Yes, sometimes my blog isn’t about transport. If you’d prefer to see only transport posts, you can use this link.
Here’s a post where I ramble on about recent upgrades around my house.
I had wall insulation installed earlier in the year.
The winter gas bill came in recently. It’s down 37.7% from the previous year.
We were away for a bit of time, but nowhere near that much. I’d call that a win.
My current thinking is I’d like to slowly transition off gas and onto electricity, moving towards solar PV.
- Re-do the kitchen (it needs it!) including a move from gas cooking to electric (induction?)
- Replace the hot water with electric heat pump, removing the existing hot water solar panel to be replaced by PV panels
- Replace the ancient gas central heating with reverse cycle heating/cooling – the only question being whether individual units or a central unit is better. (Can individual units be controlled in unison via a timer program?)
We got a new TV
Back in 2011 we got our first widescreen digital television: a 32 inch (80 cm) Samsung.
Rather annoyingly it still works fine, but I was thinking of buying something bigger than 32 inches, perhaps around 43 inches. (Are television sizes one of the last holdouts of imperial measurements?)
Then my sons spotted the 49 inch Sony X70F on Amazon, which seemed irresistibly cheap at $649 – slightly cheaper than the cost of the 32 inch TV in 2011.
Choice’s handy guide to model numbers indicates that the X70F is last year’s model, but it’s got all the features we want, including 4K. We bought it. It’s since gone up to $849.
We also bought a TV stand so it could fit on the old (narrow) cabinet. What I didn’t realise was the stand on top of the old cabinet positions the TV far higher than suits the room. The stand is height adjustable, but only up from where we have it.
Sigh. Oh well, the old cabinet was also due for replacement (an ancient unit from Ikea that’s at least 25 years old – remember their Nunawading store and when they sold products that were real solid wood?), so I ended up buying a new cabinet as well. It’s lower but wider so has more space. Yes, Ikea again.
It took an evening to re-cable everything into the new cabinet, but it’s tidier.
Is a 49 inch (124 cm) TV too big for my small livingroom? Perhaps. Some advice seems to be aim for a TV with a size of about half the distance you sit away from it. On that basis it’s okay, but that’s really aimed at not seeing pixelation at the highest resolution. … Oh well, I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
I moved into my house 14 years ago. My best guess is it had a makeover in the mid-1990s when the property was subdivided and most of the backyard was sold off and developed.
So the bathroom was some 25+ years old and looking pretty tired. I finally got it revamped over winter.
I was able to arrange the perfect timing: Peter the bathroom guy was able to do the project in early July, when my sons were away, and during the Caulfield to City bustitution – giving me an excuse to stay home and avoid it, at least in peak hours.
Peter’s way of working is to provide a shopping list for most of the required bits and bobs, so I got to decide on and go shopping for tiles, grout, tapware, showerhead, toilet, vanity unit, towel rails.
I discovered that there are any number of places that will sell you all this stuff – but almost all of them are only open during weekday business hours, and Saturday mornings – which was not very convenient at all.
Only Bunnings has the smarts (and resources) to be open all weekend, and until 9pm on weekday evenings. In return for their long hours, and relaxed returns policy, they did very well out of me on this project.
Thankfully my house has a second toilet. No full second bathroom though. I got used to washing each morning in the laundry sink, with occasional showers courtesy of nearby family so I could wash my hair. It’s manageable, but it was good to have the actual bathroom finished.
In the end the work took a week and a half. Could it be quicker? If two people worked on a small bathroom, they’d just bump into each other.
Any lessons learnt? I do wonder if next time I might not use a mixer tap for the vanity unit basin. The reason is the default (middle) position is likely to be used by people when they don’t want hot water. This actually runs the hot and cold together, which means the hot water heater starts up. It might be more energy-efficient to have separate hot and cold taps, even if they mix into one outlet.
During the work we discovered why some of the pipes had been rattling – and fixed/replaced them. We also found the water takes a long route around the house before getting to the bathroom, which is why the hot water takes a while to start. Unfortunately it sounds like that would be quite complicated to actually fix.
Not to worry – the overall result is great.
Now I just have to get around to repainting affected sections of wall… put it on the list with the drill spots from the insulation.
Maybe when I get the kitchen re-done, I’ll get some painters in to do it all.
Now, what’s next?