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Your Home Build: Plumbing and Heating

By: Elaine Everest - Updated: 7 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Water Central Heating Self-build Alarms

Without a water supply running to the house a self-build project is not complete. It needs planning and thought just like any other part of the build.


The plumbing and heating aspect of the build is normally fitted after the house is watertight. This is when the brick (or frame) structure is complete with a roof, windows and doors.


You will need water at the beginning of the build not only for mixing cement but also for toilet, washing and drinking purposes. The water utility services will run a building supply to a stand pipe that you have sited on your land until such times that you are ready for the house supply to be complete.


When notifying the water supplier that you require their services ensure they liase with the gas, electricity and telephone/cable company, as they will normally work from one trench. This is important if the supplies have to travel across roads and public walkways.


Since 1992 water supplies to new homes has been via a meter. The meter will be sited on the pavement outside the boundary of your property and will be read by a representative of the water company every six months. You will also be invoiced a sewerage cost for the property.


It is very probably that leaks will happen from the newly fitted water pipes. If this is on your side of the meter you are not only liable for the cost of the water but for the repairs to pipe work as well.


Although it is possible for you to fit all the pipe work in the home it is advisable to have it checked by a professional plumber. He will also know the latest technology, which is invaluable to your self-build.


You will also need to fit a water tank in the loft that is part of the water supply system into the house.


Where gas is installed and central heating you will need the services of a corgi registered central heating engineer as legislation insist that an expert carries out this part of the work for health and safety reasons. Always ask to see the contractor's credentials and if in doubt do not employ him.

Type of Supply

The central heating system can be run with several types of fuel: gas, oil or electricity the choice is up to you and also the supply that is readily available to your home.


There is a choice of boiler systems for the central heating system, much of which is down to personal preference. The boiler must have to capacity to produce enough energy to support the needs of the home for both heating and hot water. Some examples of different boilers systems are:
  • Condensing boiler: Since April 2005 all boilers have to be over 90% efficient. A condensing boiler is just that, it is highly efficient with a flue and drain to let out any condensation.
  • Combination boiler: For larger families where al lot of water is required the combination boiler is ideal as it supplies instant hot water. It is also gives priority so cannot supply both water and heating at the same time. There is no need for a water tank (cylinder) with this type of boiler.
  • Back boiler: As suggested by the name this type of boiler is fitted to the back of a gas fire or open fire.


If you have a cooking range fitted in the kitchen such as an Aga or Rayburn it is possible to purchase a model that will also run a boiler and the central heating from the one system.


Whatever boiler system is chosen for your self system ensure that it is serviced regularly to ensure that it is running efficiently and is not a danger to the family.


Fit both fire and carbon monoxide alarms in the home as soon as the ceilings and walls have been plastered.

Once the water supply and central heating has been fitted into you self-build house it will feel like a home.

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