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TerryE last won the day on March 24 2017

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About TerryE

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    Northamptonshire, UK
  1. You don't need a smart meter. OVO provides one, but it doesn't offer an official API to access it or the online data. All they need is a web page / API so you can interrogate their website to find the current spot price.
  2. Members who have used a given company can talk in detail about that company. What I would like to see is more members who have used other companies explain the values and advantages of the alternatives. Someone has to generate that content. That's what this thread is about.
  3. [ Edited in line with other edit above to remove dead quote. ] There is a view recently implied or expressed by some members that the forum is pro-MBC, to the exclusion of other TF alternatives. Yes, some of the active contributors including myself have been open about having MBC timber frames in their builds and have blogged and posted about our experiences. I just wish that members with other TFs would put their experiences and recommendations into print so that these can be mined by new members. I started this thread to encourage other members to present such a balanced set of alternatives to new members, but I can't create this content.
  4. Touchwood Homes Experiences

    @IanR, any updates on how it is going and lessons leant? This would be a great addition to this thread.
  5. Thanks @IanR. That's link is an extremely useful cross-link for other readers :-)
  6. I am really just refreshing this topic to let members other than those who have had an MBC timberframe have an opportunity to recommend / give feedback on their supplier. The problem we have as the main contributors is having other members give constructive recommendations on other suppliers and whether they would recommend them etc. @IanR, @NSS and @RandAbuild, I know that you are both active on the forum. Any comments? Can any other members suggest who else might want to give input?
  7. I would have been tempted just to bung the insulation block into the hole and foam it into place, and with some drizzle foam zig-zagged on the front to act as a keying surface. Then when dry, tossed in a snotty mix and tapped the front Durisol plate onto it and banged a few 6" nail through to keep it in place, whilst the snot went off. But liquid does tend to flow flow holes unless you plug 'em.
  8. Hi!

    Our planning department turned down the installation of PV in our pre-planning advice: PV on the principle elevation was "not in keeping with the preferred cottage style". The house is SE facing, so the principle elevation is the only one where it makes sense to install PV. So we use grid electricity for all energy (apart from a couple of back propane gas rings on our cooking hob, just in case of power cuts. Our village has a wind-farm and 3 largish PV installations within a 3 mile radius, so we it makes sense to buy our green electricity through the grid. We've learnt so much from Jeremy's experience, but he's reworks his system at least three times, each a stepwise improvement and he isn't living in his house full time yet! So our intent has always been to use the 1st year to complete the house inside and out and gain experience of living in it (including collecting hard performance data on the house as built) before doing any optimisation of the heating system etc..
  9. Hi!

    @Dreadnaught, we live at NN7 so you are close enough for you to come over for a visit and walk around / talk some of the issues. Just PM me if you want to. I am sure that other members can do likewise. I know that I've made this point on other threads, but the devil is in the detail on ensuring that the house as-built achieves the as-designed goals. We are retired and our build was on an adjacent plot split off from our previous garden -- and so we could keep an extremely close eye on all of the quality issues. This isn't the case with people how have to hold down a job and don't live next to their build. Here you have to put a lot more trust in the trades teams. Doing a self-build is extremely stressful , IMO and having a bad builder or tradesmen cut corners is the last thing that you want to face, especially if you only find out when it is too late to fix the issue cheaply. So my view is that you make damn sure that you pick the right builder / supplier with an excellent track record. As to my "bath" point, I don't use the Willis for my potable hot water at all, just the slab. I have a pair of SunAmp PVs which I heat overnight. This is absolutely fine for normal use, but we have a big bath and a full one on top of normal daily use is enough to require use to top-up the SunAmps after this with peak rate top-up.
  10. Hi!

    BTW with an ASHP you have three different "grades" of water: potable; + inhibitor for the UFH loops; + antifreeze for the ASHP. You need to use PHEs between these; though I believe you can use a combined inhibitor / antifreeze mix for a combined UFH + ASHP flow, though no doubt JSH or NH will correct me if I am wrong.
  11. Hi!

    Nick, I feel that you are missing a fundamental point here. The SunAmp uses PCM cells to get a lot of thermal capacity in a small form facts -- about 4½kWh in the standard box. The slab is a thermal store with well over 10x this thermal capacity at less than ½°C temp drop, and it is there anyway. IMO, there's little to be gained by using a SunAmp as a heat battery for the whole slab. Where is does make sense is possibly for a DHW preheat buffer, but really only when we have baths. I just tweak my version of the "Jeremy Spreadsheet" to increase the house temp to our actual average (21°C) and drop the Jan/Feb temps to actuals rather than forecast. So the prediction of this 3 year-old model was Feb average consumption of 47kWh / day. Our actuals this month vary between 42-55 kWh with an average 47.5 kWh /day , which I think is just amazing. It's bloody cold at the moment, the 24hr average temp is around 3°C so we are needing 21kWh @ low tariff + another 6kWh top-up late afternoon at peak tariff to maintain a warm house environment. This space heating element costs £1.51 (cheap) +0.83 (peak) (+5%VAT) at our current OVO tariff. Our slab could probably take more than 3kW, but I've only got the one 3kW heater. A big caveat for @Dreadnaught: for this sort of heating architecture to be viable you need to do the sums for your design and you then need to make damn sure that your house as built achieves the sort of passive class performance that you designed for. Acres of glass make a big difference to the figures; ditto bridging failures in the thermal envelope; ditto material airtightness failures. But get it right and you won't need upstairs heating at all, so no radiators cluttering walls, just a warn ground floor. This all being said, we'll be laying the insulated return pipe from the services room to the end of our garden shed (the probably place for ASHP should we decide to install one) this weekend as the paving guys are starting the drive and paving the following Monday. That way we won't have any digging to do if we do decide to install an ASHP.
  12. We have got our completion cert yet, even though the house itself is done and we are living in it. We have some groundworks outside that are covered by the planning application and want to do this zero-rated -- which we can't if we've "completed" our build. I did ping my BCO, about a certificate of temporary habitation, but he didn't even bother replying, so we just moved in, and took out normal insurance.
  13. Lizzie, quite a few of use have been caught by this: quite good initial terms but huge price hikes for extensions. As you say, it would have been a lot cheaper to buy the insurance upfront, but it's now too late to beat yourself up about it. The point is that a build insurance has to cover a lot of risks that you don't face in a completed house. We just transferred our standard house insurance to the new house when we moved in, because the build was finished by then. A year's standard insurance was about the same price as a 3-month extension to the self-build insurance. But don't do this before you've finished the building work or moved in because you might find that your insurer is unwilling to meet a claim in these circumstances. Have a trawl of the site. There's been lots of past threads on this.
  14. Oh the irony: the annoying irony

    Ian, first you turn the power off on that lighting circuit, then check it's off, then unscrew the switch from the pattras. Now you make sure that the surfaces are prepared according to your fillers instructions. Then do your filling. You will need at least two fill layers and maybe 3: a bulk fill, a top fill which you will level and sand when dry and maybe a touch up fill because you've notice a few hollows and you are a perfectionist. When it's dry to the touch, remove the crap from the pattras and refix the switch.
  15. Oh the irony: the annoying irony

    BTW Ian, there is always a hazard zone in the vertical and horizontal lines from any pattress. Like the others have said, a current detector is an excellent precaution, but drilling a hole in the wall directly above light switch is about as safe as sticking a screwdriver into an electrical socket😫