Home life, Toxic Custard newsletter

I finally got air-con

(To just see transport-related blog posts, you can use this link -- which is also on the top navigation menu) For years I've resisted air-conditioning at home. Partly it was the cost, partly it was that I really wanted to pursue passive cooling as much as I could -- measures that used little or no energy. To that end, three rooms have ceiling fans, three more have standing fans. The three

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

The central heating stopped working

As you can see, I just love getting up in the roof and having to try and get the heater working. Not that it happens often, but yesterday the heater stopped going. Following the relighting instructions, the pilot will light, but after waiting the specified minute to switch it to full On mode, goes out again. Argh. Waking this morning, the house had cooled to 11 degrees overnight. Some

Going green

Going solar – when should I jump, and how many panels?

Pondering adding to the solar hot water on my roof with PV panels for electricity generation. My last electricity bill says I used up 659 kWh in 92 days, costing $187.61 (only including the cost for power and the 100% GreenPower surcharge; excluding the $76.41 service charge which I'd incur no matter how much power used)... that adds up to 2614 kWh in a year costing $744.32, or about 28.5 cents

Home life

The noise

Two mysterious noises have become apparent in the last few months. Both are virtually imperceptable in the daytime, but at night, in my quiet street, I can hear them from my bedroom. First there was the humming. It started sometime last year. It doesn't seem to be in the house anywhere - I tried turning off all the power one night at the fuse box, and I could still hear it. No, it's not coming

Home life

They’re not Smart Meters anymore, they’re Advanced Meters

They finally installed a new electricity meter at my house. This was after receiving three sets of letters saying "we're about to install it". It wasn't one of those much-criticised allegedly-defective Smart Meters though -- oh no, it was an Advanced Meter. So much better. Will be interested to see what effect it has on the next power bill.

Home life

Plumbing mishap

I thought I'd be clever and change all the washers in the bath, and show the kids how it's done at the same time. The shower ones were okay, but when we tried to take off the bath hot, it broke away. Result: nothing to grip onto. I assume the whole bit will have to be replaced, but how do I get it out, given the only thing I can grip onto just broke off? There is a hexagonal section, but it's b


The Radiant soap powder advert they filmed in my street

I was at home one day in March when a bus kept driving past every few minutes. They hadn't opened Melbourne's most frequent bus route in my street -- they were filming an advert for Radiant soap. Now the advert has been launched. (via Mumbrella) I might try it at some stage, but Omomatic has been working well for me -- and I just bought two huge boxes of it on sale.

Home life

Renovating the roof

Got an attic ladder put in a while back. The bloke did a lot of chopping and cutting, and an electrician moved one of the lights to make way for it. The result is very pleasing, and it makes a real difference to getting up into the roof space. Stage 2 was getting some of the crap cleared out of there, including an old water tank. Yesterday some insulation removal people came to take out the

Bentleigh, Home life


Trip home last night in the pouring rain was interesting. Train was very slow going between Hawksburn and Malvern, as much of the rail line in the cutting was underwater. As the train departed Ormond, we saw the subway was flooded. On arriving at Bentleigh we waited about 20 minutes for the rain to subside. The exit itself had a minor flood (a couple of inches) but thankfully the rain had virtu