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Faster hot water

The hot water in my house used to be provided by an immersion heater fed from a cold water tank in the loft (2 decades ago) and was distributed by 22mm pipe. When a gas boiler was installed the original pipes were left in place.

Having recently had the boiler replaced (with a higher maximum hot water output) I investigated what I could do to reduce the time taken to get hot water out of the tap and discovered that the 22mm pipes leading out of the cupboard went further than expected.

A 22mm pipe holds more than twice as much water as 15mm pipe so this results in a lot of unnecessary water in the pipes between the boiler and the taps. While this has little impact on the shower (mostly fed by newer 15mm pipe), it doubles the time taken for hot water to reach the tap in the sink because almost the entire run was in the old 22mm pipe (7 metres of it).

Even at a fast flow rate of 6 litres per minute that's an unnecessary additional 13 seconds for the hot water leaving the boiler to come out of the tap in the shower room and an extra 8 seconds for the kitchen sink at 10 litres per minute.

All of the 22mm pipes have now been replaced with 15mm pipes and the hot water now reaches the tap faster:

[Boiler with hot water pipes cut off] [Water pipe in 22mm branching off to 15mm]

[Water pipe in 15mm branching off to 15mm] [Pipe behind shower room sink in 22mm]

[Pipe behind shower room sink in 15mm] [Boiler reconnected with 15mm hot water pipe]

Laser Engraved Light Switch

I've used a laser cutter to engrave a light switch with symbols for the two switches outside my shower room:

  • Shower light and extractor fan
  • All other lights in the room
[White 2 gang light switch with a shower symbol engraved above the left switch and a light bulb engraved above the right switch]

Restoring a Garden Bench

More electric sanding, the remains of my mahogany wood stain and rubber feet... the second bench is now complete and back in the garden:

[Bench before starting work] [Bottom side of the bench after partial painting]

[Seat bars after painting] [Top side of the bench after partial painting]

[Bench outside on slabs next to the greenhouse]

Garden Bench with feet

I've now added rubber feet (solid rubber door stops) to the first garden bench and put it back outside:

[Bench leg with rubber door stop on the bottom]

[Bench outside on slabs next to the fence]

House Power Meter

I've recently installed an 80A Power Meter on the electricity supply to my house. It measures the current active, reactive and apparent power as well as providing a count of the total active and reactive energy. These reading are updated every second.

After installing a 100A isolator and pulling through extra cables, the installation of the power meter was relatively straight forward. It's in an enclosure with an 80A circuit breaker, located inside to avoid inconvenience if it ever trips, and because the distribution board doesn't have enough space for it.

[Closed metal enclosure with electricity supply input/output cables and RS485 cable] [Metal enclosure with lid open showing 80A and 6A circuit breakers and the Power Meter] [Metal enclosure with the cover off showing the circuit breakers and Power Meter] [Electricity distribution board with the live supply out of the 100A isolator going via the Power Meter]

I intend to write an Android app for a real-time view but for now I'm just collecting historical data:

Bar chart of total active energy usage for each day of the month with detailed views of active/reactive power usage and supply voltage

Restoring a Garden Bench

I've started restoring my garden furniture as the existing paint is now peeling off everywhere. I'm using an electric sander which is a lot easier than sanding by hand. Some mahogany wood stain has then been applied with a paintbrush to the bench, floor covering and my clothes.

The first bench is now complete:

[Bottom side of the bench after sanding] [Seat bars before sanding]

[Top side of the bench after sanding] [Bottom side of the bench after partial painting]

[Top side of the bench after completion of painting]

Let There Be Light

The garage electricity supply had been unusable for a while; there appeared to be a fault somewhere on the supply cable (which was only protected by some discontinuous piping) causing it to frequently short out and trip the circuit breaker.

A new armoured cable has now been laid and I've replaced the customer unit. I now have working lights in the garage and the garden with plenty of scope for future electricity use up to 63A... there are now extra sockets, including some outside for the lawn mower.

[Armoured cable with outer layer partially stripped] [Armoured cable with armour layer cut] [Armoured cable fitted to gland with inner layer stripped]
[Garage consumer unit with supply armoured cable fitted] [Powered garage consumer unit] [Electricity meter board with garage supply switch]

Network Speakers

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I had an unused Mini-ITX computer which I can make silent (by removing the fan) as long as it isn't doing anything too intensive, and some spare speakers from a broken CD player... so I put together some remote speakers to play music on.

With some cheap bamboo cane and tie wraps I've mounted them at the head of my bed. The server boots over the HomePlug network allowing MPD to connect to it. I'll add a wireless remote control soon.

Speaker frame Speakers at top of bed Remote speaker server


Bookcase (back) The back is now on and there are a lot of bent nails in my bin.

Bookcase (front) It fits quite well in the space available.

Unfortunately not all the books do. Books too tall to fit in the bookcase


Bookcase (front) Apparently some people think I can't put together a bookcase... it only wobbles a little bit.

Bookcase (back) I'll wait until tomorrow morning to make lots of noise putting the back on.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the DIY category.

Cycling is the previous category.

Edinburgh is the next category.

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Content authored by myself is just my honest opinion. If you find any words or pictures menacing or offensive, stop reading now.

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