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A warm house in Portugal?

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Posts: 103
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Topic starter
(@portofakiwi)
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Joined: 4 years ago

Another damp cold winter almost over, and no more for me in my current house. It's just too cold and damp, bad heating in only two rooms and damp and unpleasant.

However I can't find a house to buy after a few years of looking as it doesn't seem to be possible to buy a house with good insulation, and all room heating that actually works where you can get 23 degrees inside on a winter night. (For a reasonable price - and semi rural, no close neighbours etc)

If you have a warm toasty house can you please let me know as I'm losing hope!

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Posts: 485
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(@gerry)
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Joined: 1 year ago

I am no expert but my house is well insulated, warm (underfloor heating) and free of damp. It was built 7 years ago by a local builder and has a B+ energy rating. 

At the time I was looking to buy in 2016, I also considered 2 brand new houses also built by a local and these were super efficient with A+ energy ratings.

So, warm insulated houses are out there albeit you need to look for recent or new builds. 

I believe there is also a technique where older houses can be insulated from the outside with some sort of spray on insulation which never needs painting. I know several people who have had this done and swear by it.  

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Community Member
(@jeanne)
Joined: 7 months ago

Trusted Member
Posts: 98

@gerry. Yes, I've heard something about that spray on product and would be interested in learning about the technical aspects.  Unless it is a very thick coat, I don't think it is actually adding insulating.  It may be sealing the exterior against absorbing water, so you get a dryer wall which in turn reduces the thermal conductivity so the house loses heat less quickly. Maybe those are two different routes to the same result.

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Posts: 437
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(@peggyl)
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Joined: 11 months ago

We recently purchased dehumidifiers on amazon.es, they are having a sale. Most of the newer models have timers now so you can set them to run at night when electricity costs are lower. In the summer, it will be plenty dryad you should not need the dehumidifiers. We anticipate only running ours in the winter months.

@peggyL

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Posts: 2375
Community Member
(@martin)
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Joined: 16 years ago

indeed dehumidifiers are one of the best answers to stopping dampness and mould. One villa has theirs on all time and has never had a problem with mould.

I bought my first one 25 years ago and its still working- somethings do work well and last

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(@terrell)
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Joined: 4 months ago

In working on purchasing an old home (concrete over block) in a rural area, I would love to hear more details from those of you (posting already to this feed and/or others with info to share) about making improvements to keep a house in Portugal warm(er) and dry(er). That would include ideas for DIY or resources, e.g., reliable people or firms, or maybe even interest in putting together a list of folks willing to go help one another do DIY, (like old-fashioned barn-raisings here in the U.S.)!
Could Expats Portugal consider a Thursday program on this, since it seems this topic (keeping warm in Portugal) is a repeating, common concern? 
Also, many thanks to those of you who have posted (here or elsewhere on Expats Portugal) with your knowledge.  

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(@martin)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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(@terrell)
Joined: 4 months ago

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Posts: 25

@martin, thanks for this link. Going to sit down soon with some popcorn and a balloon to deflate (ppffft) for corresponding sound effects, based on the series' title 😉 , but looking forward to gleaning what I can.

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Community Member
(@jeanne)
Joined: 7 months ago

Trusted Member
Posts: 98

@martin. Ugh. I gave up on the video when I heard 'spraying insecticide onto the timbers'. Does not sound healthy to me.

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Community Member
(@martin)
Joined: 16 years ago

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Posts: 2375

@jeanne

a recall going to house warming party of a brand new house in algoz which had made great use of wooden beams "treated" so the homeowner said, a friend from Spain looked up at the beams and whispered "wood worm "..I said surely not!

2 months later we were cleaning the villa for tourists and noticed piles of saw dust on the floor...so he was right and the builder had to come back.

so maybe that's what the couple were spraying for

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Ask Our Expats Consultant
(@thomasandmatthew)
Joined: 4 years ago

Member
Posts: 94

@martin unfortunately it's very common for wood to be supplied by contractors as "treated", but this may mean nothing, or just that it's treated for fungus etc not woodworm. Unless you know exactly who treated it with what, you have no guarantee of anything...

Woodworm is a real issue here, with most of the wood generally used in construction and furniture, and some kind of treatment is the only way to avoid it completely. That said, you can find very old wood which has been affected, but not enough to compromise it...

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Community Member
(@jeanne)
Joined: 7 months ago

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Posts: 98

@thomasandmatthew Oh- is that why I've see fotos on idealista showing what looks like concrete roof construction?  What did people use before modern chemical insecticides were available?

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Ask Our Expats Consultant
(@thomasandmatthew)
Joined: 4 years ago

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Posts: 94

@jeanne they didn't! Woodworm doesn't affect a tree's heartwood, it affects the sapwood - so it's about the quality of wood used, and the age of the trees it's from. Historically, better quality wood from older trees was available (in many cases it has literally been used up).

The other issue is damp. Used in well ventilated spaces, it'll be less of an issue, as woodworm love humidity.

Unfortunately, the trend towards sealing spaces, then using heating which releases moisture (wood and gas fires) is a terrible combination.

Concrete is often seen as a panacea here. It isn't, as it is terrible for humidity too, and typically combined with no natural ventilation. Wooden floors and furniture risk woodworm, walls risk mould...

We often see old vents in external walls sealed up - big mistake.

Ideally walls would be breathable, and spaces ventilated continually, but most modern builders fail to understand this.  It's not about everything being eco/hemp/etc, it's about traditional techniques and a lifestyle which doesn't require a cycle of appliances, each one counteracting the sideffects of another...

 

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Community Member
(@jeanne)
Joined: 7 months ago

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Posts: 98

@thomasandmatthew. Thanks. Very useful info. Anything I can learn about PT construction techniques is appreciated. I need to acquire an educated eye for when I do get around to house shopping in PT. I like the look of the traditional houses, but I need to understand what I'm looking at.

I currently live in the usa , with a land climate, and I understand wood framed construction issues for this climate - and how to keep all the components in balance - but I don't know to what extent the issues might be different in a different climate. An insulated roof space gets far too cold here in the winter for bugs to survive, so that issue hadn't even occurred to me.

  Also here, people forget that a house is a system and if you change one part of the equation, that can knock something else off balance. Moisture has to have someplace to go once it reaches the point that the air can no longer hold it -  you either need to run a dehumidifier and pay for the electricity or vent sufficiently to let the vapor escape without $$ electricity.   Do you know how/if roof spaces (and soffits) are vented in PT? I don't think I've ever seen (what I recognize as) roof vents on those tiled roofs.  I expect traditionally they were leaky enough that they vented naturally? THx. 

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(@martin)
Joined: 16 years ago

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Posts: 2375

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