Category Archives: property problems

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Gas bottles

Gas bottles

You may not have used portable gas bottles before unless you had a caravan or a boat.

Gas is the most common source of hot water and cooking here in Portugal.

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Bottled Gas

A lot of people don’t like gas bottles, they are heavy 47 Kg or 13 Kg for a small one, people think that they may explode and they are ugly. They are also inconvenient when they run out.

The thing that I dislike the most is the time it takes to have a replacement full bottle delivered because you stand the risk of having no gas for a couple of days unless like me you have kept a small gas bottle in reserve.

Gas what sort of gas are we talking about ?

There are two types. Propane and Butane which are LPG or Liquid Petroleum Gas. Butane is the one used most commonly for homes.

In their natural state, LPG (Propane and Butane) and Natural Gas  are all odorless. The distinctive gas smell that people associate with these gases is added to them as a safety measure.

Bottled gas  safety.

Leaks. Fortunately you can usually smell a gas leak. Do not ignore it and make sure to turn off the gas at the bottle and remove the regulator.

The leaks usually come from the regulator vale that sits on top of the gas bottle. There deteriorate over time.

The connections to the hose from the regulator up to the gas appliance,

The gas hose its self.

If its black in colour renew it immediately. The hose should be white and have its replacement due date stamped on it. It should have the correct gas hose connections fitted not hose clips.

Gas bottles should be kept in a gas house with a ventilated door so they are safe from interference and shaded from the sun.

One cheery piece of information – Gas bottles even when full do not explode.

If in the event of a fire they are subject to direct and extreme heat the safety release valve will vent gas however so keep your bottles in a gas house.

 For more detailed safty  information on gas bottle fed appliances go to.

http://www.elgas.com.au/blog/503-home-gas-appliance-maintenance-lpg-natural-gas

Home gas appliances need to be regularly checked and have routine scheduled maintenance.

This is important to maintain proper function and safety.

Important for Safety & Saving Money

Having your gas appliance inspected and cleaned periodically by an authorised service technician will benefit performance, help ensure safe operation, minimise any potential down time and extend the life of your appliance.

Only use Qualified Personnel

It is important that your gas appliances are only service by qualified technicians.

In most cases, this means a licensed gas fitter or a factory technician.

Never attempt to fix a gas appliance yourself or allow an unqualified person to attempt to fix it for you.

  1. Service Frequency

Regular Home Gas Appliance Maintenance

Manufacturers typically recommend that their gas appliances be serviced every one or two years.

For example, both Rinnai and Bosch generally recommend 2 year service intervals while Rheem and Paloma recommend annual servicing.

You should always refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended maintenance schedule that is applicable to the make and model of appliance you own.

A ‘tune-up’ just before heating season is ideal.

  1. Read Your Owner’s Manual

It is very important that you understand the correct and safe operation of your gas appliances.

Improper use can result in safety hazards.

If you don’t have the owner’s manual, most gas appliance manufacturers have them available for downloading on their web sites.

If not, contact them directly to request a copy.

  1. Warning Signs

Yellow flames are a warning sign

Key warning signs that your gas appliance requires servicng are a yellow or red flame, a flame with a yellow burning tip, the accumulation of yellow/brown soot around the appliance, pilot lights that frequently blow out or an acrid smell and eye irritation.

The exceptions to this are gas fireplaces and gas log fires that are designed to have yellow flames.

The above signs may be indications of incomplete combustion.

The result is that you could be wasting gas and/or generating carbon monoxide.

The latter is a serious safety problem, if it occurs with an indoor appliance.

If you observe any of these warning signs, you should schedule a service ASAP.

  1. Burner Operation

The burner should be cleaned and checked for proper operation.

Burners blocked with dirt can result in improper combustion, leading to soot build up inside the appliance.

  1. Air Filters

Air filters and fans can become blocked by lint and dust. The result can be overheating and burner combustion problems.

Depending on the make and model of gas heater, you may be able to clean the air filter yourself.

Please consult your owner’s manual to see if this is recommended and how to do it.

 

Damaged flue

Flue pipes should be checked for damage, corrosion and blockages.

Holes, punctures or loose fitting joints require immediate attention.

If a flue needs servicing, call your licensed gas fitter to have it cleaned or repaired.

Gas Pressure

Part of the regular service should include the checking for correct gas pressure and adjusting, as required.

Incorrect gas pressure can affect the amount of oxygen drawn into the burner with the gas.

If this happens, it can cause improper combustion.  Excessive pressure could also create a safety hazard.

Fluctuating Water Temperature

If you have a tankless continuous flow hot water heater and the temperature keeps fluctuating, you should call for a service.

It is normal for a gas hot water storage tank to experience a gradual temperature change, as you use up the available hot water.

Storage Tank Hot Water Heaters

Hot Water Pressure Relief Valve

These units have a Pressure Relief Valve.

This valve relieves excessive temperature or pressure build up that may occur inside the tank.  It is normal for the valve to release a little water.

A continuous leakage of water from the valve and its drain may indicate a problem.

If you notice this valve frequently venting or continuously leaking, you should contact your plumber/gas fitter to check the entire water heater.

If you smell gas take the following gas safety precautions:

 

    Turn off the gas at the source.  At the meter for natural gas or at the cylinders for LPG gas users, but only if safe to do so.  Avoid contact with any visible gas cylinder leak, as the gas stream can cause cold burns.

    Extinguish all flames and do not smoke or strike matches.

    Do not operate electrical switches or devices, including mobile telephones.

    If the leak is inside of your home, open doors and windows to ventilate the area, but only if safe to do so.

    Keep people away from the affected area until the gas dissipates.

    Call your gas supplier or gas fitter, from a safe area, for repairs.

 

 

 

 

http://www.elgas.com.au/blog/352-how-to-prevent-bbq-gas-fires

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ik7y39gal3c

 

This is a short sampler video comprised of excerpts from an online training module created by Chiltern Consulting Ltd, a leading Health & Safety consultancy. The training covers handling, transporting and changing of these cylinders. For more information call 01494 778499 or check out www.chilternconsulting.com.

 

https://www.calor.co.uk/gas-bottles/gas-cylinder-safety

 

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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.