Renovate Australia

Home improvement blog about renovating our Queenslander house in Townsville, Australia, and our home in Adelaide, SA

Australian Electricity Price Increase by 15,000 Percent!

January 30th, 2015 by Bill Hutchison · 1 Comment

I wish that number was a joke, but unfortunately it is not. The price per kilowatt hour of electricity could jump from the current price of about 30c/kWh, up to $47 per kilowatt hour during peak usage times!

Electricity pylon75% of Australian homes have air conditioners, which will be the households most affected by the increase. Because of the harsh climate that we have here in South Australia that percentage is even higher at 90%. The “critical peak surcharge” could be applied on the hottest days, for up to 4-hours.

According to AEMC’s (Australian Energy Markets Commission’s) consumer advocacy panel, the increases in electricity prices will hurt “customers who are least able to manage their consumption”. The people who will be most hit by the increase are said to be households with stay-at-home parents.

Given that I work from home, and my wife is a stay-at-home mum, we could be up for a very large financial hit when the changes start in 2017. My wife suffers from both Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, which makes regulating the temperature in our household not just a “luxury”, but very important for her quality of life.

Not only is it important for my wife’s health, but having proper cooling is also extremely important for our kid’s learning. According to this story, “comprehension starts to diminish at 28 degrees”. Since this goes for learning, no doubt it also goes for working as well.

Let’s see how the changes play out, but I for one hope that the 15,000 percent increase doesn’t come into play here …

Source: news.com.au

Image credit: Lydia

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Where Are The Electrical Powerpoints?

January 3rd, 2015 by Bill Hutchison · No Comments

One of our larger frustrations with the house is the complete lack of powerpoints in the rooms. The three children’s bedrooms only have one electrical point in each room, our bedroom has only two electrical powerpoints, and the main living areas also have a severe lack of powerpoints.

We have set-up a desk for our children on the “Meals” area of the house so that we can supervise them on the computer and with their homework, but there are no powerpoints in that area, and only two in the “Family” area. The “Formal Dining” room, which is my office, has only a single power point. From that single electrical point we are stuck running all of our networking, printer, and my computer from. It is definitely not an ideal set-up.

floorplan1

On top of that, the only thing that you are allowed to legally do in Australia for electrical work as a DIYer is replace a light bulb! Anything else must be done by a very costly electrician. I bet that the electrical unions absolutely loved getting that bit of legislation passed …

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What Product Sould You Use To Seal Your Shower Grout

September 12th, 2014 by Bill Hutchison · 6 Comments

Most grout that is in your bathroom, shower, toilets, and kitchen are cement based and porous. Most builders and contractors don’t bother actually sealing your grout, which means that the grout will actually be absorbing any liquid that gets on it. The types of moisture that it will absorbing will be:

  • Water
  • Soap
  • Body Oils

Of these, the body oils are by far the most common caused of discolouration of your grout lines.

There are a few ways that you can help to prevent staining or discolouration of your grout lines. Your first option, recommended by Mike Holmes, is to tint your grout so that it matches the tiles, and thus hides any discolouration. The other option is to seal your grout …

There are two types of grout sealers that you can use:

  1. Surface Barrier Sealant
  2. Penetrating or Impregnator Sealant

Your surface barrier sealant does just what it says, it create a barrier that sits on top of your grout. This type of grout sealers is generally easier to work with than a penetrating barrier, but it is not as effective, and requires regular reapplication.

A penetrating sealant soaks into the pores of the grout to form a barrier against any moisture getting into, and behind the grout. Although it requires more work to apply, and generally costs more than a barrier seal, it is generally considered to be the best option for most uses. This is why we are using a penetrating sealer in our bathrooms.

Grout Sealer Options

Having a look at the Bunnings web-site shows us five different types of penetrating grout sealer. They are:

  • DTS Heavy Duty Grout Sealer
  • Diggers Sealant Showercoat
  • CPC Shower Plug Sealant
  • Davco Tile & Grout Sealer
  • Bondall Tile & Grout Sealer

There are a few different types of grout sealer that you can get, including water based and solvent based sealers. Of those options, the solvent based sealers seem to be your best option. Right away this eliminates two of the five sealers that Bunnings offers …

Of the three products that are left I really can not find any difference between them, other than the price. They vary from:

No matter how much I read, I can not justify the extra cost of the CPC Sealant Shower Plug product. It looks like it’s a penetrating solvent /silicone based sealer, just like the other Davco and Diggers products.

With all of that in mind, I recommend the Davco Sanitized Tile & Grout Sealer, and will most likely be using that one to seal the shower stalls in our bathrooms…

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Can I Install Low Flow Shower Head with Instant Hotwater

September 10th, 2014 by Bill Hutchison · 3 Comments

One problem that many people have when wanting to install a low flow showerhead is working out if their hot water system will work with it. Some instant hot water systems don’t work if there is not a high enough water flow. This really goes against the current trend of conserving water, and leaves a gap in knowledge about the compatibility of instant hot water systems and low flow shower heads.

When determining if you can install a low flow (9 liter per minute, 8 L/min, 7.5 L/min, or lower) you need to work out what the lowest water flow is that your hot water system requires to work.

Rinnai R1200 Service ManualTo use us as an example, we have a Rinnai R1200 High Capacity Continuous Flow Hot Water System. It is not a storage system, so there is no tank of hot water, but rather it heats the water on demand.

The first step in finding out if a low flow shower head is compatible was to check your hot water system manual. If you are lucky, or well organised, you should have the manual in your house. Unfortunately for us, we got no manuals at all when we purchased this house, so we had to rely on Google to help us find the manual.

After much searching, we finally found the service manual for our hot water system. Somewhere in the manual you will need to find the minimum operating water flow. In our case the rating for the Rinnai R1200 is 2.4 L/min, which is well under the rating of 7.5 litres / minute of a new three star, low flow shower head.

Remember that although your shower head will be putting through 7.5L / min, not all of that is hot water. You will need to take into account your hot and cold water flow balance when working out the compatibility of a new showerhead with your system.

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