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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.

Fire spreading

Fires in Portugal

Fires in Portugal

 Fire spreading

It can be alarming and saddening to witness the Fires in Portugal.

 

Most people who have a full time home or holiday home here worry about the Fires in Portugal and the effect that the Fires in Portugal will have on the value od their property and their ability to insure a hone against the Fires in Portugal.

Its a fact we have Fires in Portugal every year. Normally during the hottest period of the year July – August and September.

Usually people are not killed and few properties are actually destroyed by the Fires in Portugal. Occasionally like in 2017 things are bad and many people are killed.

So what can you do to protect your own life and that of your family and pets from the devestating fires in Portugal.

1, Don’t buy a house in a highly forested area.

2, Don’t live in a wooden or timber house

3, Old houses with their very dry timber roofs are often set alight by brush fires nearby concrete roofs are safer.

4, Clear the land of weeds, grass and shrubs around the perimeter of your land. Make a 4 meter wide clear band.

5, Make sure that your neighbors’ are obeying the law by cleaning their land along your perimeter. If you are not you can ask them to carry out the work promptly or ask the Camara to enforce the law and contact the owners.

6, Make sure that your neighbors’ are obeying the law by clearing the trees on their land along your perimeter if they are too close to your home. If you are not you can ask them to carry out the work promptly or ask the Camara to enforce the law and contact the owners.

7, Make plans to have a water spraying system or enough large bore hoses to reach all around your property. Preferably at the perimeter so that you can wet down large areas before the fires reach you. You will need a motorized pump and a water source like a swimming pool or well.

8, You cannot rely upon the public water supply having any water that you can use or for the electricity to work as over land wire become rapidly burnt out in a Portuguese fire.

9, If you are not living permanently in the property you must have the land cleared regularly and have a neighbor who will react to save your property in the event of a Portuguese fire.

10, Planning aids prevention. Just hopping for the best will cost you dear in the long-run.

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Building in Portugal

So you’re going to carry out some building in Portugal.

 

Excited, you bet!  Worried about the pitfalls and problems that you may meet along the way ?

Of course. The main worry is that we don’t  know what there pitfalls and problems that you may meet along the way may be.

Do you have a contingency fund and plan. Probably not but times pressing and you just want to get into your new home ASAP.

 

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Building in Portugal
Pitfalls and Problems

If they are not living in Portugal most people really need someone to oversee the work and are just not sure how to go about it from this distance.

 People may suppose that it would be a less expensive way to go with a local Portuguese person/builder/architect than through a company like Castelo Construction.

 In reality  working with Kelvin at Castelo Construction will actually save you a lot of money. I know this may sound counter intuitive but let me explain.

 

There are 4 main areas where people fall foul when trying to manage a build or renovation remotely.

Having witnessed many people who have bought a property in Portugal and are overly excited and optimistic about the whole refurbishment project. This exited state makes them easy targets for “local, friendly builders” who may speak a little English.

They often use the opportunity to ramp up the prices massively and the new to Portugal foreigners just pay through the nose because they know no better and have nothing to compare with.

Added costs can also come about because time is regarded very different here deadlines are never worked to. If you run over your license time then that’s ok because the client is responsible for paying for the license.

 

The other major money pit is although they “local, friendly builders”  may speak some English the big mistake is that people think “he knows what we want” when they absolutely do not have any idea of what we expect from a home or quality of finish.

My most mind boggling conversation was with someone who said we love the house BUT we were not expecting so many very small rooms downstairs!!!

Having rooms positioned wrongly, the incorrect materials being used and expensive errors like tiles laid in the wrong place which then have to be moved or changed at your expense.

The worst negative event is I suppose the builders who take your money and runs off to work in France knowing that you can’t do anything about it. This is a lot more common that you would believe from reading the online expat forums.

 

My advice, take it if you will.

Work only with people who have done it before, can show you examples of their work and provide excellent testimonials from foreign clients.

How often do they send you email and photographic reports?

Have they got large outstanding debts to the Fiancés (tax office)

Have they done a project in the style that you want.

Do they respond quickly and clearly to your inquiries.

Are they a registered company.

 

Like I already said if the best thing that can be said about the person you are going to put your trust and money in is  “our builder speaks a little English” is not a good starting point

contact  Kelvin@casteloconstruction.com