Consumerism, Home life, Toxic Custard newsletter

How long does a dishwasher last?

Just on five years ago my dishwasher door spring broke. In that instance a secondary fault also affected the actual washing of dishes. Now another door spring has broken. It hasn't affected the washing - it's just the door is heavy, and needs to be opened very carefully. Repair from Fisher And Paykel is expected to cost $135 for a call-out fee, excluding parts. I actually have the second

Home life, Toxic Custard newsletter

Future triffid in the garden?

I got my hot water heater replaced with a solar boosted unit 7 years ago when the old one died. The tank includes an overflow pipe, out of which small amounts of water sometimes drop. Because it's only a small amount of water, I made no special arrangements for it. It drops straight onto part of the side footpath and (theoretically at least) drains away. After a little while, I noticed so

Bentleigh, Home life, Melbourne, Toxic Custard newsletter

House prices in Bentleigh top $1 million – I couldn’t afford it here now

I mentioned the other day that it's coming up on ten years since I bought my house in Bentleigh (hence the flurry of maintenance). In that time, the prices here have gone through the figurative roof. (Source: RealEstateView) I didn't think to save the data at the time, but this document tracks median house prices around Victoria from 1998 to 2008. In 2005, the median in Bentleigh was $501,00

Home life, Toxic Custard newsletter

House repairs and renovation

Happy Australia Day! Now I'm going to do the Australian thing and talk about real estate. Later this year it will be ten years since I moved into this house. It's got me pondering maintenance, repairs and a little bit of renovation. It started when I got my stepfather, who knows more about this kind of stuff than me, to look over the place and identify what needed fixing or upgrading. He cam

Geek, Home life, music, Toxic Custard newsletter

Hi fi part 2: the kitchen radio

After buying the new livingroom hi-fi, my thinking was I want a device for the kitchen that does DAB+ for digital radio (eg music such as Double-J without relying on the vagaries of the internet connection) and can also do AirPlay (eg for music from iTunes on the Mac). Devices that do both DAB+ and AirPlay in one kitchen-sized unit seem to be extremely scarce. The only one I've found was sold b

Home life, Toxic Custard newsletter

Home loan: some progress at last

Here's a graph of my home loan, which I got just over nine years ago. The loan was approved in August 2005, but only took effect in October that year (the huge leap on the left). In the first year or so I was able to pay it down a bit. It only took me about 8 months to get the balance down to 95% of the initial loan. With interest burning up most of the payments, it took another 5 years

Going green

Electric kettles use power. LOTS of power.

I have an electric kettle. It's pretty fast to boil water, but wow, does it burn up electricity. Here you can see our live electricity meter thingy on the fridge. On the left, a couple of lights are on, as well as the fridge and I think a computer was on as well. On the right -- the kettle is boiling as well. Conclusion: Put just the water in the kettle that you need; don't fill it up ev

Home life

Standing on the inside looking out – graphing my house temperature in the heatwave

So, how did my old wooden house cope with the heat? It's not brilliant, but it's also not unbearable. I was at home most of Tuesday, and graphed the temperature rise. Inside temperature from the thermostat / Outside from the BOM Moorabbin Airport readings. Unlike last time (2010), the overnight temperature had been a lot warmer, and thanks to this being just day one of a four-day heat

Home life

Ceiling fan – and the forthcoming heat apocalypse

I've got a new ceiling fan in the kitchen. The bloke at the lighting shop said that in a kitchen, a metal fan is good because it can be easily cleaned -- whereas in a bedroom, quieter wooden fans are more often used. He also reckoned for the size of the room, the larger 52 inch blades would work well. So here it is in all its glory. I'm still getting used to it being there up. Sometimes