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Old 19th August 2015, 22:15   #301
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Default Re: Home Construction/Makeover/Maintenance Thread

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Sump maintenance / Leaking

SO
Why is my water bill too high? Because of Leakage or Because of air flowing through water meter?

If its actually a leak

1. How do I estimate the leak? Switch off motors-Mark Level-wait for a day- Check level again? or any other faster methods?

2. How do I check the sump walls for leaks: Have a person visually inspect the walls?
Not sure in your case but long back when I used to stay in a rented house, there used to be a huge tree across the street whose roots had cut across the sump walls and was enjoying consuming BWSSB water and our owner thought we were using a lot of water.
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Old 21st August 2015, 11:57   #302
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Sump maintenance / Leaking

I have a 4 year old house with 2 * 6000 ltr Sumps. Over the past two months, I saw that the water consumption in BWSSB (Bangalore water authority) bill has increased by 100%!! I have an automated overhead tank filling system, connected to a single electricity meter. I don't see much change in the electricity bill, so I can assume that it is not that the tenants are using too much water or that water is not leaking after the motors, which are, btw, at the bottom of these sumps

SO
Why is my water bill too high? Because of Leakage or Because of air flowing through water meter?

If its actually a leak

1. How do I estimate the leak? Switch off motors-Mark Level-wait for a day- Check level again? or any other faster methods?

2. How do I check the sump walls for leaks: Have a person visually inspect the walls?

3. I want to waterproof the sump: I saw an ad today for a waterproofer contractor, who said it'll cost rs 14000/- for each 6000Ltr sump . Has anyone done a similar exercise? Does it actually cost so much? If anyone could help me out with contacts?

4. Last but definitely not the least, Does anyone have a portable water pump that you can loan me to do the tank emptying ?
. Running a pump without water will just suck in air, and the water meter will go into high gear. I have seen this in my water meters. Even with pump off some times the air rushing in through the water mains (when they release water at the reservoir, and it takes 10 minutes to arrive), will run the meter at very high speed. There are two things that you can do
- Ensure that the pump does not run when there is no water
- Put a tap/valve so that the line is shut and no air leaks when water is not drawn.

1. That is the only method of finding leaks. The best is to fill the over head tanks in the evening. Switch off all the pumps. Monitor the level over night. To check level, I use a long pipe with a couple of rubber bands on it. Put the pipe in the sump vertically, take it out and position the rubber band at the water mark. Next time just put the pipe and note the difference between the rubber band and the new water mark.

2. You will have to empty the sump of all water, dry the walls, and do a visual inspection for any cracks.

3. Water proofing is generally an expensive job. Normally a chemical is injected in a 1/2m grid for water tanks. If your tank is 6 cu.m (6,000L), it is most probably 3mx1mx2m, around 20 square meters of area, which means 70-80 points of injection.

4. There is no need for a pump. Why waste water. Just wait till the tank empties in regular use. Then hire a labourer to wipe the remaining water and swipe the tank clean.
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Old 21st August 2015, 16:01   #303
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Default Re: Home Construction/Makeover/Maintenance Thread

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- Put a tap/valve so that the line is shut and no air leaks when water is not drawn.
How do we do this? How will the valve know whether its air or water that is coming through the pipeline?
BTW, My water connection runs through the meter and then drops into the underground sumps. The pumps at the bottom, works with sensors and pumps water to the overhead tanks automatically
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1. That is the only method of finding leaks. The best is to fill the over head tanks in the evening. Switch off all the pumps. Monitor the level over night. To check level, I use a long pipe with a couple of rubber bands on it. Put the pipe in the sump vertically, take it out and position the rubber band at the water mark. Next time just put the pipe and note the difference between the rubber band and the new water mark.

2. You will have to empty the sump of all water, dry the walls, and do a visual inspection for any cracks.

3. Water proofing is generally an expensive job. Normally a chemical is injected in a 1/2m grid for water tanks. If your tank is 6 cu.m (6,000L), it is most probably 3mx1mx2m, around 20 square meters of area, which means 70-80 points of injection.
Thanks, I will do that.
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4. There is no need for a pump. Why waste water. Just wait till the tank empties in regular use. Then hire a labourer to wipe the remaining water and swipe the tank clean.
I meant to pump water from one sump to the other, so that the other sumo can remain functional when one is under repair
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Old 21st August 2015, 18:30   #304
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Default Re: Home Construction/Makeover/Maintenance Thread

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How do we do this? How will the valve know whether its air or water that is coming through the pipeline?
.
.
.
.

I meant to pump water from one sump to the other, so that the other sumo can remain functional when one is under repair
1. That is the problem knowing if there is water at the inlet or not. If it was manual (as it is in my house), run the pump and switch it off if no water comes. For automatic, I guess you need a sensor at the water main, which will (with help of electronics) tell the pump and the valve when there is water.

2. If two sumps are side by side, that is if they have a common wall, you have to empty both for carrying out water proofing. Other wise, buy a small monoblock pump. It will be useful for all sorts of odd jobs.
http://www.pumpkart.com/kirloskar-chhotu-pump-0-5hp
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Old 21st August 2015, 19:30   #305
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Default Re: Home Construction/Makeover/Maintenance Thread

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How do we do this? How will the valve know whether its air or water that is coming through the pipeline?
BTW, My water connection runs through the meter and then drops into the underground sumps. The pumps at the bottom, works with sensors and pumps water to the overhead tanks automatically
We had an issue recently where the water meter was zooming (running a lot more than the actual water that was being drawn). The main line that comes into the home (BWSSB line) has a control valve to turn on and off the water, followed by the meter and then the pipe leads to the sump. The sump also has a ball valve to shut off the water when full. However, we were getting higher meter readings. Found out that though the ball valve is cutting off the water, the air flow in the pipe kept the meter running causing the higher readings. We now control the valve manually to draw water to the sump. Yes, a little painful but since the water supply timings follow a pattern, we are able to manage and for backup we have the borewell.
Now, coming to the automatic level controller, these usually have sensors in the overhead tanks and when the water goes below a certain level, it starts running the water pump to draw water from the sump. You can also have sensors installed in the sump to indicate the level of water in the sump (LEDs on the control panel box of the automatic level controller). So you know when water level is very low and then you can set the controller to off position and turn it back to auto once the sump has enough water. This will ensure there is no "air lock". Some of the auto level controllers will also not switch on the pump when water in the sump reaches a certain level, please check regarding this feature with the water level controller technicians.

Last edited by NPV : 21st August 2015 at 19:31.
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Old 17th September 2015, 14:25   #306
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I am embarking on the project of my life to build a home for ourselves. We are a family of 5 and plan to construct a 2500-3000 sqft house on a 4800sqft plot. Am looking for recommendations for architects in Chennai who can design the house to exploit the elements such as wind direction, angle of suns rays etc to naturally cool the house and light it up to be energy efficient as much as possible. If any of you have gone down this path, do let me know.
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Old 17th September 2015, 20:06   #307
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I am embarking on the project of my life to build a home for ourselves. We are a family of 5 and plan to construct a 2500-3000 sqft house on a 4800sqft plot. Am looking for recommendations for architects in Chennai who can design the house to exploit the elements such as wind direction, angle of suns rays etc to naturally cool the house and light it up to be energy efficient as much as possible. If any of you have gone down this path, do let me know.
It all depends on what facing your plot's front is in. If it is South, then you have sun in front for most of the time. If it is North then the front will be in sun's shadow. The other directions will reorient the sunlight accordingly.

Left to me, I would do the following
. Build at least two floors, three if you build a stilt parking.
. Build up around 1500 square feet, so that you have an open space of more than 3,000 square feet.
. Leave all the four sides open for maximum ventilation.
. If you feel that you can, then use the ground floor for parking, that is build it on stilts. The whole ground floor will then be one large open space, a useful facility for small to medium functions held at home.
. Raise the ground floor at least 3' above the road level. That will ensure that at least for quite some time the road will not be higher than the ground floor. If you have a wide pavement in front of the house then you can even raise the ground floor to 5 feet. A bonus is that in case the ground water rises, you will be quite safe.
. Ideally the lower level of the house will have a large kitchen (200 sqf), a drawing/sitting room, a dining space (200 sqf), a small bedroom/study (200 sqf) and toilet (100 sqf). The upper floors can easily have 4-6 bedrooms with attached baths.
. If you build a stilt parking floor, then you can have the staircase and a lift at the center, around a 10'x10'central porch with a 3' veranda. That will ensure that all the rooms are facing outwards with plenty of ventilation. In that case the attached toilets to the bedroom can open up on to the central veranda, which eases access for cleaning a lot.
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Old 17th September 2015, 22:04   #308
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Default Re: Home Construction/Makeover/Maintenance Thread

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It all depends on what facing your plot's front is in. If it is South, then you have sun in front for most of the time. If it is North then the front will be in sun's shadow. The other directions will reorient the sunlight accordingly.

Left to me, I would do the following:
Thanks much for your thoughts and pointers - going to start a checklist. I have the extreme end 2 plots of a layout off OMR in Chennai. I have 3 sides open with the closest house being atleast 35 feet away on the south-east side and on the 4th side (East) are likely to get houses with one being owned by my friend. North and west are total open for me - figure below:

Since this area is still developing, I should have many years of no neighbors I am guessing.
One thing I have to watch out for are snakes and other critters. Wonder if something can be done for this. A friend lives about 7 KMs away in a more urban area but they see snakes almost daily in their layout!!

Last edited by diyguy : 17th September 2015 at 22:15.
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Old 18th September 2015, 19:39   #309
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Thanks much for your thoughts and pointers - going to start a checklist. I have the extreme end 2 plots of a layout off OMR in Chennai. I have 3 sides open with the closest house being atleast 35 feet away on the south-east side and on the 4th side (East) are likely to get houses with one being owned by my friend. North and west are total open for me - figure below:

Since this area is still developing, I should have many years of no neighbors I am guessing.
One thing I have to watch out for are snakes and other critters. Wonder if something can be done for this. A friend lives about 7 KMs away in a more urban area but they see snakes almost daily in their layout!!
It would have been better if you showed a larger layout with a few more plots. I can see a canal/drain, so my advice of raising the ground to 5 feet or more still holds.

What I suggest may cost you a bit more, but it will be money well spent, as long term maintenance with all its associated head aches will be reduced drastically.

In case the area has a tendency to get waterlogged, you will have to lay a waterproof raft on the ground floor (instead of the normal floor made up of broken bricks and surfacing. It need not be any thing fancy, but 1 foot of concrete with waterproof compound will go a long way in safeguarding your foundations. If you build a stilt parking, ensure that there are plenty of drainage channels (at least 1/2 inch deep and 2 inches wide)

Another thing is to test the soil for bearing pressure, so that you know how much area of "footings" is required. Better have more area than less as with water in the soil, your house may subside deferentially.

If you can afford to, sink at least 4 piles, one in each corner to a suitable depth to anchor your foundations. It is best to tie all the footings with beams to create a more rigid structure.

Lastly find a good and honest "Structural Engineer". He will guide you on proper design of the foundation and the super structure.

Regarding snakes, they are unavoidable in semi rural areas. Consult a good horticulturist on what plants attract snakes (avoid them) and what repels them (plant them). Ensure that the levels in the ground floor are such that the slope is towards the front, so that there is no water logging during rains.

You should "Termite Proof" your foundations. That will also act as a deterrent for snakes burrowing under the house.

I assume that at least initially, your house will be standing alone with no neighbours. If so, ensure that the boundary walls are high enough to deter thieves, and the doors thick enough to deter robbers.

Consult a horticulturist and plan Neem Trees around your house. That will help in keeping pests out.
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Old 19th September 2015, 16:15   #310
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It would have been better if you showed a larger layout with a few more plots. I can see a canal/drain, so my advice of raising the ground to 5 feet or more still holds.
Thanks again for the great input! I will lookout for a project plan for a typical construction and include these steps in there. Here is the layout in complete - rather large file and not sure how much will be visible, but mine are the extreme North 2 plots (close to the road) in this figure. I've blacked it out to indicate the location.

The area is prone to water logging, but our layout has been elevated by the promoter and I havent checked the state during heavy downpours. Will check into that. There is a waterway/canal about 50-60 ft away from the layout, between the layout and the road. I guess the 5 ft elevation will be a necessity. I cannot afford to do this again in my life

Last edited by diyguy : 19th September 2015 at 16:18.
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Old 20th September 2015, 19:05   #311
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Thanks again for the great input! I will lookout for a project plan for a typical construction and include these steps in there. Here is the layout in complete - rather large file and not sure how much will be visible, but mine are the extreme North 2 plots (close to the road) in this figure. I've blacked it out to indicate the location.

The area is prone to water logging, but our layout has been elevated by the promoter and I havent checked the state during heavy downpours. Will check into that. There is a waterway/canal about 50-60 ft away from the layout, between the layout and the road. I guess the 5 ft elevation will be a necessity. I cannot afford to do this again in my life
I would still suggest that you raise the plot level over and above what the developer has done. At this stage the cost of filling will be reasonable - about 20 thousand cubic feet, say 50 trucks. At later stage with the building up, it will be extremely difficult to get rid of recurrent seepage, if at all.

By the way, I prefer the location at the end of your row, next to the park.

Last edited by Aroy : 20th September 2015 at 19:07.
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Old 20th September 2015, 20:18   #312
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Thanks !
Greetings,
During my stay at Vipasana center Igatpuri, had noticed glass fixed at wall endings, to prevent snakes climbing and entering habitat.
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Old 20th September 2015, 21:10   #313
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The area is prone to water logging, but our layout has been elevated by the promoter and I havent checked the state during heavy downpours. Will check into that. There is a waterway/canal about 50-60 ft away from the layout, between the layout and the road. I guess the 5 ft elevation will be a necessity. I cannot afford to do this again in my life
I am living in an area with water seepage and also one prone to snakes every now and then.

As Aroy mentioned, raise the plinth so that it is 3-5 feet higher than the water table when it is at its highest. Do not fill mud now as you may end up with a lot of mud during excavation for the foundation which you can just spread around. You may still need mud, but you can take a call on that as well as the type of mud after construction depending on whether you want a garden, etc.

Never build a basement. I have even seen ones reinforced with concrete that seep water in the monsoons. Building a sump can be a challenge. Depending on the quality of water in the water body, there could be contamination and a well may be out of the question.

Piles, sand beds are all ways of accommodating water seepage to the foundations.

For snakes, the only way that I have found is to leave enough open spaces around so that you can spot one if it is there. I know a few terrified neighbors who suddenly had a snake pop up in confined spaces around the house. In my case, the snakes (usually rat snakes) come and leave very quickly when one hits the ground (only in the case of rat snakes, cobras are super aggressive). The only surefire way to get alerted on snakes is to have a dog. My previous dog used to chase snakes out. Another way to control perhaps is by putting rat poison around if you don't want a dog as it might dent the food chain. Rat snakes feed on rats and cobras feed on rat snakes.

So long as ground floor windows have screens and doors are closed or have screens, chances of a snake coming inside as per my experience are slim. I have also never seen a snake clamber up a tree or the walls of my house, though they do clamber up my boundary wall to get in. My plot is adjacent to land owned by the Indian Army and I have no control over anything which happens there.

PS: Just remembered that I used Asian Paints Apex Ultima to paint my house exterior. IIRC, the paint has Teflon and that may be one reason why the snakes don't clamber up the walls of my house.

Last edited by nowwhat? : 20th September 2015 at 21:15.
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Old 20th September 2015, 23:13   #314
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By the way, I prefer the location at the end of your row, next to the park.
I wanted those 2 plots as well and booked those, but ended up losing them to someone else. I am fine with mine too as there is no real opening from the road over the canal, though it shows in the image. It can be lonely but will have to add security measures I guess.

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Greetings,
During my stay at Vipasana center Igatpuri, had noticed glass fixed at wall endings, to prevent snakes climbing and entering habitat.
Thanks much, that is great info.

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I am living in an area with water seepage and also one prone to snakes every now and then.
Thanks for all this great info. I think the dog or maybe even more than one is a good idea for safety from critters as well as thieves. I will need to optimize on costs for sure and will need to figure out how to accommodate all the valuable suggestions.
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Old 21st September 2015, 06:40   #315
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Hi guys,

I have just booked a 2400 Sq ft plot in a development on the new airport road in Bangalore. I will be called in to choose a plot soon.

Could folks here kindly help me in shortlisting a few options which I can then go in person and have checked out? I haven't yet visited the property since I am traveling right now and so I haven't checked for high tension lines and the like in the vicinity. It's a pretty large project. Have attached a picture.

It's the darker pink type 5. Sorry I haven't been able to mark it out for you guys.

My thoughts :

- Stay away from the water bodies. Might be a mosquito breeding ground.
- Maybe next to one of the green areas and away from a connecting road might be better, as long as the greens are not a park of any kind and are just vegetation.
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