Ex holiday cottage as new family home.

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adam2
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Ex holiday cottage as new family home.

Post by adam2 »

Friends have just purchased an ex holiday cottage, as a full time family home.
In North Somerset.

It is generously sized and structurally sound, but a bit dilapidated.
5 bedroom, open plan kitchen/dining area plus large study/office.
Bathroom with WC, shower room also with WC, third WC outside.

Private water supply and drainage, no electricity, no mains gas.

They purchased it very cheaply after only a cursory inspection, so there are many unknown unknowns including details of the water supply and drainage arrangements.
LPG heaters and lights throughout, not to be used without a thorough inspection.

The property was sold by sealed bids, and they never expected their very low bid to be successful.
It has been empty for several years.

At present the family have a rather cramped socially rented home in Minehead. The housing association have very helpfully agreed that this may be retained for a few months whilst the new purchase is rendered habitable.
Normally of course, socially rented housing is not available to anyone who also owns a home.

I will be visiting again, with a local builder to asses in more detail what is needed.
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Post by Potemkin Villager »

Good for them!

A lot of young folk around here, from non farming backgrounds, dream of the holiday home bursting so they can afford to have somewhere to live and bring up a family. The big money made out of tourism and holiday home development does not trickle down very far.

I love the concept of a holiday home with a large study and office! Some people just cannot leave their precious work behind.
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adam2
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Post by adam2 »

I think that "study and office" was estate agent speak for another bedroom but on the ground floor.
When let as a holiday home, it was claimed to sleep 16 !
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Post by adam2 »

I have now visited and inspected in more detail.
Water is meant to be from a spring at the top of the sloping garden into an underground cistern just below the house.
No flow observed which is worrying. Cistern about half full, estimated to contain 10,000 litres at present with a total capacity of 20,000.
From the cistern, the water is pumped by an electric pump, but no electricity supply ! into a much smaller cistern in the loft of the house.

Gravity to taps and toilets and to hot water cylinder which has a horribly dangerous looking, and possibly home made water heater attached. No flue, the products of combustion are vented indoors near the top of the stairs.

Drainage seems to be to into the bottom of the garden, but not yet fully investigated.

The garden is extensive but not much good for growing anything as it consists of rocks with smaller stones in between.
The neighbours sheep have gained access via a broken fence, but found little of interest.
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Post by BritDownUnder »

Good for them I agree! What a project!

If no spring fed water into the cistern they could investigate diverting rainwater from the roof into another suitable cistern. Probably not a good idea to mix the two waters to avoid any potential cross-contamination. Collecting rainwater is pretty much standard in Australia but does not seem to be done in the UK on large scales (only rainwater butts).
Last edited by BritDownUnder on Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by clv101 »

Sounds like an interesting project!
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

adam2 wrote:....
Water is meant to be from a spring at the top of the sloping garden into an underground cistern just below the house.
No flow observed which is worrying. Cistern about half full, estimated to contain 10,000 litres at present with a total capacity of 20,000.
Probably something to do with the current drought but something to be noted for the future. Recurrent but occasional weather extremes are often forgotten about by communities and can cause massive problems when they recur, as Jared Diamond shows in some of his books.

The garden is extensive but not much good for growing anything as it consists of rocks with smaller stones in between. .......
This can be remedied to an extent by the construction of raised beds using imported soils and compost initially and by the use of home grown compost as the garden progresses.
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Post by vtsnowedin »

What might the permitting and installation cost of a drilled well run them?
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Post by adam2 »

I fear that a drilled well will be hugely expensive on account of the rocky ground.
Rainwater capture looks more promising, and hopefully the cistern fed by the spring will fill.
A very large above ground water tank for rain water is being sourced, and a "first flush diverter" to ensure that only clean rainwater enters the tank.

Off grid water supply will be a very new experience for the family in question, whom I suspect have no idea of the amount of water consumed by a household.
I estimate 100 litres a day per head, or 500 litres a day for a family of 5.
The 10,000 litres estimated to be in the cistern is thus only about 20 days.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

If they fitted composting toilets instead of the flushing ones they would save a huge amount of water. But that would bring up a whole new can of worms for them to deal with!!

Presumably, in a "normal" year the cistern would be pretty much filled most of the time by the stream.
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Post by adam2 »

A local builder who knows the property advises that water shortage never seemed to be a problem when the property was in regular use.

He also advises that my estimate of cistern capacity is badly out. Actual capacity is about 60,000 litres and not the 20,000 that I estimated.
My fault for estimating by eye rather than measuring.

At my estimate of 500 L a day, a full cistern would therefore last about 120 days, which is more reasonable.

A diesel generator has been purchased, and renovations and improvements are under way.
The longer term aim is to use PV for most electricity, retaining the generator for heavy loads.

The older son will do the wiring, with guidance from myself.

There are several outbuildings including one nice concrete shed with a roof ideal for PV.
The battery will probably be a fork lift truck type, as the economics have shifted in favour of this type.

Heating is yet to be decided, but probably a multifuel stove with back boiler for hot water and central heating.
Cooking to be LPG.
Lighting, mainly 24 volt from battery bank, with LPG retained as a standby.

A very temporary water supply consists of an IBC filled from the shed roof, and a 12 volt pump worked from the car battery.
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Post by emordnilap »

kenneal - lagger wrote:If they fitted composting toilets instead of the flushing ones they would save a huge amount of water.
Indeed, widespread use of dry toilets would help the general population get through droughts and water shortages and put nutrients back into local soil.

Ours is in its tenth year and has proved a doddle to manage...and think of the thousands of litres of water and the amount of electricity saved.

We've lots of tomatoes just ripening in beds into which 2015-16's humanure was dug.
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Post by vtsnowedin »

Rocky ground is no obstacle to modern well drillers. My daughter's well was drilled 500 feet into solid rock in a single day for about $9,000 USD. It only yielded 1 gallon a minute but with the pump down 100 feet below the static water line it has served well without being hydo-fracked. The younger daughter just filled a fifteen foot pool from it over several days with no problem. (4640 gallons). Septic systems in the USA are usually designed for 100 gallons per day per bedroom or 75 gallons per person. One gallon per minute is more then enough for almost any house.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

emordnilap wrote:.........

We've lots of tomatoes just ripening in beds into which 2015-16's humanure was dug.
Bet they're tasty!!
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Post by emordnilap »

kenneal - lagger wrote:
emordnilap wrote:.........

We've lots of tomatoes just ripening in beds into which 2015-16's humanure was dug.
Bet they're tasty!!
All the sweeter given their genesis.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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