DETAILS OF THE PROPERTY
UTILITIES AND SERVICES
HEATING AND HOT WATER
Energy costs for heating traditional stone buildings can be high so we have installed a very flexible system to allow the use of the most cost effective fuel available. In total we have invested over 14,000€ in addition to the oil central heating and immersion hot water tanks that already existed,
Heating can now be provided with oil, wood, or electricity.
There is very large oil burner (over 30kW) with its own 2000L interior oil storage tank. So when the price of oil is low this is a convenient way to heat the Manor House and the adjacent 2 bedroomed cottage using the water heated radiators. There are 21 radiators in all, mostly traditional cast iron. The oil burner will also provide hot water to the Manor House.
As the price of oil has been very high, we have installed an alternative source of heat production in the Manor House using 2 large wood burners, one in the Dining Hall and one in the Drawing Room. But these are not wood burners you will find in most properties in France these are Charnwood "Country 16B" wood burners which have a water boiler built into the back of them so, each wood burner puts out 7kW into the room it is located in but the water boilers will provide a further 12kW to the 21 radiators. In addition, the heat generated by the wood burners can be used to heat hot water for showers, baths and sinks using a special heat exchanger hot water tank. The full spec for the wood burners is here.
The 3 bedroomed Cottage has its own 6 kW wood burner located in the open plan living area. Together with probably another 2 kW from the 4 meter high internal black metal stove chimney. It is easily capable of maintaining a comfortable heat throughout the building and can be supplemented by electric radiators and heated towel rails in the bathrooms if required. There is a separate hot water immersion tank in an airing cupboard in the upstairs family bathroom.
The 2 bedroomed Cottage can be heated using the hot water radiator system which is an extension of the Manor House system. Hot water is provided by a separate electric immersion tank.
All 3 of the electric hot water tanks can be set to run on the cheap rate electricity available during the night and for 2 hours in the afternoon.
BROADBAND AND INTERNET
Charente Maritime is investing in broadband technology perhaps more than many other rural areas in France because it is essential for the tourist industry which is the key wealth generator after agriculture.
We use a satellite provider called skyDSL The contract we have is 40€ per month with our loyalty discount . This contract has unlimited data and provides a reasonable service although, as with most suppliers, speed can drop at peak times. You can upgrade to higher speed contract if you need this. More info here.
There are other providers and faster services based on fibre optic are being rolled out.
Cooking. We have no piped gas supply and we use bottled propane gas for hob cooking and electricity for ovens, microwave etc. This is not expensive and straightforward.
Water is very reliable and very safe.
Postal deliveries are daily Mon to Saturday to a post box by the front gate.
Like most of rural France, we are not on main drainage and waste water is treated in septic tanks with underground soak away systems. If treated with respect (no toxic chemicals) they perform very well and require minimal maintenance.
The Manor house has a large 4000L septic tank (fosse septique) treating all of the bathroom and toilet waste at the front of the house. The kitchen sink, washing machine and dishwasher share the 2000L septic tank of the 2 bedroomed gite.
The 2 bedroomed gite has a 2000L fosse septique which also takes some Manor House waste water (see above).
The 3 bedroomed cottage has its own 3000L fosse septique.