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EU passes right to repair law

 
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https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/eu-approves-groundbreaking-right-to-repair-laws/?utm_campaign=newsletters&utm_medium=weekly_mailout&utm_source=03-10-2019

I think it's great that the EU is requiring manufacturers to make things, like appliances, that have to be repairable instead of cheaper to replace. Not as bad as tossing everything because you don't like the color but just as wasteful. I hope the US does this too.
 
pollinator
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I really like to concept, and HOPE that it includes more products. Or at least manufactures see the light, and start making their products more "fixable".

We are raising a following generation of people that cannot fix, just because many products cannot be fixed. I actually like fixing things.
 
Travis Johnson
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Maybe I am about to step on a Soap Box here, but I would like to expand upon on what I was trying to say.

When we first went to sell our house, the realtor explained that almost everything has to be fixed on a house now because the younger generation buying their first houses, have no skills in which to repair them. basically they have not been taught, and so what happens is, the bank gets the loan for the house, and then in a few years time, the value of the house has DEPRECIATED because things never get fixed. So now, they insist everything is in good shape before the sale is made, so they have a chance of maintaining value.

That may be a hidden cost to society, but it is still an enormous cost. And it takes away from the next generation who do not understand that things can be fixed, or that home renovations do not have to be seen on television, but can be experienced.

Heck the inability to fix things even angers me. I grew up poor and HAD to fix things, or build it myself. If I did not want to do that, the alternative was to just go without!

This year I broke my bushog...again. But it is also 54 years old. The thing is, even tearing it all apart, replacing some bearings, a seal, adding some steel, etc...will still be cheaper than a new one. More so, I have heard of people buying a new bushog, and since it is built so cheap, it did not survive the first use even. I used one that lasted 54 years, I am NOT going to stand for one that lasts for mere minutes!
 
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One of the problems with repairs like the one travis mentions is it takes a LOT of money to have the tools to do it, sure you may only have to buy each one once but to start from scratch is a huge outlay.

As to household appliances most will never be worth getting someone to repair for example our washing machine, it cost 1000DKK new call out fee for a technician is 500DKK before you've paid for any parts or labour (or the 25% tax). It simply isn't worth it, take it to the tip and buy a new one. (the legislation specifically says that repairs are only available to professionals so you cannot buy the parts as a private consumer)

The rule only applies to lighting, washing machines, dishwashers and fridges. I'm not sure what they mean by lighting, I can't say any light I have ever owned has broken without my dropping it.

We bought this house a few months ago, and have replaced four taps, the shower (tap and shower head) and fixed and replaced several broken light switches (illegally) A friend put in a new earth on his house (danish circuits do not generally have an earth) Not everyone has a problem with small repairs, I can do basic electrics (illegal) basic plumbing (illegal if it's black water plumbing or directly connected to the mains) I can even lay bricks and point. but I have no equipment beyond basic hand tools, think spanners/etc we don't even have a work bench or power in the room it would go in.
 
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Skandi

> tools... money

At least in the U.S., it's  not directly the money, I don't think. Buying a garage full of tools, pretty much everything (well, reasonable, sorta) you little heart desires, might run $3000. $5000 if you're a greedy idiot. But those tools _should_ and can last 50+ years - at least - so $100/year for the gold plate version, but should be considerably less. Very likely to be less, since most people, sensibly, don't spend what they don't need to at the moment. So say, a "starter kit" for $1000. And I'm not talking Harbor Freight (U.S. based cheap shit retailer that, in many ways, provides good value). The U.S. is the Land of the Tool. I think Europe is, say, twice as expensive in that market, but that _still_ isn't that much when only buying what you need as you need it. Good used tools here go for much less than that. Really old GOOD tools (40+ years old) like certain floor tools, table saws, drill presses, etc, go for a song. I can get a solid old Craftsman cast iron 10" table saw for $50; two hours tuning and maybe another $50 for something broken (but usually not) and I have a tool that functions as well and usually (after a year of work) better than anything new anybody can buy for $500. Don't know if there is that kind of market in Europe.

Anyway. What I started out on was this: The actual cost of tools, in the U.S. anyway, is the SPACE they take up. And I capitalized that because it needs to be understood that tools take _real_ space. If you avoid floor tools, that can be cut way back, BUT... Part of the space thing is the area to _use_ the tools well. That means a work table you don't have to clear for din din. It also means a place to dump, and store, material because that is the other hidden cost of DIY. Not so much the $cost of the materials, but the time spent finding and going and getting them. When I need some wood, 95% chance I can grab it from my pile in 2 minutes; when I need a screw, 80% chance I have some cataloged on the shelf; when I need glue, I've got five kinds ready on the shelf. Etc etc. That takes space. That space is what makes DIY actually work in terms of time and money.

Tools don't help you if you have to spend half you time finding them, digging them out, clearing space to work in and then cleaning up that space again and wiggling the tools back into their cranny - every day. There is more than one way do things, but I want to take care of two 100 yr houses quickly and w/out drama. I would have trouble if I had less than the 15'x30' work space I've had for 50 years. It's not as heavily used as it once was and on pure hour/day occupancy, it could easily be considered "wasted space". But it lets me take care of two old wood frame houses - concrete, tile, plumbing, electrical, framing, trim, paint, landscape; oh, and vehicles. I draw the line at roofing.  My basic shop is a 12x12 basement area w/7-1/2' ceiling. However. I absolutely must have, in addition, 15' x 5' x 1-1/2' deep shelving  to hold those tools I use at least a couple times a year. Being able to just walk up and grab the tool box off the shelf directly, knowing it works, it's sharp and has most of the consumables (blades, sanding belts, whatever) already in that box... _That_ is what makes it possible for me to actually get stuff done timely. The 12x12 space has a table saw at one end, chop saw on one wall and a drill press at the end of that wall. Cluttered work benches stand against the other two walls. A large "assembly table" (hollow core door on saw horses) takes up the center of the room. This room, messy as it becomes sometimes, provides what it takes to run 2,3,4, 5 projects at once and still grab tools to fix what comes up elsewhere.

The rest of "my" space (all told 15'x30' as above) is fully taken by materials which I draw on at least weekly. Again, there are different and more efficient ways to do things, so I or anybody could certainly get by with less materials space. But it really helps to have stuff at hand when it's needed.

Space, I should say interior or at least protected space, with good light and power, is the _real_ show stopper for DIY, at least for D-all-of it-Y. That's the equivalent of feeding yourself fully off your garden. But it's not necessary to do the whole enchilada. I do because I inherited the space and many of my father's tools and it's worth it to me. Others can do perfectly fine plumbing and electrical, keeping all their tools in a big closet; their work is almost all "on site" and so they don't need the assembly space, but material space would still help. Glazing is a craft that can live in one tool box; but it benefits hugely from a big table to lay windows down flat when rebuilding them. Tile work is "on site" but needs several SF of space if you want mechanical tile cutters. Carpentry can live in half a room; 100 years ago it could live in a small closet but today we pretty depend on jobsite table saws, chop saws and they work _much_ better on tables rather than the floor. It adds up, but most people don't do everything and nobody does everything at once. But still. 12'x12' is a plausible size area and will give a person mostly what they need. From there, smaller will make life noticeably harder - and slower. Lots of great work done in smaller space, but it takes longer and requires greater skill to do the same quality.

So. In my experience, from where I stand, good protected space is more critical to DIY than $$$. It creates/provides the convenience needed to allow getting straight onto a job w/out logistics eating up too much of your time, energy and commitment.


FWIW.
Rufus
 
Travis Johnson
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In Maine, we are fortunate in that we can repair our homes. I do not need someone licensed in the trades to work on my house. I can do the electrical, the plumbing, really anything legally because it is my house. I cannot go wire up my neighbors house of course, as that would be illegal, but with my own home I can. And here we have the added benefit of not having any building codes. To me that just makes sense, and I think because of it, a person gets a lot better home. Like my other house, I have outlets galore in there, over 100 outlets just because when you have a wall opened up, THEN is the time to install an outlet. They cost 69 cents, why NOT put one in, and save having to reach for an extension cord when you are doing something with a corded tool?

But Rufus is right as well, having a place to work is indeed critical. Since access to the basement is hard on this Tiny House, tool storage for me sucks right now. My tools are scattered all over the place, and it is hard to remember, what is where.

I do have a big barn that I can someday use, but it is so full of stuff that I have to clean it out. We hope to do that this winter just so we can have some work space and storage.
 
Rufus Laggren
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> electrical outlets...

YESSS!  The biggest easiest no-brainer in housing and the grossest and ultimately most costly price cutting dodge in the industry. Serious personal peeve here. <g>

But they need more than $.69@. Depending on how you add up your load center and run your rough wiring and how many thumbs you have at box-fill time and trim out, probably at least 30 minutes each - and up - plus outlets and a few breakers. Still, just about the cheapest big value to be had.

Cheers,
Rufus
 
Travis Johnson
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Rufus Laggren wrote:> electrical outlets...

YESSS!  The biggest easiest no-brainer in housing and the grossest and ultimately most costly price cutting dodge in the industry. Serious personal peeve here. <g>

But they need more than $.69@. Depending on how you add up your load center and run your rough wiring and how many thumbs you have at box-fill time and trim out, probably at least 30 minutes each - and up - plus outlets and a few breakers. Still, just about the cheapest big value to be had.

Cheers,
Rufus



A bit of research told me that upscaling wiring gauge size from 14 to 12 gauge will pay for the larger wire due to electrical resistance cost in just 6 months. Up grading to 10 gauge wire will pay for the upgrade in 4 months time. I do not do the #10 gauge trick because it is a lot harder to work with that size wire, but using the same appliances, my new Tiny House, wired properly has a savings of 50% per month over our old house.

Part of that is from the installation of a Green Switch.

A green switch is just a switch by my front door, that when we leave, we shut off. That kills the power to 90% of my home, and it has saved me simply because there is very few electrons flowing in our home when we are gone. This does so much because I have it wired into my water pump, so there is no way I can have a flooded house when I get home, and there is 90% less chance of having an electrical fire, and there is never that fear when you are on a trip that you left the stove on. In my house that is wired to the Green Switch, so we take a picture of the green switch shut off when we leave, then just refer to the picture on my wife's phone..."yep, we shut the switch off, everything is good".

If my wife and I ever get real jobs it would save me even more money because we would be gone more, and use it even more. We are not just turning off things that consume electricity, we are shutting down 90% of the wiring too! That is where the savings come in.

Now the 10% comes from what we call "Forever Power" which goes to certain outlets, like the stove, the refrigerator, outside lights, etc. The things you want running when you are not home. Every bedroom has one as well, for such things as air conditioners, or the fish tank so Bubbles the Fish still gets her air. You have to really plan things out well before you start, and you have to spend more money up front for wiring since you have extra runs for the forever power outlets. But it is worth it.
 
Travis Johnson
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Rufus Laggren wrote:> electrical outlets...

YESSS!  The biggest easiest no-brainer in housing and the grossest and ultimately most costly price cutting dodge in the industry. Serious personal peeve here. <g>

But they need more than $.69@. Depending on how you add up your load center and run your rough wiring and how many thumbs you have at box-fill time and trim out, probably at least 30 minutes each - and up - plus outlets and a few breakers. Still, just about the cheapest big value to be had.

Cheers,
Rufus



Another is insulating the inside walls. This not only helps for sound control, but also helps a person have options for heating. With infants, it is nice to stick a heater in a room and not have the extra hat wasted outside that room.

I also put 36 inch wide doors in every door space...even closets in case there is a car accident and a person has to have a wheel chair. And putting plywood behind the drywall in a bathroom is money well spent. Not only can you mount a mirror, toilet paper holder, or towel rack anywhere you want, if you need grab bars because of that nasty accident, or Mom moves in with you in those senior years, you can put grab bars anywhere you want too.

I told this to a guy who wanted to buy a house we have and he was like, "You built this house right!" I sure did!
 
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To join your soapbox, I will add that in the US where I live, many of the young as well as middle aged people have grown so accustomed to the  cheap Harbor Freight type tools that unless its a one and done (hopefully) we don't see the wisdom in buying GOOD tools.

While I disagree, I have failed in my efforts to support a TOOL exchange, Makerspace, Time Bank and even Community Gardens because there was so little interest by the community I live in (Tampa). In addition, the local schools have been very slow to teach kids about sustainability, alternative careers to college, and even the Collaborative Process.

It is discouraging. Although I see some progress with grassroots efforts, and even organizations like Verge and other Green Building efforts, progress is impeded by the lack of knowledge at every level, but mostly by the greed of government officials and private businesses. I have hope that the Market will decide, and people will start wanting a more civilized discourse, and also a simpler life  that includes the satisfaction of knowing HOW to work on their own house and land, but an openminded view to the sacred economy. But first we have to get off our asses, away from our phones, and start doing instead of observing (and commenting)
 
theresa tulsiak
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Just because they are easier to repair doesn't mean you can. They just raise the price of the part to be incompatible with the time and money spent. Despite this, I attempted to repair a High Efficiency LG washer that spun so fast it not only shook my whole house. It was recalled and they turned the RPMs down but it eventually loosened the bolts which suspended the drum, causing the part  to drop down inside. Simply get it out and replace it right? After the repairman was truly ignorant about that basic task, several phone calls resulted in finally getting a part that included the entire assembly, I was unable to access the place to reattach, without cutting through the bottom - which I did. Unable to balance and attach this heavy drum alone I finally abandoned the project, sadly as there were any number of computerized circuits that I assumed someone could have used if they knew how. But I salvaged the drum and am composting in it.
 
Rufus Laggren
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> Green Switch

What a great idea. It does require real planning, but I can't see any downside at all. Boat's have a switch like that, no reason a house can't. Even more at stake with a house...  

I really like the take-a-pic-as-we-leave procedure! <G>  BT, wondered about that (well, similar stuff).

Theresa, I try to install stoves made before 1990 for the reason they are long lasting and repairable. Refrigerators, not so much. There have been real improvements in refrigeration and insulation in the last 15 years. Not that the quality has always maintained, rarely, actually. But the tech is so much more efficient that the newer stuff really does win out.

Heating plants are not a slam dunk. The new tech is really fantastic. European boilers are top quality; the U.S. versions are finally getting there. However, the "condensing" 98% boilers, while miracles of efficiency, absolutely require yearly maintenance by trained techs with special tools or you WILL be, not just less efficient, but bigtime SORRY. But they are very small, about size of the box a desktop computer arrives in. They work best with systems where the circulating fluid can do it's job well at low temperatures, say 125F., even less. For comparison, my old copper boiler circa 1975 circulates water at 180F. and doesn't like it when outside temps rise over about 35F - it's the opposite of the new condensing boilers, it wants to run HOT. When running full out on a -10F day, the new boilers don't get much better efficiency than old ones. So new heating tech needs to be thought out on a case by case basis. The old style boilers are _much_ harder to kill and an old fashioned standing pilot light which stays lit all summer long, keeps the boiler dry and saves $1000's in corrosion problems - for $10-15 or so a year in pilot gas. New design vs. old is not a no-brainer - one approach does work across the wide heating world.

Standard laundry machines.... Well, we're still running and repairing stuff from 1990, maybe 2000 is the newest, so I can't really comment.

But back on topic. It's not just an attitude of "young people" that favors replacement over personally repairing anything. It's their available time. We have dealt them a pretty hard environment. In the U.S. those "vested" find it overwhelmingly convenient to trumpet the virtue of work, work, work, work, work for everybody... Physical repairs require time, as well as space, and one needs to have a few brain cells functioning and some alertness left to have a chance of success. Arriving home after 9+ hours on the job at _least_ 5 days a week and an hour commute each way it's very hard to do anything but collapse with a grateful sigh. And the "gig economy", which means piece work and no dependable job hours, leads not to "free time" (well, a friend once defined "free time" as those hours nobody pays you; cynical cuss) but to a scramble to land the next gig with little peace of mind needed to think, learn and apply skills. And when a "gig" turns up, you take it NOW - drop what you're doing and Go. Or else lose it. Running off and leaving the kitchen sink spread out over the floor is going to make for a very sad home coming later.

But it's always been "best... and worst..." (Dickens). In the end the only real solutions I see are to set a good example for children and try to teach them well. And I actually don't believe particular "skills" or even politics matter nearly as much as basic love of life and the need and value of paying attention and respecting what we see. "This too will pass...".

Regards,
Rufus
 
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