost £27,000 in eight days to an averagely priced home in Dorset. It could therefore be a savvy investment.
Living in a period property would be a dream come true for many people. However, clearly older properties require some work to get them up to a 21st century standard of living. These five helpful hints should help you get the ball rolling.