Random Thoughts [Home Improvement/Decorating Edition]

Is that tall cabinet on the right a refrigerator, or storage? Man, I'd love a big "pantry" cabinet like that.

I think it’s designed to be either or. It came with a plastic vent thing for the lower face of the cabinet by the floor that you’d cut out for I assume heat dissipation. I’m just using it for pantry storage.

Looks good! I like the design of the hanging cabinets especially.

Thanks! the hanging cabinets are ultimately what sold me on this, also fitting into the space I have with zero modifications. I am no carpenter so the less I need to cut, the better.
Finally got around to installing my latest smart home additions, which required pulling a blue Neutral wire from the central junction box down to the switch box I was mounting these in. Reading up on the internets, it seemed easy enough, use one of the existing wires to pull its replacement and the new wire through by taping them together. And then the pulling cable came out without the other cables attached to it... There was some swearing, and I decided to give it another try, now trying to pull three wires with one (because two went so well!) using a LOT more tape (length, not girth, of course, it still needs to snake through turns in electrical conduit) And somehow that worked...
Some impromptu switch box modifications and blanking plate modifications later, because these two devices are much wider than what fits inside a standard double switch box, which will probably get rectified some time in the future by mounting two new switch boxes at the correct distance from each other. Probably at the same time we tackle the quite terrible job we did with the glassfibre wallpaper we did when we moved in (see creases in pic below.)
But the end result looks quite snazzy...

Now I "just" need to spend some time properly setting up all the features this panel has... For now it's just light switches for the left three buttons (two of the built-in relays are used for dumb light fixures, the middle one tells home assistant to turn on the smart light bulb in the third fixture in the living room) and the right two buttons control the awning in front of the main window)
After the plumbing clogged and backed up toilet wastewater into the nice new shower (again), and had a camera sent down the line...

This morning I dropped off the deposit check for the pending $17,000 plumbing repair job.
This morning I dropped off the deposit check for the pending $17,000 plumbing repair job.
Yeah that kind of crap I was dreading when we called the crapblasters over a few weeks ago… luckily, just 40 years of stuff.
$17,500 later...
New sewer lateral, city-mandated cleanout port, and under-the-street replacement of the connection to the city main.

And then overnight, some dipshit carved initials right into the center of the brand new sidewalk section in 8" tall, roughly carved, indecipherable letters and scratches, right smack dab in front of the walkway to our entry door, so every single guest to our house will have to walk over the "DVI Δ" (closest i can figure out) writing. My designer-by-trade significant other was piiiiissed.

But, at least now we can flush toilet paper, which we haven't been able to do for a month. Which has been a bummer with my colitis and my 8-14 trips to the can every day. 😅
city-mandated cleanout port
Yeah that sounds like quite a good idea tbh. When we had the pipe blasters over we had to dig up ours, since we somehow ended up with a bunch of earth and flowers on top…

Yes it’s a full size manhole, as the sewer pipe (150 mm diameter) sits about 3 m down.
Is that hole for men or for mice? 😜
Yeah the point I was trying to make is that the pipe from our house to the sewer (middle of the road) doesn’t correspond to that 80cm manhole cover… there’s just a 3m drop, at the bottom of which you’ll find a similar little cover as the one in necrojoes picture. It’s a bit of a weird setup (could’ve just put it all into / underneath our basement instead of 50 cm out front, for example… to make access just a smidge easier).
Have press truck, acquire cacti.


Time to replant my cactus patch as soon as the weather stabilizes a bit. In the meantime, I have a very sneakily prickly porch, haha.
Toto's washlet (bidet) product stack seems to be designed exactly the same way as Apple with their laptops.

When you look at the feature list of all of the models side-by-side, there's always *something* that draws you up to the more expensive models. Oh, sure, this one has the satinitized self-cleaning water, but it's only to clean the wand, not the bowl. You want the bowl to get the same antimicrobial water spray? Well sure, you go up to the next model. Oh, but that model has a really crappy remote. If you want the RF remote with presets, then you go up a model. Oh, that one only comes in round, not the elongated shape you need? Well, then step right up to the next mo---oh, darn...that one's been discontinued. And its "replacement" in the lineup is $200 more than last year's model. 😅
Oh man PV is a nice thing... even more so if the roof is a little "suboptimal" from the classic "maximize total production" perspective (south facing 30° slope kind of thing). More east-west-split spreads the production a little more evenly across the day and thus enables better self-consumption.

Look at muh numbers for March (March!! It's not even proper spring yet...):

that gives us pretty much exactly 80% self-sufficiency including heat pump and hot water as well as charging the car (270 of those 769 kWh). Even the battery seems to have done a very nice 0.8 full cycles per day. Could be better (i.e. less feed-in, more self-consumption), but that'll happen on it's own with the heat pump solar excess thing going on soonTM.

Since I changed some things around in Home Assistant late February, my data for anything earlier than March is a little screwed up and I don't have any clue about battery usage - but still, the cold and dark half year, which I'm very happy with... plus september.
MonthTotal consumption [kWh]production [kWh]to grid [kWh]from grid [kWh]self-sufficiency [%]EV Charging [kWh]*
* EV charging is included in total consumption.

edited a little for clarity. also have some colorful charts that I bungled together from the data.

edit 2 for further clarification: there will never be 0 kWh from and to grid in month. the inverter doesn't react fast enough to changes in consumption and production, so the actual power to/from the grid is never actually zero, but at least in the single, mostly low double-digit watts. an average discrepancy of say 5 W over 30 days is already 3.6 kWh - so there's always going to be something there. just in case you're wondering why it's never actually zero, when from appearances it clearly could be ;-)
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That looks pretty awesome tbh.... I want to do the same but my house/roof is too tiny and crucially, oriented the wrong way with how the sun goes.... which kinda sucks.
"free" electricity (and therefore "free driving") sounds to be too good to be true, but as you're demonstrating, it isn't!

One big problem I have though, is that usually when the sun is out (and electricity is free) I'm not at home to use it, so I will need a battery to store it. Also, I drive a LOT more than you : my car uses about 800 kwh/month, which exceeds pretty much your whole production.

Follow up question : as you use around 800-1000 kwh per month (like I do) but only 200-300ish goes to the car, what other things are using that much electricity? I'm guessing heatpump?

I kinda have the same 70/30 split car/house going on, except the other way around.... or is my house super frugal?
It's interesting. I'm looking at houses and this is the potential for a house I'm interested in, according to a calculator site. :hmm:

I'm guessing heatpump?
This. Consumption should go down noticeably with higher outside temps… just in time for increased pv production 💩 In summer I fully expect 60-70 kWh/day regularly.

if the car is never home during the day it’s a bit meh, because you wouldn’t ever put such a large home battery to compensate for that (we have 13 kWh). As it is I’m currently only at the office two days a week, so most of the charging simply happens on the other days.

It's interesting. I'm looking at houses and this is the potential for a house I'm interested in, according to a calculator site. :hmm:

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ENORMOUS! Yeah that seems very nicely south-ish oriented. For reference, our solar is ~10 kWp at ~60° (from 0°=N, so slightly north facing even) + ~4kWp at ~240° both at 38° angle + 2kWp on the balcony at 150° and basically vertical (this one goes great in winter with low standing sun).
Put a Nuki smart lock 4 (basically one of those external motors for your lock) on our door and was actually positively surprised by how easy it was to get into home assistant via matter without any bridge or other bullshit. The promised matter 1.2 feature of distinguishing between „unlock“ and „open“ (as in: pull the latch) doesn’t seem to be there yet, but I honestly only use the thing for locking the door in the evenings, for the time being, anyway. it’ll get there. Making the natter connection was painfully slow, as it always seems to be with matter, but I didn’t have any hiccups (unlike other people it seems). So, yay I guess. The bloody thing is very loud though, despite the newer generations stoßen being much quieter than the old ones…
So we had this bit of unused space next to our stairs facing our kitchen that I originally debated putting some storage in for seldom used plates etc and to put the coffee make on top of - only to discover we don’t actually need any more storage and moving the coffee maker further than 2m from the sink is also dumb.
So instead, we decided having a bench with a few kallax style cubbies would be nice. Added complexity because of the way the stairs curve down (hence the slimmer end) and a not quite straight wall on the left (that’s actually a 91° corner on the left there). In the end it worked out perfectly, with thin rubber strips on either side the thing sits SNUG and I didn’t even feel the need to actually screw it to the wall.
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I've had some maddening varmint issues lately — first in my attic, now back in my yard. The new neighbor has a dog, though, so I hope that fends away most of the varmints over time. I think they marked this house as an easy place to find food and/or things to chew up since my last neighbors sometimes didn't shut the trash cans all the way. Aaaaanyway, some varmint's been knocking over my cacti, so I've been slowly filling in the flower bed with any pads that get knocked over.



Prickly pears like this are pretty good about eventually growing new roots if they just fall over, but a vertical replant exactly where I want those to go distributes things a bit more evenly. I put down some mulch to discourage weeds from taking over, and it looks pretty good!

Also, the new insulated leather gloves I got to handle pushed-over cacti are what I probably should've had from the start. They're made for winter work, but are WAY less prone to having those painful little hair-like spines sneak through than the last (non-insulated) leather work gloves I used.

The entire patch got sprayed down with assorted repellents (mint spray and those rotten egg crumbles) and I don't think they've been back? I put a ton of ant killer pellets to get those out of there, too.

I will not thank the yard varmints for helping fill out the garden unless I can eat them in a stew, however. I know hicks. We have recipes.