Renovate Australia

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

New Podcast for Renovate Australia – Pilot Episode

January 18th, 2013 by Bill Hutchison · No Comments


Renovate Australia Album ArtNow that we are back in Australia and starting to renovate, maintain, repair, and decorate our new house in Adelaide I think it’s time to start a new podcast!

We will see where this goes but the plan is to engage in more conversations, seek and give advice, and have some fun as we settle and work on our new house.

Music is “Do What You Can” by Lee Rosevere

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Wooden Animal Heads

January 11th, 2013 by Bill Hutchison · No Comments

Having animal heads on the wall is a Canadian tradition. Unfortunately though I have a feeling that Australia Customs and Quarantine wouldn’t allow stuffed animal heads into the country…

A very cool option that I saw today was a wooden animal head.

Wall Mounted Wooden Animal Heads

I think that the wooden animal head here is an elk, but either way I think it looks pretty cool. Not sure I could talk my wife into it though … ;)

To see the full post that I found this cool mounted wooden animal head at check out Apartment Therapy – Joe & Brad’s Small Space with Big Style.

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Should I Get My Air Conditioning Ducts Cleaned?

December 3rd, 2012 by Bill Hutchison · No Comments

In Canada we had our heating ducts cleaned once every two years when we had our furnace and humidifier serviced. Now that we are looking to purchase a house in Australia that has central air conditioning we are having to consider if we should be cleaning these ducts as well …

The duct work in Canada was smooth, solid duct work like in the photo above. The duct work that is connected to the central air conditioner here in Australia however is not smooth or solid, it is flexible and corrugated.

Of course the companies doing duct cleaning will recommend that you get them cleaned at regular and reoccurring intervals, but even the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that there is no scientific proof that getting your ducts cleaned actually helps with air quality. Although there is anecdotal evidence (example) that cleaning the ducts increases air quality, the EPA states that:

Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. Neither do studies conclusively demonstrate that particle (e.g., dust) levels in homes increase because of dirty air ducts or go down after cleaning.

Reasons to get your ducts cleaned

The EPA does state that there are a few reasons that you should consider getting your ducts cleaned. They are:

  • There is substantial visible mould growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system.
  • Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects).
  • Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.

If there is not those factors then cleaning your ducts provides no benefit.

What is more important in the maintenance of your air conditioning unit is to:

  • Check and change or clean the filters regularly
  • Make sure that the system is well maintained
  • Have regular inspections
  • Ensure that moisture is not entering the system

How much does duct cleaning cost in Australia?

I just actually called a company here in Adelaide to find out how much it would cost to get the air ducts cleaned in the house we are buying. To say I was shocked at the cost would be an under statement!

To clean the ducts, vents and return would cost $1087!

No wonder the air duct cleaning companies will tell you that regular cleaning is needed …

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Does My House Have Asbestos?

November 23rd, 2012 by Bill Hutchison · 2 Comments

Given the prevalence of asbestos being used in construction during the 20th century anyone who has a house built in that era should be asking themselves if their house has any asbestos in it. Asbestos was used in many different applications in construction including:

  • Fire retardant coatings
  • Bricks
  • Pipes
  • Cement
  • Gaskets
  • Pipe insulation
  • Ceiling insulation
  • Fireproof drywall / plaster board
  • Flooring (tiles, linoleum, etc.)
  • Roofing tiles
  • Roofing felt
  • Insulations around wires
  • Lawn furniture
  • Drywall joint compound
  • Fireproof doors
  • Caulking
  • Popcorn and acoustic ceilings
  • Exterior siding

In Canada one of the main uses that I was warned about was in ceiling insulation. Some types of blow in insulation that was used included small percentage of asbestos. This type of blow in insulation was called vermiculite, specifically Zonolite.

Australia seemed to have most of it’s asbestos in roofing and sheeting. Many homes were built using asbestos siding, including our first house in Townsville. Asbestos was also very common in insulated roofing and the building that I worked in while up in Townsville included this type of corrugated roofing material. Neither of these were a problem if left undisturbed, but if disturbed either through renovations, repairs or damage the asbestos could become airborne and potentially dangerous.

If you are at all worried that some of the material in your home may have asbestos in it then it is best to leave it undisturbed and to contact a specialist to get it tested. Given that asbestos related diseases are usually fatal it is better to get that piece of mind that risk exposure …

For more information about Asbestos check out the Asbestos Awareness web-site.

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