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What should you keep in mind if you are going to reform your home | Part 1 |

Before starting your home improvement, it is essential to perfectly plan all the issues related to the reformation: from the permits and modifications to be made, to the type of lighting, furniture, toilets and accessories for each space. Unfortunately, we usually start renovating from ground level to the roof, disassembling the no longer required items, builders and constructors working, to then find out that the toilets will still take several weeks to arrive, the ceramics are out of stock or the kitchen furniture is manufactured only by strict order. Then the builders will tell us that the work cannot be stopped under any circumstance… So it is better to be proactive and foreseeing or to be satisfied with what we have. Avoiding this kind of situation is just a matter of having the right information when planning and carrying out your reform. For this reason, we have created this reform guide so that you are aware of all the points that you will have to take into consideration when planning and carrying out your home renovation.


Natural gas

Natural gas remains the cheapest supply energy that exists. By using it, we can enjoy hot water, heating or power some of the domestic appliances with a guarantee of cleanliness and comfort.

When it comes to enjoying natural gas at home, the first thing we have to check is whether our building has the required pipes for the gas to be received from the distribution network to the independent installations on each floor, which is known as the Common Receiving Facility or IRC. In case of an independent construction, it is enough to install an Individual Receiving Installation (IRI) to connect directly with the distribution network

 

 

Who can install it?

 

Authorized companies are the only ones that are licensed to install natural gas installations and provide for the required license. Sometimes, consumers resort to unauthorized companies to lower the cost but when they want to contract Gas Natural the provider requires a license that certifies that the installation complies with the security measures stipulated by law. This certificate is mandatory for new constructions, changes to the original and old installations that have never been registered.

 

Gas Hob

The current gas hobs allow for all types of saucepans, frying pans, etc., detect possible faults and save energy compared to other options. The security systems automatically cut off the gas supply in case the flame goes out unintentionally, and many of them have automatic ignition for convenience. They come in many designs to match different styles.

 

 

Advantages

  • The supply is never exhausted, contrary to the use of gas cylinders.

  • Gas boilers provide for immediate and continuous hot water where electric water heaters need a warm-up time and have a limited capacity, depending on their size.

  • The price per kW/h is lower than that of any other energy devices.

  • Does not need storage space for gas cylinders or tanks, like some other types of energy.


Water installation

The installation has to guarantee that water intended for human consumption is wholesome, the safety of the circuit and the adequate pressure for the proper functioning of faucets and household appliances.

Drinking water reaches each home through a connection and is distributed to the different rooms through the particular installation. This must be done by an authorized installer and consists of

 

1. An incoming water pipe, that connects the outlet of the meter with the particular interior installation.

2. A stopcock installed on the incoming water pipe so that each consumer can shut off their installation.

3. A backlash system to obstruct the return of water

4. And a backlash prevention for apparatus like washing machines and dishwashers, that connect the in-house piping with the corresponding apparatus

 

 

Pipes

Pipes should be replaced in case they are not resistant to corrosion or present electrochemical incompatibility between themselves or are in poor condition. The new ones must withstand temperatures of up to 40º and should not favour the development of potentially harmful substances and microbes.

The best options are copper or PVC pipes, while lead pipes are gradually disappearing. The materials used should not modify or influence the drinkability, smell, colour, or taste of the water. 

 

 

Water seals in the bes conditions

The water seals are responsible for preventing the entry of unpleasant odour from the drains inside the house; but if they are not maintained correctly, they can be the cause of an unpleasant smell. To prevent this, we must keep the sinkholes free of waste. In the sinkholes, organic remains are often accumulated and compact with calcic and can cause clogging. In order to keep them clean, it is recommended to use a good pipe cleaner and manual drainers.

 

Dry water seals give way to the gases from the drainage; and to avoid their exit, it is enough to let water fill them up to resume their functioning.

 

Return of water

  •  To prevent the return of dirty water to the supply network, drain taps can be installed to allow any handling or maintenance of the internal network.

  • Water supply facilities must not be connected to draining facilities.

  • The devices themselves will also prevent the return of used water. The bathtubs, washbasins, bidets, sinks, or even manual shower sprinklers, will have a built-in anti-return device.

  • The same applies to facilities that have a water treatment system


Electrical installations

Changes that occur with a renovation can increase electrical needs and change the location of light points and power outlets. Updating or renewing the electricity installation of our home allows us to improve safety and comfort.

When considering the type of installation that we need, we must know the location of each household appliance and the location of the overhead and auxiliary lights. We will also calculate the kilowatts needed and assess the need to contract more power if we plan to incorporate more electronic devices or systems during the reform.

 

The minimum contract level is 3000W and supports lighting devices, small appliances, refrigerator and TV. The average grade is 5000W and allows, in addition to all the above, dishwasher, washing machine and kitchen. Finally, the high degree of 8000W is recommended when there is a ceramic hob, air conditioning and electric heating devices.

Kitchens

Four different circuits are established, each with its breaker. We refer to:

1. lighting circuit

2. oven and kitchen

3. washing machine and dishwasher

4. and power outlet circuit

Some jacks are standard, others are to feed larger devices. These circuits are controlled by devices called PIAS (small automatic circuit breakers), which jump and disconnect when there is an overload or short circuit. All of them are in turn controlled by a general power switch. When a fault occurs due to a short circuit or electrical failure in the kitchen, it is probable that the switch of the appliance in which the anomaly has been detected will jump, or directly, the general one.

 

  • The contracted power is a commercial value that we decide, but you should bear in mind that when you surpass them, the company's ICP will cut off the supply.
  • An earth connection is used in electrical installations to prevent electrical shock to the user due to an insulation fault of the active conductors. The ground wire is identified by its green and yellow insulation.
  • On the work top, it is convenient to have several wall sockets that allow us to use small electrical appliances with comfort in different functional areas.

Appliance discharges

If insulation somewhere along the electric cable is damaged (bare wire) and contacts the metal housing of a domestic appliance, the current will pass through the housing to the user. These are called indirect contacts and they occur because there is a current where it should not be.

 

 

Bathrooms

The constant presence of water in the bathroom of our home, requires strict safety standards when it comes to locating light points, electrical appliances and electrical outlets. The current regulations establish the prohibition to place plugs, switches and lighting devices less than 2.25 meters high and 1 meter away from the bathtub or shower (except protected sockets). The sockets must be at a minimum height of 1.10 meters to avoid any contact with water. In old installations, grounding will rule out possible electrical discharges.

 

Only watertight designs are recommended in the bathroom or shower room, which can be used even under water. On the other hand, all the light bulbs used in the bathroom must be closed models, with special protection screens that can not cause damage, melt or explode.

 


Discrete and practical/useful windows

When choosing a window, we have to consider the use of the room, its orientation and exposure to noise and sunlight. The opening system will depend on the space available in front of it and the functional needs of the space.

Windows are responsible for a significant percentage of heat losses (33%) in winter, (and gains in summer (75%)). To avoid this waste, we have to know the specifics of each type and its material. A frame of insulating material with double glazing, for example, reduces energy consumption by up to 50% by minimizing the losses between interior and exterior. 

 

 

Materials

Frames can be made of wood, PVC, aluminium, steel or iron.

  • Wood frames in windows provide high thermal insulation but they need regular maintenance, and since it is a living material, it is subject to change and may be less airtight over time.
  • PVC works with hollow profiles with two or three chambers that achieve a high-quality thermal behaviour. They come in various colours or faithfully imitate the appearance of wood.
  • Aluminium does not need maintenance and its profiles are the narrowest, which allows a greater light input, except those that incorporate Thermal Bridge Breakage.

 

Opening systems

  1. Sliding doors: they do not need space in front of them and the sliders do not have a sweeping angle. On the other hand, they only allow the opening of half the span, they are difficult to clean and less airtight.
  2. Swing doors/hinged doors: the upper part of the door moves inwards. Recommended for bathrooms and garages.
  3. Trap doors: the lateral opening of the panel moves towards the interior. They should not have any obstacle ahead that limits the opening. They close hermetically.
  4. Pivoting doors: the window rotates around a central axis. It is widely use in attics and roofs.



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