To reform can mean a revalue of a house up to 20%, that is, a higher profitability than the achieved with products such as bank deposits or most pension plans and investments funds, according Andimac, the National Association of Distributors of Ceramics and Construction Materials. They also add that the improvements projects can increase in a 25% the profitability of rentals, which according to the latest data from the Bank of Spain, are already above 4%. Therefore, they recommend this advice list:
1) Thermal and acoustic insulation. Depending on the environment of the house, significant improvements can be achieved both inside and outside. Some possibilities to insulate a house from an acoustic point of view would be to provide space with textiles or sound-absorbing surfaces, for example, in walls and slabs. On the other hand, Sandra Barañano, Technical Director of Cuida tu Casa (in English, Take Care of Your House) – Andimac’s initiative for well-being at home, states that there are three different solutions for thermal insulation. However, many times the outside solution is not viable. It can also happen that the inside insulation causes problems due to the deficiencies of the building chamber. In any case, we must bear in mind that these inside solutions subtract space. “Whenever possible, the best solution is to insulate from outside to inside, as this prevents cold, heat or noise from entering. However, in order to isolate from outside you need permits from the community of neighbours and from the council, so if it is not possible, another option must be chosen”, says Barañano.
2) Windows. Those that work best thermally and acoustically are those of wood or PVC with thermal bridge breakage since they –unlike those of aluminium –prevent the transmission of heat or cold between the interior and the exterior of the house. Therefore, it is possible to achieve significant savings on the bill. Likewise, changing the glasses for others of greater thickness, with air chamber, low-emissive and with a low shadow factor, a lower infiltration is achieved. Barañano thinks that the best solutions are laminated or double glazing glasses. The weather strips prevent air infiltration, achieving energy savings in air conditioning and greater acoustic comfort. It is a cheap and easy to install solution, and it does not require the hiring of a professional. When installing and caulk a window do not forget about ventilation, it is advisable to take advantage of the natural type to reduce the use of air conditioning. It is important to ensure that the windows are well protected by slats and well oriented to strong breezes.
3) Pavements and linings. The characteristics of the finishings must be taken into account according to the aspects for which they are intended. A floor for a kitchen, which must be non-slip and waterproof, can never be the same as the living room wall lining. The pavement cannot be sliding in dry or wet. The floors of the kitchen or bathroom, as humid spaces, must be waterproof to a height of at least two meters to avoid deterioration, dampness and other problems. At the same time, it is important to consider colours, not only for their aesthetic value but for their properties. The linings may contain substances that are emitted into the environment over time, resulting harmful to health. It is recommended that the boards are class E, remove plastic paints and proceed to paint with natural dyes or water-based paints, which allow perspiration of the pores of the wall. Good insulation prevents the appearance of mould, bacteria and viruses.
4) Lighting. Regarding this aspect, it is convenient to replace traditional bulbs with the LED type ones. The light sources must be adjustable to avoid glare and adjustable intensity, in order to adapt the brightness to the needs of each moment. It is also relevant to have only appliances labelled A, A+, A++, A +++ at home, since they consume less electricity and water. In the same way, it is good to organize the house so that sunlight enters the rooms during the day and change the kitchen with induction plates, which prevent leaks and risk of burns and are easy to maintain.
5) Efficient boiler. Low temperature or condensing boilers save fuel compared to conventional ones. Boilers with automatic modulation of the flame that adapt the heat input to the needs of each user are also recommended. Accordingly, it is essential to renew the air conditioning equipment.
6) Radiant floor. The installation of radiant floor in very cold climatic areas improves comfort, since it achieves a higher temperature in the floor than in the ceiling. It also accomplishes energy savings because the temperature necessary to heat the spaces is lower than in that of the radiators. Barañano urges to keep in mind that heat always tends to go up, so placing it on the floor regulates a comfortable climate at home.
7) Energy recovery system. You can take advantage or the air we expel to heat the interior of the house, since it is already at a higher temperature than the outside, so it will take less energy to heat it.
8) Change the bathtub for a shower. The entry and exit of the shower can be an operation of difficulty and risk. One of the main measures we can take to improve accessibility is to replace the bathtub with a shower. If possible, the shower should be flushed with the floor of the rest of the bathroom, with a slope towards the drain no greater than 2%.
9) Home automation or technologic systems. Luminous warning devices, presence detectors, automatic taps…With all these systems it is possible to achieve considerable savings, since they favour its shutdowns when they are not needed. The regulation systems allow reducing monthly consumption.
10) Replacement of the facilities if the reform includes bathrooms and kitchen. In these cases, when replacing the installation of plumbing, sanitation and air conditioning, the cost incurred is not excessive in relation to the risks, bad odor or faults. The same would happen with the electrical installation, which is essential to check from time to time to avoid cuts, overloads or other problems.