Electricity & Water

Thanks to Joolz I think I just about have a handle on how these posts work, thanks Joolz. Check out her excellent post here. I also check Mandy's too (starts July 9 downwards), even then I am a little dumb. I actually found Rhonda's sign up page as well. Phew.

I think I did OK on my food post, no major fumbles.

The topics for the Simple Home Audit are:

On Being At Home
Home Production
Green Cleaning
Electricity & Water
Living Deliberately & Money

So onto Electricity & Water.

Everyone who reads my blog may notice that my whole point of reference as a person at the moment is the time where I was living in my hometown in my home of three years onwards. Year 2002. I had lived my married life in that town since 1984. I changed houses but we lived the same way in the same climatic and other conditions.

We always had gas water heating, gas heating, and everything else electric, with a dishwasher in the later years. Always line dried and only started drying on inside lines towards the end. Town water that was reliable (no restrictions though that was during the time we lived there, no the population hasn't increased significantly, go figure). We didn't live there during the one big drought and the fires which affected the water quality, though the fire one I think we were there on weekends.

Then we went to live in a rented farmhouse on a contract for one year (2003), and we ran out of water after a week if that. There was so little water I gave up washing nappies and baths were infrequent. We stretched our water buying to three weeks instead of one week. During the drought a couple of years ago, I was surprised to learn that the people here were given free water. During that time though we were on moderate? water restrictions and we did lots of work reusing our nappy buckets that we were to throw out (and haven't even now) using our Fisher & Paykel machine on hold and using the rinse water on the plants. Thankfully things have been kinder since then. Especially since we now have two gardens to water.

This week we rang the water people as there was a leak from our water meter. We thought it was on there side of the meter which is a new one, but it was a fault with the tap etc. attached to the meter and running slowly all the time. It would have been starting to add up onto our bill quite a lot. It got fixed today. The posty had trouble driving through the water up the hill on his motorbike.

For anyone interested there is little if any water coming down after Lake Hume and the river is full before it, and it is filling up, nearly to a nice scenic level.

Moving here to an all electric house was daunting with the first electricity bill. We do heat the house with wood in the winter, and have no air-conditioning, otherwise I don't think we would be able to handle the bill to be honest. I try to keep it to a level I can pay in one go when the bill comes. Normal light globes pop here with a very quick turn around time. Why you ask? I think from memory higher and lower voltages being near a power station. Or surges perhaps. We use a UPS on our computer most of the time, and I love it. So we gradually changed light bulbs to the new ones that most people have now, the energy efficient ones, which are great for bedside tables as they are less likely to burn people or the light fitting. That helped with our bill. When our eldest was living here before he went to uni (he graduates next month!) he always went around turning off lights and that helped too. We have collected more TVs and computers, and I am not sure but I haven't noticed a big change like something like using a tumble drier would do.

This year we had more clothes to dry and we put our cabinet drier back in the house after checking for safely (view picture of it here). They are more efficient on power. We just couldn't bear to get rid of our family "friend" who had served us well during the nappy washing years, (I washed the nappies of our first three and no disposables for them). I knew the cabinet drier was kinder on the nappy fabric.

Every morning after I get dressed I open the blinds and go around and check that all the lights are off.

My preference is to wash 7kg of washing (one basket load full) and hang it all out on the line. I prefer the one fashioned silver lines. However, there is heaps more fog here, and not the bright sunny days of my hometown in winter, where one year I did a whole big catch up during the school holidays and it dried without drama. Add in a dog that likes clothes hanging down. I saw a dog so similar and from the same area as where we bought our dog on Better Homes & Gardens that did the same thing. No cure. Time share the backyard. Not good if you want a daily washing habit. We also run out of hot water here. Yes, it is a teenage problem. However this week and a few weeks prior I have been getting to the bottom of this. Once it was like a strange secret, three possible culprits and no clues at all. If my eldest at home goes away to uni and work this November maybe that will help next winter? One can hope.

Having said that our clothes are dried in front of the wood heater and on the back of a door on a rack. We even now dry sheets, doonas and towels on it so are not using our tumble drier even for those emergencies. I wonder if that is because we have no little kids ie toddlers, probably not.

I had a practise with the dog and the line at the new house. I bought a new basket trolley, a nice long handled one as I have a nice path under the line. I put the dog on the chain as he has a nice view of a large yard there. No dramas. My son took mine apart many years ago, admitedly it probably had its day. It wasn't restored if it could be restored and I have wanted another one since. It is parked at the new house though, in case puppy likes to chew wheels.

I won a water filter, I think I went in a survey on the phone or something. We have also collected fresh water from the bush sometimes and a spring. Our water in our part of town was never clean. In the end they had to treat it, though today, it is like a swamp. I grew up with water from a small creek and this is the first time I disliked the taste, not including when our tank was nearly empty (I'm sure it needed cleaning but we were renting and we had that fresh spring water to drink anyway). We have kept large water containers for collection of water to drink. It helps when there is ash in the water, pretty sure we brought the spring water home to our hometown for the weekends when this was happening.

Does drinking water add up to something in the scheme of water usage, not sure.

Our new house has automatic watering systems through the whole garden. We use buckets to water the trees. The tops of the risers are drippers not sprays. We use mulch, though it is very hard to buy straw here even for the dog's kennel. We have had to do things like bring a bale back from our hometown 2 1/4 hours away if we happen to be there, which requires a bit of thought. Or, like this year, picking up a broken round bale from the side of the road, though we didn't get it all done. Still have a nice pile to use though. We use leaves as well.

We have been using the town pool more than a blow up pool in our backyard these days. We found heat affected things in our house after last summer's hot temperatures in the house.

Thankfully the temperature dropped quickly below 21oC and has been like that ever since, so I don't think I am worried about another summer living through the heat. If I do happen to be living in our new house then with a split system airconditioning in our room, we are getting prepared for that. The room is uninsulated. My husband has reused wood and has put extra batterns in the ceiling to screw up the plaster (40s house = scrimping on materials as a war was on). Now we can insulate. However, split systems ice up outside in this climate and don't work for periods of time.

TV shows that have audits in them:

Carbon Cops
Outrageous Wasters


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