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Upgrading 1970's Bungalow

  • 06-04-2021 10:57am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 274 ✭✭ mikerd4


    We recently moved into a traditional Irish bungalow built in the 1970s. Its a doer upper and we are starting to get our teeth into what we need to do.

    The house is built using a suspended floor type construction, I have done a lot of research into insulating this going forward and all what is required to do that. It is heated by a oil fed Grant boiler (there is no natural gas supply in the area).

    As the hot water tank is woefully undersized and requires replacement. This has led me to start looking at other options before I just go ahead and replace/up size the tank.

    Given the construction type what are my options other than upping the insulation?

    I dont believe underfloor heating is possible without significant cost and concrete being poured etc. Any help would be appreciated


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 30,654 ✭✭✭✭ listermint


    Air tightness survey. Number one. They will be able to advise you on low cost items to get best return .


  • Registered Users Posts: 274 ✭✭ mikerd4


    Thanks, the house is a BER D2 and 70's build standards so Im not expecting miracle leaps. I know the floor needs insulating and the attic space despite being insulated it not in a great state so both of these are on the list to be done. The usual list of better windows, wood burning stove etc are all on the list too. Im relating specifically to the hot water setup and heating, and if solar is feasible or not for either or both applications without spending serious money


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,213 ✭✭✭✭ KCross


    mikerd4 wrote: »
    The house is built using a suspended floor type construction, I have done a lot of research into insulating this going forward and all what is required to do that...

    ..I dont believe underfloor heating is possible without significant cost and concrete being poured etc. Any help would be appreciated
    mikerd4 wrote: »
    I know the floor needs insulating and the attic space despite being insulated it not in a great state so both of these are on the list to be done. The usual list of better windows, wood burning stove etc are all on the list too. Im relating specifically to the hot water setup and heating, and if solar is feasible or not for either or both applications without spending serious money


    If you are insulating the floors it presumably means you are pulling them up anyway and relaying them?

    If you are going to do that you shold take that one off opportunity and put in the underfloor pipes. You dont even need to use them immediately if you are short on cash but at least have the pipes down for later use?

    If you get the floors/attic insulated and get new doors/windows then you can look at a heat pump. Obviously look at the grants that are available for all that. None of it is cheap unless you are doing DIY and only doing insulation.
    mikerd4 wrote: »
    Im relating specifically to the hot water setup and heating, and if solar is feasible or not for either or both applications without spending serious money

    Two types of Solar.... one just heats water, the other generates electricity. The electricity one (Solar PV) is what you would look at but dont expect it to heat your house or water for much of the year. Its primarily for reducing your daytime electricity usage during the sprint/summer months. It wont generate much in winter when your heating bill is at its highest. Solar should be at the bottom of your list of things to do based on hwat you have described.


  • Registered Users Posts: 274 ✭✭ mikerd4


    Thanks for that, I didnt realise given the construction of the house that underfloor heating was possible without filling in the void underneath the house. Thats why I am trying to learn/research as much as I possibly can


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,213 ✭✭✭✭ KCross


    mikerd4 wrote: »
    Thanks for that, I didnt realise given the construction of the house that underfloor heating was possible without filling in the void underneath the house. Thats why I am trying to learn/research as much as I possibly can

    Maybe you cant. I'm not an expert on retrofitting UFH to a 70's bungalow. You'd need to get someone out to assess and quote you.

    However, you mentioned insulating the floors which would require you to pull the current ones up so it sounded like you were already doing all the hard work and taking on the cost of that and the UFH is just a bunch of pipes clipped to the top of that insulation and then concrete poured on top of that.

    Its disruptive work but you sounded like you were heading that direction anyway so I suggested adding UFH in that case.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,544 ✭✭✭ MicktheMan


    listermint wrote: »
    Air tightness survey. Number one. They will be able to advise you on low cost items to get best return .


    As someone who has very successfully upgraded their 1970's bungalow to Enerphit standard, my advice is very simple; proceed slowly, take a holistic approach and seek out INDEPENDENT advice (hint: if you're not paying for the advice, it ain't independent and you're being sold something you probably don't need).


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,241 ✭✭✭ am_zarathustra


    MicktheMan wrote: »
    As someone who has very successfully upgraded their 1970's bungalow to Enerphit standard, my advice is very simple; proceed slowly, take a holistic approach and seek out INDEPENDENT advice (hint: if you're not paying for the advice, it ain't independent and you're being sold something you probably don't need).


    Can I ask where would you go for independent advice? Did you get an overall survey at the start beyond engineer and QS?

    Seems to be amlot of expensive solutions being pushed alright. Slow and steady seems like solid advice


  • Registered Users Posts: 726 ✭✭✭ athlone573


    A few thoughts (there is a similar thread in Prices & Costs) :

    I wouldn't be so quick to rule out solar hot water, it'll heat a tank 8 odd months of the year, and oil is likely to get more expensive in future with carbon tax etc.

    Wood burning stoves are homely but they're quite polluting.

    I wouldn't be up to speed on current costs.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,396 ✭✭✭ Alkers


    KCross wrote: »
    Maybe you cant. I'm not an expert on retrofitting UFH to a 70's bungalow. You'd need to get someone out to assess and quote you.

    However, you mentioned insulating the floors which would require you to pull the current ones up so it sounded like you were already doing all the hard work and taking on the cost of that and the UFH is just a bunch of pipes clipped to the top of that insulation and then concrete poured on top of that.

    Its disruptive work but you sounded like you were heading that direction anyway so I suggested adding UFH in that case.

    I don't think underfloor heating will work well at all with a suspended floor, even if it's insulated properly. You normally rely on the thermal mass of the concrete floor to keep the internal temperature constant.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,544 ✭✭✭ MicktheMan


    Can I ask where would you go for independent advice? Did you get an overall survey at the start beyond engineer and QS?

    Seems to be amlot of expensive solutions being pushed alright. Slow and steady seems like solid advice

    When we bought the house back in 2003, good advice / knowledge was very thin on the ground. I'm an engineer, so I applied 1st principles (physics) to the problem(s) at hand and to a certain extent learned the hard way.

    You can read more about it here.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,241 ✭✭✭ am_zarathustra


    MicktheMan wrote: »
    When we bought the house back in 2003, good advice / knowledge was very thin on the ground. I'm an engineer, so I applied 1st principles (physics) to the problem(s) at hand and to a certain extent learned the hard way.

    You can read more about it here.


    Thanks for this, makes sense how you have so much knowledge. Really interesting read and seems like you got a serious result in the end. I've been down the rabbit hole of the airtightness tape the last hour, seems like something every builder should be using liberally.

    The mechanical ventilation systems seem brilliant too. Air quality makes such a difference to the feel of a house.


  • Registered Users Posts: 105 ✭✭ Coltrane


    mikerd4 wrote: »
    We recently moved into a traditional Irish bungalow built in the 1970s. Its a doer upper and we are starting to get our teeth into what we need to do.

    The house is built using a suspended floor type construction, I have done a lot of research into insulating this going forward and all what is required to do that. It is heated by a oil fed Grant boiler (there is no natural gas supply in the area).

    As the hot water tank is woefully undersized and requires replacement. This has led me to start looking at other options before I just go ahead and replace/up size the tank.

    Given the construction type what are my options other than upping the insulation?

    I dont believe underfloor heating is possible without significant cost and concrete being poured etc. Any help would be appreciated


    I've been through it with a period house. It's a journey! My recommendations:


    1. Live in the house for a year or so before making any major decisions on what to do. Pay attention to light/solar gain, drafts, cold spots, condensation/mould during that time. Invest in a cheap thermal gun/infrared camera to do some DIY detective work. Buy some 3M insulating film (also very reasonably priced) to temporarily double/triple glaze the worst windows to make the year more comfortable. Look at the cost of adding to the existing attic insulation with earthwool etc - if it's reasonable considering proceeding with this step now even with the risk that you'll have to replace it.



    2. Figure out based on your family circumstances and finances whether you'll do the work all at once or in phases. Phases will slow everything down, bring inefficiencies, probably more personal disruption and the risk of blurred responsibilities between the contractors/designers for the different phases; but possibly allow you to continue living in the house and spread the cost over time to align with income.


    3. Get independent advice, as other have said. There are plenty of energy consultants/architects with energy specialisms around.


    4. Plan on another year from the date of finalising your plan to get started on work in earnest, to allow for spec/tender/construction rampup. Plan also for construction delays.


    5. Tend strongly towards getting rid of your suspended floor. They're an energy disaster. For this process you'll need to move out of the house, probably for up to a few months.


    6. Solar is great, but put it on the long finger unless you're sure the roof will be retained as is.


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