Home Ownership


Another great Canadian guitarist with no soul.


LMAO! That’s pretty good. Very Canadian sounding.


Getting geared up to build our own house on our freeholding. Enough time has elapsed, and we now have access to literally thousands of ideas.

Regarding 'leccy, I will do it right the first time round, so that any sparky can come in, do their tests and give us a CoC (Certificate of Competence) or something like that to prove that our wiring is done correctly.

Which means reading up on South African electrical standards and the such. Luckily I am fairly good with 'leccy (as I was an appy to an electrician way back in time) so I have a good idea what is acceptable and what is not.

Sloppy wiring is out. Missus will have to accept it, it will take time to do correctly, and is not something that can be rushed into.

My idea is to have two or three mains voltage plugs (240V) in the kitchen, for the fridge and freezer, and one or two other kitchen utensils (like a food processor and the such) but then have 12v lights powered from a battery and solar panels.

Living room will also have a 240v mains outlet, for the kids’ computer and cellphone/tablet charging point, and that is where it stays.

Except for the outside lights, that is. Outside I want a couple of 10W LED floodlights (triggered by daylight sensor, coming on when it is night), then a couple of humongous 300W LED floodlights (there should be of that wattage) triggered by proximity sensors/motion sensors/etc.

And, of course, a couple of biological, four-legged, furry guards (aka dogs). Now I’m not racist, but somehow the blacks here dislike dogs with black pelt immensely, since you cannot see them in the dark :slight_smile: So, one or two small dogs to trigger the larger dogs as the smaller dogs have much better hearing than the bigger dogs (or something like that).

There is a place nearby where we can get good 2nd hand building supplies (things like roof tiles, wooden doors, door frames, window frames etc) for 60% to 80% of the price of new stuff. Most of the items are still in good condition, and may need a lick of paint to make it as good as new.

Wife wanted to go for a living roof, but I most certainly don’t want that, prefer a tiled roof. Tiled roof is much better with harvesting rain water anyway.

As criminals sometimes lift the tiles up to gain access to the house that way, I will be installing an alarm system with sensors in the attic as well, to warn us should some ne’er-do-well try to gain entry from above.

Another idea I’ve got is to get municipal water as well, but redirect it to a tank (with ball valve) at a higher elevation than the house. That way, should the municipality not be able to supply water, we still will have water for a while.

And… I’m so looking forward to have a coal/wooden stove in the lounge, will be real cozy and warm :slight_smile:

Still need to get up to speed tho. So far the bank want a proper building plan etc before they will grant us a loan, but we will speak to other banks/institutions and see what can be done.


You should look into Straw Bale houses.

Looks like there are a couple companies that do it in South Africa. There are tons of DIY sites that help out. I’ve been a big fan for ages.



Unfortunately straw is out as we have lots of termites here.

Also, another thing to consider is that Ooklet #4 is on its way. Another son.

So we’re running out of time rapidly :slight_smile:


I didn’t think that was an issue, so I looked it up.

Myth: Rodents and wood-eating insects are a risk.

Fact: Hay provides food value to animals and insects, straw does not. Straw is used to build houses because it does not attract rodents, termites or other insects. Actually, a conventional, stick-built house is more likely to suffer a termite infestation than a straw-bale house.


Ah thanks, don’t know why I was thinking that.

Will look at it as an alternative.

Thanks :slight_smile:


Now, I know lots of people think it makes ugly houses. But I kind of like them. In temperate locations you can make them self regulating temperature wise, since the walls are so thick.

Plenty of reasons not to like them as far as running electrical or plumbing as well. But sounds like you may be better off doing everything in conduit anyway.


The drive belt on my mower failed today. (self propelled walk behind mower, front wheel drive) That would explain why I was having trouble with the wheels locking up when I did the lawn a couple weeks ago. Belt had a perpendicular split on the inner layers, until it broke and got shot into the catch bag. I pushed it around the front yard; the back yard will wait.

Really, I can’t complain… I’d guess it cost at least $500 new a few years before I got it used off Craigslist. I paid $100 toward the end of 2014, so I have used it for a little over 2 seasons. Changed the oil and blade last year, and that’s it. I should have replaced the air filter already, but haven’t gotten around to it. New belt ordered off Amazon for under $10. Kohler motor almost always starts on first pull, even cold, then it just goes… damn impressive.


That happened to me a year or two ago with my Troy-Bilt. Haven’t bothered cracking it open to fix it because my in-laws gave me their Husqvarna and I like how it works better…for the most part. But it’s much longer than the Troy-Bilt, which makes it less maneuverable in some spots.

I really ought to get that mower fixed though.


My Cub Cadet rider threw a belt for the umpteenth time last fall. The flywheel got screwed up, apparently there is a timing bolt in there, and when the main pulley ended up with 90% of the belt jammed into it it messed things up.

So now I have a new Huskavarna, which is nice. The grass looks flat now instead of like a punk rocker’s hair cut.

I’m still going to fix the Cub, but I’ll use it to haul stuff around and not put the deck back on it.


Managed to contact our electrical utility for an installation.

3 months before initial installation. Bit meh. But we will have to see if they will proceed - apparently we will need building plans for them to proceed.

So, now it is the waiting game.


For anyone that’s using CFL bulbs, take a look at switching to LED bulbs. They’re still a little more expensive than CFLs, but they’re getting closer in price. The light intensity is almost the same (800 lumens compared to 825 for a 60 watt equivalent bulb of both types). Lifespan is over 4x that of a CFL, but it may actually be a lot longer due to a problem with how CFLs are made.

I’ve had several CFLs stop working sooner than they should because the ballast produces enough heat to cook itself. You can see the ceramic base just above the threads where the ballast is housed is discolored.

GE stopped producton on CFL bulbs last year in favor of LEDs and a new specification that went into effect in January means that several types of CFLs no longer meet the Energy Star rating. Most everything will switch to LEDs eventually, but it’s worth it to switch to them now.


Yeah, we’ve mostly switched to LEDs now, with a couple of CFLs left (ones that are rarely used) and a handful of halogen downlighters still. I switched all the halogens in the main room for LEDs after one failed, and the good lady initially assumed I’d just replaced the failed bulb.

The colour and quality of the light produced by decent LEDs these days is near identical to halogens and incandescents. Assuming of course you want that kind of colour - we’ve used daylight colour bulbs in the kitchen and hallway, and warmer colours in the livingroom and bedrooms.


I’m still wondering how I’ll heat the chicken coop once I run out of incandescent bulbs.


Any CFL that dies, I replace with LED. I’m not ready to start replacing still-functioning bulbs.


Yeah the heat is an issue. I remember Cleveland replacing the stop lights with LED’s for less power. Problem was in the winter, snow builds up on the lights. The old CFL’s would melt it. The new LED’s don’t. So they had to then buy heaters for the lights.

You do have to be a little careful. Certain diseases can trigger with certain lighting. I read of a person with lupus that would get a flare up every time they walked into a local Target. The only thing they could figure out was the lighting. I know it’s not a scientific study, but it’s something to think of. YMMV. I am not a doctor but I play on on TV.


Yarrt, I also have the same issue with CFL bulbs going south as soon as your back is turned. Pissed me off a lot as the cost of replacement bulbs worked out much more expensive than an oldstyle incandescent light, electricity consumption included. (60w incandescent bulb)

@woodman -stock up on incandescents? Failing that, a geyser element tuned to heat things to 26°C with underground water conduit piping may be the way to go - may work out cheaper than underfloor heating. But somebody will produce a solution when push comes to shove.


I had high hopes, but have been less than pleased with my LED experience. I haven’t tried any of the color changing or specialty types, just simple ones to swap out from incandescent, CFL, or halogen. Honestly, I’ve been more pleased with the compatibility of the halogens.
Apparently, LED bulbs don’t like sharing ground - in a fixture with four bulbs, I can’t get more than three to work consistently. When all four are screwed in, one will start to flicker. I also had a flicker issue in a single bulb enclosure - porch light - but I know it also shares a ground run with something, probably in the garage, possibly the whole garage, and there is a timer on that circuit. I was able to use a halogen, and it just works… bright light, no flicker - wife is happy. :slight_smile:

I also recently read that dim-able LEDs don’t necessarily work well with standard incandescent dimmers, but may require special dimmers, even though the bulbs don’t have that info printed on the box. Arg!

Also, this - much yes…[quote=“dakboy, post:538, topic:762”]
I’m not ready to start replacing still-functioning bulbs.


I got around that by buying “smart bulbs” now I’m not replacing, I’m upgrading!