As an active father and avid bicyclist, as I age I’ve become more keenly aware that the human body is not indestructible. Whether it is courtesy of nagging back pain or perpetually bothersome knees, as we get up there in age, we begin to notice things start to malfunction. The good news is, with proper care and attention, we are able to alleviate, or at the very least manage, many of these concerns. If you think about it, older homes are not unlike older bodies in this sense.
Working in construction for a number of years now, I have noticed significant amount of us find ourselves living in dated homes. Whether it is recently purchased and ‘new to you’ or the long time residence of your family, homes of a certain vintage, though often stately and beautiful, are also susceptible to a number of common problems that come with age. The good news is that, even more so than with our aging bodies, many of these problems can be dealt with easily – they just require a little bit of effort and maintenance work.
Whether you are a do it yourself type, or would prefer to ring a professional to help, here are some common problems with older homes, as well as some simple, stress free fixes.
INSUFFICIENT STORAGE SPACE
From bicycles to beach umbrellas, in this day and age, the contemporary British family typically contains a lot of belongings, many of which require some type of storage. The trouble is, older homes were typically not built to accommodate this, and often lack adequate closets and storage.
The problem is quite simple, and so is the solution: We must better utilize the space we have! Look for room in unexpected places throughout your property. The areas below and between windows often make a great spot to install a cabinet.
Many older homes, though lacking storage, are quite big. For those with a large enough empty space, it is often practical to install a new closet. Either construct a new closet or hire a builder to do the job for you.
DATED ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS
Unlike a lack of storage, having a dated electrical system can be downright dangerous, leading towards an increased risk of electrocution and fire.
Whether your home has an outdated circuit breaker, old aluminum wires or frayed or cracked insulation on your wiring, a dated electrical system is something that should be addressed by a professional. Flickering lights, a tripping circuit breaker, and frayed wires are all cause for concern, and I would certainly suggest calling an electrician.
POOR QUALITY INSULATION
As the seasons change, those of us living in older homes often find ourselves dealing with extreme temperatures, as our homes are often poorly equipped for heat retention in the winter and unable to keep heat out in the summer. Though not as dangerous as improper or outdated electrical wiring, subpar or even nonexistent insulation can truly be a headache. Subpar insulation leads to a great deal of discomfort, not to mention sizable energy bills.
A personal favourite solution to this problem is blow-in insulation. This type of insulation does not require drywall removal, which can be quite costly, and instead requires the placement of small holes in the walls to pump insulation through. Though this method is not as effective as fibreglass insulation, it is more affordable and the installation will be significantly less disruptive to your day to day life.
Naturally, the list of potential problems/solutions that can arise living in an older home is quite extensive, with this list representing but a few of the more common. In any case, putting a bit of care into an older property is a great way to keep your home modern without sacrificing the charm and character an older home provides. Spending a bit of time dealing with these simple problems in the present can actually help you save considerable time, and worry, in the future.