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About billt

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  1. billt

    Is our winter generation amount about right?

    I wouldn't expect much from WNW facing panels at this time of year; the sun isn't over the horizon from that direction and what sun there is will be at a very oblique angle. I'd also point out that this winter has been pretty cloudy round here so the generation has been much lower than expected or that PVGIS (which is based on averages) would predict. Although looking at Decembers figures, PVGIS classic prediction is 75kWh, PVGIS climate modelling prediction 106kWhr. Average actual production over 8 years 86kWhr, best month 123 kWh, last December 71kWh, worst December 57kWh. This is for a 3.8kW array facing SSW. Winter production has much greater variability than summer production as daylight hours are very short and if you get thick cloud during those hours you'll get very little production. With the longer days of summer you're much less likely to get several days with total cloud cover during the generation period. This month is looking pretty bad with generation so far of 29 kwh against a PVGIS classic prediction of 110kWh, but if we get 15 days of unbroken sunshine it might should get closer to the average!
  2. Pollution. If you have an accessible mains drain there should be better control of effluent release to the environment.
  3. Why not, if you have the land for an adequate leach field/ They don't use power, they don't make any noise, the effluent is arguably better treated than any packaged plant. Running costs are very low if the system is designed and installed properly. Ours was rebuilt 10 years ago and was emptied for the first time last year and was less than 2/3 full, so would have lasted a few more years before emptying. £190 over 10 years isn't much. (The system is over sized for 2 people.) And, yes it is working properly and not bypassed.
  4. billt

    DIY ground mount solar PV install

    PVGIS will give you average daily amounts by month, as well as total annual yield. You can play with slope and orientation to give you a good idea of the best angles to use. In fact it looks as if the new PVGIS 5 will give hourly outputs, but I haven't tried it. I'm not convinced by east/west splits because in the winter there just isn't any sun from those directions and in the summer you'll probably be generating too much anyway. I choose about 45 degrees slope and SSW orientation ('cause that's the way the bank faces). I made a frame of scaffold poles, as the commercial systems were too expensive, and I wasn't convinced of the longevity of wooden posts. Used U-bolts to attach the panels to the scaffold poles, drilled holes in the frame for them.
  5. Open fires don't have to be inefficient. The Rumford fireplace is pretty efficient, maybe not as good as the best closed stoves but not at all bad, and it doesn't have the loss of radiant heat that glass fronted stoves have. Not that I would recommend a fire of any sort, especially as you seem to have natural gas available, but it's always possible to do something like this if you're prepared to spend lots of money (and you're not in a smoke controlled zone).
  6. billt


    You can't have hard water then! Ours scales things just as well with cold water.
  7. It's not the conveyancing process that's stuck in the dark ages, it's the people who administrate the system, i.e. conveyancers; those minions employed by solicitors, generally and inaccurately referred to as solicitors. For instance, we've just completed the sale of my late mother-in-laws house. The conveyancing took less than 5 hours. Lynne went to her "solicitors" office to sign the contract, contracts were exchanged by phone and the money was in her account later that afternoon. All the fannying around has nothing to do with the conveyancing process, but everything to do with third parties being incompetent and wishing to cover their backs for every possible or impossible contingency. Of course all the obscurities that are possible with this system can be used to the advantage of one or other party. When I bought my first property I wasn't in a particular hurry and asked if the solicitor (he was actually a solicitor in this case) could delay the transaction. He was happy to delay it as much as I wanted - a few weeks in the end.
  8. billt

    Help required wiring my ASHP/UFH

    Manuals available here. Personally I don't find it any uglier than the other one you show, but the silver finish looks a bit naff. I've just installed 3 to de-computerise our UFH & towel rails to make it suitable for non geeky people. The only drawback for me is there are only 6 changes available, I'd like 8 for the towel rails.
  9. In effect it means BT want you to pay for the infrastructure. There are some ares where BT has provided infrastructure for FTTP and you can order it through a normal ISP. These will normally be in towns, but there are some odd areas where it is inexplicably available, for instance Hopton Wafers, a tiny village in Shropshire. They also seem to be installing FTTP in new estates. If BT haven't provided the infrastructure, most exchanges have an option called FFTP on demand. The exchange has the capability to provide FTTP, but the customer has to bear some or most of the cost of the fibre installation.
  10. If you're talking about FTTP on demand, I had an estimate a few months ago from Cerberus. (Most ISPS, including A & A don't support FFTPoD.) The estimated cost was £16,800 plus VAT. That's about 2km as the wire runs from the exchange. Edit - if you can persuade neighbours to participate you can split the cost, so it might be more affordable. If you're in an FTTP provided area I don't think the costs are much different to FTTC.
  11. If the work has only been done recently and there is no official BC documentation the house will be unsalable except at a knock down price. These days mortgage companies and their solicitors insist on lots of paperwork. Personally I'd run away unless it's got some special value to you.
  12. billt

    Grand designs

    They're not all like that. The last one I watched was a family near Leominster who ended up with a black tin shack. They had quite a lot of tribulations and had to redesign to be able to build something affordable. Ended up with a simple, but acceptable design. They're still middle class and comfortably off, but no sign of an extra 100k in the back pocket.
  13. billt

    Reina radiators

    I installed a Reina Greco 1800mm high x 470mm double radiator in our kitchen 3 years ago. No complaints, it installed fairly easily and it's still working OK!
  14. billt

    What do home buyers want?

    We're trying to sell our house and the viewings have been about 1 and a half hours each. 2 couples have come back for a second hour and a half viewing, so that's 3 hours each so far. Of course that will be after hours and hours spent trawling through estate agents details trying to find something vaguely suitable. For me it's location, location, location, distantly followed by floor size and amenability to be modified to suit us, be we aren't in the market for this sort of house. Broadband does seem to be important; both potential buyers asked about it and I see one estate of crammed together rabbit hutches near here are making a feature of fibre connection being provided.
  15. billt

    Septic tanks and the 2020 law.

    Cess pit != Septic tank. A cess pit is a closed tank. As it's closed it needs frequent emptying = expensive. A septic tank is a multi chamber system which separates the solids, which need to be removed periodically, but much less frequently than a cess pit. The liquid should be further treated; the best system is a good leach field. You only need one of the proprietary systems if there isn't enough room for a leach field. I doubt that there will be any policing, but it will become a problem when you try to sell a house with an improperly configured system.