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Author Topic: Updates to castles - Heating, plumbing - How are they handled ?  (Read 9977 times)
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NoviceDisher

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« on: October 14, 2014, 06:36:49 PM »

I look at these beautiful castles built centuries ago and my first  non-romantic thought  Blush is..huge, cavernous places. How are these updated to include heating, plumbing and so on ? Are they even because of cost ?

I think drafts, no insulation, cold floors..brrr...Wrong ?

Guess I am looking for some info on modern updates to palaces and how they were handled.

TIA ! 
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Trier1

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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2014, 06:55:22 PM »

I think it depends on whether the castle is a museum or a place where the royals live and work. Their residences all have modern electricity and plumbing and more or less modern heating systems. Although there was a picture of QE II with a small electric heater standing in one of the fireplaces at either Buckingham Palace or Balmoral. The pics of Fischbach and Berg (the Lux properties) showed normal heating systems, so I guess it is not uncomfortable. And Berg is not old, it was only built in 1911 and got renovated several times, so I assume that it is warm and nice in winter.
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Kaiserin

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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2014, 07:29:51 PM »

Question is really, do you speak about medieval castles, or those built in Renaissance or even later (1700 +)?

Because for the medieval ones, forget about modern heating. There is a reason why they had one big hall where half trees were burnt in fireplaces as big a modern guestroom and most if not all other rooms were left cold, with an exception for the ladies' bower, maybe. Cost to update those would be immense.
Electricity, though, is not such a big problem.
One of the first medieval castles with electricity was Haute Königsburg in the Alsace (originally from 12th century), where Wilhelm II had electricity installed as early as 1908 (!), this as part of huge reconstruction work done, as the whole castle was wrecked at that time.

And plumbing, well, most of the medievals have indeed an installation similar to the ones in old ships: a small cabin mounted to the outer wall, you sit on a hole, and the wind caresses your ass ;-).

Some "younger" castles were indeed very modern already a century ago, like the one in Bad Homburg, Germany, former residence of the Landgrafen of Hesse. Originally built in 17th century, it was  first updated 140 years later (when the owner got married to princess Elisabeth of Great Britain and Ireland) using her money.
Another 60 years later, the castle became Preussen-property, and Wilhelm II had it equipped with electricity, phone (!), bathrooms and even a water closet (which is funny, as it's mounted in a cabinet).
Obviously, Wilhelm II loved some comfort in the castles he was staying.

To install modern heating does not only presuppose to do all the ductwork (which might, at huge cost, be done, as it's inside), but you'd also need to insulate (problem: cannot be made from outside, as the walls have to remain in original stage) and to have modern windows (if you keep the old one-glass ones, your heating cost will explode, given the height of the rooms and the many windows you have).

So I guess that's where a lot of money goes to, if you happen to own and have to maintain a castle.
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ortensia

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« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2014, 12:06:56 PM »

in italy an historic building can't be refurbished/restored without the ministry of fine arts and architeture approval.

this means that every project (signed by an architect only,not an engeneer) must be initially sent to the ministry,who takes some times to decide if approving it or not.

the rules are very strict and it's virtually impossible to insert modern day facilities like heating in an historical building,because they can't allow you to dig trench in the walls,nor can you insulate!
if you can prove that the floor is not historical,but made in,say,1950s,you can remove its tiles and,if you have enough room for it,put  the healing wires under the floor.
there is no problem for  external eletrical wires,as long as you use copper.

so it's easy to find beautiful buildings with little eletric stoves here and there.....!!!!!!! Roll Eyes
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NoviceDisher

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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2014, 06:31:22 PM »

Thank you, Trier1, Kaiserin, ortensia. Rather eye opening and startling.

The idea of poor QEII with an electric heater in opulent and drafty palace, facilities that resemble old ships, beautiful buildings with electric stoves  Shocked. Brrr....Give me a nice, modern, bland,  modern McMansion with insulation, heating, air conditioning and proper toilets !! 
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