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Just bought a house in Portugal and not sure if the boiler is safe Lisbon,Lisboa,Oporto,Porto, Amora, Seixal,Aveiro,Barcelos,Bragança,Caldas da Rainha,Cantanhede,Cartaxo,Castelo Branco,Chaves,Coimbra,Entroncamento,Espinho,Estremoz,Évora,Fátima,Ourém,Figueira da Foz,Fundão,Gafanha,Nazaré,Mangualde,Marinha Grande,Mealhada,Montemor-o-Novo,Oliveira do Hospital,Ourém,Ovar,Paços de Ferreira,Paredes,Penafiel,Peniche, Pombal, Rio Maior,Santa Comba Dão,Seia,Tarouca,Tomar,Tondela,Torres Novas,Torres Vedras,Vendas Novas, Vila Nova de Gaia,Viseu,Vizela,Figueira da Foz, dampfix portugal,

Bought a house in Portugal is the boiler is safe

Bought a house in Portugal is the boiler is safe

 Old boilers,oil boilers, servicing boilers, gas boilers, gas installations, converting boilers,ventilation

Most people are so preoccupied with the location, views and the property structure when they buy a permanent homes holiday home in Portugal that they overlook a few things. One of the most common omissions is the hot water boiler or central heating boiler.

If you’re lucky you will just connect up the gas, fill up the oil or buy some logs and off you go.

It rarely happens that way of course.

Often the previous owners will remove the boilers, take out the wood burners and empty the oil storage tank. In between you paying your deposit and buying the property.

TOP TIP – write into the promissory contract that all boiler, heaters, and stoves are to be left in place.

Even if they are actually left in place you may find that the rusty brown sludge coming out of the hot tap is a little off putting.

The thing to understand is that unless the property is new less than 3 years old. Nothing will have been given an annual service and many gas boilers are as old as the house itself.

These badly installed serviced/checked water heaters can be a potential death trap due to carbon monoxide poisoning or faulty gas supplies.

Apart from 0 servicing the main problem in the flue even on modern installations in an effort to save money or make a little more money flue pipes from gas heaters and wood burning stoves are deliberately reduced in diameter so that a cheaper flue pipe can be used. Often there is a flue pipe but it is only a meter long which the home owner thinks is going all the way up the chimney as it should but isn’t. Another favorite with gas boilers is just to pass the flexible flue tube into the loft with no grill over it to prevent nests being built in the flue and so that the flue gasses cool in the loft space and because they are heavier than air the come back into the home. They may come back into the home another room, your child’s bedroom for instance Scary indeed!

Make sure that your boilers is fitted as the manufacturer dictates and that all flues exit to the outside of the property in the approved manner and make sure a grill is fitted over them to prevent birds nest from blocking them.

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Portuguese home warm in winter

When you are staying in Portugal for holidays or even living here for the warm nine months of the year it is almost impossible to contemplate how to make your Portuguese home warm in winter.

 Portuguese home warm in winter

All it will take is a week spent in a drafty, un-insulated apartment of house for you consider quitting Portugal for good.

I have met many people who complain that the coldest they have ever been in their lives is during a winter in Portugal.

Is Portugal cold?

No its not but what the main cause of complaints is about feeling cold is the massive difference in day to night temperature.

As an example 22 C degrees during your outdoor lunch to 2 or 3 C degrees at night and the cool down is very rapid indeed. It is felt with more impact because out bodies and clothing choices take longer to adapt.

Most people react rapidly to the problem by rushing off the following day to buy electric or portable gas heaters. These are not good solutions and are expensive to run.

I have written a few blog posts over the years about heating your home with wood burning stoves.

http://www.casteloconstruction.info/2017/01/06/condensation-on-your-windows/

http://www.casteloconstruction.com/

But where should you start to make your home during the winter.

Firstly you will have to accept that even if your home is fairly new you are unlikely to have any insulation in the walls or roof. Even if you do it is unlikely to be installed to a standard that you would expect in northern Europe.

Windows and doors will not be sealed as well as you would expect at home.

Most people keep their gas boilers until they fall apart. They will never have been serviced. The flue may be dangerous and the gas supply will no doubt need to be replaced to meet modern standards of safty. The boilers usually only heat the water too.

castelo construction, portugguese home warm in winter

Gas boiler

So this is an ideal place to start.

TIP- Budget to replace the gas supply from bottles to boiler. While you’re at it make the gas bottle connections suitable for 2 or even 4 large bottles of gas if you are over wintering in Portugal.

You will need to build a small “gas house” to house the bottles and keep them safe out of the sun/frost.

Now choose a boiler that will heat both hot water with an internal tank big enough to satisfy a long shower and also heat the radiators.

What is a big enough boiler?  It’s no good asking a local gas boiler vendor as they are usually responsible for some of the awful and often dangerous installations that we come across.

There is a way that you size your boiler and radiator requirements yourself or you can just ask Castelo Construction we will be happy to help.

Here is a link to a Heating Calculator – BTU Calculator which may come in handy for you.  https://www.plumbnation.co.uk/heating-calculator/

Also because your house in Portugal wont be well insulated I would advise upping the number of BTU’s that you calculate by 20% to make sure you will stay warm in the event of a cold snap.

Condensation on your windows

At this time of year do you suffer from condensation on your windows in bedrooms?

We have noticed it in a lot of homes even with newly installed double glazing and this shows a potentially large problem or two.

Take for instance the windows. If they are double glazed there is no way that they should have condensation on the inside pane of glass. If they are affected by condensation it is probably because the gap between the glass is not sealed and filled with inert gas like Argon it is just filled with normal air (not even dried filtered air) and this is very common in Portugal.

For independent information, we recommend you take a look at. http://www.double-glazing-info.com/Choosing-your-windows/Air-or-Argon-gap

A double glazing window comprises two panes of glass, separated by a spacer bar and seals to create a hermetically-sealed environment. The cavity width between the two panes, air or another gas filling used and the type of spacer bar, are all key factors in the unit’s final energy, solar and acoustic insulation properties. Which dictate condensation or not!

The cavity is filled under vacuum conditions with either dehydrated air or an inert gas to improve insulation and prevent condensation within the unit. Depending on the gas filling used and the type of window, the cavity width for a double glazing window is generally between 4 to 20 mm.

Condensation on your windows, castelo construction, portugal builder,builder in Portugal

Condensation on your windows

The recommended cavity width for Low E energy saving double glazing window when filled with dehydrated air is 16mm – and 14mm when the cavity is filled with argon gas.

Less heat transmission with double glazing window and a warmer home

The physical properties of the dehydrated air used in the cavity means that it transmits (ie loss) less heat by convection or conduction than normal air. This is because the molecules of dehydrated air are relatively immobile, and therefore have a ‘lower thermal conductivity’. The same physical properties of dehydrated air also give it lower acoustic conductivity, for improved sound insulation.

If normal atmospheric air is used the performance of the panel’s is further reduced.

Double glazing window energy efficiency can be further increased by substituting dehydrated air with an inert gas, such as argon, xenon or krypton within the unit. Argon, which has 34% lower thermal conductivity than air, is the most commonly used. Although argon-filled units cost around 5% more than air-filled units, they can improve a double glazing window’s U-value or energy rating by over 30%. Argon fillings should last the lifetime of a double glazing window and over a period of 25 years should not lose more than 5%.

Which begs the question – Why do the local window suppliers do it. Use air I mean it can only be because they make more profit.

If you are buying windows in Portugal ask the supplier to give you a written assurance that an inert gas has been used to fill the glazing panels.