A little to the left: the NBN installer searches for the best signal


Andrew Kerrby author page

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Friday April 15, Tuesday April 19, Thursday May 12

More power

Just before Christmas Alan the electrician had ‘livened’ up one circuit for power. Those three internal powerpoints were all we had to work with onsite for months (plus the two powerpoints in the meter box that we had before). Needless to say having more powerpoints, and especially lights, made a huge difference.


Ordered chaos: the meter box being wired in

Ordered chaos: the meter box being wired in


Black powerpoints are slightly more expensive than white ones but certainly look better against the form ply of the kitchen; likewise the white light switches and powerpoints match the whitewashed plywood and the old white paint on the recycled brick wall.


Rough and refined: the light switch installed on the recycled brick wall

Rough and refined: the light switch installed on the recycled brick wall


Exhausting, particularly in colder climates, is kind of essential, whether bathroom or kitchen. The disasters of mould currently plaguing the state and country are a result of society forgetting that houses need to be exhausted, which means that the heat goes out too, at some point, and very regularly. This exhaustion can be my mechanical means or simply opening the windows.


I was naive to think that the awning windows in the kitchen and the bathroom would draw out most of the steam. Then there’s also the odours to contend with – cooking up a spicy curry, and the after effects too. I have since decided to install a rangehood in the kitchen and an exhaust fan in the bathroom – some more work to get Alan back for.

Where’s there’s smoke

Every house needs a working smoke alarm. Simple. Smoke alarms are usually installed just outside bedrooms: this is also the case for 60k House – in the entry hallway. These days smoke alarms need to be both hard-wired (connected to mains power) and have a battery backup. This aims to ensure that the alarm is always working – even if the power is off or the battery is flat. If you have more than one smoke alarm they also need to be interconnected – one in, all in.


* If you’re reading this article now check your smoke alarm – it could save your life. Or just annoy your neighbours *


There are two types of smoke alarms: Photoelectric and Ionisation. The way each alarm type operates means that they detect fires at different stages. Photoelectric smoke alarms are designed to ‘see’ the smoke before it bursts into flames. They are able to detect slow burning smouldering fires significantly earlier than ionisation smoke alarms. Early detection gives occupants more time to safely escape. Ionisation smoke alarms are designed to ‘smell’ the smoke that comes from the flames of a fire. They are able to detect fast flaming fires but take longer to respond to smouldering fires.


Because most residential fires begin as smouldering ones, they are best detected using photoelectric smoke alarms. Fire and Rescue Authorities across Australia recommend the use of photoelectric smoke alarms when installing new and replacing existing smoke alarms.



Photoelectric smoke alarms are slightly more expensive than ionisation, but when it could save your life it’s money well spent. That’s the type Alan installed.


True to form, this project has been about priorities: a toilet before walls; a TV aerial before a front door; connected to the NBN before a working shower. A new connection to a new house in the bush was much easier than to an existing house in the city. Go figure.


I’ve only seen an NBN box installed once before – at my previous share house in town. I had forgotten the box needs to be plugged in, so located near a powerpoint – the router too. When the NBN installer came we had a walk through the house to decide where the best location for the box was. We agreed in the centre of the house, in the entry hallway – where there wasn’t a powerpoint. I already had the electrician coming back to move a light switch (the result of changing which way a door opened) so it wasn’t too much hassle to run another cable for a powerpoint down through the wall – once we prised the plywood sheet off to open up the wall.


Perfect spot for it: the NBN box, complete with green lights!

Perfect spot for it: the NBN box, complete with green lights!


I always intended to keep the north facing side of the roof clear for future solar panels and solar hot water. That meant everything else – vent to the toilet, TV aerial, NBN receiver, and possibly a future flue for a wood heater – needed to go on the south face of the roof. Unfortunately, due to regulations (again), the NBN receiver wasn’t allowed to go on the same post as the TV aerial – it needed it’s own support. When I saw the size of the receiver I could understand why.


Sun block: the NBN receiver - big enough to cause an eclipse

Sun block: the NBN receiver – big enough to cause an eclipse


I got a shock when I went outside for the first time and saw the receiver – it was so big it’s visible from space! The receiver collects it signal from the nearest tower – located just 5 minutes drive up the road in Woodbridge. Just like the TV aerial it was surprising how moving a metre one way or the other would affect the signal strength for the NBN.


Costs: Materials (powerpoints, circuit breakers, shrouds, cable, junction boxes, etc) – $662; Labour – $924; Smoke Detector – $40; NBN – free


Disclaimer: Any advice contained within this blog is of a general nature only and cannot be relied upon. Details provided are in good faith and relate specifically to this project. Any author will not be held responsible for advice or information presented.

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