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heating system etc for second home

(8 Posts)
drivingmisscrazy Wed 08-Jun-11 18:49:34

I know, I know; story is DP's family have a farm, the land is leased, and the farmhouse has been empty since her aunt died last year, although it hasn't been lived in for about 5. It's very basic - and has no heating beyond a huge, magnificent fireplace. It has its own water supply and a septic tank.

Thing is, land values aren't great, so selling it now would be insanity, and the house is falling apart from neglect. So DP and I, BIL and SIL and the kids are thinking of trying to make it habitable so we can use it for hols and weekends (it's about 2.5 hours away, in a lovely part of the world). We were thinking of putting a wood burning stove in, but we also need some kind of heating that could be timed to come on a couple of times a day in the winter to keep the damp at bay. There's no gas. The options seem to me to be wood pellet boiler or oil-fired. Ideally it should be as cheap as possible to run. Any ideas?

Other than that we'd be looking at freecycle, secondhand, auctions - table, chairs, couch, beds, cooker...

conculainey Wed 08-Jun-11 20:08:43

Why not use the wood burner to heat the radiators and install a small oil fired boiler for background heat only when you are not there, another cheaper option would be to get a couple of economy 7 radiators installed to use as background heat when the house is vacant, no speacal installation is required bar a dual reading meter and a small fuseboard and the E7 heating would be a lot safer than oil or pellets when the house is vacant.

conculainey Wed 08-Jun-11 20:14:09

I use this wood burner on scrap wood collected for free and it easily heats my 4 bedroom house and 2 cylinders of water, I am running 10 radiators of it and it is miles better than my previous oil boiler without the hassle of breakdowns. www.thestoveyard.co.uk/catalogue_item.php?catID=4149&prodID=20819

drivingmisscrazy Wed 08-Jun-11 20:19:57

thanks - an Irish stove for an Irish farmhouse! the economy 7 solution doesn't seem to be that popular (only done a quick google, I must admit) - what are they? night storage heaters? It wouldn't matter for these purposes what time of day they were on, it's true, so we could use the cheaper night rate of elec.

DisparityCausesInstability Wed 08-Jun-11 20:42:28

Economy 7 is not really any cheaper than normal - we used to have it and got a normal meter where we could switch suppliers easily to get a better deal - saved almost £400 a year by going back to a normal meter.

7to25 Wed 08-Jun-11 21:23:22

My PIL have a holiday cottage in Ireland. It has mixed heating, but oil fired central heating on a frost-stat for the reasons you describe. The problem is security and the oil tank being raided by oil thieves.

drivingmisscrazy Wed 08-Jun-11 21:28:10

7to25 yes, that's why I am not keen on oil-fired (environment notwithstanding) - as the economy gets worse it's more and more of an issue. I think that you can do much the same with wood pellets, except there's no point nicking them! Boilers are pricier too, and fewer skilled people to install them. Everything else we can do via freecycle, I think

conculainey Wed 08-Jun-11 21:56:18

I could also suggest that you buy a few cheap oil filled radiators and simply leave them on plug in timers, these radiators would only cost around 30 pounds each and the timers no more than a fiver each, this would allow you to locate the heaters were you wanted and also give individual control for each heater. They are reasonably cheap to run with the stats set down low and will certainly cost a lot less than an oil fired installation.

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