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Everything posted by scook17

  1. Hard water in Germany

    This guy talks about a citrix acid water filter. Anyone tried this? I am getting annoyed with the calcium which gets on everything. Is there a name in German for this system?   (Skip to time 2:44)  
  2. Well, all car sales exports to the USA from Europe and elsewhere will soon evaporate:,capacity%20and%20manufacturer%20phase%2Dout.   Basically as a US person, you get up to $7500 USD refunded from your taxes on a new EV and up to $4000 USD on a second hand EV/PHEV. Requirement is the following is sourced from the USA or a free trade country (Canada, Mexico, Korea...) The 40% battery critical minerals requirement (2023) increases to 50% in 2024, 60% in 2025, 70% in 2026 and 80% in 2027 The 50% battery components requirement (2023) increases to 60% in 2024, 70% in 2026, 80% in 2027, 90% in 2028 and 100% in 2029   In addition, final assembly must take place in the USA.   So for a new EV buyer, $7.5K USD represents quite a considerable amount of the purchase price. Basically it will mean unless you produce and source in the USA, or the list of 'friendly countres', you will have no market, as your EV will be too expensive compared to 'local' counterparts.   Countries without free trade agreements notable include the European Union, Japan and China.   No wonder V.W. announced this week it will make it's next battery plant in Canada:   I wonder how many cars German car makers exported EV's to the USA and how this will affect German jobs.
  3. John Gunn & Partner - Independent insurance broker for expats

      By foreign, I assume you mean non EU, as EU members don't 'need' residency so to say.   I remember the sad story of a friend of mine who's mother lived in Austria, and who passed away pre-brexit. She was a pensioner and receiving a british state pension. She lived in Austria for a few years I remember, perhaps 4-5 years I would guess. One day my friend told me she was in the process of fighting to stay in Austria, as they had told her to leave because she had not enough money to stay in Austria. I was shocked that an EU pensioner could not also retire anywhere in the EU as many Brits head off to Spain once they retire.
  4. John Gunn & Partner - Independent insurance broker for expats

    Interesting for freelancers. Seems the goverment plans/had planned to make state pension mandatory for those 35 and under. Seems it was also discussed back in 2012:   Any know what the status is with such proposals?
  5.   For comparison, I have a smaller 5.8 KW/h system. It has produced over the past 5 years an average of 6.4KW/year. In year one, average was 29% own consumption, where as on of 2023, managed to get it to 40% own consumption. 40% BTW takes a lot of effort. Gambatte figures show just 14% own consumption. It depends on when you are using the power vs. when it's generated. Otherwise, expensive batteries.   Problem of course, as Gambatte says, is the huge installation costs. You can literally buy a balcony solar system and do everything yourself. That system can be on a garage, terrance, garden, shed etc. All you need is a power socket, or extension lead to the power socket. Solar energy goes to a little micro inverter box on the back of the solar and out comes 240volts which you just put into a standard plug socket. Note you can't use an inside extension cable outside, but need a water resistant one. These are the red ones with little flaps over the unused sockets you can buy in the hardware store.   Of course, Germany, being Germany said that's far too simple and there is no money in that that the state can somehow take a cut of, except MWST on the purchase price. So offically you have to have an electrician install a 'special' solar socket only used in Germany not anywhere else in the EU, so the electricity can be 'correctly' put into the house. This means some money for the local installers and an additional cost for you.   In my little village, I have noticed quite a few people have installed the solar balcony system over the past year or so.
  6. My neighbour who's building next to me, complained it seemed impossible to get the existing plans of where the utilities were actually laid. I printed out copies of the pipe placement, so where the utilities entered my property and gave them to him. So at least if it's a modern construction, the house next door has at least a clue where the pipes were installed, if not the actual plans, as I had. So maybe ask the neighbours.
  7.   I think this is the key issue, it's a 'common' underground car park. Therefore the committee decided blah blah. You have to first get the house owners committee to decide to allow any charger. Get together with the other owners and demand you can have whichever solution you wish to fit, OR the right to replace the standard solution. I assume the parking places are all allocated, so you get a dedicated spot. There is honestly no reason to charge a huge amount for a charging box.   The only reason I can think of is there has a salesman come and sell them on this complete solution. Maybe also the garage somehow cycles which cars get charged. If ever spot has an EV charger, then the amount of power needed is really quite large. The grid operator may demand a central power control mechanism.   Running the cabling needed to a Euro socket (not a charging box) in the garage cost me 350 Euros. I can put whatever charger box I want there and will likely opt for the Zappy charger: As I have solar and one day hopefully a battery in the garage. However, I have yet to even get an EV! One step at a time    But sure if I had a Tesla, sure I would prefer the Tesla charger as it's all on one app. Maybe just one of the costs of not really having your own house.
  8. I´m bored...

      Funny enough I used to know an old guy who was very into those Napoleon models and had the time to paint them. I think I still have a box of them down in the basement from many years ago he gave me in exchange for fixing his old laptop. I did have them in a display case once. Nice to see such skills.   Regarding dance and choirs. I can't say anything to choirs. Closest I come is SingStar. I am sure I only ever get invited by the kids to play this is because they need someone who is easy to beat.   But dance on the other hand is a fun thing to learn. So many guys have zero clue, and I would say I started that way too. If you actually go to lessons and they are really beginner classes, it can be a lot of fun. It helps tremendously with fitness and co-ordination. Eventually, if you persist, you do learn the steps. But a lot of guys either never start because they don't have a clue or no partner to go with. So girls, if you complain there are not enough guys, invite a male friend, persist, and maybe you end up with a good dance partner. Guys just never seem to 'take' to dancing like girls do, and just need that persistence and encouragement to avoid giving up.
  9. Fast growing trees - Landscaping ideas

      For flat areas where you do not want grass or other weeds, cardboard covered in wood chips is brilliant. The cardboard has to be put down in layers so the light is blocked. Takes 6 months or so to actually kill the most invasive versions, less so for the easier to remove ones. Cardboard breaks down as do the wood chips. Eventually you create a woodland like floor which you can walk on without mud on your boots and which over time feeds the soil just like a real woodland.   Have a steep north facing bank on the south side of my property (>45 degrees). Covered it with weed cloth which looks awful but better than all the weeds that would grow there and become oversized. It's not easily accessible to cut with a mower. The angle made it not a good idea to try to use such a device. Strimmer works much better. Last year I removed the 20cm or so of the top part, after it had killed off all the weeds. I dug a row and planted lavender. Bees love it, but the rest of the bank is still covered with the cloth. Weeds return in no time if left uncovered.   I was wondering what to plant there. Just occurred to me I could use the little retaining fences (10/20/30cm high) I have over from the trees. I could make a series of steps. Then you can use wood chips to keep out the grass.
  10. I see renters in Berlin can now get 500 Euros grant for a solar balcony  
  11. Buy some gravel from Hornbach and fill in the hole? Around 25 Euros per 100kg including the container to take it home. Load it yourself. Fine if you don't need too much.
  12.   I looked at EON a while back for cheaper EV charging. I found it was MORE expensive than standard electricity. Currently EON charge me 33ct/kwh gross. Just out of curiosity, looked up price for new customers. I am offered 37.5c, 40.7c or 41.54c. When I looked a while back the worst offer was more than 60c/kwh. They previous had tariffs for heat pumps and EVs, but i see the pages either don't work anymore or are no longer listed as an option.   As for the double counter, I remember them talking about a dual counter for the 'cheaper' electricity fed to the heat pump. The electricity company replaces the meter in the cupboard with a dual counter version.   On a side question, how much electricity does it take to run an EV? I am thinking running around the local shops, occasional trips across the city. Yes of course, it depends on the distance, but I am interested to get some actual figures of how many KW's people are using for their new EV. 
  13. Diesel cars banned in Frankfurt If you think taxi's drive around at least 10 hours a day, nearly 300+ days a year, I am amazed this took so long. As a taxi driver, why would you not being driving a large capacity EV? Surely the fuel cost alone has to make that worthwhile.  
  14. All things Tesla

      Imagine if, wow, you could just pay at the pump with a regular debit/credit card? For some reason it's not popular here in Germany, but just about all garages have the option if I think about the UK. Put the card in, select 20 Euros and it loads the car with 20 Euros worth of electricity. How about google pay, apple pay, ..., etc. It's just a simple NFC tag linked to a bank account.   Reminds me a bit of Metro, the one supermarket which requires a special card to use it.
  15. Fast growing trees - Landscaping ideas

      3.50 Euros from Hornbach for a large bag. use cardboard under the wood chips. Free if you collect it or ask neighbours.
  16. Installing a garden fence

      When you say 'handworker' charges, are you talking about the amount of money the handyman receives or the amount paid to the company who employs them? I could imagine the costs are quite different. To make figures easy, let's assume 100 Euros.   100 - 19% MWST = 84.03 Received. 3.5% trade tax x 490% (Munich) = 17.5% Trade Tax on profit. Hours = 100% profit. 17.5% - 13.3% max income tax, trade tax deduction = 4.2% effective trade tax. 84.03 - 3.53 = 80.50 80.50 @ 30% income tax (a guess) = 80.50 - 24.15 = 56.35   For most Bavarians, an additional 8% Church tax = ~4.50 Euros (I could not figure out what the 8% was based on). So of the 100 Euros paid per hour, the guys actually gets 51.85 Euros, or 51.85%. So for 90 Euros x 51.85% = 46.66 Euros he gets and 43.33 Euros is taken as taxes.   Now let's say I earn 90 Euros per hour in salary. I loose around half or more in taxes. So for every 1 hour this handworker is employed, I have to work 2 or more hours to pay the 90 Euros in the after tax money I get. Best solution IMHO, learn how to do stuff yourself and if you take twice as long, you break even. Have a DIY friendly person come and give a hand.    I would not recommend, btw, doing fencing or block paving. Both are hard labour jobs. Other jobs like painting and most of those in the garden, you can do/learn fairly easily.
  17. Go talk to a tax advisor. Key element here is are you an employee or a freelancer. The American definition of freelancer includes all sorts of people Germany see as employees. Most likely you are an employee working for a company which has no establishment in Germany.
  18. Fast growing trees - Landscaping ideas

      I live in Munich and have tried every one of the suggestions above except Rhubarb and Quince. Nectarines and Peaches seem to grow well, but are attacked by some bug which kills them after a while. Mulberries is one I tried and failed with, until I switched from Mulberry trees to bushes. Apples, pears, cherries and plumbs seem to grow well. Blueberries continuously seem to need feeding and did very well the first 2 years, but poorly after that, so still trying with these. Sanddorn is a new try for me this year. Bushes survived the winter, so maybe they work out. Cranberries I planted at the end of last year also seem to be doing well. Kiwi's I largely gave up on, as they consistently died. I will try again as I love them, so will figure it out one day. Figs are hit and miss. I would say the winter is too cold, but of the ones I planted, I still have one bush which comes up every year. Raspberries and Blackberries spread into areas you might not want them to go to, but produce just so much fruit. Citrus fruit like lemons, oranges also grow, but need to be inside over winter. Ditto for banana and pineapples.   It's fun figuring out what works, if you are not 'counting' on success and are happy to learn little by little.
  19. I wish I knew such things existed years ago:   In Germany seems they are called kachelofen, which turned up here for the search.   
  20. Diesel cars banned in Frankfurt

      Additional taxable income is: 12% pa (1%x12 months) for a petrol/diesel. 6% pa (0.5%x12) for an EV > 60K 3% pa (0.25%x12) for an EV <= 40K   60K x 12% = 7200 Euros additional salary. 60K x 6% = 3600 Euros additional salary.   7200 @ 42% income tax = 3024 Euros additional tax. 3600 @ 42% income tax = 1512 Euros additional tax.   So if you loose 3.6K in salary income from the employer. That is 300 Euros a month you give up, up to 42% of which you would have paid tax on anyway. Show me a 60K car you can lease for 300 Euros a month. At 3.6K for a 60K car lease, I would say it's a good deal. Half the personal cost for a leased EV vs. a diesel, I'd have to ask who'd take a diesel. As it was years ago, maybe it's a diesel you are referring to here?
  21. Diesel cars banned in Frankfurt

    EV car sales tanked in Jan. 2023 as subsidies are cut   PHEV (Hybrid) cars now excluded, where as a much better choice would have been to increase battery size and require zero battery usage below 50kmh if there is capacity.   104K EVs in Dec 2022 vs 18K EVs in Jan 2023 according to one article, different figures according to the other. As we head into recession, I  would argue car sales on the whole will plunge.  
  22. Diesel cars banned in Frankfurt

      Not sure what are 'our halls', but I am guessing you are talking about a school, gym or similar environment. It's sad that the electricity is not consumed and the surplus sold on, rather than it just being directed to the grid for profit. The amount paid for solar will be around one third, at most, of what the 'halls' are charged from the grid for drawing power. I might guess that it's simpler to get paid by the electricity company, than to charge the site plus the electricity company for their consumption. If the site is actually a bunch of apartments, then the billing is a nightmare unless it's part of a standing charge. By default with grid connected solar, your surplus production flows to the grid and anything turned on inside the house is first powered by solar before considering if there is a surplus or negative amount which needs to flow to/from the grid. Collect 12c for sending and pay 36c for receiving. Likely far more for commercial places like supermarkets.  
  23. Got to build a driveway

      You have cover the ground, but who's to say you have to loose the roses. Why not build a car port similar to one below:   Roses can grow up the pillars and over the top. Alternatively this potentially gives you space for solar panels.  
  24. MPU & foreign licenses

    In the UK you can take a driving test with an interpreter. I assume the same would be true in Germany.  
  25. woken up by neighbors alarm

      Maybe you make a present of a 'quiet' alarm clock, one you have already put on the other room so have tried out.