Knocking down walls, digging up driveways, ripping out carpets - they’re all effective ways of starting home improvements, but none of them feel particularly high-tech. However, not all projects are about simple bricks and mortar. Hiring a tradesman for the right job can help add some serious technology to upgrade your home, and future-proof your property for years to come. Here are some of the top home improvements to reboot your home.
In this day and age, just having a TV and stereo doesn’t quite cut it. With all the options available with smart TVs, projectors, and wired and wireless speakers, your home can boast cinema-like quality, without the sticky floors and smell of popcorn. Music fans can also create multi-room sound systems, even using tablet docks to control them, along with other smart home features. For the best way to present and store your set-up, a carpenter is a good place to start. They’re used to building bespoke shelving and cabinets, and can design the perfect home for your high-end rig.
Hack your Heating
Recent years have seen a lot of people talking about “The Internet of Things” and the idea of smart homes - where appliances in the house are online and always connected, allowing you to control everything with the press of a button from your phone or tablet. This year will be no different, as the technology becomes more affordable and more commonplace. One of the first steps you can take is to install a thermostat that you can control remotely, allowing you to change your heating, and the time it’s on, from anywhere. Paul Caton of Paul Caton Gas Services in Chesterfield, a gas engineer with more than 360 pieces of positive feedback on MyBuilder, says: “I always recommend modern thermostats that connect to wi-fi nowadays. They may still cost a bit more, but they come with a good guarantee, and they’re so useful to have.”
The Power of Solar
If one of your aims for 2017 is to reduce your carbon footprint, installing photovoltaic (PV) solar panels is a great way to go about it. As well as working to generate your own electricity, thus lowering your energy bills, the government also pays a feed-in tariff to homes producing electricity, while there is an export tariff for energy you send to the National Grid. Installing solar panels generally doesn’t require planning permission unless your home is listed or in a conservation area - but you will need a south-facing roof, free from shade, and it helps if your home has a Grade D or above Energy Performance Certificate. It can take some time to recoup initial costs, but speak to an installer to see how it could work for you.
Secure your Space
Good locks are vital to keeping your home protected, but there are a number of more high-tech ways to go about looking after your property. From alarm systems that automatically notify a response team or the police, to cameras you can monitor on your phone, the technology is more accessible than ever. Stephen Mackinlay of DRAM Security, which has 100% positive feedback on MyBuilder, said: “My first recommendation is always motion detector lights - you don’t want dark areas around your home, especially windows and doors, and they are very cost effective. Then I’d suggest a good intruder alarm, and then CCTV. We only supply HD systems - the whole point is to see people.” A dedicated security installer can talk you through the options available.
Not all high-tech updates to your home have to be flashy - some are just really useful. For example, even the lowly plug socket can be upgraded to make it ready for 21st century living. If you’re renovating the electrics in your home, consider installing plugs that also incorporate USB sockets, allowing you to charge devices without the needs for a mains adapter. Jason Briscoe of Electrical Safety Services, an electrician with more than 500 positive pieces of feedback on MyBuilder, said: “They’re the latest thing and more people are asking for them. They’re more expensive than the old-fashioned sockets, but you do get what you pay for.”