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  1. Hi @Jenki No. But will do in the next few days (at least start it....) M
    3 points
  2. No 1, the immersion heater. Put the 3kW element back. Fit a PV diverter, These send excess power to the immersion heater and by pulsing the power ensure the power sent to the immersion heater exactly equals the surplus that would otherwise be exported . The tumble dryer. Good for getting a heat pump model. Now modify your usage. A TD does NOT need to "dry" the clothes. We use it sparingly for "fluffing" the things like socks and towels. A short time in the TD then finish the drying on the airer (or outside in summer) is all that is needed to ensure fluffy towels. The rest of self use is shift the use of the big appliances to the middle of the day, on a timer if you are not in. The other thing I do is have the timer for the ASHP set to start DHW heating at 11AM. By then there should be reasonable PV generation so some or possibly all it is using will be from the PV. Fit an export meter (if you don't have a smart meter) so you can see how much you are exporting to see how well you are doing. I am only exporting typically 100kWh per year.
    3 points
  3. I dropped out of running my business in Australia 10 years ago and purchased a run down property in the middle of nowhere…. I work away for two solid months of the year and make the rest of my income from renting out accommodation to visitors. I need to get another building finished and available to rent before I am of the breadline but the quality of life is excellent, I wake up and the day is mine, everything i do is about maintaining or improving the property I live on, if I work hard my goals get closer, if i work less then it’s more relaxing. It’s a good life and I hope I never have to go back to working 9-5.
    3 points
  4. yes we really do! it's like overlooking a wildflower meadow. I've been informed that over the years as more flowers take hold the number of grasses should reduce so it won't look so grass-heavy.
    2 points
  5. the roof is full on now! bees are buzzing around and it gives great privacy in our bedroom from the neighbours house to the south as well.
    2 points
  6. If anhydrite screed has been used, NOTHING will stick to it until the laitance has been mechanically "scrubbed" from the surface. At that point you will see the shiny semi-gloss finish reduced to a surface that looks a little like a pumice stone. That opens 'pores' in the screed which then allow such primers / adhesives / SLC's to be absorbed / key into the surface.........and then you're in business.
    2 points
  7. 15kW. 10kWp array and 5kW from the PW2. the G99 says 17kW max so I can potentially reapply to change the battery storage to discharge at 7kW as I don't think I'll be going Tesla for my battery storage. but, for the moment, I have the 15kW in the bag!
    2 points
  8. You can get oak veneered plywood and add a bull nose. Might work out cheaper. Some of our window cills are left over engineered oak flooring. When I built an oak clad out building my neighbours had some of the left overs for their window cills. Only last week another left over board got used you make a coat rack for the village hall. Can never have enough oak.
    2 points
  9. the wildflowers have started to bloom
    2 points
  10. Apologies. I will delve into the archive.
    2 points
  11. Wow people have far to much time on their hands...and money I must being boring with a £2 manual switch, not sure how I cope.
    2 points
  12. @Dan F, picking up a relevant point in your last PM, IMO the MBC built -- or equivalent -- low energy houses have some common high insulation, little or no thermal bridging, very airtight, MVHR. Large thermal mass within the insulated shell. This first leads to a typical daily heating requirement of perhaps 50 kWh (+/- a factor of two) for typical January temperatures. A good way to evaluate the second is to let the house read a stable "normal temperature" and then turn off the heating for 24 hrs and measure the temperature drop. Our house loses about 1°C / day. That is the house as a system has a very long time constant. IMO, most heating control systems are based on a on/off demand based on some dead-band around a temperature set-point; these really only work well for typical houses which might lose more like 1°C / hr. Given this 1°C per day response, I think that my overall strategy is far more robust: Once per day calculate how heat will be required for the following day based on some simple formula. I base mine on external temperature, but if you have large window areas, then you might need to factor in solar gain, etc. Execute a daily plan to dump the calculated amount of heat into the house. In my case I pack most or all into the cheap-rate time window then dole out the remainder (if any) based on a simple temperature sensor threshold. I use resistive heating but IMO the same approach would work equally well for an ASHP. As part of the daily calculation I check to see if there has been any drift against set point (e.g. if your supplied heat was only 75% of that actually needed, then the house will have dropped ~¼°C or so) and then adjust the heat demand accordingly to correct for this. (I had to add this feedback term because I found that the daily average temperature would slow drift without it. This feedback also corrects for effects like guests staying which can generate quite a few kW from their body heat and all the associated entertaining!) We do most of our heating overnight because we use E7, but the downside is that we do have this ~ 1°C ripple on room temperature. With an ASHP then it might be better to have a more spread out execution plan. You should avoid letting the two control systems (the house and the ASHP) fight, and to do this you want to configure that ASHP to be as dumb as possible: if the heating / cooling demand is on the supply a fixed heat input (say 2-3 kW) in your case in blocks of one hour on (or so) spread through the day. Even if you can't monitor the heat the heat output directly from the ASHP, there are measures which correlate very well and could be used as proxy -- for example, use a power monitor relay to measure the power input to the ASHP and the actual heat output can be estimated from this.
    2 points
  13. @TerryE I have similar to yours, Node-Red, MQTT, SQL etc. I use a Radio Spares Power Bank (RS7757508) as UPS for the two Pi 3's employed in the monitoring and control of the UFH and MVHR. The RS power banks are the only ones I could find that do not interupt the output if the supply fails. They will run the Pi's for more than four hours. One of the pi's is also a wireless AP which allows connection should a long power cut be on the cards. Most of our cuts (which we have a few of) are only a few seconds. Node Red has repalced all the functions of the provided MVHR controller as it is junk, a power cut needs a clock reset.. what!! + I have added temp sensors into each of the four pipes plus a Co2 sensor in the extract pipe.
    2 points
  14. @Jenki IMO, implicit to all this is that I have a passive class house in terms of U-values, air tightness, MVHR, etc. In this, inter-room or inter-zone heat transfer is an order of magnitude higher that interior to exterior transfer. I have what is called a warm slab -- that is the entire reinforced floor slab is within the insulated perimeter so my total thermal mass internal to the external insulation barrier (I did the sums once and reported these on a post somewhere) IIRC is equivalent to that of ~100 tonnes of concrete. If the heating fails, then the house as a whole cools at around 1°C per day. In my previous house we heated by room, with only a few rooms kept at a comfortable temperature. In our current house every room and touchable surface is essentially at the same temperature within a degree or so; zones make no sense in this new context. Our UFH, loops were laid into the slab by being tied to the rebar before pour. The layout avoided walls etc, but MBC advised that we keep the loops all the same length (and close to the 100m roll length). We could have just about fitted in 4 × 100 loops, but this was tight. As I only needed to pump a few kW into the entire floor, we spaced the runs out a little and dropped heating the utility room, so that we could make do with 3 loops (which when laid actually varied from 93 – 100m, IIRC). I trimmed the manifold valves by setting them to max and slightly closing them as need so that the temperature drop across all three zones when heating was the same. The Willis actually draws 2.88 kW, so an entire 7 hour heating budget works out at just over 20 kWh. 2 × Willis seemed like overkill at the time, as a single unit should have been enough to keep within cheap rate for maybe 95% of the year with our planned 20°C target, given our expected other waste heat. However as I said previously, we upped the heating set point for comfort ending up with an average some 2.8°C higher. BTW, pretty much all electricity used within the house ultimately cascades down a waste heat within the environment. In practice our new lighting, computers, and our other base electric load ended up being quite a bit more energy efficient in the new house, so this waste heat element was less than anticipated from previous use. The electric rad on the landing typically adds 8 kWh over night for a full 7 hour window. We have maybe 30 days a year where we need to top up over this 28kWh threshold, and end up using peak rate electricity. So yes, using a bigger resistive heater such as a 5kW inline or just 2 × Willis (as others have done) could have kept heating in the cheap rate window, but it just wasn't worth the hassle to make this change, as our current arrangement only adds maybe £10 - 15 to our annual electricity bill.
    2 points
  15. Dan, TL;DR it continues to work extremely well albeit with a few tweaks. I have been meaning to do an update for some time. Let me put together an update post. I'll do it later today, and ping you back to let you know when I've posted it. ?
    2 points
  16. Hello @LSB Hope this helps a bit and gives you some food for thought, even if just to help you rule things out. I have made comments / suggestions / rambling thoughts in italic in line with your text. Firstly don't depair and think the worst, hard to do when you are at the sharp end. I haven't posted to my blog for a couple of months, mainly because we haven't been able to progress until we got the Structural Engineers report. This was promised in 2 weeks and ended up taking 10. Hopefully they dropped you a note explaining why things were taking longer as a common courtesy. I now suspect that this was because they didn't want to tell us the news. Don't suspect anything at this stage keep an open mind. Our build is a barn conversion so we've had to jump through lots of hoops. ,making lots of money for other people. But you will have something a lot of folk would give their back teeth for. But, particularly for the SE, first it was the report where they said to planning that the barn was convertible. The SE may have been looking at the condition of the walls and could they be retained as planning constraint, maybe that was their brief? Cost would not have been a significant factor. Then the 1st phase ground contamination report, no issues there. Good. Planning approved with condition of phase 2 contamination report. No significant problems constraints with that? Any other conditions other than just getting the investigation done? Then we started preparing the site, documented in previous blogs, we did this thinking that it would benefit us with the SE report to get the building regulations drawn. How wrong we were. Maybe not.. just by messing about on site you can gather valuable information that can be used to solve a problem. One of the limitations of the barn conversion was that one side of the building can only be 2.2m high. We worked around this by designing rooms so it wasn't needed for walking. Yesterday, I received the report, only to be horrified to see that this low side of the building, 2.2m remember, needs underpinning foundations of 'at least' 2.4m. How can a single storey build possibly need foundations deeper that the height of the building. The opposite side is 3.15m high to the roof, here the SE say we only need 1m deep foundations, figure that out. The soil is not clay, not sand, there are a few 3" elm trees that are being knocked down so no large roots. From what you have said it seems like the soil is the crux of the matter. The roof loadings and the self weight of the wall are not onerous given the size of structure you have. I'm just speculating but are the walls close to a boundary with trees on the other side? Has the SE not realised that the Elms are young and to be removed.. then speculated that they will grow into large trees? It could be a simple lack of communication! Digging deeper if this is not a communication issue. You mention that the soil is neither clay nor sand. It may still bit bit expansive.. prone to swelling / shrinkage.. much depnds on which part of the UK you live in. Some of the Gault (fissured) clays in England are sensitive to ground and moisture changes, If for example you live in parts of Northern Ireland, Norfolk, Stirling in Scotland, the Severn type estuary regions in Wales then the ground can move about to a good depth. Another thing is that your SE may have identified a band of silt.. so not clay or sand.. and this is another type of material. Silts are tricky to build on so maybe the SE has, luckily for you picked up on this. But, it gets worse, they say that this must be done 1m at a time, doing 1st meter, then 3rd meter, then 5th meter, then 2nd meter etc.etc. This particular wall is 25m long. They have no issues with the existing internal walls. Unless you have spent say 10k plus on a pretty comprehensive ground investigation.. maybe with an interpretive report I can't see (willing to learn though) the justification for concluding that the founds can be significantly shallower for the internal wall.. which may be load bearing to some extent. This makes me lean back towards the trees rather some tricky layer of soil in the ground. I've never been so glad to be stupidly busy at work to take my mind of this fiasco. So, what do we do. Relax! Have a chat with the SE. The thoughts I have are: 1. Can we knock down the back wall leaving the rest and build only 1m deep like the wall on the opposite side, but I would still need to get planning. 2. Do we write off all the work we've done and all the money we've spent (lots) and try and get planning to start from scratch with a kit house. It would have to be self build though due to the extremely limited funds available. 3. The long wall splits into utility, 2 x bathrooms, 3 x bedrooms and a pantry. Do we knock down the wall for each room and then rebuild it bit by bit and with what foundations. 4. Do we start on the high side of the conversion and work backwards ignoring the problem for now. The sides vary from 1m front to 2m foundations at the back. The most disappointment I feel is that the SE passed the building as fit to convert, including digging holes to look at the existing foundations with no mention of anything like this. I don't know if it makes any difference, but the original SE was probably about my age, in his 50's, whereas the recent one (same firm) was barely out of nappies and didn't want to talk to us when he was here to discuss anything. What I have done is: a. Requested a meeting with the SE and his manager to ask why so deep and about a new wall. If we can knock down the wall and put in 1m foundations then that is manageable as with the digger we can knock the existing one down and dig the trenches before getting a groundworks crew to do the rest. b. Started compiling an email to send to the planners, but with the current situation I don't think I will hear anything. Also, I'm a bit wary, if we say what is required can they pull our planning and still not allow us a new build. c. Started looking at some kit companies who provide self build kits to get some ideas of costs. The one thing that we cannot do is dig down 600mm x 2.4m a meter at a time. Maybe a groundworks company could, but at what cost for what, in reality, is a tatty barn which, if we could have got planning we would gladly have knocked down and crushed. I spoke to the planners after we got planning to ask about this route and we told that we had no chance. Here's a little reminder of the layout. In summary see what the SE's have to say. If you get no joy then dive back on BH. Provide as much info on the ground as you can and some cross sections so we can see where the roof loads go, the wall thickness and so on. BH members can then have a few more bits of info to work with. Look forward to your next post/ blog once you have got over this bump in the road. All the best.
    2 points
  17. To be honest it doesn't look too bad. You could always add a thin layer of pumped screed if you want a perfectly smooth floor but a descent tiler will solve most of your woes. With this in mind it might be worth raising your ground floor ceiling height and windows by maybe 25mm. BTW I hope the poor guy with the stroke will be ok. That kind of thing makes all our building issues seem minor.
    2 points
  18. Wish us 'ordinary' contributors could do that. Main reason I have never bothered with a blog. Be alright when @pocster becomes a moderator, then a simple bribe, or blackmail, will get anything we like posted up. Good to know that the old RPi is still chugging along. I left one logging at @joe90's some years ago, the 'sister' one at mine has been very reliable.
    1 point
  19. Yup. We have a vaulted central hallway running though the 3 floors of the house and with a roof-light window on the top floor. We find this gives good convective cooling to mitigate this issue if we open a door or window on the side of the house in shade, and this allows us to dump the hotter house air during the early morning or late evening. Even so overheating is a nuisance typically for a couple of weeks a year when there is a sustained heat wave and even morning temperatures rise above 20°C or so.
    1 point
  20. Given that the whole heating system dies without electricity, I don't view loss of power per se as an issue. What I want to avoid is system corruption on power-fail. I have lost microSD cards in the past, so I regard these as suspect. Hence I always use SSD storage on my RPi servers and this seems to be a lot more resilient to power-fail and wear levelling failures than microSD storage. Also Linux / Ext4FS gives excellent file system resilience to power failure. All of my configuration and critical data gets backed up off server and to cloud storage -- and on a occasional basis to offline USB HDD for disaster recovery. My CH RPi3 does have a small battery backup hat which basically facilitates orderly OS shutdown on loss of power. Both my Hass.io server and my general server are configured as Docker hosts, so for example my pihole and WireGuard setups use standard containers; their build scripts are ~20 lines of bash script each and the R/W volumes are a few Mb that is backed up nightly. I don't use RPi0s at the moment, but if I did, then using OverlayFS is nicely enabled through raspi-config, and this allows you to boot and run with a read-only SD card setup. If I did need to store data locally on the SD card, then my inclination would be run OverlayFS for the root partition, but to have a separate F2FS partition for non-volatile R/W data. I generally prefer to use protocols such as MQTT on such IoT-style devices to transport updatable configuration and logged data off-board to an external MQTT server.
    1 point
  21. @Dan F I've just added a new post. Enjoy
    1 point
  22. Looks great Patrick - glad you are making progress.
    1 point
  23. I recommend you speak to someone about remedial screw piles - these should be fairly simple, quick, and "relatively" cheap to install on the necessary walls if you've got decent access for the rig. We looked into this when we thought we'd need to underpin our bungalow foundations before building up, but the SE did ground bearing analysis on 3 trial pits and lots of calcs for Building Control to convince them that the existing footings are adequate, so we didn't go down that route. But that would have been our preference over underpinning footings to 2.0m with concrete, 1m at a time.
    1 point
  24. Same as me. Photographer for 30 years and now let's go building, though my dear Father (78) helped me build the frame. It has been a challenge but worth it.
    1 point
  25. Love the blog, photos and video. You have skillz
    1 point
  26. Be very aware that to qualify for Class Q this must be a conversion and incorporate the existing structure, not a replacement. This seems very stupid and petty in your case, but it is the law and from what you have mentioned your local authority would keenly enforce it. I understand that new foundations are a no-no for Class Q.
    1 point
  27. Sensible approach , if you have a preferred option just ask why cant we do this ? Our roof was designed by an SE the first design was, from an engineering point of view ,amazing a 10m span from the eaves to the ridge supported by 1 steel beam on each side at 8m , unfortunately from a construction and cost point of view very expensive and to quote the builder " i can do it but you can forget about one days crane hire i will need it onsite everyday until all 98 of the 9m long 2 x 9's are in place " he suggested we add 1 additional beam on each side, use 4.8m 2 x 7 timbers @ 600 centres rather than 400 . Put his suggestion to the SE and the reply was well you could do it that way if you want to and it might save you a bit in materials !
    1 point
  28. Let me tidy a few points up. It is not a fiasco, and it would be unwise to suggest that to your Engineer. I foresee a solution 1. Trees will the the issue here. 2.4m depth is normal enough if the trees are, or will be be tall, with high water demand, and the ground is liable to shrinkage. 2. Clay is the worst*. It expands and shrinks seasonally. If the ground was sandy, or the trees were pine or bushes really, the requirement would not be for 2.4m 3. The foundations are designed for the eventual heights of the trees not the current. 4. the depth is less elsewhere because it is further from the trees, and nothing to do with the building size. Now, you say the trees will be 'knocked down'. Does the Engineer know this? Even if he does, the trees' effect on the ground will continue. They could grow again if the stumps remain. For at least the next year after the trees are removed, the ground will move as the conditions have changed. the likelihood is that the ground will slowly get wetter, to many metres, and the clay will swell, and the ground will rise. Discuss this with the Engineer and ask for confirmation. then don't build your foundations for a while. The trees should then be removed asap, to let the winter water seep slowly into the ground (again clay is the worst for this, and will take time to wetten. BTW underpinning has to be done in 1m lengths or there is no support and the wall falls down. * Clay is made of millions of layers of silt washed into a lake a very long time ago. These layers allow water between them and expand. Then trees suck the water out and it shrinks again. At 2.4m down the tree does not drink the water, hence taking the foundations down to there.
    1 point
  29. my money is on trees being the issue as even 1.5m would be overkill on clay in the absence of trees, piling would be cheaper.
    1 point
  30. Every SE I have ever used has massively over engineered the project - they always keep in mind that they are sticking their PI on the line with each design. If you have a decent building inspector it may be sensible to dig out a section and get them to inspect and to tell you what they consider appropriate. If you are sat in decent firm clay I can't imagine they would be expecting a massive depth.
    1 point
  31. The underpinning sounds OTT. It may be easier to do a section of wall at a time - demolish, new foundations, rebuild. There is always a danger that this will no longer be deemed PD, so don't do too much in one bite and retain / repair / reinstate as much of the steel frame as possible. SEs often just spec something that will work, with little regard to the cost. I had one spec 2 layers of A393 mesh for a ground bearing concrete slab. When challenged they were happy with a single layer of A142. Did you dig a trial pit to establish foundation depth? Also, have Building Control been to site? They often have a good idea of typical acceptable foundations in the area.
    1 point
  32. Get another SEng - cannot see any reason why you need that and the wall I expect is not actually taking the weight of the roof - it will be the steels. If not, add in a steel portal along the back of the wall.
    1 point
  33. Well @LSB, stepping back from the situation, the depth to me seems odd. As I understand it, foundations are used to ensure the weight of the building is dispersed over a ground surface area capable of supporting the structure plus a factor of safety. So larger surfaced than usual foundations usually indicate either a heavier building or dodgy ground or a point load - say a pad foundation for a steel. Deeper foundations point to poor ground or tree roots. The only time I've known 2.4m deep underpinning was because the roots from a mature oak tree 10 meters away were undermining the foundations of a house. If there isn't anything indicating tree root potential then it has to be poor ground and the only way to tell how far to go down is to dig a trial hole or bore down to see where the good ground starts. Other things of note are sites with steep sloping ground or near other properties or your going for a basement. This is the limit of my knowledge so I leave it to others to point out my failings. You need to get to the bottom of this. (Sorry I couldn't resist) All is not lost! Hang in there. Best of luck Marvin.
    1 point
  34. @Construction Channel I seem to recall did his own, DIY underpinning, in stages.
    1 point
  35. @LSB. What a pain. I feel for you. Self building is tough on a greenfield site never mind having to deal with the issues of kicking an agricultural building, dragging and screaming, into a modern house. To me it seems absolutely ludicrous one cannot simple demolish and replace the exist structure with something externally identical. I suppose that's beside the point. Perhaps, given the reality of the works to be undertaken, the planners would now have some sympathy to this position? Secondly about the SE. If they are quite new to the role they are naturally very cautious, infact the exact right personality to be an engineer, however they may not have the experience to know exactly where the line is. Hopefully a senior colleague will have better news. As an alternative solution, maybe contact a local underpinning firm for a consultation. They may well have a cheaper solution that your SE will be happy with given their more in-depth knowledge of the situation. Good luck.
    1 point
  36. I'm doing a stable conversion too and it's been very slow and painful, with so many constraints, as you are finding, it seems much more difficult than designing and building something new. I got another structural engineer's opinion and it was different. The first said underpin all round, the second said it was ok not to if we didn't dig the ground bearing slab out.
    1 point
  37. I get the feeling you'll be disappointed when the timber cladding goes on. ?
    1 point
  38. Excellent work. Great to have a time lag video. I am not so technically minded. We have just poured our third and final concrete into the ICF above the large steels for sliding doors. Our mono pitch roof starts next week.
    1 point
  39. The ground pressure of an excavator is very low. A layer of sand/soil/hardcore over the top will prevent the tracks catching hold … just tell the driver about it so he knows to be careful when turning. axle weights of delivery vehicles are more likely to cause damage
    1 point
  40. Oh my word! That is truly impressive progress, and in the context of such a significant family bereavement, all the more so. I'm sorry for your loss - she sounds like . I just can't believe the entry of the word 'stupid' anywhere in your blog as I am absolutely blown away by your and your erstwhile wife's skills, and the progress that you have made. Well done indeed. M
    1 point
  41. We had a few problems but nothing as serious as poor guy with the stroke. Our raft looked smooth and level but we still ended up using a self levelling resin screed to make the surface suitable for a karndean floor. We did the screeding ourselves, it's not perfect but it's a self build. The stuff we used was the Mapei ultraplan, mixed up a bag at a time with and electric stirrer. It goes off very quickly so you need to have everything ready before you start.
    1 point
  42. That's good, sensible to be pragmatic. This may be your first 'didn't go as planned' self build event but it wont be your last and if you can roll with them then your stress levels will be manageable. I always used to say that I was pissed off about the last problem but only until the next one pops up
    1 point
  43. Main floor practically done, just two tiny boards to put down but I’ve ran out of screws ? also taken the window board off ready to repair the wall, just need to stick a bit of wood to support the window from the outside whilst I do it. This window is getting replaced when the extension gets built with a flat window. more importantly I’ve got the TV hooked back up!
    1 point
  44. this sounds like a trapped nerve in your neck, you should try getting one of those triangular pillows using by mothers with babies and sleep at a different angle. Just to see if it makes any difference. Or, of course, it could be those hours of playing squash that's making your arms dead.
    1 point
  45. I seriously take my hat off to you mate, a great job under very difficult circumstances, I hope all is well with your tests and future health. You must be very proud ?
    1 point
  46. sorry to hear about your back, hope it recovers soon, same issue that I have.
    1 point
  47. I know the pain of balancing paid work and building all too well. It's never easy. You'll find there is progress but it will be everyone else that see it first. Good luck!
    1 point
  48. Mine got really stiff but I put a load of grease on it the twist thread and works fine.
    1 point
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