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Paul Bradford

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  1. I forgot to add, that you don't see the bargains here for double glazing that you do in the UK. If you can fit it yourself, or have someone do it for you, look at the cost of sourcing it in the UK. Not from one of the big names, but a contractor or manufacturer local to where you live now.
  2. Hi John, Everyone's circumstances and budgets are going to be different. I am not a heating engineer. I, like many people want to reduce their heating costs. We live in a house built in 1992 with oil fired underfloor heating. We moved here permanently in 2006. In 2008 I installed a solar hot water system from Navitron. www.navitron.org.uk They also supply water and wind turbines and solar pv. Navitron also have a forum where you could explain your situation and ask for suggestions. Our system uses evacuated tube panels. We have never had a broken one due to any hailstorms (and there have been some powerful ones) or any other storm or bird strike (I say that as I found a large dead bird of prey on the roof one day!) The tubes produce hot water throughout the year. Obviously they work better on sunny days, but even today, with the overcast sky the temperature outside is 12c. The collector temperature on the roof is 31c and rising. The temperature in the centre of the tank is 23c. When the differential reaches 11c, the water circulates through the coil. Preheated water uses less energy to heat up. In the Summer we have never had to cover the panels. The system operates as it should and if it gets too hot, it uses the expansion tank. There is only a few litres of water in the pipes from the manifold to the tank. The solar hot water system saves us 500 litres of fuel oil per year. It paid for itself in less than four years. Two years ago, I installed a 500 litre tank. It is a more modern tank with corrugated coils and heats the water more efficiently. If I knew when I installed it, what I subsequently found out, I wouldn't have put it on the roof. The roof pitch is about 30-35 degrees. The optimum pitch is that of the degree of Latitude for where you are. Our roof faces directly South. Five years ago, we had Solar Photovoltaic panels installed. Our 4kwh system on the lower pitch roof, produces less electricity that a friends 3kwh on his higher pitched roof in the UK. However, our return on that is 10% and it will have paid for itself in 8-9 years. Panel life is to a degree an unknown, but there are several places in the world where panels have been installed many years ago and test results are published. They are expected to be producing 80% or their rated power after 25 years. The worlds first solar panel built over 60 years ago is still working. Geothermal is very expensive and works best with underfloor heating as a friend of ours found to their cost. They had a system installed, but their house is heated by radiators. They have had to go to additional expense to heat their house sufficiently. If you are considering an air source heat pump, do your research first as it might not be ideal for you. https://www.bsria.co.uk/news/article/air-source-heat-pumps/ Whatever system you choose to use, you have to look at your cost to change. i.e how much more will you have to spend to get the system that you desire against how much it might cost you to improve what you already have by increased insulation or double glazing. I asked our Central heating Engineer a few years ago about putting in a more efficient boiler. He said that as ours was over 95% efficient, we would be wasting our money. Paul
  3. Our photo-voltaic system has just been commissioned and as of last Monday afternoon we are exporting electricity for EDF to buy back. The installation company and EDF were there to commission it. The EDF technician asked me why we had a 4kw system installed as we would have had a larger FIT (feed in tariff) had we gone for the 3kw. Ours is €0.46 per kwh against €0.58 per kwh for the smaller system. I had only just found this out having seen an advert in Auchan supermarket. I told him that it would be something that I would be taking up with the company as our potential gain for the more expensive system was approx €130.00 per year. The EDF guy then went on to say that with the smaller system we wouldn't have to pay tax on what we sold to EDF, whereas we will now. I was surprised to hear this as we had been told that only systems over 10kw which were classed as commercial would attract taxation. The Installation guy looked uncomfortable and said he would make sure the Sales agent was told. I'm am needless to say quite unhappy with the situation and wonder if anyone knows to whom I could complain. I pointed out to the Sales agent that I was quite a sceptical person and asked a lot of questions before agreeing to the contract. I also told her that I had read articles about companies miss-selling systems. She told me that was in the past and the industry was performing better now. I'm not unhappy with the system. I just have an issue that we were not given all of the facts and believe the company were more interested in selling us the system that worked better for them.
  4. Have a look at the forum on www.rafcommands.com I was able to dig up information on my wife's great Uncle. If you cannot find something, add a posting, giving all the information that you are looking for. You may be suprised. I received a telephone call from a chap that had been researching Battle of Britain pilots and he gave me the aircraft number that he had crashed in and the location of his death. As a result of the posting, last year, for the 65th anniversary of WW2, we received an invitation to a ceremony in Holland where a monument to him and his pilot (they were in a fighter bomber) was inaugurated. It was where they both won their DFC's. They were hidden for three days and left on a British destroyer.We were feted for the day by the local villagers and are still in contact with them. It was very moving and we will remember it forever. Keep searching the internet, you may find something else. Good luck. Paul
  5. I would have a concern about ordering chilled items. If a lot of people order chilled goods, how certain can you be that the goods will be kept at a low enough temperature, either at the delivery address, or en route to drop off? The temperature in a van can get quite high on the journey.
  6. Hi All, Thank you for taking the time to reply. Thank you Lou for supplying the wording to your clause. I can now pass this information on to my friend. Regards Paul
  7. Hi All, Has anyone any experience of inserting a clause into a Compromis de Vente or Sous-Seing Privé relating to the purchase being reliant upon the sale of a house in the UK. I have heard that this is not liked by the Immobiliers here, but is it possible to do it? I would be grateful if anyone has had any experience of this. From what I have read of this legal process, it mentions substantive clauses being inserted regarding mortgages being available. It doesn't specifically say that you cannot insert a reasonable clause. I would be grateful if I can have definitive replies rather than conjecture. Also, if anyone has successfully had such a clause inserted into their Compromis de Vente or Sous-Seing Privé, would they be happy to furnish me with a copy, with names blanked out if you wish? Thanking you in advance, Paul Bradford
  8.   Hi Shelly, Ax-Les-Thermes is good. It's on the route to Andorra, which is about another 30 minutes drive. We live in Monflanquin and it's about a 3 1/2 hour drive.  Nice place to stay in the centre of town is the Grand Tetras. A spa hotel. Costs around €100 per night for a large studio for 4. Twin beds and a sofa bed. Corner kitchen. Hot springs in the town. Very French. We have been there three times now. This year however we will try somewhere else, probably St Lary. Regards, Paul
  9. Hi Kim, If you use one of the Brico stores ask if they have the inclusive service. Most will have some of the woodburners that carry a tax rebate if you have them installed by a professional. We bought ours through such a place on recomendation. The installer collected it and then spent three hours or so installing it with a colleague, including fitting a chimney liner. The price was around €1600 for the lot. I recommended the same place to a friend and lent him our catalogue. (We had a Godin fitted). When he went to see them, they didn't have any Godin on display and he thought they didn't supply them anymore. He didn't see anything else he liked. He then went to a store in our local town and ordered one from them. As it happens, it was the same model as ours. He was initially charged almost €4000, but got it reduced to €3500. Hope this helps, regards Paul
  10. Hi All, Does anyone know where I can buy a pellet basket for my poele? I have read articles on them, including in the latest issue of The Connexion, but they haven't mentioned where to buy one. I have seen one on an eco site here in France for around €120 delivered. I haven't seen any in the brico's or stove shops, although they sell pellets. I have also seen them in the USA. Regards Paul
  11. Hi All, My wife is interested in buying a pair of Ariat Grasmere Riding Boots, but wonders if there is anywhere in this region that sells them. She would obviously like to try before buying as sizing can be different between different manufacturers. Thanking you in advance. Paul
  12. I recently went to see our Broker over here as we wanted travel insurance for a forthcoming trip to the USA with the children. I asked if we could buy an annual policy. It was going to be quite expensive. Our Broker then went to check our car insurance policy. He came back with it and a copy of our Assistance Cover. It transpires that not only are we covered anywhere in the world, we don't even have to have our car with us! He stated it even covered us for the times we go skiing and generally pay for the mountain recovery insurance. So, our €500.00 fully comprehensive policy, really is comprehensive and better value than we thought! Paul
  13. Sunday Driver.Glad to hear that you are both reasonably well. Is it worth looking on the bright side? You now have a convertible ready for the summer! Seriously though, I sold cars for a while through a main dealer before coming here. I had several customers that had been involved in accidents, through no fault of their own and had been given 'market value' for their car. This, not surprisingly was only enough to buy them a vehicle a couple of years older than the one they had lost. I often thought and still do, that if I was in that position and offered 'market value' I would just say 'No thanks, just find me a replacement vehicle in the same condition mine was in.' I wonder how that would be received, especially if you were prepared to go to court over the matter? Regards Paul
  14. Hi Lilly, We have underfloor heating both down and upstairs. Our house is about 14 years old and the system has been in since it was built. During the winter we only have the heating on downstairs, apart from the bathroom upstairs as we find it gets too hot. We have a logburner as well, but that is really for ambience as we don't seem to need often. Regarding a solar sytem with evacuated tubes, I agree with Poolguy. You could run your hot water and heating system from it during the winter, topping up if required from your boiler. During the summer months, you should be able to divert the extra hot water to heat a pool. Electric underfloor heating is expensive and will only get dearer, even if you have superb insulation. You are far better off going for solar heating using evacuated tubes. The payback time is a few years and obviously almost free after that. Also, you will receive money back on your tax return. I'm installing my own solar panel at the moment (when I can find the time!). At the time I purchased the system, it was too expensive to have another coil put into the water tank to link up with the underfloor heating. However, if we decide to stay here, I will look at installing an additional tank and system to do just that. Regards Paul 
  15. Dear All, Thanks for the replies. I'll try Gamm Vert first, then the Boulongerie. I have seen them for sale in the UK, but they can be a bit expensive to get posted here. Thanks again, Regards Paul
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