Monthly Archives: November 2016

Alternatives to make a water systems

Did you know that on average hot water systems make-up 31% of your total energy bill? On top of that the cost of providing instant hot water to your home is continuously increasing.

According to the Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) hot water systems consume more energy than any other device within the average household. In their 2009 report IPART also predicted a 60% increase in the price of electricity from 1 July 2010 – 30 June 2013. You will have experienced some of these increases already, but further increases are coming soon.

This article compares the costs, benefits and disadvantages of the three major hot water alternatives commonly available to Australians: electric, gas and solar.

 

Electric Hot Water Systems

Electric hot water has been continuously developed and used over the last century and has been the main source of hot water in homes for several decades. In 2008 the ABS recorded that around 58% of homes in NSW use electric hot water systems.

With the continuously rising cost of electricity and the introduction of the Carbon Tax, it is becoming increasingly expensive to run an electric hot water system.

The government has stated that it will try and phase out electric hot water systems by 2013. This will make it harder to purchase replacement tanks and parts.

From an ‘initial investment’ point-of-view, electric tanks are currently your most affordable option. They range in price from $500 to $2000, with many second-hand tanks available for less.

Although costly to run, electrical hot water systems are reliable.

Until recently all electric hot water systems heated water with an energy-hungry electrical element. However there is now an energy-saving alternative: the electric heat pump.

Electric heat pumps are approximately three times more efficient than electrical-element based systems but the initial investment is between $1500 and $4000. Heat pumps are more efficient in warmer weather and in warmer climates.

 

Gas Hot Water Systems

Gas hot water systems have become increasingly popular over the last 5 years. Improvements in technology have seen gas systems, both storage and continuous, become more efficient and affordable.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 76% of households in Melbourne are using a gas hot water system.

Gas hot water requires a gas connection in the household but can also be run on gas bottles.

Some gas hot water systems are considerably more efficient than others – look at their energy star rating before purchasing.

Gas Hot Water Systems usually cost between $800 – $2500. The price depends on size and efficiency.

Gas Hot Water Systems are not as cost effective as solar or heat pump based systems, however they are more efficient than traditional electric-element based systems.

Easy to make swimming pool at your home

Do you want to provide endless hours of fun and exercise for your children in summer? Is there a need to escape the heat? Then you should consider getting a swimming pool.

However, because swimming pools are not cheap to build, buy or maintain, there are many factors to be considered before going any further.

Budget is a huge factor, but not the only consideration. Firstly, evaluate your reasons for installing a pool. Is it to be purely for recreation? Do you have a family member who has a health condition that would benefit from swimming? What space do you have for a pool, and what problems may this space present? Will the pool be used year round? What building codes apply in your area? What extras would you like with your pool: spa, waterfall, slides? How will your pool affect your landscaping, and what other things could you do with the space that a pool will use

 

Choosing a pool

First of all, make sure you know your budget and stick to it. Be confident that you can afford the swimming pool that you choose, and that you have allowed for the extras that go with a pool. You won’t have fun swimming if each time you do a lap you think of how much debt you are in!

Research the kind of pool you want, and why. Good planning will help you minimise extra expenditures. Give consideration as to how you would like the area around the pool landscaped and factor in that as an expense. Also give serious consideration to maintenance costs – pumps, filters and chemicals are regular expenses that need to be budgeted. Filling your pool will cause your water bill to rise significantly, unless you have water tanks installed. You will also want to account for the expense of water loss through normal usage of the pool. Water restrictions in times of drought may mean having to buy in water. And don’t forget pool fencing – it’s mandatory.

Choose awnings for the home

Awnings are a low-cost, low-tech way to summer cooling. They can serve two functions, to supply shade for the summer sun to control heat entry to the home, and also to offer more protection from rain and hail, to extend the life of the building structure and to offer shelter. About 40% of unwanted heat that enters the house is through the windows.

An awning is a fixed structure attached to the outside of a building, over doors, windows or walkways. Awnings were first used by the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians. The Coloseum in Rome was shaded and protected by large retractable canvas awnings.

 

Awning materials

Awnings can be made from a number of different materials, can be permanently fixed or retractable, decorative or purely functional. The angle and size of the awning is important to get the best result from an awning. The right placement ensures that summer sun can be excluded from the windows, yet allows the winter sun to penetrate to warm the house.

A light coloured awning will also reflect sunlight and heat. A slight gap left between the awning and the house will help to vent the heat that builds up under the awning. Installing the awning at an angle of 45 degrees looks and functions best.

The awning pictured right, is a permanent structure, and can be constructed from various materials. The advantage of this type of awning is that it is set and forget, apart from painting and cleaning. The disadvantage is that you are stuck with one level of setting.

There are other awnings which can have various configurations of control. You can have the mounting arms movable and adjustable, and the awning covering removable or retractable or partially so. This will give you greater levels of control over your covering options. You also have a choice of manual or motorised controls and adjustment.

The Ventian awning pictured below left, has either fixed or movable louvres for shade control. The advantage of these is that they allow some degree of light and vision through the louvres. If the louvres are movable, this allows for more light when needed. The louvres can be of wood, aluminium or various plastics. The latter two are maintenance free apart from cleaning.

The most of the sun in your home

Whether you want to watch sport on TV away from the glare of the afternoon sun, or have a sunny kitchen window to grow basil and parsley, the way that your home is oriented can make a big difference to how you use your home.

When you choose a floor plan that faces the right way on your block, you’ll make your home more comfortable, and you can save money on heating, cooling and lighting. Your home builder can flip or rotate your floor plan to make the most of your block’s orientation.

Here is a quick guide to help you work out which rooms to position where in your home:

North- This is side of your home that will be warmer in winter. The north side is generally the best place to have living areas and rooms that you use the most.

South- This is the coolest side, so it is generally the best place for bedrooms in warmer climates, or rooms that you don’t use during the day.

East- This side is where you will receive morning sun, so it is a great idea to have your kitchen or bedrooms on this side so you can enjoy a relaxing breakfast in the sunlight.

West- Since this is the direction the sun sets, the western side of your home is more likely to get hot in the afternoon. This is a great area to place rooms that you don’t use often, such as your bathroom, garage or laundry.

You can also make the most of the sun within your home by using eaves. In summer, eaves will shade your walls and windows from the sun – and in winter when the sun is at a lower angle, the eaves will let the sun into your home.

When you’re working out the orientation of your home, always keep the amount of glass you have in mind. Glass looks great, but it can turn your home into an oven in summer and an igloo in winter!