Would like some ideas...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Unregistered-1427815803, Nov 23, 2003.

  1. My son and I are building a new house. The exterior (siding, windows, roof, etc) is completed. It is now time to start on the interior. Since we are just starting, all that is done is the framing for the rooms. At this point we can pretty much do whatever we want to the interior as far as setting it up. I would love some suggestions regarding heat, water, compost toilet/septic, etc. There is already electric to the site which we used for the power tools for building it. However, I would like to set it up for both electric and alternate power.
    There are pictures at the today's homesteading MSN chat site. I look forward to reading your ideas and hope to learn a lot. Thank you in advance for your ideas and help.
    Nancy (Ohio)
     
  2. countrygal220

    countrygal220 New Member

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    I'm sorry, I thought I was logged in when I wrote this post. It is from me countrygal220. Thanks nancy
     

  3. Browsercat

    Browsercat Well-Known Member

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    How about tankless electric hot water heaters for some applications in your new house? Also, making a warm room (one room you can keep warm in case of an emergency), and zoning the rest of the house at the same time to reduce your heating costs/needs.
     
  4. ed/IL

    ed/IL Well-Known Member

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    Put in a lot of electrical outlets and phone lines. Pain to have to run an extension cord. Have all large appliances on own electrical circuit. Also a few exterior outlets so no cord running through window. Label panel so you know where ever circuit goes. You could run a 12v. circuit or two to each room for power outages. Get a whole house fan. Don't use the cheapest interior doors known to man. Same thing with trim don't use the cheap foam trim and take your time installing so it looks nice. Be sure to do a good layout before tiling so it is square with no small weird pieces running down a wall. If you have a basement put in a laundry shoot. My friend put a PVC can shoot that send all his beer cans into large bags in basement. Put a scrap nailer board a strategic spots between your wall studs for things like hand rails, toilet paper holders, shelves even cabinets if you can figure out where to put them. Take notes so you know where they are after the sheet rock is up. Keep your water lines inside of interior walls as much as possible so they do not freeze. Spend some extra time laying out kitchen to be sure you get it right. Maybe draw it on the floor to get a good feel. Sounds like fun. Good luck
     
  5. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    Ed's suggestions are good as are the others. We put outlets every 4 feet around every room. Don't regret it a bit. Could put a manual transfer switch in for a future gen set. Large water lines with lots of shutoffs to isolate different sections so you can use water as you advance in the construction.

    mikell
     
  6. Kris in MI

    Kris in MI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Nancy,

    I don't want to sound like a killjoy, but after going through much of what you are embarking on (building your own house to your own specs), the first thing I suggest you do is get ahold of a copy of your state's residential building code, electrical code, and plumbing/mechanical code books. I believe that most states have rules about things like how many outlets you can have on a circuit, the maximum distance between outlets, etc. There are rules about all sorts of things related to constructing a house.

    For instance, here in Michigan you cannot have a bathroom on the same circuit as a 'living area' (bedroom, living room, etc). So when we wired our house ourselves, we had to put in a couple unplanned circuits to handle the bathrooms because we could not just put them on the same circuit as the bedroom whose wall they adjoined. And in my kitchen, we had to have one outlet every four feet not counting spaces taken up by fridge, sink, stove, doorways, etc. My island is over four foot long, so it has to have an outlet in each end instead of just one outlet. Also, all outlets in kitchens now have to be gfci instead of just the ones in the immediate area of the sink.

    I was quite bummed out to have some government body interfer with what I thought was the best layout for my kitchen (I do not see a need for an outlet on the left end of my island since I am right handed and plug everything in--mixer, toaster, griddle--on my right so the cord is not stretched across my work area).

    So anyway, my suggestion is to get a basic idea of how you want things, then go check the state and local code books; here in Michigan most libraries have a copy on their reference shelves. You'd hate to put in all the money, time, and effort just to have a building inspector tell you it wasn't up to code and had to be tore out and redone. The state electrical inspector we dealt with was fairly easy going, but we did have to make some changes (like making sure the staples holding the wires to the studs inside the walls were a maximum of four feet apart!) before he would approve our 'rough' inspection so we could cover the walls with drywall.

    Okay, now that I've brought you down ;), here's a few ideas for you.

    In our house, we went with hydronic (hot water) radiant floor heat. It was simple to put in, and the stage you are in is the exact stage you need to be to install it. Ours is kitec (plastic with aluminum reinforcements) tubing that is suspended on the floor joists by little nail-in clamps and sits approx. 1 inch below the OSB subfloor. It took dh, 13yo ds and I approx a weekend to install the eight 200 foot loops of kitec for our 1800 sq ft house. The water for ours is heated in a massive two-chambered hot water heater/boiler (75 gallon) that is fueled by propane. We have plans in the future to add an outdoor wood boiler that would tie in to the system and heat the water most of the time, but the current boiler was cheaper as a start up and will also provide a backup system for when we are out of town for several days and can't stoke the woodburner. Our boiler is two chambered because local code required the water for the heat system to be kept separate from the domestic (drinking/bathing/cooking) water. This boiler provides a closed system for the radiant heat and also heats our domestic water at the same time. Our other alternative was to get the outdoor wood boiler right away (about $4000 more) or get two normal sized water heaters; one for domestic water and one for heat. Since we want to add the wood boiler in the future, we didn't want to get two water heaters now. (The wood boiler, when it is installed, will also provide heat for dh's future pole barn/woodshop and perhaps a pool or hot tub or sauna).

    I wanted to look into a solar power system, but that was not in the budget at the time we started our house. However, I am seriously considering getting quotes on those solar roofing panels and using those when we build our barn (this spring, hopefully). Also in the future I plan to set up a rainwater catchment system, and a way to divert the water from my washing machine right into the terraced herb/cool season-shady vegetable beds we will be setting up near the door of the laundry room. I would like to get a windmill and locate it near the barn (it gets quite windy here) so that I can water the animals even during times that we have no electricity to run the well pump. Perhaps even rig up a batttery storage system for the electricity generated by the windmill and use that to power the barn.

    Just some of my 'wants' for my place that maybe would work for you too.
     
  7. countrygal220

    countrygal220 New Member

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    I would like to thank those of you that have sent a response. There are many good ideas I intend to use.

    One thing I have in my favor is that, where I built there are no building codes, requirements or regulations. Also there are no inspections required unless you put in a regular septic system (then you need a permit and an inpection).

    From experience (building our first house here), I have learned how important LOTS of outlets and seperate breakers are. I plan on having plenty of both. This house is lacking in this area.

    I really like the idea of the floor water heat. I plan to put in an outdoor woodburner as well.

    Thank you again and I continue to look forward to other ideas.
    Nancy
     
  8. j.r. guerra in s. tx.

    j.r. guerra in s. tx. Well-Known Member

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    To save wasted construction materials, design your floor plan on a 4' grid. Most wall materials come in this width - a 13'-6" long wall requires you cut an 18" width off of a 4' x 8' panel, leaving a 2'-6" wide panel which often gets wasted and thrown out. Keeping your walls standard widths minimizes waste, saving you money.

    Consider having a small room which is set aside strictly for storage. Reinforced walls for shelving, concrete unfinished floor, a room strictly for storing stuff. Make sure to leave a space behind the door for the shelf to go full length of the room. Will save a lot of cluttered closets.

    A really neat idea I read in Malcolm Wells' book Building Your Underground Home is providing a storage shelf just above the door head (top of the door) along the perimeter of a room. That space is often just wasted space - why not use it to store some stuff, or show off your collectibles?

    An energy saving feature: Have an alcove / mud room / airlock between your house and the exterior door. A space where when the exterior door is opened, the conditioned air from the rest of the house doesn't get pushed out. Also allows you to take off muddy / wet clothing before you walk into your clean house.

    Have you ever walked up to your house, with an armful of groceries / shopping and needed to put them down to search for the correct key? Consider providing a counter or at least a short shelf right beside the door, for this duty - its pretty helpful at times.

    Plug molding just below the kitchen wall cabinets will provide plenty of outlets for your kitchen needs, and stay concealed when they aren't needed. Any outlets within 4' of a sink need to be GFI which switch off if moisture is introduced in the circuit. I agree with Ed - a lot of plugs can be really helpful and times. Consider having a phone line in every room - Internet is getting more and more use nowadays.

    Open plan, a house floor plan where full height interior partitions are minimized, make a small house feel bigger. But also feel less private. Hallways can serve double duty, if you install recessed wall shelving along at least one of the sides. The back wall opposite side can serve as a shelf for a closet.

    I hope this helps.
     
  9. wy0mn

    wy0mn Transplanted RedNeck

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    Lots of shut-off valves, on everything. You'll never appreciate them until needed. Tubs & sinks of the type with overflow protection. Perhaps some rainbarrels or the ability to hook up to a water buffalo?
     
  10. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

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    Build for disabilities. Even if not permanent, everyone is going to break a leg or get a bad back or get old or something sometime. Build doors and hallways throughout that are wide enough for a wheelchair. Build shallow ramps (look up the standards for disabled access) - on at least one and preferably two eternal doors. Helps with wheeling things (fridges, furniture, heavy shopping, laundry trolleys) in and out as well. Build a no-step shower - nothing to step over - just a sloped floor to the drain and a shower curtain. Make it big enough so someone can get in there on a wheelchair, move to a plastic chair, then get the wheelchair out of the way while they shower. Make the walls solid enough for really solid heavy-duty grab-rails. Build in a hand-held shower rose that is reachable without lifting your arm above your shoulder when you're sitting down. Make a toilet big enough for wheelchair access. This costs almost nothing (well, just about everything costs almost nothing) to build in, but heaps to add later.

    If you're building two or more stories, make sure everything essential is accessible without stairs (even if you have to go outside and down ramps to the laundry in the cellar, do it somehow). Make sure to have at least one room usable as a bedroom, and a bathroom and toilet on ground level. If you have an attached garage, make sure there is ramp access from it to the house.

    Overengineer wherever possible. Again, very little cost to do it now, heap big cost to add it later. In particular, use heavier-than-necessary electrical wiring. This means resistance will be less, you'll use a little less electricity, the wire will heat less, insulation will last longer, less chance of fires. Also you can push more current through it later if you have to, without rewiring.

    Consider running Category 5 (computer network) cable as widely as you would telehone cable. Look into it - you can run telephone over Cat5. It's MUCH more trouble to run a computer Local Area Network later, and if you can imagine two or more people wanting to share an Internet connection, a printer, the large-capacity backup device on one computer to backup others - then you probably want a LAN.

    Most of this stuff won't lose you money - you'll get it back later, either in savings or in sale price if anything makes you sell.

    Consider multi-source whatever. Solar water heating for when you don't want to be burning stuff, heating up the house. Solar cells and windmill (micro-hydro as well if you can) - likely a lot of the time if one or two aren't working it's because of conditions that mean the other is. Also look up solar ovens. You may well be able to build one of those into an outside wall so you can do a slow-cooker meal during summer without lighting a stove or plugging anything in at all.

    Consider building so that at some stage you can add on a conservatory. Basically that's a room on the sunwards side of the house (South or South-West for you) that during winter will function as a glasshouse, heating the house as well; and during summer you open it up, cover it with shade-cloth, and it functions as a fernery, cool and green, to shade and cool the house.
     
  11. hobo

    hobo Bybee Tennessee

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    Looks like alot of good replies, so I will add one. when you run your main water line put the line inside a larger line to the house. this way at a later time and it will happen you will be able to cut inside and at source without digging the place up and also you will know as soon as you have a leak. good luck
     
  12. countrygal220

    countrygal220 New Member

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    I would like to thank everyone for your great ideas and the help you provided. There are some wonderful ideas and I plan to use them. THANK YOU!
    Nancy