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jack last won the day on November 18 2018

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  1. I'm interested too. Of all the things we've learned from building a new house, the quality of life improvement from having MVHR installed would put it at the very top of the list of things I'd include in a house if I were doing it all again.
  2. I did consider this, but from memory it would have voided the warranty.
  3. The problem is that 99% of appliances wouldn't be able to take advantage of such functionality if it existed. There's simply no way of signalling most appliances to start, other than manually setting a delayed start time. I couldn't even find a dishwasher that would take hot fill, so it sits there using resistive heating to heat cold water even when I have a full tank of hot water generated from an ASHP.
  4. jack

    Yellow planning application notices

    Our council sends them out to be put up by the applicant. Not sure what, if any, checks are done to ensure compliance!
  5. jack

    Architect Design v Self Design

    We engaged an architect from the start (two, actually - we didn't like what the first one designed so we replaced them fairly early on). For us, the second architect was an almost wholly positive experience. I was really impressed by the unexpected but excellent layout he came up with on his first go. It was completely different to what the first architect came up with, and to anything else we'd come up with over all the months we'd been sketching things out. I ended up being largely responsible for the outside design, but I don't think I'd have come up with anything like what he proposed for the layout. Another thing our architect was excellent at was the planning process. He's a local guy who almost exclusively designs very modern houses to be built in a conservative area where planning is pretty anti-modern. We got through planning first time with his help, and I don't doubt for a moment that his local knowledge got us there. I know there's a can-do spirit on this forum, and perhaps people genuinely have done as good a job as most architects would have managed in the circumstances. For me, I just wasn't willing to save a few thousand quid to risk a huge amount of money building something I'd come up with myself. Perhaps I should/could have been more self-confident, but ultimately each individual needs to make that choice.
  6. jack

    slow draining toilet

    You can get a special plunger for toilets. It's hollow with a bellows-type arrangement, and is far more effective than rubber plungers designed for sinks.
  7. jack

    New Build in Botus

    I was recently told by a Powerwall installer that, after Elon got kicked off the board following a couple of silly tweets, there was a change of policy. Before, the aim was market share growth, even if it meant little or no profit. The new policy is to increase profits.
  8. jack

    Electrician's insulator stripping tool.

    You may not want or need one, but the fact that there are tens of models of this type of stripping tool available suggests that this sort of automation is considered necessary by the market. Sure, saving a few seconds per connection if you're only wiring up a few sockets doesn't make the cost of a tool like this worth paying. I don't know how many double sockets we have throughout our house and garage. 50+, for sure. Every one of those is a double socket, then you have a huge number of lighting circuits, and all the other connections at the other end. Saving a few seconds and the cumulative impact on your wrists and fingers for each of hundreds of connections is worth it for my money.
  9. jack

    Electrician's insulator stripping tool.

    Interesting. Are these sidecutters with notches? Or just ordinary bladed cutters? I find the latter a bit fiddly to use, especially if I'm doing a lot of stripping of thicker wires. The electrician that wired our house used something like this: https://cpc.farnell.com/duratool/ws-150/wire-stripper-5-in-1-automatic/dp/TL09913 Having stripped innumerable wires using sidecutters in the past, these were a revelation - so quick and easy!
  10. jack

    Cordless tools - Ryobi?

    Ah, fair enough, I didn't realise location was an issue. I'm surprised FFX is only that much cheaper, although I think Screwfix sometimes does do a good deal on Makita drill/impact driver combos. Do check that you're comparing apples with apples as regards the battery size, number of batteries, and model of the tools themselves. The one criticism I have of Makita is the huge variety of similar tools they sell. Often, superseded models seem to hang around for years after their replacement is released (or there's a lot of old stock being sold).
  11. jack

    Cordless tools - Ryobi?

    We've just had a Toolstation open near us (Screwfix opened nearby about two months after we finished the build ). I find the variance in pricing amazing. I don't recall ever buying a power tool from either place - they're just never cheap enough, even on sale. Screwfix can be good value at times. I remember needing a pressure sprayer recently, and Screwfix was the cheapest place I could find one. Even ebay was no cheaper. But then I needed some stainless screws at short notice and Toolstation was 30-40% cheaper for what looked like very similar screws. Still, better than B&Q or Homebase for just about everything. It makes me angry how expensive those little blister packets of crappy quality screws are in those places.
  12. jack

    VAT increase on PV and storage

    You probably know this, but for those who don't: the flat rate scheme changed last year for businesses with low overheads (and hence low amounts of VAT to recover). The rates are now such that it makes little sense for people - like me - in this situation to stay in the flat rate scheme. It used to earn me a few percent on every invoice, but was hardly life-changing. Being VAT registered is a problem if your customers aren't VAT registered themselves, because it increases the cost to the end user. My electrician gets his clients to buy as much of his materials as possible to avoid being VAT registered, mainly to avoid him suddenly becoming 20% more expensive. In contrast, my work is all business to business, so it makes no difference to them whether I charge VAT or not.
  13. jack

    Cordless tools - Ryobi?

    Check the cost on the websites above - they're often quite a lot cheaper than Screwfix. Both Screwfix and the sites above do regular sales, so maybe wait unless you need to buy now. I like the way brushless tools operate, but theoretically there's more electronics to go wrong with brushless.
  14. jack

    Cordless tools - Ryobi?

    Definitely agree for higher-powered items like grinders and oscillating multi-tools - anything that uses a fair bit of power that you'll likely end up using for long periods. For example, I bought a nice cordless circular saw and ended up having to buy a cheap corded one because the cordless just didn't have enough grunt (and still drained a 4Ah battery at an alarming rate). For my money, a decent cordless impact driver and heavy-ish drill will go a long way on a building site. For the latter, I got the Makita DHP481Z on special for just over £100 and it's an utter beast. It's a bit too heavy for doing lots of lighter work like driving screws (although it will do that), but for drilling wood it's unbeatable. As an example, I had to drill 25 x 10mm holes into stacked softwood to the full depth of the bit, and it was effortless. I'd tried drilling fewer than half the number of the same holes using an el cheapo corded (but allegedly heavy-duty) drill and ended up burning out the brushes before I reached the last hole. Believe me, when you're trying to get a job done, the last thing you want is a tool that either doesn't work efficiently or craps out when you're halfway through something. I have clone 4Ah batteries, and for drilling/impact driver use, that's more than sufficient. The impact driver, in particular, just seems to go on and on with a single charge. A 4Ah battery takes less than half an hour to charge in any event, so worst case it's a cup of coffee while you wait.