House move dilemma - LPG heating from red portable tanks!

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Thurston Garden
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House move dilemma - LPG heating from red portable tanks!

Post: #177132 Thurston Garden
Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:21 pm

I have been in the lucky position of selling TG Towers privately. Move out date (assuming no hiccups!) is Jan 22nd.

I had a look at a semi-detached farm cottage today. It's in a cracking location, equidistant from my office, my parents and the village I was brought up in. However...

The heating is provided by an LPG combi-boiler to radiators. There is electric underfloor heating in the bathroom on some sort of timer (in addition to a radiatior there too). The LPG boiler is less than 2 years old, but is fueled from those big red portable gas cannisters. Far from ideal me thinks. When I tried to get some gas cannister costs and quantities from the lady, she used the old cop-out: my husband deals with all that....

The house will have nice old thick stone walls, but no insulation, definitely in the walls, and I doubt in the loft. (Even if there is any in the loft, the bedrooms have coombed/sloping ceilings which will not have any insulation in). The wee upside is there's full double glazing, albeit uPVC windows and doors.

Driving home I thought about an oil tank - one of those skinny rectangular ones which could go against the gable end of the house where the gas cylinders are at the moment. However, having looked at the building regs just now, you can't have an oil tank (and probably gas cylinders either!) against a house wall for obvious fire risk issues. Siting of an oil tank in another location is likely to be costly.

The living room has a useable open fire and there is evidence of a pipe run upto a (redunant) hot water tank in the bedroom above. The house has a decent south facing aspect and is in a very rural location. The house is great other than a. the lack of insulation, b. the LPG tank situation and, although not a great priority the double glazing.

Has anyone had a similar dilemma? I could live with the house as it is for a while, but would look to have a more efficient heating system fitted as soon as finances allowed.

Ta.
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Re: House move dilemma - LPG heating from red portable tanks!

Post: #177136 contadino
Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:33 pm

I wouldn't worry about the gas situation too much. You could always get an underground gas tank installed (cost about €600 to do here) and have a lorry come and fill it up every so often. Tanks are about 600 litres, and all you'd have exposed would be the filling cap and some 'Don't dig here' signs. You're not allowed to have an underground gas tank closer than 5m to the house here, and I suspect that's pretty common in other countries.

I'd advise to steer well clear of oil-fired heating - the running costs are horrifying.

Insulation, similarly, has many options nowadays. If the wall is cavity, you can get the cavity filled (many national governments provide grants to make this pretty much free), but there's also external or internal cladding options. I think that external is generally viewed as the most cost effective, but I'm no expert.

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Re: House move dilemma - LPG heating from red portable tanks!

Post: #177138 Thomzo
Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:38 pm

Congratulations on the house sale and good luck with the purchase.

The heating can certainly be sorted out. I know from experience that tanked gas is expensive but the cost of swapping the boiler and getting a new oil tank installed may take many many years to recoup. I would recommend living in the house for a complete year before making any decisions. You may find that you can use the house in such a way as to keep the costs down.

If you have the time and energy to run a solid fuel system, then I'd certainly recommend getting a large solid fuel stove fitted and, if possible, plumbed into the hot water tank. You might end up having two hot taps on the bath or in the kitchen but at least you can use scrap wood, junk mail and your old packing boxes to heat a bath.

With the bedroom ceilings, is there enough height to add insulation on the inside? I seem to remember a discussion on this forum about insulated panels that have plasterboard bonded to the inside which you fix against the existing ceiling.

Alternatively, be creative with some thick fabric, preferably quilted and create tented ceilings. It can look extremely effective and done well they can really keep the heat in. I have a simple system in my conservatory which keeps the sun out in summer and keeps some heat in during winter.

Thick stone walls should be insulation enough and are great at keeping the heat out in the summer. You may find, however, that they can be damp. It's better to live with it if you can as trying to stop the water coming through can be incredibly expensive and not always particularly effective. Don't fit carpet right up to the walls. Use breathable paint and, if you need to replaster, use a lime plaster that will allow the moisture to evaporate. Don't put furniture against the outside walls (or leave an air gap if you do) and keep the house constantly warm in the winter. A solid fuel fire will really help to keep the building dry as the flue helps to draw moist air outside.

Enjoy your new home
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Re: House move dilemma - LPG heating from red portable tanks!

Post: #177143 snapdragon
Sat Nov 14, 2009 7:02 pm

mine is heated (and hot water) by red tanks - exchange/refil of two of the four has just cost £94.
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Re: House move dilemma - LPG heating from red portable tanks!

Post: #177145 snapdragon
Sat Nov 14, 2009 7:10 pm

snapdragon wrote:mine is heated (and hot water) by red tanks - exchange/refil of two of the four has just cost £94.
oops theat went off too quick :oops:
efficiency will depend on your boiler, the new one we invested in last year has saved us loads
Using the open fire will certainly help keep damp at bay
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Re: House move dilemma - LPG heating from red portable tanks!

Post: #177150 Thurston Garden
Sat Nov 14, 2009 7:38 pm

Thanks for all the quicke replies!

I have been having a good scout on the tinternet and am pleased that multi fuel stoves doing hot water and radiators looks like a good solution. I think I would need to live with the current set up for a while until I worked things out.

snapdragon - how long are you likely to get form a gas cylinder? The ones at this house were the very tall ones. There were 5 rowed up against the house wall!
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Re: House move dilemma - LPG heating from red portable tanks!

Post: #177155 snapdragon
Sat Nov 14, 2009 8:41 pm

If you have five does one of them belong to a cooker?
our setup:- We have four 47Kg cylinders (against the back of the house) we're mid terrace with double glazing and an open fire, also I have been home and using hot water during the day, heating set at 16C mostly with an occasional boost if I'm feeling fragile. New boiler fitted last year which has made a huge difference, the old one (14 yrs old) was nowhere near as efficient
Gas - Last change [edit - two at a time] was twelve weeks ago, not the most frugal time due to losing a tankfull of hot water while plumbing work was done and having visitors for some of that time, we also found we had a leaky pipe (gas delivery man checks them and came again today and fitted a replacement set)
I've checked and double checked :study: (with Thedragon who makes diary notes on these things) times, dates, and cost - don't want to give you any false info.
hope it helps
love the sound of your new house BTW - it seems idyllic <sigh of envy>
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Re: House move dilemma - LPG heating from red portable tanks!

Post: #177158 Thurston Garden
Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:02 pm

The cooker in this house is a leccy one. (I am going to miss using my Rayburn, but not feedin it with oil!). the current owners run a country/hardware store in the nearest town and I think they get their gas at trade prices.

This multi fuel boiler looks promising. I am out at work all day, so I will need to see if you can keep it ticking over for 9 hours. I don't fancy coming home to a cold house and having to start raking out a fire and laying it ready to light and then waiting for a while to heat up. Hold on, is that not what everyone did 20 years ago......?
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Re: House move dilemma - LPG heating from red portable tanks!

Post: #177160 snapdragon
Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:08 pm

Thurston Garden wrote:................. Hold on, is that not what everyone did 20 years ago......?

nope it's what they did 50 years ago from 40 years ago most had electric or gas heating :lol:
the gas cans are pretty frugal especially with a combi boiler, certainly cheaper than my neighbour's oil
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Re: House move dilemma - LPG heating from red portable tanks!

Post: #177212 Thurston Garden
Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:35 am

Here's an intersting cost comparison table:

Image
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Re: House move dilemma - LPG heating from red portable tanks!

Post: #177214 Millymollymandy
Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:52 am

Similar to France with LPG being the most expensive. However mains gas here is the cheapest (much more so than oil) but you can only get it if you are in a town (hence why it is called 'town gas' here!). :iconbiggrin:

Anyway I thought our big white propane tanks were ugly but I'm jolly glad they aren't red. :shock:
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Re: House move dilemma - LPG heating from red portable tanks!

Post: #177217 MuddyWitch
Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:10 pm

We can keep our multi-fuel stove 'ticking over' for up to twelve hours, but it takes practice.

You might want to look into logs suppliers though (I don't know where 'Sunny Dunny' is, sorry). We had a deal going with a local tree surgeon to take the logs of him fresh & season them ourselves for free.

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Re: House move dilemma - LPG heating from red portable tanks!

Post: #177219 Thurston Garden
Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:16 pm

MW - Sunny Dunny is Sunny Dunbarin East Lothian. Apparently the sunniest place in Scotland!

This cottage I am looking at is in the Scottish Borders though. There will be ample opportunity for both logs and other fuels. I grew up with a solid fuel Rayburn and yes, there was a knack in keeping that lit over night. Mum was at home during the day so daytime was not an issue. Sadly this old Rayburn only heated the kitchen and the hot water though.

I would feel pretty smug with a nice, home built, log store in the garden of this house, full of logs seasoning away. It's got that 'getting ready for the winter' feel to it :lol:
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Re: House move dilemma - LPG heating from red portable tanks!

Post: #177228 Green Aura
Sun Nov 15, 2009 2:50 pm

Hi TG

I can't really advise, but would reiterate, if you decide to go ahead with this house purchase, the "live with it for a year" sentiment someone mentioned.

It may be that the previous owners have gone down this route for specific reasons - ease of supply or whatever, that you won't know until you lived with it for a while. It's no good going for woodburners if there's no supply for miles, or it's not reliable. Of course the system already in place may well be just the easiest to use - most people don't want to light and maintain fires any more

We're still living with our huge, chugging old multi-fuel boiler but after much research, and some tinkering, we've got to it work right for us. So I think we're going to keep it - for a while at least. If we'd ripped it out - which believe me I've been desperate to do at times :lol: we'd now be stuck with an all-electric, hugely expensive heating system. Instead, we've reduced the boiler size with extra fire bricks, managed to secure a supply of logs and so have cut down our coal use by half. It's still not ideal - we'd love to use no coal - but it is the most realistic system for us at the moment.
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Re: House move dilemma - LPG heating from red portable tanks!

Post: #177231 Thurston Garden
Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:24 pm

Thanks Maggie. I certainly won't be rushing into anything.

I broke the news to my good neighbours this morning about selling today and lo-and-behold, they have a multi fuel system! I knew it heated their water but never realised it also did their heating too. They have an open fire in their living room in addition to the stove in the dining room.

I have been looking at the possibility of linking solar hot water to a multi fuel boiler and (cost aside) it's wholly possible. I should stop getting excited about this house - the sellers have officially taken it off the market now and have nowhere to move to.... They are looking tomorrow about renting a place with land temporarily so if that's a go-er, then I willbe making them a wee off-market offer!
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