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  1. #1
    Newbie Ganesh's Avatar
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    Building in Chiang Mai Questions

    Hi,

    my wife and I are getting closer to building a home here in Chiang Mai. A couple of questions I had though:

    1. Which is better for hot water - a large water heater, like the ones they commonly use in America or the smaller ones they use for showers here?

    2. Any recommendations on where to buy good (and affordable) flooring. Would like to use wood for the floors but not sure where to buy it to get a good deal.

    Thanks...

  2. #2
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    Best to read through the construction threads as a start. There's a few in there from Chiang Mai and a particularly good build thread in Lampang. Check out Dr Andy's threads as both those builds are in Chiang Mai city.

    As for hot water, just those small units they stick on the wall are fine. Hot climate so no need for a huge hot water system that will cost a fortune to both buy and run. Don't think I ever seen one of those massive tanks here.

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    Never understood why in Thailand they don't use the solar hot water systems (more often?) like we have in Australia on every roof, very affordable, very hot water. And good pressure to your shower too. I will install these on my new house I'm hoping to build very soon in the sticks.

    Been here now a few years, never seen one installed on a house. With the amount of sunshine, I just dont understand. Oh and they are probably more safe then the electric units they sell for the bathrooms..
    If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough.

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    The wife and i went back and forth on this issue, as the standard for the hosue we are building is wood laminate. We finally decided to go with a granite floor on the ground level and wood laminate on the first floor.

    Talking with others, it's felt laminate may have problems with the moisture and humidity of Thailand. I can still remember the mess, back in the USA with the ex, when the ice maker line for our refrigerator leaked into the wood laminate floor. And I don't think a wood floor feels as cool to walk on as stone.

    I also remember renting s house in Bangkok that had a real parquet floor. Those little wood pieces would come up, it was a real PITA.

    I've always been fond of those little electric on-demand hot water heaters. It must save energy, compared to keeping a tank full of hot water all the time. I wish they were more affordable in the USA.
    I've never had a solar hot water heater, we will have one installed at the house, so I'll find out how well it works there, especially on cloudy or rainy days.

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    go solar

    quite an expensive layout but the freedom and easiness of the hot water is great

    those puny little heaters hardly give enough for a decent shower, and cost a bit to run

    as for flooring, there is a lot of choice and a lot of variation in price

    if you want new, go and have a look in the local woodyard

    secondhand can be better, you get a superior quality wood cheaper, but a bit more work to lay

    for bedrooms, the parquet flooring they sell is good
    I have reported your post

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    In Australia if your solar power is in surplus it gets fed back into the grid and they pay you!

    Never seen it here either though, did you go solar Andy? I'd imagine it would be bloody expensive to set up.

    We use bugger all hot water so a 5000 bt electric hot water unit is all we ever needed. Would be interesting to work out the price comparison in what you spend over 10 years running an electric unit apposed to 'free' solar powered.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevefarang
    We finally decided to go with a granite
    Nice choice. We haven't decided yet. I want granite, but not that thin top layer cheap stuff - would rather tiles than that. We're already over budget and it would be quite expensive to granite the floor of the entire house (it's a decent size).

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9999
    Never seen it here either though, did you go solar Andy?
    you are confusing solar power and solar water heating

    I have the latter

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9999
    We use bugger all hot water so a 5000 bt electric hot water unit is all we ever needed. Would be interesting to work out the price comparison in what you spend over 10 years running an electric unit apposed to 'free' solar powered.
    we have three bathrooms and the kitchen running off our panel, never short of free hot water

    in our old house we had a 6kw multipoint electric heater which barely heated the water in the cool season unless you ran it very slow

  10. #10
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    ^ How big is the panel and where is it? Was that in your thread as I don't recall reading about that. Ever considered going full blown solar power? Is that even possible here?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrAndy
    we have three bathrooms and the kitchen running off our panel, never short of free hot water
    Mind sharing how much it was to set up?

    In any case, hot water in the tropics is for pussies even in cool season. Man up, fill up a bucket of cold water, throw in some ice, and splash yourself about with a plastic pan that doubles as an arse cleaner.

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    ^ It is in my concrete house in the city thread

    I made a concrete stand around 2.5m high at the back of the house to sit it on

    I think it is around 200litres and it supplies really hot water unless it is very overcast for a few days

    can't remember exactly but it was around B40,000 plus B6000 delivery and set-up

    I don't find showering in cold water particularly pleasant, plus hot water leaves you much cleaner, so I must be a pussy!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrAndy
    can't remember exactly but it was around B40,000 plus B6000 delivery and set-up
    Less than I thought. Good idea I might have to add to my build. Haven't updated yet (Lamphun new house thread), pretty clueless and have left it up to the FIL and builder for the most part, but we're almost at lock-up stage. I might have to suggest this to them. Over say 10 years it's nearly have to pay for itself in electricity savings, and the added bonus of helping the earth. Will check out that thread again, cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9999
    Over say 10 years it's nearly have to pay for itself in electricity savings, and the added bonus of helping the earth.
    It is difficult to say how long, but you do get lots of hot water without any thought, which is worth it's weight in gold

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    Newbie Ganesh's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the good advice.

    Dr. Andy - where in CM can you buy these solar heaters? I thought I had read in another thread someone complaining that the water was always too hot to use - any thoughts?

    Any advice on a good lumbar yard - I live in Nonghoi but am happy to go anywhere that people recommend as being priced fairly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrAndy
    you do get lots of hot water without any thought, which is worth it's weight in gold
    So in other words bugger all according to Butters and a shitload according to Socal

    Seriously though, if you're building a house around the 1M Baht range, 40-50K for this set-up is almost a must, just for the hot water on demand and eco-friendly factors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ganesh
    Dr. Andy - where in CM can you buy these solar heaters?
    lots of places but we got ours from the EGAT research centre, north of CM

    they seemed to be the best buy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ganesh
    I thought I had read in another thread someone complaining that the water was always too hot to use - any thoughts?
    yes, mix it with cold!

    you have, say, 200l of very hot water, so it lasts a few days when it clouds over

    you could cover the glass partially to keep the temp down but then you don't have the reserve

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9999
    if you're building a house around the 1M Baht range, 40-50K for this set-up is almost a must, just for the hot water on demand and eco-friendly factors.
    agreed on that; I have fitted them to my house in Portugal too, as I was so impressed by the one I have in CM

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9999 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by stevefarang
    We finally decided to go with a granite
    Nice choice. We haven't decided yet. I want granite, but not that thin top layer cheap stuff - would rather tiles than that. We're already over budget and it would be quite expensive to granite the floor of the entire house (it's a decent size).
    I can't say if it's thin top layer cheap stuff. It looked pretty substantial (and heavy). And it was 50% cheaper (and much thicker) than the normal tile options we were shown. It also will have a thinner seam than the tile. Here's a shot of what we picked out:



    I also spotted this decorative tile piece and it will be perfect in the front entrance area, with a black trim piece.



    We're only doing the ground floor. There's a concern with the weight if we used it on the first floor. The ground floor is just a wee little 170 sq. m.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevefarang
    I can't say if it's thin top layer cheap stuff. It looked pretty substantial (and heavy). And it was 50% cheaper (and much thicker) than the normal tile options we were shown.
    It looks similar to the stuff in the house I'm renting, which I would not buy, can't tell by the pictures but going by the price...

    Are they solid granite tiles, or mortar with a wafer thin layer of granite on top?

    If it's solid granite, bargain!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9999 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by stevefarang
    I can't say if it's thin top layer cheap stuff. It looked pretty substantial (and heavy). And it was 50% cheaper (and much thicker) than the normal tile options we were shown.
    It looks similar to the stuff in the house I'm renting, which I would not buy, can't tell by the pictures but going by the price...

    Are they solid granite tiles, or mortar with a wafer thin layer of granite on top?

    If it's solid granite, bargain!
    I couldn't tell you, being back here in the states. I tried zooming in on the pic. but I can't tell. They were pretty substantial. They should hold up very well.

    Anyway, we're getting off topic. Sorry

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrAndy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ganesh
    I thought I had read in another thread someone complaining that the water was always too hot to use - any thoughts?
    yes, mix it with cold!

    you have, say, 200l of very hot water, so it lasts a few days when it clouds over

    you could cover the glass partially to keep the temp down but then you don't have the reserve
    There is a mixer/diluter available, thermostatically controlled, that mixes to a preset temperature.

    The problem, with some solar hot water systems, evacuated tubes specifically, is that the water can be heated to almost boiling, and I think the standard requires no more than 65 degrees celsius (in Australia) to avoid scalding of kids.

  23. #23
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    yes, the water can get very hot, so could be scalding if you are not careful

    thermostatic mixers can be used if that scares you

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