So many articles you read online centre on insulating a house. As you may have read in one of our articles a few weeks back, the average home in the UK is a 3 bed semi. This means that companies tend to aim their products and marketing material at houses rather than flats and apartments. However, modern housing developments are seeing lots more flats being built due to the shortage of space and the cost of land. Many older properties are being split up into smaller flats for maximising rent and resale value.
Insulation for flats
Most flats are surrounded by other properties which help to keep them warm. Further, flats tend to have been built after the 2nd World War, which means they have cavity walls. This makes them much warmer than most older properties.
Having said that, it is always worth looking at insulating your property. Cavity wall insulation might be tricky, because everyone in the block is going to have to agree to the works – you can’t just insulate one floor. The alternative is to insulate internally, which will lose you a bit of space in the flat, but can be done on an individual wall and won’t need to involve the neighbours. External insulation is a possible approach for solid walls, but again you would need the whole block to be done, and the works would be extensive and expensive.
How to heat your flat
Flats present some specific challenges in terms of heating. Space is always an issue, so a compact heating system is crucial. Electrical heating can be convenient, but it is often expensive compared to gas. Of course, many flats do not have a gas supply, especially high rises, so you have limited choice. This means there is usually a trade off somewhere along the line. The most popular heating methods are usually one of the following:
- Combi Boiler – For a flat that has a gas supply, a combi boiler is a good choice. Gas heating is cheap and a combi doesn’t suffer from all the extra space that is taken up by a system boiler.
- Community Heating – In larger blocks, a community boiler is often installed. These are usually fairly cheap to run and only need radiators in the property, but the controls then become really important, and you may end up paying a service charge even if you don’t use the heating much.
- Electric Storage Heaters – These take advantage of cheaper night tariffs, but in doing so it means that electricity throughout the day is more expensive than a standard tariff. So watching TV at 4pm costs twice as much, which tends to even out the savings made from storage heaters. Another problem with storage heaters is that they don’t tend to be a very comfortable – or cheap – way of heating. Complaints are always made that they lose their heat in the afternoon and they are extremely expensive.
- Infrared – A relatively new form of heating. The advantage here is that the heaters are much slimmer and sleeker than storage heaters and still efficient when compared to electric heaters. Infrared is also run on the standard tariff, which means that day to day activities are cheaper (11p/kWh as opposed to 18p/kWh).
Why is infrared the best for landlords?
We have separated out the benefits of Infrared into landlords and tenants to give you a clearer outline as to why it is the best.
- Cheap to install
Infrared heating panels are much cheaper to install than new storage heaters – take a look at the products below! Much cheaper than equivalent storage heaters!
Decent panels start at around £109.99, and although they go up to around £900 (for the specialised mirror panels), you can kit out a large living room and two bedrooms for around £800 altogether – you’d be looking at £2,000 for storage heaters.
- Maintenance free
Everyone knows how maintenance heavy storage heaters are, with lots of moving parts. This means that they are prone to breaking down and not working. Infrared heating panels don’t have any moving parts, and along with the long warranties – from 5 to 10 years – they give you peace of mind.
- Comfortable heating
Gone are the days of moaning tenants. Infrared heating panels are run through thermostats so they have instant control over time and temperature. This means that if the temperature suddenly drops, all they have to do it turn up the thermostat and they feel that extra warmth.
- Property value
Old storage heaters can drastically reduce the resale value of the property. Infrared is a growing heating method while storage heaters are on the way out. Make sure your property is future-proofed with infrared.
Currently you may be struggling to keep warm all the way through the day. Storage heaters are designed to store heat from the night until you need it in the evening. However, a lot of storage heaters actually lose all of their heat throughout the day. This means in the evening, when you want the heat the most, it’s not there. Infrared heating panels are run on thermostats, so you are always warm.
- Cheap to run
Infrared heating panels don’t waste energy (and money) by heating air that can just leave the room through draughty door frames and windows – as well as people opening doors. Instead, they heat surfaces – this minimises power consumption while maximising output. Infrared requires around 1/3rd of the electricity required by an electric convection heater and up to 1/5th of a storage heater!
Infrared heating panels are bulky, awkward and very ugly. Even the brand new ones aren’t great to look at. However, infrared heating panels can actively enhance a room. They come in coloured glass finishes, mirror and even picture! Make sure that you have the most stylish heating around.
Infrared heating is 100% safe and healthy. It is how to sun heats the earth after all – without all of that nasty UV. Infrared is beyond the visible light spectrum so you can’t see it. It promotes circulation within your body and doesn’t kick up any dust or allergens because it doesn’t rely on convection.