Are Semi-Detached Houses Warmer? (And Cheaper To Run?)3 min read

Semi-detached houses are typically known for their affordable price and efficient designs. However, this house style comes with unique functional benefits over a stand-alone house more than just their price. One of those benefits is the semi-detached house’s ability to stay warmer in cold climates.

Semi-detached houses are warmer because of their smaller floor areas in the home and the shared walls. Sharing walls helps reduce heat loss in the living areas and reduces heating costs in the home. As a result, the semi-detached house will stay warmer and require less heating to maintain a comfortable temperature.

This article will cover in-depth why semi-detached houses are warmer and what other house styles stay warm.

Why are Semi-Detached Houses Warmer?

There are a lot of variables that go into determining how well a house stays warm in the colder months. When the house is built, the structure’s layout will be essential to know the home’s efficiency. In most cases, attached homes will use significantly less energy than detached houses.

Many semi-detached houses built in the 1900s will have a heating system that splits between the two occupants. Sharing walls helps to equally distribute the heat throughout the home and keep you warm in winter. Many of these homes are built from brick, which is excellent at insulating heat.

Additionally, all semi-detached houses are at least two stories. Your main living quarters will be on the second floor, the perfect location to stay warm. Warm air rises, and you will get most of the heat while the colder air stays on the ground floor. While this is the case for all multi-story houses, it’s an excellent benefit for semi-detached houses as well.

As an owner of one part of the house, you can make more adjustments to your house’s insulation. Adding more efficient doors and windows will improve the temperature of the structure more. In conclusion, the shared walls and smaller floor space of the semi-detached house will keep it warmer than a detached home.

How Much Warmer Are Semi-Detached Houses?

When determining how warm a semi-detached house will be, you can do some quick math to see the heating requirements. The less thermal power required for the space, the easier it is to stay warm. Whether it’s semi-detached or a detached home, you can reach your desired temperature.

However, the energy output and costs associated with reaching that temperature will be different. One of the easiest ways to calculate the requirements is by taking note of the square footage of the living area. The average-sized semi-detached house is 93.2 m² or 1003 sqft in most parts of the world.

In contrast, the average size of a detached home is 2,587 sqft in the United States. As a standard unit of measurement used worldwide, BTUs or British Thermal Units measure the energy required to raise the temperature. For a 1,000 sqft house, you will need 18,000 BTUs to maintain a warm temperature.

The heating system will need to utilize more BTUs when you are looking to change the temperature initially. In freezing climates, changing the temperature can be a difficult challenge for your system. It becomes harder for homes with a lot of square footage that is typical for a detached home.

Are Semi-Detached Houses Cheaper to Run?

As one of the best selling points for semi-detached houses, the operating costs of the homes will be lower than a detached house. By living with another occupant on the home’s ground floor, you can share the costs of maintaining a heating system. The insulation of these homes is also good at lowering the costs of heat.

You can also easily add better energy-efficient doors and windows to improve your efficiency. Other options are programmable thermostats and door sweeps that can improve the heating even more in the home. If you are budget-conscious, look to own a semi-detached house for inexpensive heating.

Are Semi-Detached Houses Better Insulated?

As the main building material for semi-detached houses, brick is one best insulating materials that you can use in construction. The dense and heavy design forms tight seals that make it hard for cold air to pass through. In the middle of every semi-detached house is a “party wall” that is double-stacked brick.

With the durable brick construction, the insulation of semi-detached houses is hard to beat. Along with the brick construction, builders will add more insulation to the floors and ceilings to prevent noise complaints. As a byproduct, the home also stays warmer during the winter months easier.

Many home builders will also add insulation in between you and your neighbor’s wall. The added insulation will better trap heat inside of your living area. However, if you have an older property, you may not be getting the best of your house. Adding new insulation to an older property can drastically improve efficiency in most cases.

What Are the Warmest Types of Houses?

When constructing a house for cold climates, the most important thing is the home’s building materials. Some building materials like concrete, brick, and tile are better at maintaining the warmth in a room. If you live in a location that snows a lot, you should have a home with a simple roof design.

A standard gable roof design will let the snow, pine needles, and other debris slide off the roof. If you can, a metal roof is the best option for durability and controlling the temperature of your house (this may be tough to find though, as over 80% of homes in the US have shingle roofs). The sun will also heat the metal roofing, increasing the warmth of your house overall and maintaining it.

Older semi-detached homes are also excellent at maintaining their warmth, as most are built from brick. The newer houses have interior walls built from drywall, which is not as dense as bricks. If you want a warm house, look for an older home constructed of brick and proper insulation.


Semi-detached houses are an inexpensive homeownership option that comes with the benefit of better energy efficiency.

The open ground floor and second-floor living areas are an excellent layout for optimizing how heat warms a house. These house styles will stay warmer, and you will pay less for heating than a detached house.

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Hi, I'm Ed, and I run BuildFanatic! I enjoy providing the best possible information on a range of home improvement topics.

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