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AliG last won the day on January 14

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  1. AliG

    Swimming Pools

    I have just checked our electricity consumption. I had to get the meter manual out as it wasn't displayed automatically. We have used 6760 kWh since the meter was installed last December. This includes a considerable amount of power tool usage by the builders, but the pool wasn't running until more recently. We have solar panels but they are not connected up yet. Annoying after this summer. We have a 5kw system which should generate around 3500kWh a year and reduce consumption a lot. The MVHR is also not running yet, but should be in the next two weeks. There are an enormous number of pumps in the house for hot water, UFH, the pool etc, I just counted 11 pumps, some of which were running almost constantly until I got them sorted last week. We have a Tesla, but until the last few weeks haven't been able to get it into the garage to charge it. I will take a reading tomorrow night to see what our electricity usage is now.
  2. AliG

    Swimming Pools

    @ultramods The pool, filtration, cover, Heatstar etc was about £75,000, it might be about £80,000 today. I just had another think about the costs of the extra space as I was calculating them on the all in cost of the house. The house is costing around £2000 per square metre all in to build, but that includes the pool, walnut staircase, a lot of landscaping, architects fees etc. Actual build costs are probably more like £1500 a square metre ex these. Thus I guess you are looking at 80 square metres at around £120,000 plus the £80,000, so £200,000 in total. It may have been a bit more due to the extra digging etc, so say £120-150,000 or £200-230,000 in total In fairness that would buy a lot of gym memberships but just having access whenever you want and not having to swim around other people's kids, swimming lessons etc is lovely. I'll edit the cost above.
  3. AliG

    Swimming Pools

    I don't think I would want to try and do this as a DIY project. TBH I think the costs were quite reasonable for what I got. The only thing I thought was a bit high was the ductwork. The key thing for me was not having to test pH levels, manually put chemicals in etc. That would have been a non starter as everyone else wold use the pool and I would have all the maintenance work. The level of automation is impressive. The filters run automatically. The installer programmed it to run during the day as he was worried about the noise, but in fact as we have a concrete first floor you cannot hear it upstairs so he has just adjusted it to run during the night. There is a centrifuge that removes large debris. The water is then pumped through that big blue tank which is full of fake sand for filtering and then it goes through a UV pipe that kills bacteria. The system runs the pump during the night to send water over the edge of the pool into the side channels for filtering. I chose a "deck level" pool as these filter better and look nicer. A "skimmer pool" where the water is lower would have saved a few thousand as the deck level pool needs a separate overflow tank, but it does not filter the water as well. In hindsight though the water from the deck level pool goes everywhere when the kids jump in. A system constantly tests the pH and chlorine levels and the passes electricity through the water to create chlorine gas when necessary. All the chemicals are in tanks connected to the equipment and it uses what is needed automatically, all that is required is that someone changes them over when empty. The filtration and heating systems know when the covers are on or off. They run in a lower power more efficient mode when the covers are closed and ramp up when the covers are opened and the pool is in use. The robot provides further cleaning by having spinning rubber brushes which clean the bottom and sides of the pool. It also agitates the water and has onboard filters. After 2.5 hours it stops and you pull it out and rinse out the filters. Generally they have a little sand/dust from ongoing painting and a couple of long hairs. The water is beautifully clean and fresh. I read a guy inAmerica who had installed a pool 1.3m at one end and 1.8m at the other as pools have a "deep end". He said it was useless as you couldn't stand in one end, but if you wanted to do a full head first dive it still wasn't deep enough. Basically I wanted the water to come up to my armpits.
  4. AliG

    Swimming Pools

    Sounds fun, we considered a sauna but I hate being hot/sweaty. The kids complain the pool is too cold at 28C, I find it a little chilly as I get in but just nice got cool down and relax once you have been in for a minute or two. We have a double whirlpool bath in the main bathroom that we only used for the first time a few weeks ago. I had to keep asking the wife to fill it up with cold water as I felt the room was way too hot. Despite often seeing pool rooms with hot tubs in them, the pool installer told me not to do it as the warm temperature that is nice in a pool room would be really uncomfortable with a hot tub. I thought about putting it outside as you are thinking, but a hot tub is way warmer than a pool and would need a lot of heat outside, also hot tubs need way more chemicals to stay clean if you keep them hot as it is a great temperature for bacteria to grow. An outside sauna is probably a better idea.
  5. AliG

    Swimming Pools

    The heater/dehumidier is from a company called Heatstar. It is connected to the central heating boiler which provides heat that can be used to heat the pool water or the pool room. We have UFH in the pool room just in case, but I don't see it ever being used. I thought it might be needed to help dry the floor, but things dry quickly due to the dehumidifier. I have not checked the electricity consumption yet. It works very much like a MVHR system. There is a large wall vent above the pool that draws hot humid air in. A heat exchanger then uses the heat in this to help heat the pool. It sends cooler dry air out the vents in front of all the windows to stop them steaming up and to stop the room getting too hot when the pool is open. Sometimes it will just draw air from outside for ventilation. The Heatstar unit is around £12-13,000 if I remember correctly and the ductwork was around £10,000. The prices of some things have increased due to the weaker pound since we ordered.
  6. AliG

    Swimming Pools

    This may be of use to some people and of interest to others. Certainly I could not find much information before I embarked on our build and it was a bit of a leap in the dark. We designed our house with a swimming pool. It is quite an extravagance but my daughter and I really enjoy swimming and messing about in the pool and it is a luxury I have always fancied. The pool has now been up and running for the past couple of months and I am extremely pleased with it. The installers did a very professional job. As always I tried to make sure that there was as little maintenance as possible required. The filtration system by a company called DA-Gen is all automatic. In the last two months all I have had to do is put a pool cleaning robot like a Roomba in the pool every week and it polishes it up. Other than that there has been abolsutely zero maintenance. The installer told me that historically they would visit a pool once a month. They will probably visit mine three times in the first year and then less after that. The main job will be changing over the chemicals, and just checking everything is working. The pool automatically tests the pH level and adjusts as necessary. The pH is set at 7.2. The chlorine is set at 0.5 ppm which is the same as the local drinking water. The pool creates chlorine from salt when necessary and there is no chlorine smell or taste. The pool is from a company called Niveko. It is a one piece polycarbonate pool and came as a single piece on the back of a truck from the Czech Republic. The pool is 8.9m long, 3.4m wide and 1.3m deep. Thus it contains around 40,000 litres of water. I spent some time at the pool in the gym and reading advice from owners in America on what size to buy. Traditionally pools are twice as long as they are wide, but I wanted a pool that was long enough to swim lengths. Having tested out the gym pool I reckoned I needed at least 8m. If I could not get permission for this much floor space I would have investigated an endless pool where you swim into a current. Depth wise people recommended that a deep end was pointless as it was impossible to stand and play games. we often stand and play water volleyball and the depth is working out perfectly. More depth would just be more water to heat and more ground to dig out. I would recommend 1.3-1.4m depending on your height. I read up on various kinds of pools. A discussion with one company that build traditional tiled/concrete pools suggested a cost of £200,000 which was ridiculous. You can also have a liner pool where you build a concrete shell then use a waterproof liner inside. This is cheaper but needs replacing every so often. I also investigated building a pool from ICF. Although this seems like a good idea, I could not find anyone with expertise in it. Eventually I came across these polycarbonate pools. I liked the design as it has EPS insulation around the outside. The pool could also incorporate a built in cover. Around one third of the heating cost of a pool is due to evaporation. This also keeps humidity down. Finally the smooth finish compared to a tiled pool makes the build up of bacteria much less likely and reduces the need for cleaning and chemicals. It also means no sharp edges on your feet. The total cost for the pool, dehumidifying equipment, filtration, ventilation etc was around £80,000. The real cost is the 80 square metres for the pool room, plant room and changing room. This probably added around £120-150,000 to the build cost of the house. The building work was not complicated much by this, a deeper area of foundations was dug and the pool sits on a concrete slab similar to the ground floor of the house. We did find once we dug down that there was some underground water and it had to be tanked. The pool and ventilation were then put in place below floor level and covered up whilst building work continued. The pool sits on top of 150mm of EPS with a further 50mm around the outside. Historically a pool was a big negative on a house in this area, making them almost impossible to sell. The reason was massive heating bills and maintenance costs. Also they made your house smell of chlorine and the humidity would destroy your house. One thing that prompted me to write this is that we have our heating now all working as it should. I noted on another thread that they had not insulated the circulating hot water system. This has been done now. I thought that this was causing unexpected high bills for heating hot water. However, I have since realised that perhaps the main reason was that the pool, hot water and UFH had all been connected in series to the boiler. Thus when any one of them called for hot water from the boiler all the pumps ran. This was pumping hot water to all 4 UFH manifold in the house every time the hot water or pool called for heat. By my calculation the loops contained towards 200l of water which was constantly being circulated and heated unnecessarily. We have now separated the circuits and gas use has dropped dramatically. Before building the pool i tried to use @JSHarris heating calculator to calculate the cost of heating the pool. After a bit of messing around I decided that a pool was not different to any other room. The reason that pols historically use a lot of heat is that they were often put in orangeries or cheap extensions. Effectively you are trying to heat a large (80sq metres in my case) room to 28c all year round. These rooms often had single or double glazing. My pool is in a room as well insulated as the rest of the house with triple glazed 0.7 U-value windows. The area below the pool has 0.1-0.15 U-value, the walls 0.14. The heat recovery system is 90% efficient. The calculation said that the pool would cost around £500 a year to heat. Frankly even at £1000 I would have been pleased. Anyway I have been on holiday this week and checking our gas usage now that everything works as it should. We have been using 7-9 units a day depending on how much the pool is being used. We have been using 75-100 kWh of gas per day or around £2-2.75 a day in gas. Hot water is around £1 a day, so the pool seems to be coming in close to my calculation. I am very pleasantly surprised. This is heating the pool to 28C and the room to 24C when the pool is closed and 29C when it is open. The outside temperature has really dropped to around 15C. The humidity is kept to around 60% when the pool is closed and 65-70% when it is open. All in all it is a big extravagance but one I am very pleased with. It was great in the hot weather a few weeks ago, my daughter and her friends are loving it and hopefully I will get many years of enjoyment from it. In terms of things I would have done differently. We were a bit tight on the plant room and stuff just fits. The changing room door is quite close to the pool and the frame gets wet. We should have sloped the tiles back towards the pool so that when the kids jump in the water would run back naturally. I bought a squeegee to push excess water back in. Everything is pretty much finished, just some mastic around the room edges required. Heating costs may fall a little as the bottom edges of the windows have not yet been sealed to the floor and had compriband insulation outside, so we are probably leaking a bit of air. Pictures - Concrete pad awaiting the pool. Pool and ventilation below ground level. Plant room. These are the filters and chemicals, the dehumidifier/heater is behind the door. Changing room. We came up with the idea of building the bench out of wood effect tiles so it won't be affected by water. Changing room shower. Pool today after the kids were playing in it. Cleaning robot. The pool has two large colour changing LEDs that provide a great effect at night.
  7. AliG

    What loft insulation

    When I did calculations, standard glass wool loft insulation was by far the best value in terms of cost to achieve a certain U-Value. 400mm will give you around a 0.11 U-value at a much lower cost than say 200mm of PIR, particularly it is much cheaper to install. If he wanted to make it a warm loft and use the space it might be a different answer, but I would guess that this is by far the easiest/cheapest way to improve the insulation value in an old house.
  8. AliG

    Trac pipe

    We did the same, considering the cost of Trac pipe and the fact that it still causes concern inside the house we dug a trench around the outside of the house and laid gas pipe in that for a fire at the other end of the house from the boiler.
  9. AliG

    Old school tricks? Worth it?

    Median architects fees are shown here, from The Architects Journal. Assuming that your 4-5 bedroom house is around 2500 square foot, that might have around a £400,000 build cost, so I would expect an architect to charge around £25,000 to take you right through to the end of the build. I think when I was pricing it up we saw fees ranged from 6-9% of the build cost. There are well defined stages of the build that have expected percentages of the cost. You can stop earlier to save money, That quote is absolutely outrageous. It is somewhat more than I am paying on a house 4x that size. Also if contracting with an architect I would want the price to be fixed to the expected build budget so that they do not make more money if the house runs over budget or if for example you specify nicer windows which makes no difference to them. I certainly would never agree to a contract that costs me £2500 a month if the build over-runs. It hardly incentivises the architect to help you out.
  10. AliG

    Garden furniture

    We got all weather furniture from here. It was the cheapest place we could find the Zen set on the page. Still, however, all weather fabric sets are around twice the price of similar rattan sets.
  11. I had been considering what to do about this. I did ask if it should be insulated before it was all covered up and he said that he didn't think so. Of course I didn't check until I became suspicious about our high use of gas with the heating off, so only hot water. The UFH manifold circuits are insulated, but not the hot water circuit. Having read more about it 19mm Armaflex would reduce the pipework heatloss by around 70%. I am kicking myself that I didn't tell him just to do it, of course he should have known, I can perhaps put it down to not having installed a hot water circulation system before, but the system designers should have known. Also when I checked later I saw that the insulation is very cheap, so to insulate the roughly 60m of pipe would not have cost much at all, £150 for materials plus labour. Much of the pipework goes down a main spine in the hall, maybe 2/3 of it. We could probably open this up relatively easily and insulate the pipe. My wife won't be pleased about the disruption as we are almost finished, but it looks like it needs to be done. I have a FLIR thermal camera that attaches to my phone. I think I will have a look at the ceiling at the weekend and see if the pipes show up which will show the heatloss.
  12. Just as a piece of information. Due to the size of our house and for convenience we were recommended to use a circulating hot water system. It is certainly convenient, you have hot water within seconds despite some fittings being almost 30m from the tank. However, it is very expensive to run. It is on a timer and 3 times a day it pumps hot water round a roughly 60m circuit. This then sits in the circuit cooling down (and warming up the cold water which is nearby). As the heating has been off for some time we continue to use a substantial amount of gas for hot water and I calculated that the heat loss in the hot water circuit probably runs to £100s a year ( actually I calculated it at about £2.50 a day if it ran constantly, probably about £1 a day for the amount we are running it), more than most people use for hot water all together. It is probably not helped by the builder not insulating the circuit. He deemed it unnecessary as they are all within the house. this might have helped but I think the heat loss would still be quite substantial. Thus a consideration is to design your hot water system with the shortest runs possible. Our HW tank was at the opposite end of the house to the kitchen and master bedroom.
  13. AliG

    Lighting bollards

    Hi @jamiehamy Did you order anything in the end? I need to order mine, I cannot decide on putting dawn/dusk bulbs in, using a timer, or ones with motion sensors. I am concerned that the motion sensor ones won't light up until you are basically past them.
  14. AliG

    Drain flies

    It's more just an annoyance, although if he had listened to us that there was a problem it would have been fixed before it got worse. They seem t get worried that we want use of the WC back and try and fix it quickly. We have plenty of toilets, we have tried to impress that we want it fixed correctly not quickly!
  15. AliG

    Drain flies

    Thanks. The builder wants to look into the void with a camera. So you reckon its stagnant water sitting in there not rotten wood or tile board?