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Thread: Solex project

  1. #1
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    Solex project

    Quote Originally Posted by Norton View Post
    It's a dandy thread for sure. Looking forward to yours.
    Thanks for teeing me up

    The Thai missus and I are going to be building a house on a family plot of land. I am somebody who works from home, so I have always preferred living in houses to apartments. With it being my office and my home, it needs to be fairly spacious, so I don’t get cabin fever. So, a house with a garden has always been my preference. I have rented quite a lot in the past; usually staying for one or two years, before getting bored of the house or sick of the landlord. With that being the case, I have managed to amass some experience of different places. I want to use these experiences to plan our house build, taking all the best elements and ditching all the negative aspects.

    Before I provide information on our project, I would first like to take you on a tour through my previous rental accommodation, as it is these experiences that inform the designs I have. I have been living in Thailand since 2007, in a mixture of single room apartments to large houses. So as not to make this War & Peace, I will limit this section to houses I rented in Pattaya between 2015 and 2020.

    * My posts are still being moderated and I am still trying to get the hang of uploading pictures properly, so please bear with me if things appear in the wrong order or don't look right. Learning by doing, etc. …

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    Good luck.

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    Mabprachan Lake 1

    I stayed in a house in a project near Mabprachan Lake in East Pattaya from around June 2015 to May 2017. The rent was B25,000 pcm. I remember being delighted with the house when I moved in. Difficult to see why, though, really, looking back at the pictures now. It is actually really basic. However, it was fairly big. There were three bedrooms: one master bedroom with an en suite, and two smaller bedrooms connected to the same bathroom. My unit was right next to the pool, which saw a lot of action. Apart from an Italian guy who used the pool like once a month, I was the only person using it, so it was like a private pool.

    Solex project-img_8718-jpgSolex project-img_8937-jpgSolex project-img_8476-jpgSolex project-img_8469-jpgSolex project-img_8472-jpgSolex project-img_8466-jpgSolex project-img_8298-jpgSolex project-img_8296-jpg

    What attracted me to stay at this place was how green and lush it was. Most of the other building complexes and villages in east Pattaya were concrete jungles that were very uneasy on the eye. From the second you came through the gate at this place, it was greenery, all over. However – and this is something that will pop up continuously throughout my experiences – there is a price to paid for these aesthetics.

    The first year of living there was great. No problems. That’s why I renewed the contract for another year. The second year had quite a few issues (which is obviously why I moved out). I had my water supply cut off for a few days, because a supply pipe underground had burst. The service technicians told me the pipe had burst mainly due to pressure caused by an underground tree trunk, or something. The next door neighbours were also put in another unit temporarily when their underground water tank was damaged by tree trunks. The villas in this project had their own private pool. I recall one family moved out because the family refused to pay a massive water bill one month, apparently due to a burst pipe underground. Again, was that because of dodgy piping underneath the ground, or was there a lot of soil movement?

    Solex project-img_8341-jpg

    One thing I also remember is that there were quite a few gardening staff – like 4 members of staff for gardening in a village with, what, 12 units. They used to sweep the leaves off the floor every evening around 6 pm. The road was pretty much covered every evening. They all did it together, because it was a major job. The main maintenance chap used to complain to me that he requested many times to the owner of the village to have the trees cut down because of all the problems they caused. Fell on deaf ears apparently.

    Solex project-img_8340-jpgSolex project-img_8295-jpgSolex project-img_8334-jpg

    I did not like the sandstone-style driveway, patio and pool decking. That yellow is a bit of a sickly colour to me. However, it was really sturdy on the old feet – no slipping. One of the village staff used to sporadically spray the floors with a pressure washer to clean it up, and it was like brand new afterwards.

    Solex project-img_8189-jpg

    Another thing that made the units look really nice from outside was the wooden features. Pretty much all the window frames and doors were made out of wood. However, I noticed that wooden frames always leave gaps and holes. They are never fully straight like plastic or metal frames. The result of this is that you constantly have geckos and other insects and fauna entering the building. Once, when it was raining heavily for a few days, I noticed that the door was quite stiff to close. I soon realised that the wood was soaked with water from the rain. I think the wood had swollen. It got to the stage where I could not actually shut the door; the bottom of the door was scraping against the floor. I thought the glass was going to go. Basically, it was not safe at all.

    Despite having a patio and place to sit outside, I very rarely did so. I thought I would need to have my own surrounding wall, as I felt like I was in a goldfish bowl with people constantly going past and staring. Maybe I would sit outside if I didn’t have folk staring at my all the time?

    Solex project-img_8306-jpg

    I obviously spent time in the main living room, which was quite large, to watch TV and eat my meals, etc. but I very quickly learned not to use (too much!) the main air-con unit for the living room. It was a biggie. And of course it cost a lot to run. My solution was to turn the bedroom air-con on and slowly just let the bedroom air-con suck the moisture out of the house. Back in England, we pay money to warm up at home. And the warmth is something I don’t mind. But I do mind being drenched in sweat. I just want to be dry and toasty. If it was really hot I would turn the big unit on to get the temperature down and then turn it off once humidity was sufferable and let the bedroom unit maintain the sweet spot. Probably not optimal for the bedroom unit, but this is the way I roll.

    Solex project-img_8307-jpg

    The maintenance chap constantly moaned at how the design of these houses caused so many problems. A case in point: the master bedroom air-con unit – the condenser unit was positioned directly above the pillows on the bed. As you can see above, there was a wooden feature built into the wall there connecting the bed. I used to store my books on that black shelf (I had loads of books from Kinokuniya in Bangkok; hundreds of pounds' worth). One evening I reached up to put a book away before sleeping and I felt damp. The condenser unit was leaking – all over the wooden wall feature. Fortunately, my books were saved, but I was not a happy bunny.

    Usually, the sign of a clogged condenser unit discharge valve is that it leaks on the floor below. Note to self: make sure there's some floor below it to leak on!
    Last edited by manc; 11-07-2021 at 10:28 PM.

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    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    I lived not far from there 20 years ago.

    Good times.

    Welcome to the forum!

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    Mabprachan Lake 2

    We moved around the corner to another part of Mabprachan Lake in June 2017. The rent was B35,000 pcm and we stayed here for a year. This place was a bit more up-market, in a very nice village. The village was built by an English chap, but he had sold most of the units. They were mostly private villas, and were going for >10MB. We were in one of the cheapest units but, as a mark of the place, we still had our own private pool.

    Solex project-img_9379-jpgSolex project-img_9381-jpgSolex project-img_9382-jpgSolex project-img_9385-jpgSolex project-img_9390-jpgSolex project-img_9403-jpg

    The builder definitely knew how to build houses. As you can see, though, his choice of tile colour was horrific. It looked like someone had been violently sick everywhere. This place was always cool and there was never any noise. I presumed the Mediterranean-style exterior with the white-washed walls really made a difference here in reflecting off the solar radiation. In contrast with most Thai-style builds, I also think the walls were thicker. So, like 20cm instead of the standard 7.5cm and fill up 10cm with plaster. The missus sometimes used to storm into my office room very upset that she had been calling me and I had not responded. Yeah, calling me from the bedroom upstairs and I was downstairs in the office. I honestly couldn’t hear her. Was she used to being in a Thai house?

    Solex project-img_9405-jpg

    I cannot find a picture of the bedroom ceiling, but it was … how do you call it? 'Vaulted', 'Cathedral-style'? There was basically no attic; it was an upside-down V-shape. There was a fan and lights dangling from the ceiling. I would have thought that would make things hotter, as you only had a bit of space between the room and the outside. However, some days I would come upstairs as late as 4 pm and the bedroom was still cool from the previous night's air-con. If the bedroom door was left open, it would heat up, because hot air would rise from downstairs, come up the stairs and it would get hot. But this room was always cool. Can anyone have a guess as to what the trick is? Is this what usually happens with a vaulted ceiling? I cannot remember staying in another place/room in Thailand with this feature.

    Oh, and by the way, those bedside lamps were amazing. No lamps or lamp plugs/wires on the floor next to the side of the bed cluttering things up. Just a quick reach before sleep and 'lights out'.

    Solex project-img_9408-jpg

    We noticed that pretty much all the units had plastic grating affixed over the arches of all the verandas and balconies. The owner told us that if it weren't for this safeguard, these areas would just be covered in bird shit. Now, this does not make the veranda particularly attractive for sitting down in. But the honest truth is that we never sat outside. Outside = hot; for a Thai lass, it's like 'Why am I going to sit out there?'. The only time we went out here was to fix the compressor unit of the air-con, which was stuck to the wall outside.

    Solex project-img_9383-jpg

    The same goes for the patio. We lived here for a whole year and I think the only time I ever sat on this bench was to wait for the missus to find the keys to get in the house. My parents enjoyed sitting there and reading by the pool when they came and stayed with us for a week, but … that was it, really.

    In summary, these outdoor features look great, but do you actually use them? I would put my towel down on the chair there before going into the pool, but that was it. The pool, on the other hand, is not just something I used every day, but several times a day.

    Solex project-img_20170730_195928-jpgSolex project-img_20170730_195946-jpgSolex project-img_20170730_195957-jpg

    As I said in the OP, I have lived in many different places in Thailand, and one thing that surprises me is how infrequently people use the pool, whether communal or private. For instance, in this place, I could always hear when somebody jumped in a pool, or if there was just use of a pool; the sound of the water was quite loud. I very rarely heard anybody use their pool. Sometimes, if I had had too much to drink one night, I would lie down on my back in the water and look at the stars for 30 minutes or so to cool off. I am sure the alcohol would seep from the pores of my body. It was very cleansing – reduced the hangover the next day for sure.

    One thing I am absolutely certain of: if I get a my own private pool, it will be used every single day. And, it will be me looking after it – not some random stranger being invited into the house to do a job I can do myself. It will be a labour of love and money for me, and I am absolutely up for it.

    Solex project-img_9986-jpg

    (Sorry! I have tried to flip this round, but I have to concede defeat. Any tips? Bad workman blaming his tools and all that, but I think it might be TD.)
    Anyway, if you can place your neck in the right position, you might see that the lower roof has some guttering, but the main roof did not. Me and the missus had a nickname for this house: Chocolate Chip. The roof had no guttering and was pretty much right in front of the pool and decking. So, when it was windy and when it rained, all the gunk from the roof used to run down into either the pool or onto the decking floor. Every morning, before jumping into the pool, my job was to sweep up mostly gecko poo (chocolate chips!) off the floor. If it had rained heavily, then a corner of the pool would not be looking quite its usual azure blue. It would be dark with dust and gecko poo!

    Solex project-img_9979-jpg

    Not a fan of the sandstone flooring, but it gripped the bare feet. Those orange-coloured tiles in the centre were dangerous. There were several times when I nearly went west. Note to self for future outdoor areas. I won't be able to enjoy my new house too much with a broken neck.

    Solex project-img_9387-jpg

    Being the undomesticated buffoon that I am, I nearly destroyed this house's electric hob. I think it was induction heating. How great not to have to call some local chap to come and deliver a gas tank in the middle of cooking lunch. Heating on demand! However, I was initially unaware that you had to use pots and pans suitable for the surface. Luckily I suspected something was wrong before I made too much of a mess. The missus did not like those hobs, but I very much think they are safer than having gas canisters in the house. Especially with a dozy forgetful idiot like me around.

    We had bats in the evening, every evening. I think they hid beneath the roof tiles. They would swoop down low and were a bit off-putting. As the house was always pretty cool, we would leave the front and rear doors open and let a breeze flow through. A tree snake wandering into the house one day as the missus was coming down the stairs put paid to the open-door policy. As presumably is the case with you chaps, my life in Thailand is punctuated by the occasional screams of a lady, at which point I have to go and eject/kill whatever tiny creepy-crawly has invaded her privacy. There was a bit of that in this house.

    This was the first house where I actually saw termites. I cannot find a photo, but the ceilings of the ground floor patio were wooden slats, and the termites made their way up there. Despite several attempts to get rid of them, they just kept on coming back. We moved out before seeing a final result. A reminder that aesthetic stuff normally comes at a price. Some fancy designers and architects who we have come across in the planning process propose strange outdoor air baffles and louvres for managing wind and sun. That stuff just looks to me like it will become the district's most expensive bird house – replete with bird droppings and everything.

    Can't remember any more stuff from Mabprachan 2, but will add if I do…
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Solex project-img_9413-jpg   Solex project-img_9380-jpg  
    Last edited by manc; 11-07-2021 at 10:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aging one View Post
    Good luck.
    Cheers, buddy

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    I lived not far from there 20 years ago.

    Good times.

    Welcome to the forum!
    Cheers, mate.

    We live in Chonburi City now, where the missus is from. Sometimes we drive back around the lake on our trips to/from Pattaya, just to reminisce. It is really nice there now. They have built a frontage road along the main circular road around the lake, and that frontage road is like a running track / leisure area.

    Our plan is to be closer to family. But if we were going to buy land to live elsewhere, I would move back there in a heartbeat. Close enough to Pattaya and all the food shops and life not to go insane, and far away enough from all the bars and noise not to go insane.

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    A very insightful and interesting post. I am delighted that you have advised your choices by renting different properties to find out what do and don’t like.

    Many posters have come on here over the years, seeking advice about location and potential facilities. The advice from members is best distilled by the phrase, rent before you buy.

    A few observations. You choose not to use the outdoor patio facilities, and this is mentioned a few times in your narrative. You also describe your choice of rental having upper floors. I find as a retiree that I use outdoor facilities more often than not, for reading and social media perusal. Indeed I recently added a lean to sala, enabling me to sit in a different cooler place throughout the day.
    I should also explain that I always rent because i have never been in a position to buy from a financial,point of view. I do use the experience gained in previous properties to inform my choices when I move.

    I lived in Thailand for over 10 years, always renting. That has the advantage of being able to move between provinces and to make choices dependent on real world events and prevailing conditions. I have now lived in Indonesia for the last three years.

    My last property had several flights of stairs and no lift, to a penthouse rooftop style dwelling. I reasoned that going up and down the stairs several times a day would be good exercise for my aging bones. While this reasoning worked well. I did suffer the isolation of living on the top of a three story building. I dislike cities and large urban areas but they do have two advantages. Access to facilities, and necessary interaction with other humans.
    As I now live alone in an enclosed villa, this access is denied to me, but largely due to the pandemic than any lack of gregarious nature on my part. I still have access to shopping and dining facilities close by, but I do appreciate the quiet currently available.

    I enjoyed your opening posts and look forward to where it might lead. Good luck with it.

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    Thanks for all the info so far Manc, really nice reading your experiences and observations.
    Pretty sure this is going to be a 'Sticky Level' thread. Keep it coming!

    Cheers,
    Luc

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schuimpge View Post
    Pretty sure this is going to be a 'Sticky Level' thread.
    I am looking forward to it.

    Someone else might have mentioned it, after you upload a pic then double click on it and an options window opens. You can then choose the size to be large.

    That sideways pic issue is a problem for me if I try to post from my phone. I have to send pics to my desktop and rotate some of them there before posting and even then it sometimes goes wrong. Something to do with the phone software labelling the picture format I think but I don't know how to change it on my phone. Persevere and you'll get there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Switch View Post
    A very insightful and interesting post.
    Thank you, Switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Switch View Post
    Many posters have come on here over the years, seeking advice about location and potential facilities. The advice from members is best distilled by the phrase, rent before you buy.
    Exactly!
    Quote Originally Posted by Switch View Post
    I find as a retiree that I use outdoor facilities more often than not, for reading and social media perusal. Indeed I recently added a lean to sala, enabling me to sit in a different cooler place throughout the day.
    Yeah, this really hit home when my parents visited. Even back in cold, miserable, rainy depressing Manchester, my parents live for the back garden. If the sun is out, then they will be out there reading books, drinking tea or gardening. The fact that I don't make much use of a garden or outdoor seating area now, shouldn't preclude it for the future. Although it will likely be limited in scope. There will be more on that when we get to the actual plans.

    By the way: what do you mean by a "lean to sala"?


    Quote Originally Posted by Switch View Post
    My last property had several flights of stairs and no lift, to a penthouse rooftop style dwelling. I reasoned that going up and down the stairs several times a day would be good exercise for my aging bones. While this reasoning worked well. I did suffer the isolation of living on the top of a three story building.
    Back when I was an English teacher in Phuket, my language school in Patong sent me to teach at a private residence of a wealthy Swiss restaurateur on Kata Noi Beach.

    Solex project-kata-noi-beach1_edit-jpg
    Solex project-2_bedroom_sea_view_condo_for_sale_near_kata_beach_phuket_lift-1-jpeg


    I remember this building not being a vertical block, but rather having multiple storeys all built into the sloping hillside. This being the case, there was no ‘lift’, but instead a funicular-type thing. I was there for one week, and it was broke. Every morning I had to go up there and it took like 4 minutes every time; that hillside was steep, and the client’s apartment was right at the very top. He complained to me that the funicular had been broke for months. It needed a gear component, and of course, mai mee!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schuimpge View Post
    Thanks for all the info so far Manc, really nice reading your experiences and observations.
    Pretty sure this is going to be a 'Sticky Level' thread. Keep it coming!

    Cheers,
    Luc
    Thank you, Luc!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shutree View Post
    I am looking forward to it.

    Someone else might have mentioned it, after you upload a pic then double click on it and an options window opens. You can then choose the size to be large.

    That sideways pic issue is a problem for me if I try to post from my phone. I have to send pics to my desktop and rotate some of them there before posting and even then it sometimes goes wrong. Something to do with the phone software labelling the picture format I think but I don't know how to change it on my phone. Persevere and you'll get there.
    Thank you for your clear instruction, Shutree. I have now managed some big-size pics above.

    The sideways pic thing seams to afflict everybody and every thread on here. I have come to terms with accepting the odd neck exercise. My apologies if this happens too frequently.

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    Mabprachan Lake 1 & 2

    I forgot to mention about a few aspects of both of these houses that are worth noting. At Mabprachan Lake 1, the walls were really thin.

    Solex project-img_8309_-jpg


    Not a clear image, but you can see that the wall is flush with the window frame. That's how thin it was. As mentioned previously, there was quite a few staff here. They would talk to each other; shout to each other. You could hear everything.

    Unfortunately, this beautiful little village and plot of land was directly adjacent to a slum / iron shack houses. The land owner next door had plenty of spare land and let it out to tenants. Some of them collected refuse, and their vehicles would be coming in and out all day. One of the chaps liked to show off the sound system in his truck. On a couple of occasions I had to go inside the slum and locate the source of the noise to politely ask Mr DJ to turn his music down. Confrontations like this are not well advised in Thailand. But it was so loud, and the bass was making the house shake. Like I say I work from home. No chance of concentrating with that kind of racket going on.

    I ended up calling the police one evening, because the land owner did not want to take responsibility. This stopped the music (both day and night) for months. I wondered why. I remembered the guard of our complex once telling me the music lovers next door were also quite partial to a bit of the old yah bah. Perhaps a visit from the BiB prompted greater decorum on their part?

    Mabprachan Lake 2 had much thicker walls, and so noise did not carry through the structure quite as much. Although the glass panes obviously carried the sound waves through when hit directly. Sometimes there would be a function on the lake facing the master bedroom. The bass and sounds would hit against the master bedroom and were audible in the room. The second bedroom on the other side of the house did not have glass panes facing the sound, and … silence! Nowt. No bass through the structure.

    Noise is a fact of life here – I know I am never going to truly escape it. You can build the thickest walls you want, it is never going to be truly eliminated. Before moving over to Mabprachan Lake, I rented an apartment on Pratumnak hill for a few months. It was actually very quiet and serene there. Except for one thing.…

    Solex project-img_5962_-jpg


    That temple on the top of the hill. Where better to set off fire crackers than on the top of the hill between Pattaya and Jomtien? The sound would reverberate between the tall buildings. It was the perfect place for maximum sound transmission. On a few occasions, I would be in my apartment conversing with a friend or lady friend and our conversation would stop for sometimes as much as 10 seconds – all the while staring at each other and around the room, wondering when the noise was going to stop – before we could start talking again. That's how loud it was: even stood next to each other you could barely hear yourself speak from the noise. Long-term expats like to take a break somewhere secluded for Songkran to escape the madness. If I lived there on Pratumnak, it would be Chinese New Year I would have to take a vacation!

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    Mabprachan Lake 2 cont.

    I think the second house on Mabprachan Lake with the private pool was only the second place I rented in Thailand that had ceiling fans. They were in pretty much every room and also in the outdoor patio area. I have looked back through the pictures of us staying there, and I cannot see any of them moving, which chimes with my hazy memories of June 2017–May 2018: I don't recall ever using them.

    On ThaiDhupp's build thread, I read with interest people's contributions as to the merits of ceiling fans. And I fell down on the side of: i) they don't blow as hard and therefore are not as cool as floor fans; ii) they can wobble and thus require professional installation [remember where we are!]; iii) if they are being used in lieu of air-conditioning, they will just blow hot air down from the ceiling; iv) if not used regularly, they are going to gather dust [I remember climbing onto ladders to wipe some of them down]; v) in the end, they just become another item you have to pay for / replace; vi) air-con works fine on its own.

    Not that I am against ceiling fans. I like the old, 1950s style of former tropical British embassies and Ian Fleming's GoldenEye in Jamaica.

    Solex project-british-club-jpg
    Solex project-fleming-villa-goldeneye-resort-jamaica_1-jpg
    Solex project-british-club-chiang-mai-jpg


    But is it, again, just form over function?

    Solex project-img_9381-jpg


    Take another look inside the arched verandas there – they are dark! Despite having large, wall-to-wall windows in both of those front rooms, those rooms were always dark. The lights needed to be on the whole time. Another thing I remember from living there, is a slight damp odour. That patio space did not smell fresh. Did it need a bit of direct solar radiation to kill off the fungus or bacteria living there? Remember this is where the termites decided to call home, too.

    Those arches and the space underneath look great; very beautiful, very inviting; classy Mediterranean look. But looking back, was it practical? Aesthetics over utility? Form over function? Or am I just being really pernickety?

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    Bring it on, Manc!

    You are off to a good start with that background and an even better one in choosing to tell the tale here because there are so many armchair cr.... helpful members full of advice and experience that this will be a plain-sailing adventure from start to finish.

    That's what I bet you are hoping for, eh. but 'things' can crop up so again, if that is the case, you are in the right place for the solution, too!

    Best of luck and of course... keep the pics and story coming!

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    Quote Originally Posted by manc View Post
    I think the second house on Mabprachan Lake with the private pool was only the second place I rented in Thailand that had ceiling fans. They were in pretty much every room and also in the outdoor patio area. I have looked back through the pictures of us staying there, and I cannot see any of them moving, which chimes with my hazy memories of June 2017–May 2018: I don't recall ever using them.

    On ThaiDhupp's build thread, I read with interest people's contributions as to the merits of ceiling fans. And I fell down on the side of: i) they don't blow as hard and therefore are not as cool as floor fans; ii) they can wobble and thus require professional installation [remember where we are!]; iii) if they are being used in lieu of air-conditioning, they will just blow hot air down from the ceiling; iv) if not used regularly, they are going to gather dust [I remember climbing onto ladders to wipe some of them down]; v) in the end, they just become another item you have to pay for / replace; vi) air-con works fine on its own.

    Not that I am against ceiling fans. I like the old, 1950s style of former tropical British embassies and Ian Fleming's GoldenEye in Jamaica.



    But is it, again, just form over function?



    Take another look inside the arched verandas there – they are dark! Despite having large, wall-to-wall windows in both of those front rooms, those rooms were always dark. The lights needed to be on the whole time. Another thing I remember from living there, is a slight damp odour. That patio space did not smell fresh. Did it need a bit of direct solar radiation to kill off the fungus or bacteria living there? Remember this is where the termites decided to call home, too.

    Those arches and the space underneath look great; very beautiful, very inviting; classy Mediterranean look. But looking back, was it practical? Aesthetics over utility? Form over function? Or am I just being really pernickety?
    ------

    At TD Towers, we went down the AC route but... large ceiling fan in the master bedroom to distribute that cool air, small fan in the Buddha room 'cos no AC (it makes the difference for the time its in use), and large ceiling fan in the main living room, supplementing 2 AC units, specced for the room (6.5 x 7m), and again to give options and to distribute that cool air.

    We have some stand fans for outside and for the kitchen, for when you need air movement but not additional cooling. I estimate the usage there is about 50:50 with the AC. (there is an extractor fan removing hot cooking air so that obviously helps. Small extractor fans in all the bathrooms too.

    To avoid that 'wobble' get a good quality fan! Yes they cos more but, so far for us, anyway it has worked. Installation too is important. The fan needs to be dead level for a start, or there are tangential forces which ultimately lead to wobbling. Even though not cooled, that moving air feels cool if you are hot because it accelerates evaporation from your body, which is itself the bodies' cooling process.
    Last edited by Thai Dhupp; 12-07-2021 at 06:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by manc View Post
    I read with interest people's contributions as to the merits of ceiling fans
    It is surprising just how long the pros and cons lists are for the humble ceiling fan. I didn't put the planned ceiling fan on the veranda of this house mainly because the gf, like many Thais, is nervous about them spinning above her head. That said, if I build again I shall have a couple in the verandah areas. Despite some disadvantages, like cleaning the things, I like the colonial look and unlike pedestal fans they don't clutter up the floor space and use up electrical sockets and have trailing wire trip hazards.

    The great thing about your story is that you can build it as you choose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by manc View Post
    I think the second house on Mabprachan Lake with the private pool was only the second place I rented in Thailand that had ceiling fans. They were in pretty much every room and also in the outdoor patio area. I have looked back through the pictures of us staying there, and I cannot see any of them moving, which chimes with my hazy memories of June 2017–May 2018: I don't recall ever using them.

    On ThaiDhupp's build thread, I read with interest people's contributions as to the merits of ceiling fans. And I fell down on the side of: i) they don't blow as hard and therefore are not as cool as floor fans; ii) they can wobble and thus require professional installation [remember where we are!]; iii) if they are being used in lieu of air-conditioning, they will just blow hot air down from the ceiling; iv) if not used regularly, they are going to gather dust [I remember climbing onto ladders to wipe some of them down]; v) in the end, they just become another item you have to pay for / replace; vi) air-con works fine on its own.

    Not that I am against ceiling fans. I like the old, 1950s style of former tropical British embassies and Ian Fleming's GoldenEye in Jamaica.

    Solex project-british-club-jpg
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    But is it, again, just form over function?

    Solex project-img_9381-jpg


    Take another look inside the arched verandas there – they are dark! Despite having large, wall-to-wall windows in both of those front rooms, those rooms were always dark. The lights needed to be on the whole time. Another thing I remember from living there, is a slight damp odour. That patio space did not smell fresh. Did it need a bit of direct solar radiation to kill off the fungus or bacteria living there? Remember this is where the termites decided to call home, too.

    Those arches and the space underneath look great; very beautiful, very inviting; classy Mediterranean look. But looking back, was it practical? Aesthetics over utility? Form over function? Or am I just being really pernickety?
    Your comment on the damp smell made me think of my time in Singapore.
    When I moved from my first job, I stayed with a good friend and then my new colleague.
    He lived in one of the old colonial blocks @ Westbourne road. Tropical, large balconies.. but also the high moisture content from the surroundings would easily get mold everywhere.
    One of the things his parents advised (they lived in SG during the 80's), was to put a small light-bulb inside closets (like 10 watt) which would get just hot enough to keep the mold at bay.

    But that also reminded me of the function and importance of Ceiling Fans.
    We easily associate them with only the cooling properties. At the same time, they do something else that's very important.. They move air!
    Obviously you'd say, but looking at your picture, the arches do not allow air close to the ceiling to move freely. In fact, that air is not refreshed much at all if you don't use the ceiling fans, which, from your comments, was the case.
    By using those ceiling fans, you (very likely) would not have that damp smell.

    So it's function over form I guess....

    Cheers,
    Luc

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thai Dhupp View Post
    Best of luck and of course... keep the pics and story coming!
    Cheers, mate! Your thread was the inspiration for this story.

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    Thank you for the interesting contributions re ceiling fans. No doubt this will crop up later on…

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    Quote Originally Posted by manc View Post
    classy Mediterranean look
    That is the look of those arches, isn't it.

    And I suppose they remind us of places like the Med rather than SE Asia for a reason.

    It's too humid/wet here.

    There's a risk of mould.

    The darkness also attracts mossies, which are in this part of the world in greater number.

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    Huay Yai

    We moved out of Mabprachan Lake 2 and found a place a little bit closer to town, but still fairly quiet in Huay Yai. It was 2 minutes’ drive from the train tracks. Rent was B30,000 pcm for a bungalow house. We went back to having a communal pool. But at least this place had a nice lawn. Two bedrooms and a nice large open-span kitchen / living room area.

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    We stayed here from June 2018 to February 2020. I signed a two-year contract but moved out early, and subsequently lost our deposit.

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    We asked the landlady to sort a few things out for us upon moving in. You can see the carport has no guttering and is not contiguous. There was subsequently rain run-off onto the exposed soil (dirt basically) where no grass was growing. And so this would splash up all over the patio tiling and parked motorbike / car. So they had a team come over and fix it up for us.

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    Can you see the grating there? One neighbour had a petite little dog (I am useless at breeds, dunno sorry!) coming in and pooing on the lawn. We caught it in the act a couple of times. The landlady’s husband had to wire up the holes to stop it. We were perplexed when the poo continued, until we realised it was actually cat poo. Cats and dogs were coming in and pooing on the lawn! Not every house in the village had an inviting front green lawn (most had a garden round the back), and so we were the target. I had to watch my step in the evening time walking over the grass.

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    That lawn was nice, but looking after it was a pain. The landlady insisted that I water the grass. She bought some sprinklers to help me. I was on top of it most of the time, but it was a good 20 minutes out of the day every day in the dry season. Can’t be arsed with that again. We are going to have to find some turf that is low-maintenance.

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    Quite a few houses have a surrounding slab, some have bricks, and some have stones running along the perimeter of the house. We had a mixture of all that and grass. Those slabs looked great when we moved in, but I used to end up sweeping and mopping them during my monthly motorbike clean. And boy! Did they get caked in dust and dirt!


    Solex project-img_20180505_125836-jpg


    With regard to guttering: we had to call the chaps from True to look at our dish, because the signal was not great. As well as not being able to fix the problem, they also made a mess of the guttering. Of course, to access the roof, they just slammed their ladders on the guttering. I only noticed there was a problem the next time it rained. Where he had plonked his ladders, he had clearly unsettled the link between a couple of the guttering sections, because there was a load of water dripping down to the soil on that one spot. Too late to call them of course, and it is not my house, so I did not tell the landlady, but a note to self. Not only is guttering expensive to buy and install, but it is also fragile. If you ever have an impetuous workman needing to navigate it, it is just going to be messy. I don’t watch True anymore, so that won’t be an issue, even in the new house. But I do like the mono-pitched roofs, just slanting down on one side. If you have one end of the house you don’t mind getting wet, the arse-end of the house, you can do away with this issue completely.

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    Can you see the chips in those cabinets? As the house was new, we were probably the first people to use those cupboards. The previous tenants clearly hadn’t used them, because, during the first couple of weeks, upon closing them, I managed to chip like 4 of them, exposing the … what, underlying chipboard? They look great, but they were brittle and did not close flush, meaning that they chipped almost instantly on first use. The landlady was surprisingly relaxed about it, but if it was my new house and my new cupboards, I would suspect the tenant had been heavy-handed. And, if it was my house and I chipped the corners upon first closing them, I would be wanting repairs or my money back!

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    This was the window in the office. Some days I would come in and a glimmer of light would be noticeable between the wall and white window frame. Whoever had put that together had done a poor job. I know it’s only a small hole, but I sat there with the air-con on working all day. I wonder how much cool air loss / humidity gain there was.



    The plug sockets in this house were really poorly constructed. Getting plugs in and pulling them out was an effort sometimes. I often thought that I was going to rip the receptacle off the wall.


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    The front door had a fly screen. That tab lock was supposed to be nailed on in the inside of the frame. Of course, the frame was enclosed, so you couldn’t get into it. It constantly fell on the floor. Just loads of little items either poorly installed or of poor quality.

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    Solex project-img_20200114_114539-jpg


    Cabinet shelves constantly falling down. The missus regularly saw my arse sticking out of it as I buried my head inside trying to fix the thing.


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    What was I saying about wood having holes that let the creep-crawlies in? And the flexible air seal flap, already on its last legs in a new house.


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    Compare and contrast the new tiles when we moved in, and after a year or so of the missus cleaning the bathroom. Is this normal for tiles? Had she been using some verboten cleaning agent? I don’t think she used any bleach. Just regular stuff. If we can only expect the tiles to last a year before the colour runs off, that is pretty pants.

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    Compare also with this great looking bathroom we saw in a hotel in Koh Kood. We take notes for our future build even on – especially on! – holiday.

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    Sticking with the drains above. Whenever it rained heavily, the stench from the drains was awful. I got it into my head, particularly considering all the other stuff they got wrong, that they had not installed traps below the drains. However, as I thought about it more, I mused: but wouldn’t it smell all the time if that were the case, and not just when it rained heavily?
    Maybe when it rained heavily, the drains just got swamped and the water level raised up to the trap? As you can tell, I am no plumber. 😊 I wonder what it was. I have since downloaded a few home DIY PDFs and have learnt about ‘waste and vent stacks’. Does that have anything to do with it?

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    Compare the master bedroom shower door (all glass) with the photo directly above (with a wall). I much prefer the solid wall: less glass and also less seepage of water onto the bathroom floor. I am going to let you into one of my idiosyncrasies. I wear socks ALL the time. In bed, while walking through the house. Being long and thin I must have poor circulation, because my feet are always cold. One of my absolute pet peeves, is getting my feet wet while sitting on the pan. Having to take my socks off every time I go to the toilet is annoying. As long as I have a wall separating the toilet from the shower, it’s a winner!

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