House Renovations

We had an assessment of the house done in November, this allowed us to determine where and what we could improve around the house.

As expected, Solar Hot Water was a key recommendation. It was something we were considering eventually anyway, but the shock news came as he found the hot water system on the granny flat leaking water out and therefore wasting power (as it’s letting out hot water onto the ground and heating up the new cold water)..

We noticed our power consumption was increased, I drummed that down to the granny flat and the person we have there using about 5kW more than we do, but it was just the hot water system – they now turn that off when it’s not in use.

The plan for now will be – recladding – as the walls are fibro, we can’t do anything that needs wall cavity access, such as running Solar Power – so we’ll need to strip the exterior walls and eaves and get those replaced. Solar Power would require cabling and the inverter needs to go on the wall.

The plan for that will be to put some sort of vinyl or timber cladding up. I prefer maintenance free, I sometimes get bored and have little to do with my time, but the majority of the time things can be pretty busy – no time to paint cladding every so often. This would be why I would lean towards the maintenance free vinyl cladding, but we could also take the cheap exit and fibro the place with new fibro.

The problem with doing that is, when you try and sell the house, espiecially with the dangers of asbestos becoming more and more prevalent as time goes forward and more mesothelioma victims make the news, no one will want to associate with what was actually a very good construction product. So, from a resale perspective, it’d be better to avoid the fibro for that reason.

I’ve been trying to find prices for vinyl cladding online per meter, and I’m coming up empty, ‘free quotes’ isn’t necessarily what I am looking for, I don’t want to waste someone’s time to come out here, if we can’t trump up the dollars for it, I can get a rough calculation in my head and allow for cost overrun if the company’s actually put some $ figures out there.

Then, we’ll get the windows done as part of that process, and from my initial research online, 6mm laminated grey glass really sounds like the way to go – the office is affected by sun glare in the morning, really annoying, and so something that blocks that out is more than welcome. Add to that laminated glass is harder to break, and insulates more effectively, and it does seem to be the ideal product.

We’ll go with sliding windows as opposed to the current double hung type that is in place, I think.

Then, we’ll go with Solar Power, as once the emissions trading scheme is in place, we’ll want to be sourcing as little electricity from Energy Australia as is feasible, and Solar is the perfect way of doing that.

Cutting out the hot water will drastically drop our power bills, simply because the system we have is 250L and it’s overkill, we don’t use a lot of hot water, so it’s wasteful to heat so much.

After checking out the power consumption of air conditioning, I’m relatively sold on it. We have a little heater that’s 1400W, and I look at reverse cycle, 4 star air cons, and they use 200W, and yet I know they are really good at changing the temperature of a room – they are also fan forced, so generally push more air through, and with the windows being replaced, less air is lost, and so the costs are reduced.

A rainwater tank plumbed to the  laundry, and the many toilets (we have 4 here.. ), and to the garden will do some good. I’ll be able to wash the car – and there’s little spend for rainwater.

Then, we’ll be doing the bathroom – it’s got asbestos sheeting on the walls, and the same for the laundry, so whilst they are removing the exterior walls, it’d also be a good time to get them to take away all that crap too, then we’ll put tiles in the bathroom, and either plasterboard or fibro in the laundry area. We’ll need to plan how the new bathroom turns out. Ideally, when it’s stripped clean, deciding what to replace will already be determined.

The Solar Hot Water will be the evacuated tube system, with the tank split off, so that way it can be put on the side of the roof, allowing for the solar power to take the front position (best position), and the hot water tube type system can capture more sun then the panels, and so won’t be too adversely impacted.

Our key obstacle will be getting the hot water to the granny flat. New piping will be needed, and I’m sure it’ll have to be insulated in some way, so that we can remove the one that is out there.

Once we’ve got:
– Recladding
– Windows replaced
– Solar Hot water
– Solar Power
– Rain water tank
– Bathroom and Laundry renovated
– Back decking

.. then I think the house will have had enough of a punishment until we eventually paint it.

The kitchen will be done eventually also, the benches and cupboards are too thin and small for our requirements, plus, a marble benchtop will help make the place appear that more modern.

Oh, and the granny flat still needs a master bedroom added, once we get rid of the tree in the backyard – and we want to sooner or later, add some fencing down the sides, replacing the rotted timber, with Colorbond fencing.

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