Archive for June, 2013

LCRA? WaterSense? No sense! Big cents!

The septic was connected up today and the LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority) inspector came. (LCRA regulates the water around Austin and Lake Travis). Surprisingly, he was happy with the septic, but not our lovely water-saving Toto wall-hung dual-flush toilets.

It seems LCRA has recently adopted a rule that says toilets should use no more than 1.3 gallons per flush (gpf). Federal regulations state no more than 1.6 gpf, but LCRA, quite reasonably, want to go further. US EPA WaterSense guidelines define a High Efficiency Toilet as being one that uses 1.3 gpf or less on average.

Ours is dual-flush, using 0.8 gpf for a number 1 and 1.6 gpf for a number 2. The manufacturer claims this equates to an average of 1.1 gpf or less. Seems reasonable, I do more number 1’s than number 2’s.


This website lists certified EPA WaterSense High-Efficiency Toilets. And guess what? Ours is on it.

California has brought in strict rules, including the 1.3 gpf average, but allow the dual-flush solution, so ours would be fine there, as it’s an average, not a maximum.


But it’s no good for LCRA. They have decided that since you can flush more than 1.3 gpf, these toilets don’t comply with their regulations. They have to come out and be replaced with 1.3 gpf single-flush units. LCRA can be proud to say they have the strictest and most bone-headed set of rules in the whole of the USA. Something they can truly be proud of.


One of our three Toto HET dual-flush 0.8 / 1.6 gpf USA EPA WaterSense certified, CalGreen approved toilets. Goodbye toilet you have to go, you’re too clever by half for LCRA.


Redlink Internet Connected Thermostats

June 24, 2013 1 comment

We have 6 zones so 6 thermostats. At the weekend I tried to hook up the thermostats to the cloud (internet) via the Honeywell Redlink Internet Gateway.


It’s so simple the instructions say. Just press the button on the thermostat to put it into wireless pairing mode, and then press the button on the bottom of the internet gateway to pair it to the thermostat. Except it turns out that the button to press is not on what I would call the ‘thermostat’, but on the wireless transceiver on the A/C unit itself. What I would call the ‘thermostat’, ie the thing on the wall that you set the temperature on, is in fact really a ‘wireless remote control’. So having puzzled for a while as to why there was no button to press on the thermostat (sorry ‘remote control’), I finally tried pairing to a ‘thermostat’ (wireless transceiver on A/C unit).

Success! One thermostat paired, 5 to go. This is gonna be easy!

Uh-uh! Attempts to pair a second thermostat resulted in total failure. No can do. Only one would pair. But this is so easy, it must be true, I read it on the internet. OK, so several more hours of cursing and swearing and I gave up and went home.

Then I researched it on the internet. And I discovered two interesting things.

1) The Redink Internet Gateway (aka RIG) only supports 4 thermostats. I have 6. So that’s gonna be a problem. But it doesn’t explain why I can’t pair more than one. And  any case, you can have more than one RIG, so I just need two. An easily solvable problem.

2) I discovered on a HVAC contractor’s forum that after completion of one thermostat, you must press the pairing button on the A/C unit (aka thermostat) again to toggle it out of pairing mode. Otherwise it stays in pairing mode and prevents any other thermostat pairing. Bingo! The information I needed. Nowhere in any Mitsubishi or Honeywell documentation is this fact mentioned. No where. Believe me, I’ve read it all. I had to go to a forum to find this vital piece of information. Well vital for anyone with more than one thermostat anyway.

Armed with this information, I went back today and knowing I need two RIGs, I divided the house into two, and since I only have one RIG now, paired one set of 3 thermostats to the RIG. Easy! When you know how. And no thanks to the appalling Honeywell and Mitsubishi documentation which always assumes there is only one thermostat and never tells you what to do to pair a second one.

So for now I have three of the six zones connected up. Here is what the control looks like on my laptop.


And here is the same on my iPhone


I will have to wait for the second RIG to come for the other 3 zones (bedrooms area). The HVAC contractor is supplying it free of charge, since it should have come with two anyway. In any case, they are only about $90-$100 each. I can’t understand the four zone limit per unit though. It seems odd. Not that more than four zones is common, but I just can’t see that it’s either hard or expensive to implement more.

Dining Room

Is that thing above, labeled ‘Mitsubishi Electric’ a thermostat?

No fool! It’s a remote control. The thing below is a thermostat. Obvious, innit?

Don't call me a thermostat

Don’t call me a thermostat

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Spy hole


I fitted a door spy hole this morning. On the outside it looks like a regular spy hole.

But inside it is a bit easier to see.


The doorbell looks good but the electricians damaged the wood, I think they didn’t pre-drill. This Accoya wood is brittle.


Old fashioned chrome bell is OK though.


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