Electrical Circuits – How Many Should You Have?

circuit breakerHave too few circuits and you will get the circuit breakers in the Power Box tripping out all the time!


The minimum number of electrical circuits  for a new home would be 4/5, as follows;

  • Lights
  • General Power outlets (GPOs)
  • Hob and Oven
  • Air Conditioning
  • Hot Water Service (Only if Electric)

In my opinion this is only suitable for a Granny Flat, although I have heard of it suggested for larger properties.

Suggested Circuits

A good procedure is to have separate circuits for rooms that have heavy loads as well as separate circuits for major items.

This gives the following circuits for a 3/4bedroom house

  • GPOs Kitchen
  • GPOs Laundry
  • GPOs Living*
  • GPOs Bedrooms*
  • Lighting Living*
  • Lighting Bedrooms*
  • Hot Water Service**
  • Oven
  • HotPlates**
  • Centralised Air Conditioning

* Upstairs and downstairs for a 2 storey home

**Not required if Gas Appliances

3 Phase Power

If you want Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning for a large house or want Instantaneous Hot Water you will need 3 Phase Power. In this case it may be worth spreading the GPO and lighting circuits over the different phases.


For More posts see Electrical


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Are You Prepared For Interest Rate Rises

Interest Rate
Interest Rates are Going Up!

Don’t know when but they haven’t gone up for 4 years so it isn’t going to last much longer!

How Much?

Well the real answer is no one knows, but some of the financial wizz kids are predicting something like 1.5% rise by the end of 2015.

To me that means expect a 2% rise.

If its only 1% , or even if it is 1.5% you will be well prepared . If it does reach 2% you should still be OK.

So What Will It Mean to You?

A 1% rise on a new mortgage will increase the weekly payments by around $20/week for every $100,000 borrowed.

That means for a 2% rise on a typical $300,000 mortgage you could be looking at $120/week.

Don’t forget this won’t be the only thing going up. Gas, Water, Electricity, Rates, all seem to be on the move upwards while not a lot seems to be happening on the wages front.

Here are a few thoughts about what you could do:


Already Along The House Journey

It could be worth looking to fix either part, or all of your mortgage. If you have separate mortgages for the house and the land it may be best to fix one while leaving the other variable to maintain some flexibility.

Start increasing your mortgage payments now so you get used to living on less, and you build up a cash buffer.

Think about contingency plans in case you get hit with something like a reduction ,or loss of income.

Starting To Look At A New House

You need to factor in the potential price rise into your budget, and your expectations.

Considering going for a smaller house rather than having a financial millstone around your neck for the next 5 or more years.


See Finance for similar posts


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Cliff House


What do you think about this Concept House shown on a cliff on the Great Ocean Road?

Although it is an interesting concept there are several reason s why I don’t like it!

  1. One person gets a great view and spoils everyone elses.
  2. Think about the corrosion problems with all that salt water spray.
  3. Too many stairs
  4. The point about cliffs is they are formed by erosion, so how long is it going to last.

Don’t agree, or just want to find out more, see  modscape.com.au

For more Unusual House Photos, Wins, and Fails, have a look at: What the………………….?

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Display Homes – Understanding the Builders Rep

Display Home

Going into every Display Home the first person you see is the Builders Representative.

When talking to the representative it helps to understand a little about them, so here are some thoughts;


We all work for money but the Representative’s conditions of employment might be a fair bit different to you.

Most Representatives will receive minimal, or even no basic pay.

Their commission on each sale will be several thousand of dollar, but they may not get it for months.

Although they may get a partial payment for your initial signature they usually won’t be paid the full amount until the slab goes down.

This means their main driver is to get you committed as soon as possible, so don’t be rushed.

Take your time to understand exactly what you are buying. (The current ‘Limited Offer’ will be replaced by a different offer of similar value)


Because of the way the rep is paid their main interest will be in people who are committed to buying a house rather than ‘Tyre Kickers’.

If you don’t:

Just tell them “you are starting to look at houses”, take some brochures, and have a look around.

When you have a good idea of what you want, and just as important ‘How Much Can You Afford’ then make an appointment to go back.

It’s probably best to do this midweek when it will be quieter and your children will be at school.

Length of Employment

Because of the lack of a basic wage, weekend work, and the wait for commission, turnover of representatives can be high.

This means that it’s really important to make sure that all offers, and agreements, are clearly put down in writing.

You don’t want to get further down the track arguing for an upgrade that was verbally agreed by someone who you are then told is now an ex-employee.


See ‘Choosing a Builder’ for more posts


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Heating – Which Is Cheapest?

Thinking about how you are going to heat your new Home and get Hot Water?

Heating costs do vary depending on state and depending on whether you live in the bush or city.

Historically the cost of heating a home has been, from cheapest to most expensive:

    • Solar. (check out Passive Solar)
    • Wood , Collected. (Will take around 10 days to gather enough for winter)
    • Heat Pumps.
    • Natural Gas. (The way gas prices are going up, $300-$400/year announced today! this may no longer be the case soon!)
    • Off-Peak Electricity. 
    • Peak Rate Electricity. (peak rate electricity is relatively cheap in Tasmania)
    • Wood, Purchased. (Better to buy at least 1 cubic m rather than buying at the servo)
    • Liquified Petroleum Gas. (It’s not just the cost of the gas you also have to pay for cylinder rental)

Whichever method you choose its going to be cheaper if you get the House Size and the Insulation right!


See Comparing Gas and Electricity for more information

See Heating for more posts




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Mork’s House

Morks House 1

I’m old enough to be reminded about the TV show Mork and Mindy, where Mork(Robin Williams) arrived on Earth in an Egg shaped spaceship.
morks house 2
Mork would feel quite comfortable in this home.

As for me I’m not to sure about sleeping on that bed ‘shelf’.

This transportable unit called “BLOB VB3″, was designed by Belgian architectural firm dmvA.

I found these and additional photos at the Home-Reviews.com website.

For more Unusual House Photos, Wins, and Fails, have a look at: What the………………….?


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Safety Switches & Circuit Breakers

Did you know there are two safety devices in your electricity cabinet to keep you safe?

Safety Switches

Safety switches were originally known as Earth Leakage Circuit Breakers (ELCB) but are now more commonly Residual Current Devices (RCD)

These super fast switches (less than 1/20th of a second) cuts the power off the instant a fault has been detected to protect you from serious electrocution.

RCDs generally control several individual circuits.

The RCD checks the incoming and outgoing current at your switch board. If the current isn’t balanced a person may be getting an electrical shock. The RCD’s are designed to disconnect quickly enough to minimise the risk of death’ or serious injury .

A RCD will always have  test button’ like the units below, which should be regularly (monthly) pressed to check that it is working.

Safety switch

There are extra RCD’s in this installation as we have 3 Phase Power for our Instantaneous Water Heater rather than the single phase power in a typical house.

Circuit Breakers

circuit breakerCircuit breakers are provided for each individual circuit in your house.

A circuit may be a single appliance, several power outlets in a part of the house, or a number of light fittings.

Their purpose is to stop you adding too much load to the circuit, which can cause the cables to heat up, leading to a fire risk.


For more posts see Electrical


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Are You Prepared for a Bushfire?

bushfire 1
It will soon be Summer . . . . and Bushfires will be in the News!

Live close to the Bush? . . . . Are you and your new home ready in case a fire is heading your way?

Its not just making your new house Fire Resistant.

Questions You Need To Answer

  • Have you cleaned up your garden
  • Will you leave based on a Fire Danger Rating?
  • Where will you stay?
  • Which routes will you take? (don’t just have one route in case a fire is already in the area)
  • What will you take with you?
  • What about your pets or livestock?
  • How will you stay informed about warnings and updates?
  • What will you do if there is a fire in the area and you cannot leave?
  • How can you defend the house?

When thinking about questions like these remember that a fire can start at any time . . . . so think about what to do if only one person is at home.

Check With Your Fire Authority

This isn’t a comprehensive guide just a reminder to start you thinking.

Check with your State Fire Authority for more detail about how to make a fire plan.


See Bushfire for more posts


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