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Plumbing advice etc

Plumbing advice etc

Old Jan 4th 2015, 8:59 am
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Default Plumbing advice etc

Hi all ive recently purchased property in pecs and also a small holiday appartment in harkany, the small apartment is in need of updating. I need to replace double glazing and also the water heater seems to have seen better days. Now im aware that me being a foreigner there im certain i'll get extortionate quotes. Does any one know of any reliable double glazers and electricians in the area?

I was thinking of taking off the water heater and replacing it with an electric shower..imhandy with electrics but another question, their pipe fittings over there are they the same as the uk 22mm and 15mm?
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Old Jan 4th 2015, 7:46 pm
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Welcome to the forum, Mystro. I don't know if we have anyone in Pecs on here but I might be able to put you in touch with an expat. who lives in that area.
I think you will find that your electricity supply won't have a high enough ampere rating to run an electric shower. Actually, I've found that the mains fed water heaters that they have here give a very good shower, far more powerful than the average electric shower. It is worth fitting a thermostatic mixer though, so you don't have to fiddle around to get the temperature right.
Plumbing can be a bit of a nightmare here as a lot of houses have iron pipes, buried in the brickwork, often behind tiles. My house had no hot water supply to the kitchen sink so I had to run one from the bathroom. I ended up renewing the whole hot water plumbing because it is so difficult to add a tee to the old iron pipework. I had to remove a load of tiles, mostly plain white but some special ones that are obsolete. I have had water slide transfers printed to stick onto the white tiles but have not got round to putting them on yet.
You can buy 15, 22 and 28 mm copper pipe but not compression or Yorkshire fittings, only end feed. I recently discovered a shop near me that sells Hep2O plastic push fit pipe and fittings. I mostly use that these days as it is much easier than copper. Items I can't buy in Hungary I order online from Screwfix in UK.
Remember when doing any plumbing that winters are colder here than in UK so you need to make sure pipes are insulated. In the holiday place it may be worth putting salt in the WC cistern and pan when leaving it unheated over winter.

Last edited by fidobsa; Jan 4th 2015 at 7:49 pm.
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Old Jan 4th 2015, 9:10 pm
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Default Re: Plumbing advice etc

Boldog Új Évet everybody!

Mystro: to take up and add to what Fidobsa has said, don't underestimate Hungarian winters. Dips to -20 °C are not uncommon, and more seriously, it can be -10 °C for longer periods at a time.

FWIW, my plumber drains the system every autumn, I only have a modest 10 to 12 metres of pipe and my property is in the mildest part of the country, but I have had frost damage at seven different points in my plumbing in the last seven winters.

Insulating the pipes is certainly a good idea, but you need a full-blown strategy for coping with the winter. Beginning with the decision whether to leave the heating on over the winter or not.

As in many areas, the Hungarian mentality may also be an issue. When I discover in the spring that I have yet another burst pipe union, I call my plumber who comes the following day at the latest and fixes it. Since my system is drained over the winter, I have no secondary damage other than perhaps having to replaster a small area of wall and replace a tile. The cost of a repair is typically Ft 2,000 (€6). My plumber's attitude seems to be that this is par for the course and since the cost of repair is trivial, what's the problem?

I have been grappling with this for a long time now and am toying with the idea of having further T points with drain taps added so that the system can be purged by compressor as thoroughly as possible after being drained (my plumber has always drained the system in my absence and I presume that he relies on gravity). I am already preparing for his astonished reaction when I ask him to do this though...

Fidobsa, you can get special paint for painting over bathroom tiles – that may be a solution if you have inherited some ghastly tile pattern in your bathroom but don't want to re-tile. I've never used it but it appears to have been used in the bathroom in the flat I'm currently renting.
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Old Jan 5th 2015, 6:05 am
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Default Re: Plumbing advice etc

Welcome to the forum, Mystro
As a point on charges we are paying 2500huf / hour for tradespeople (plumbers, electricians builders etc.).

Insulating pipes IMO is of no use against frost damage. Insulation only slows down heat loss so once a house has been unheated for a bit then the -10 or more will freeze the water with or without insulation.
If you are re-plumbing then put pipes in with a fall towards the drain tap and take care not to create any 'u's to trap water. as was said above it is also worth putting in an air point to blow the pipes through just to be safe. Most houses have a main tap (stopcock) that will drain the house side when turned off - don't rely on this as the drain hole is very small and can block up after a few years. I second the suggestion of salt in the loo pan - and don't forget to flush the loo after draining the system, (a cistern full of water also freezes)

For pipes and fittings yes its end feed only, but they also use 18mm and 10mm because they are cheaper and in a lot of cases this can be substituted for 22mm and 15mm.

As was said above you probably won't have enough power for an electric shower (or an electric hob or induction hob) the current standard supply is 32A which is a bit over 7Kw if you want more that that it can get expensive and the electric co. usually suggest you go 3 phase. You may well find that your properties may well be less than the 32A, depending when they were last upgraded (perhaps 16A or 25A) If you want / need an upgrade to 32A you will also need a new meter box (if the box is not current standard) which can add up to an expensive upgrade.

Most houses use electrically heated water tanks for DHW often heated with off peak electricity. They are quite good and work until they don't, then you unbolt the base plate (which will probably be absolutely solid with limescale) drop the whole lot in the dustbin and go and buy new components. (about 6000huf as I recall) Around here they seem to last about 5 years but will last longer if you only heat the water to 60 or 70 deg.
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Old Jan 6th 2015, 10:11 am
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Default Re: Plumbing advice etc

Thank you all for your advice, i shall forget about the electric shower and just replace the water heater. Chances are it could be repaired but it looks like its seen better days so i'll just get rid.

Plumbing fittings wise i work for a plumbers merchant so i'll be using tectite fittings which i'll take over with me.

Its good to have an idea for average prices for tradesmen.

Once again koszi to you all for your advice unfortunately i'm sure there'll be more questions as i plan along lol
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Old Jan 6th 2015, 7:02 pm
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A lot of plumbing items are unheard of here, including indirect cylinders for hot water. I brought a cylinder from UK for use in a new solid fuel central heating system but I'm still struggling to find suitable cold tanks. For the DHW cold feed tank I will be adapting an old plastic lined 200 litre drum which originally contained isopropanol. I got the ballcock from UK. For the expansion/feed tank for the radiator system I had planned to use a large plastic water container but then realised it would be safer to have a metal vessel in case of emergency boil up situations (power cuts, or pump failures). I was tempted buy a stainless steel outdoor cooking pot I saw in Tesco but hopefully something more suitable will turn up.
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Old Jan 6th 2015, 11:21 pm
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Originally Posted by fidobsa
A lot of plumbing items are unheard of here, including indirect cylinders for hot water. I brought a cylinder from UK for use in a new solid fuel central heating system but I'm still struggling to find suitable cold tanks. For the DHW cold feed tank I will be adapting an old plastic lined 200 litre drum which originally contained isopropanol. I got the ballcock from UK. For the expansion/feed tank for the radiator system I had planned to use a large plastic water container but then realised it would be safer to have a metal vessel in case of emergency boil up situations (power cuts, or pump failures). I was tempted buy a stainless steel outdoor cooking pot I saw in Tesco but hopefully something more suitable will turn up.
You can get indirect DHW tanks here, they are mostly associated with solar panel equipment and they range from 120l upwards. You can also get a heat exchanger coil to convert a standard Hungarian DHW tank to an indirect tank. With no particular reason for choosing the site, just randomly picked on google search see here Tároló tartályok, pufferek: - Használati melegvíz - Megújuló és fosszilis energiák, alkalmazása, autonómia, fenntarthatóság, otthonunkban

The reason that until recently indirect DHW tanks were not readily available is that DHW was either electrically heated (usually on night rate) or supplied as per panel flats from a central district system. Then came combi boilers - still no indirect tank required, then came solar panels and modern wood stoves so now there is the need for indirect tanks.

Cold water tanks are not available as virtually 100% of DHW is mains pressure and IMO you get a much better system with mains pressure hot and cold water and the water systems are within the heated envelope of the house. The English system of a cold water tank in the loft feeding the hot tank and the cold taps with water dribbling out of the shower on the first floor is unknown here because, apart from performance issues, having 100+ lts in a tank with a float valve in the loft when temperatures go down to -15 or worse is asking for trouble. With the UK system there should be a drinking water mains tap in the kitchen which is the only tap that should be used for consumption (including cleaning teeth) as what comes out of the tank in the loft can contain the residue of anything that crawled into it and died!! I would go for the continental system of mains pressure DHW every time - its cleaner, safer and better. By the way we are off the grid for water but still have our own 'mains' pressure DHW and cold water system.

Another problem that can occur is that once installed with imported (unique) parts if / when anything goes wrong you are stuck waiting for parts imported at extra cost. Go native and everything is available in the local shop and cheaper.
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Old Jan 7th 2015, 3:55 am
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Mains pressure indirect cylinders would not meet regs in UK for solid fuel boilers, for good reason. The radiator feed tank will contain antifreeze and be topped up manually. The DHW gravity tank will be well insulated and drained down if the place is left unheated in winter. Both hot and cold tanks will be close to the chimney of the woodburning stove so that should stop them getting too cold when the system is running. The main reason I want the indirect cylinder is as a safety heat sink in case of power cuts or pump failure. It will be plumbed to heat the cylinder by gravity.
You don't seem to have much faith in insulation but if you get it right it can take at least a week of very low temperatures before things freeze. I lived in northern Scotland before I came to Hungary so for me the winters are not that much different, just a bit shorter than the Scottish ones.
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Old Jan 7th 2015, 5:16 am
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Fidobsa
I don't know why a mains pressure indirect cylinders would not meet regs in UK for solid fuel boilers, there are certainly a lot of unvented cylinders available back in the UK and providing the water regs are meet (nonreturn valves etc.) there should not be a problem, not that much difference to systems using solar thermal panels. Certainly here there are only unvented cylinders on all sorts of systems.

If you are using antifreeze in the primary (radiator and indirect tank circuit) I presume you will be using the type suitable for indirect tanks and not car antifreeze which is horribly poisonous.

I do not think that a DHW cylinder would be an adequate safety heat sink because if the power cut occurred when the tank was nicely hot then you would have very little margin for safety. IMO you would be much better (and normal practice) to have a radiator on gravity to provide a continuous heat sink.

Have you considered having the whole system on gravity, I like gravity for wood stoves because it is self regulating in so much as the hotter the fire the faster the flow and there is little to no risk of over cooling the stove and tarring up the chimney that can happen with a pumped system and the pumps and temperature controls that are needed to manage the variable heat output of a wood stove are unnecessary - gravity does it for you automatically. You also get trickles of heat out of the stove at the end and beginning of burns when a pump could not run. Down side, you have to be careful with the pipe layout and sizing - but tat is a one time exercise.

My faith in insulation is not unlimited. a few years back we had a period of about 12 days when the temperature never got above -10 and the night temperature was down to -18. And we are not in the coldest part of Hungary! (Veszprem County) I would not want to risk an insulated pipe in those temperatures.
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Old Jan 8th 2015, 10:51 pm
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This is the document I'm using for guidance:

http://ecoangus.co.uk/ecoangus_image...ing_Manual.pdf

It states that cylinders must meet BS 1566:2002. If you look up that standard it carries the title:

"Copper indirect cylinders for domestic purposes. Open vented copper cylinders. Requirements and test methods."

It would be nice to have the whole system on gravity but I think I would need bigger pipework than the 15mm I am using. Given the layout of the house this would be expensive in pipe and it would be unsightly if the pipes were on display. I can hide the 15mm pipes behind skirting boards. I think the radiators would also need to be higher than the boiler for a thermo-syphon to work, not easy when the boiler is also the kitchen stove! If I had an ordinary furnace type boiler in the cellar I could probably go for an unpumped system, even with the 15mm pipes. My house in Nuneaton had gas central heating with the boiler on the ground floor and microbore pipework. The upstairs radiators got fairly warm without the pump running.
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Old Oct 25th 2015, 1:40 am
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I finally finished plumbing in the system I mentioned back in January. I still need to do leak checking and testing, then the system will be flushed and refilled with Fernox Solar S1. The last 2 bits of pipework proved to be the most difficult. They were 15mm copper that needed to be bent slightly. I found my UK internal bending spring would not go into the German pipe which must be of slightly thicker wall than the UK stuff. I went to a plumbers merchant to buy a new spring but it looks like this is another item peculiar to UK as the guy had never seen one before! I ended up spending about 3 hours sanding down my old spring with emery cloth until it was thin enough to go into the pipe.




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Old Oct 26th 2015, 2:34 am
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Heath Robinson is alive and well and living in Hungary if my new boiler installation is anything to go by.
The attachment is of the new boiler I had fitted last week.
It heats the central heating system but is also operates an heat exchanger inside the electric water heater.

I am only adding to this thread because of the fittings used, the copper pipe is 28mm with clamped (compressed?) fittings, the brass fittings are Italian made but marked in inches, the silver coloured fittings are also marked with imperial sizes.

I am no plumber but it all looks a bit OTT to me.
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Old Oct 26th 2015, 3:15 am
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Interesting, I have never seen one of those water heaters in Hungary, hence me bringing mine from UK. The other day I saw a dual fuel water heater in the merchant where I tried to get the bending spring but that was solid fuel/electric! Is there any particular reason for going for that system rather than a combi boiler?
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Old Oct 26th 2015, 5:37 am
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Fid,
The electric water heater is a Drazine, made in Czechoslovakia. They make all types of heaters and storage tanks http://www.dzd.cz I bought mine from Celsius Pluz. Mine has a single heat exchanger coil, but they are available with twin coils in case you also wish to connect a third heat source, solar, wood burner.

The reason against a combi boiler is that of personal experience, it needs a very large ferocious boiler in order to take a very hot shower at full pressure with the temperate that water arriving to the house at in deepest mid winter, even then if someone turns on the kitchen tap, washing machine, dish washer etc you will find your lovely warm body chilling rapidly, even flushing the loo or turning on a cold tap will have an adverse effect.
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Old Oct 26th 2015, 5:56 am
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Originally Posted by duztee
Heath Robinson is alive and well and living in Hungary if my new boiler installation is anything to go by.
The attachment is of the new boiler I had fitted last week.
It heats the central heating system but is also operates an heat exchanger inside the electric water heater.

I am only adding to this thread because of the fittings used, the copper pipe is 28mm with clamped (compressed?) fittings, the brass fittings are Italian made but marked in inches, the silver coloured fittings are also marked with imperial sizes.

I am no plumber but it all looks a bit OTT to me.
As far as I can see the 28mm clamped fittings are normally used for gas (where they are required). The seal is made by a high temperature silicon 'o' ring which is compressed when the fitting is clamped.

There are quite a lot of Italian plumbing bits in Hungary. e.g the ball taps (red handles) are Italian as well (cheaper than mofem - the repairable Hungarian equivalent) The silver coloured fittings are galvanised iron - and all iron fittings and pipework are in imperial - everywhere.

The system you have is that the boiler will heat the hot water via the heat exchanger. Gas per Kw hour is much cheaper than electricity so you would be better off using the gas rather than the immersion heater (even if you have night rate electricity) however if it were mine I would insulate the pipes between the gas boiler and the water tank.
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