Futurproofing your house

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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,948
863
Lancashire
I've asked before about how COVID has changed your life but here I'm asking for specifics about changes to your house or where you live to better cope with the future disasters, pandemics or other crises. I'm not talking about heading for the hills, building a bomb shelter and prepping / US survivalist changes. I'm talking about getting your house more comfortable for being at home more if furloughed or under lockdown. Or creating seating areas or "rooms" in your garden to escape to. Or stocking up reading matter of jobs to do.

There's many, like us, who are moving into more rural areas so we can get away from the masses and walk into nice areas from our back door. Also houses with gardens are more popular so people have more space during lockdowns and just to escape from people instead of going out. We're planning on a garage gym, den area for the kid and space where we can sit, read and even work outside. A nicer house to sit in, not a dark Victorian terrace.

Perhaps it's about learning skills or kitting up to learn skills by setting up a garden shed as a workshop. Perhaps it's creating your own vegetable plot and the various things related such as raised beds or a new greenhouse. Have the extraordinary situation that COVID pandemic is made you look at where you live, how things could change and what you can do to help should things become worse?

It could of course just be a new mindset. For example I no longer feel the need to fill my free time going out. I'm more relaxed about being at home. I used to feel that was wasted time. It's a strange feeling that change in outlook which will only be enlarged by our upcoming move to a house with a decent sized garden, large garage, greenhouse, summer house, trees, space and solar power. Terraced house to a more modern house and garden at the edge of a village. It's a big change that was helped into being by a global pandemic and resulting change in priorities.

Sorry for the rambling post!!
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
4,523
3,784
Mid Wales
Nothing to change to be honest :)

I meant to ask the last time you posted about your move - you have exchanged at both ends haven't you? Otherwise I would really worry that you are tempting fate.

I hope it all goes smoothly for you.
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
6,859
1,133
47
Exeter
I've asked before about how COVID has changed your life but here I'm asking for specifics about changes to your house or where you live to better cope with the future disasters, pandemics or other crises. I'm not talking about heading for the hills, building a bomb shelter and prepping / US survivalist changes. I'm talking about getting your house more comfortable for being at home more if furloughed or under lockdown. Or creating seating areas or "rooms" in your garden to escape to. Or stocking up reading matter of jobs to do.

There's many, like us, who are moving into more rural areas so we can get away from the masses and walk into nice areas from our back door. Also houses with gardens are more popular so people have more space during lockdowns and just to escape from people instead of going out. We're planning on a garage gym, den area for the kid and space where we can sit, read and even work outside. A nicer house to sit in, not a dark Victorian terrace.

Perhaps it's about learning skills or kitting up to learn skills by setting up a garden shed as a workshop. Perhaps it's creating your own vegetable plot and the various things related such as raised beds or a new greenhouse. Have the extraordinary situation that COVID pandemic is made you look at where you live, how things could change and what you can do to help should things become worse?

It could of course just be a new mindset. For example I no longer feel the need to fill my free time going out. I'm more relaxed about being at home. I used to feel that was wasted time. It's a strange feeling that change in outlook which will only be enlarged by our upcoming move to a house with a decent sized garden, large garage, greenhouse, summer house, trees, space and solar power. Terraced house to a more modern house and garden at the edge of a village. It's a big change that was helped into being by a global pandemic and resulting change in priorities.

Sorry for the rambling post!!


Is it a Victorian house as you've stated? And if so is the stairway a straight run or does it have a quarter landing then turn back and is the space above covered in or void?
 

demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,370
381
-------------
Anyone futureproofing their house wants to be thinking about better insulation and draftproofing. Those things enable cheaper and or more comfortable living.
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,948
863
Lancashire
Nothing to change to be honest :)

I meant to ask the last time you posted about your move - you have exchanged at both ends haven't you? Otherwise I would really worry that you are tempting fate.

I hope it all goes smoothly for you.
Thanks for your last comment. We hope it goes through and very soon? There's been a drag on the process due to our buyer's solicitor having too much work on. Young and trying to impress her partner's we reckon.

No exchange but chain ends with our buyer, divorcee desperate to get out of marital house. It starts with our vender who is the executor for an estate he wants to settle ASAP. When we gave him our offer he texted or emailed the estate agent and put on plenty of thumbs up emoticons. Every step of the way both ends have been more eager to finish the sale than we have?

Tempting fate? If it did fall through we'd probably still sell our house again and where we're buying there's an identical designed house next door on the market for 5k less. It is almost certain to go through and final go ahead from our buyer's lender is due any time now with contracts signed within 5 days then it takes up to 5 days to draw down on a mortgage. Both of us buyers have mortgages and cash. So then it's just about how quickly we can get removals in. In think three weeks is possible but possibly quicker.
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,948
863
Lancashire
Is it a Victorian house as you've stated? And if so is the stairway a straight run or does it have a quarter landing then turn back and is the space above covered in or void?
It's got the straight hall up to 13 stairs then a rectangular landing with one step straight ahead to the bathroom and little bedroom. Then round the corner there's 2 steps up to the landing and two bigger bedrooms. The void above the stairs is a large cupboard which could just fit stairs in if the loft was converted. We've boarded out the loft with an enlarged loft hatchway as per current building regs and a very nice loft ladder in the hatch.

Why do a lot of Victorian terrace houses have 13 steps in the first flight? There's a fair few people I know with such houses in different places and they all say it's 13 steps. If it's considered an unlucky number why build houses with that number literally built in?!!!

I like these houses because they made good use of space with the high ceilings but even with the big windows our house has its still a dark house with plenty of dark corners around the place.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
2,508
965
Berlin
Although I already thought pretty conservative before, I nowadays tend to think about getting the house really disaster proof. I mean things like a hand pump for the well, a spare axe, a hand mill, electricity and fuel independent tools and so on, keeping historic horse driven farm tools in good conditions, storing a few spare blades for the large bow saw etc, also investing more in quality clothing, leather and wool instead of trow away articles, and so on.

A few years ago I already learned that suddenly it was impossible to buy a snow shovel in Berlin, two days later no sand shovels any more.
During the first lock down, the toilet paper was sold out in Germany. People suddenly bought noodles for several month.

I always have laughed about preppers, but now I learned that I didn't count in a mass hysteria.
 
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TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
6,859
1,133
47
Exeter
A few years ago I already learned that suddenly it was impossible to buy a snow shovel in Berlin, two days later no sand shovels any more.
During the first lock down, the toilet paper was sold out in Germany. People suddenly bought noodles for several month.

I always have laughed about preppers, but now I learned that I didn't count in a mass hysteria.

I can sympathise and feel your pain. The madness of mobs and group hysteria towards the scarcity of resources can be a challenge.

Although I've only actually experienced whilst holidaying and searching for an " unreserved " sun lounger by the pool.

:)
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
6,859
1,133
47
Exeter
I've asked before about how COVID has changed your life but here I'm asking for specifics about changes to your house or where you live to better cope with the future disasters, pandemics or other crises. I'm not talking about heading for the hills, building a bomb shelter and prepping / US survivalist changes. I'm talking about getting your house more comfortable for being at home more if furloughed or under lockdown. Or creating seating areas or "rooms" in your garden to escape to. Or stocking up reading matter of jobs to do.

There's many, like us, who are moving into more rural areas so we can get away from the masses and walk into nice areas from our back door. Also houses with gardens are more popular so people have more space during lockdowns and just to escape from people instead of going out. We're planning on a garage gym, den area for the kid and space where we can sit, read and even work outside. A nicer house to sit in, not a dark Victorian terrace.

Perhaps it's about learning skills or kitting up to learn skills by setting up a garden shed as a workshop. Perhaps it's creating your own vegetable plot and the various things related such as raised beds or a new greenhouse. Have the extraordinary situation that COVID pandemic is made you look at where you live, how things could change and what you can do to help should things become worse?

It could of course just be a new mindset. For example I no longer feel the need to fill my free time going out. I'm more relaxed about being at home. I used to feel that was wasted time. It's a strange feeling that change in outlook which will only be enlarged by our upcoming move to a house with a decent sized garden, large garage, greenhouse, summer house, trees, space and solar power. Terraced house to a more modern house and garden at the edge of a village. It's a big change that was helped into being by a global pandemic and resulting change in priorities.

Sorry for the rambling post!!

I'm becoming more aware and interested in attempting to make a move to be as self sufficient as possible in terms of Energy production from Solar and a mini Hep.
The easiest way to do this is obviously reduce the amount of energy expenditure and thus limit items that are constantly 'on' and as others have suggested increase the amount of insulation in the roof. Solar passive gain is another great idea but difficult to achieve retrospectively in a house design.

Grey water ( roof water ) is something I'm looking into and implementing into a house design but again very difficult to do after a house has been built.


Do you or rather are you willing to put the House sales details up via a link? Maybe we can contribute better if we can see it??
 

Tengu

Full Member
Jan 10, 2006
11,264
703
48
Wiltshire
I have always loved Victorian houses and wanted one.

But, with houses you have often to be content with what you have got; I have often found that goes for everyone, -even the relatively wealthy.

(With death duties and all I suspect doubly the relatively wealthy...)

I have a lovely house but it needs a lot of maintenence (which I have no money for) and am currrently trying to get it organised. Too many books and hobbies.

Working central heating might be nice.
 
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TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
6,859
1,133
47
Exeter
I have always loved Victorian houses and wanted one.

But, with houses you have often to be content with what you have got; I have often found that goes for everyone, -even the relatively wealthy.

(With death duties and all I suspect doubly the relatively wealthy...)

I have a lovely house but it needs a lot of maintenence (which I have no money for) and am currrently trying to get it organised. Too many books and hobbies.

Working central heating might be nice.

Central heating not working AT ALL?
 

Tengu

Full Member
Jan 10, 2006
11,264
703
48
Wiltshire
No. Hence the interest in the wood burner.

Hasnt done so in about a decade...and its gas so I suspect I will have to replace with electric
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
4,523
3,784
Mid Wales
Actually, one thing I do intend to do is put in a redundant water system. We are on a borehole which relies on electricity to pump the water - that's not the problem because I have a generator specifically for such problems. However, the pump is 100m down the borehole and, if it failed in difficult times, it could take a long time to get replaced. I have the rights to draw water from a well that is 50m up the track and about 16m higher than us - that would give us over 1.5 bar of pressure without a pump; must get on with it :)
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,948
863
Lancashire
Our boiler went bang one weekend then carried on without problem. We were worried there was a fuel air mixture issue such that the pilot light got a bit too much gas before firing up. A common issue with the boiler make. The outside vent plastic was brittle and broke to your touch at the edges. Clear indication of over heated plastic. When it went bang a bit of smoke came out of the vent.

We got it checked over after speaking to five plumbers if which only the last could come out within a few weeks. They all said it's unlikely to be a big problem but turn it off if worried or of it happens a few more times. Totally laid back. Anyway nothing wrong so we carried on as normal without any further issues.

A few weeks before the boiler went off and wouldn't fire up again. Anyway we tried the turning it off and on again after a few minutes. The electronic ignition system kicked straight in and no further problems. I often have the low pressure water issue so in know what to do with that F37 error code. Not good in the cold lead in to Xmas without heating.

Mind you over Xmas and into new year we were using a single ring camping stove and trangia with gas kit to cook on. The oven and hob simply packed in and we couldn't get a sparky in until after new year.

It's reached our attention that since we got our offer accepted and accepted the offer on our house we have had problem after problem with the house. The latest is one cupboard door suddenly distorted such that the spring ball bearing latch could no longer fit into its recess so the door can't be closed properly. When I say suddenly I mean we shut the door one hour then within no more than 2 years this distortion appeared. You can see the curve in the door.

There's been appliances turn on with human involvement. I keep joking that the house is annoyed with us for deciding to leave it. I've been here for just over 20 years. I guess we got used to each other. Still it's a little spooky how things have been happening or going wrong.
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
6,859
1,133
47
Exeter
No. Hence the interest in the wood burner.

Hasnt done so in about a decade...and its gas so I suspect I will have to replace with electric

Not sure of you've priced out the cost for a wood stove install and probably the Flue will need reinstating or in fact a new one if not present , and if done by a HETAS approved company ( which you'll need ) the cost for a new Boiler would probably be cheaper.

As for the difference cost wise between Electric and Gas boilers I have no idea , but I do know that no new New build properties as of 2025 won't be being built with Gas Boilers fitted but Electric Boilers.



So hopefully you will see the cost of Both types of Boilers come down in price.
 

Woody girl

Full Member
Mar 31, 2018
3,042
2,163
62
Exmoor
Looking at what has just happened in Texas the past week, we can probably expect weather patterns to change quite markedly in the near future. This could of course present power outages as it has there. This could also affect our water supplies too. Especially if you are on a standard water supply. I know we have a better supply system, but it could happen.
I'm making sure that I have things that do not rely on electric to work, and also have many water containers, some have an emergency water supply already stored in them. Others are empty, and ready for an emergency.
I also have collected oil lamps. One for each room that is in use, and a gallon of lamp oil, and several litre bottles are also stored, along with extra wicks for each lamp.
For cooking, I do have a large full bottle of gas(the kind that go in portable gas heaters)that will give me plenty of fuel for cooking on a double burner and grill camp stove.
I also have an anvay woodstove.
I have a multi fuel burner in the living room so collect my own sticks on walks for starting the fire, along with pine cones to make my own fire starters. I beg logs whenever there is any tree work done localy, and have a good supply, along with some bags of smoke free coal, so I know that my winters will still be warm if electricity fails, or becomes too expensive.
My home was fitted with an air source heat pump and new radiators a couple of years ago, along with new double glazing, and another layer of insulation in the loft.
I had the cavity walls , and the first layer of loft insulation done on a grant years ago.
The next job is new front and rear doors as sadly there are small gaps despite them being done with draught proofing in the past. So old blankets are over the doors and old Jean legs turned into draught excludes for the bottoms of the doors.
Thermal lined curtains for all the windows.
Whatever the future brings, I feel that I'm pretty secure, and can cope with almost anything thrown at me.
Luckily I dont have to contend with flooding of the house, even those further down the vally do.
Canning jars and a veg garden have been my lockdown futureproofing projects this past year, and I am knitting, and sewing many things for the home and self. I even managed to get hold of a fleece which I intend to process completely by hand into something or other. I've made my hand spinning spindle! Just need to make carders now.
I have few electrical items, only things like cooker fridge and radio. So making sure I have a solar panel and batteries has been the main thing to focus on recently, sadly curtailed due to covid. Still, I'm in my mind 90%of the way there. With the lockdown doors promised to crack open soon, I will be able to start on a larger sized solar, and possibly a small wind turbine system. I do have a solar power bank kit for camping, but its realy not big enough.
I think our main thing to worry about is dramatic climate change and prepare for that. Learn the old ways that our great grandparents lived by, and make what improvement we can on them to work in a future world where things we take for granted today, may just not be there.
Phew, a long post! But I realy feel that by stuffing our homes full of internet controlled stuff is the wrong way to go.
One decent power cut that lasts for days, and you cant use your card, stores will close as they cant restock items on their computer controlled systems, petrol pumps wont work, the list goes on.
Texas is showing us what the future could hold for us all in the future, and how unprepared most of us are.
 
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TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
6,859
1,133
47
Exeter
Looking at what has just happened in Texas the past week, we can probably expect weather patterns to change quite markedly in the near future. This could of course present power outages as it has there. This could also affect our water supplies too. Especially if you are on a standard water supply. I know we have a better supply system, but it could happen.
I'm making sure that I have things that do not rely on electric to work, and also have many water containers, some have an emergency water supply already stored in them. Others are empty, and ready for an emergency.
I also have collected oil lamps. One for each room that is in use, and a gallon of lamp oil, and several litre bottles are also stored, along with extra wicks for each lamp.
For cooking, I do have a large full bottle of gas(the kind that go in portable gas heaters)that will give me plenty of fuel for cooking on a double burner and grill camp stove.
I also have an anvay woodstove.
I have a multi fuel burner in the living room so collect my own sticks on walks for starting the fire, along with pine cones to make my own fire starters. I beg logs whenever there is any tree work done localy, and have a good supply, along with some bags of smoke free coal, so I know that my winters will still be warm if electricity fails, or becomes too expensive.
My home was fitted with an air source heat pump and new radiators a couple of years ago, along with new double glazing, and another layer of insulation in the loft.
I had the cavity walls , and the first layer of loft insulation done on a grant years ago.
The next job is new front and rear doors as sadly there are small gaps despite them being done with draught proofing in the past. So old blankets are over the doors and old Jean legs turned into draught excludes for the bottoms of the doors.
Thermal lined curtains for all the windows.
Whatever the future brings, I feel that I'm pretty secure, and can cope with almost anything thrown at me.
Luckily I dont have to contend with flooding of the house, even those further down the vally do.
Canning jars and a veg garden have been my lockdown futureproofing projects this past year, and I am knitting, and sewing many things for the home and self. I even managed to get hold of a fleece which I intend to process completely by hand into something or other. I've made my hand spinning spindle! Just need to make carders now.
I have few electrical items, only things like cooker fridge and radio. So making sure I have a solar panel and batteries has been the main thing to focus on recently, sadly curtailed due to covid. Still, I'm in my mind 90%of the way there. With the lockdown doors promised to crack open soon, I will be able to start on a larger sized solar, and possibly a small wind turbine system. I do have a solar power bank kit for camping, but its realy not big enough.
I think our main thing to worry about is dramatic climate change and prepare for that. Learn the old ways that our great grandparents lived by, and make what improvement we can on them to work in a future world where things we take for granted today, may just not be there.
Phew, a long post! But I realy feel that by stuffing our homes full of internet controlled stuff is the wrong way to go.
One decent power cut that lasts for days, and you cant use your card, stores will close as they cant restock items on their computer controlled systems, petrol pumps wont work, the list goes on.
Texas is showing us what the future could hold for us all in the future, and how unprepared most of us are.

Out of interest how do you rate the Ground Source Heat pump in most terms? Pros & Cons??
 

Woody girl

Full Member
Mar 31, 2018
3,042
2,163
62
Exmoor
Out of interest how do you rate the Ground Source Heat pump in most terms? Pros & Cons??
Mine is an air source, not a ground source. Apart from the expulsion unit, or whatever it's called being mounted in the wrong place, meaning I walk into a freezing gale when I go out the front door(it was mounted too low) and the housing association refusing to alter it, it's not bad. Certainly much wamer than the old storage heaters. It also heats the water, and gets it realy hot!
I think it's worth it, I think it's cheaper in the long run than storage heaters. The house needs to be really well insulated for it to work economically, otherwise it's on all the time. It works by sensing the temperature of the house, and kicking in automatically when it gets one or two degrees below the temperature you set.
Each radiator is also able to be set to a different temperature, so if you dont use a room much, such as a spare room, you can set it realy low, or not heat that room at all if you wish.
Water temperature is set by the engineers, and once a week gets so hot that it can scald.
That is apparently to kill any possible leigonaires disease bacteria that could be lurking in the system.mine does it overnight on a friday, so I have hot to warm water all weekend from the tap, all year round. That cant be turned off.. I live alone so I never heat the water at any other time.
All in all I'm very happy with it, apart from where they have sited the outside unit.
The radiators are also a bit bulkier, but no worse than the big old Victorian ones. If you want slimline heaters in the room, then that wont happen.!
Money wise, they are cheaper to run than storage, I'm on a single tariff now, I used to spend more at cheap rate, heating the storage heaters while I was asleep than during the day, and realy needed the wood burner in the evenings, so that was extra fuel on top.
My bills may be very slightly higher, but when you take into consideration the fact I only now light the fire occasionally, more for ambience than heat, it actualy is much cheaper in the long run. I was spending an extra £50 a month on top of electricity to keep warm in the evenings. Now, it's probably that for a whole winter season. And I'm warmer too!

It will need a yearly service which you'll have to factor in too.
 
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John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
22,082
1,628
63
Pembrokeshire
Not much to change here ... 200 year old (aprox) house, a well 2 doors up as water back up and I lead a simple life - no take-aways/clubbing/cinema etc - and there are great walks from my door. I always have had a good back-up for lighting (torches/candles/lanterns etc) and we can cook on the woodburner that also does a lot of our heating. I guess I could always do with more books though....
 

philaw

Settler
Nov 27, 2004
561
33
39
Hull, East Yorkshire, UK.
I think there might to be a way of prepping for future crises that's also entirely beneficial in the present and not remotely mental. To me it might look like river cottage.

Me and my fiance are looking at moving to her home village in the future. The house there has a little land and a well. We'd be free to modify the building. I have an idea for a minimalist fish pond that would be stocked with edible fish, add some raised beds, add insulation and a wood stove. Collect rainwater for some uses. Keep the chickens, ducks, and goats that are there. Maybe put solar on the roof and a heat pump with underfloor heating, or run it off the wood stove. We could possibly plant a little coppice or permaculture stuff.

There's an attraction in becoming a little more self sufficient in ways that connect me (and my future child) with the land, cuts costs and reduces my environmental footprint. That kind of lifestyle would overlap with prepping, but in a way that, to me, is more appealing and smarter than obsessing over possible conflict and wasting time/money in that direction. My fiance's grandparents are most definitely not preppers, but their life in the village has them better prepare for major crises than any actual prepped. Grandpa would catch some crayfish for dinner and then go play cards! Lol
 
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