For questions generally relating to preventing or avoiding injury in the home or on the job site.

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1
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3answers
235 views

Is is safe to deal with wiring after only shutting off the room's fuse, but not the main switch?

I think the question title says it all: Given a distribution board in the house (220 VAC), is it enough to shut off only the room's fuses, or must one shut off the main switch for the board before ...
6
votes
2answers
783 views

Outdoor electrical outlet exposed to the rain

Besides tripping a circuit breaker, is there any risk created by a 120V electrical outlet getting wet from the rain? The outlet was installed on an outdoor patio by the builder, so it was intended to ...
0
votes
3answers
157 views

Are my outlets unsafe?

Some (but not all) of the electrical outlets in my kitchen look like this: (I don't know what this kind of outlet is called.) One of those outlets is where I plug in my toaster oven. In the last 6 ...
3
votes
2answers
351 views

What kinds of gloves should be used for working with mortar?

I am currently working on my eagle scout project, and I will be using mortar to put together part of my project (I know this doesn't completely apply to home improvement so if this is the wrong place ...
2
votes
1answer
50 views

Is there a danger of back flow from water heater while replacing a saddle valve?

We have a leaky saddle valve feeding our humidifier. We eventually want to get a real valve installed, but for now are looking for a cheap near-term solution. Here is my concern: the original ...
1
vote
2answers
60 views

Removing a leftover oil-burner safety switch?

When I converted from oil to gas heat, the contractors left the remote "emergency off" switch in the circuit. I've since been told that these are explicitly Not Recommended for gas furnaces. Is that ...
0
votes
0answers
42 views

Asbestos in my furnace closet - should I get rid of it?

I have a home built in 1958 with a closet inside the house that contains the furnace. When the house was constructed this closet was lined with asbestos as a safety measure. How dangerous is it for my ...
3
votes
3answers
113 views

What is a quick and easy way to disable a door so you can no longer use it?

I have a two story home with a one story garage attached. The garage has a flat roof. I can access the roof through a door in my upstairs bedroom. At one time the garage roof had a fence around the ...
2
votes
4answers
82 views

What's the recommended distance of a fire pit from a building?

I'd like to know if there's an argumentation-/science-based recommendation regardless of the specific laws in different countries. Boundaries/parameters of my question: fire pit for making a(n open) ...
-2
votes
0answers
98 views

Why do outlet faceplates use flathead screws? [closed]

I had to take the faceplate off of an outlet to paint. I was surprised to see that is was attached by a flathead screw. Since then, I've been checking other outlets and just about every one uses a ...
12
votes
6answers
3k views

Electric shock - was I stupid, unlucky, or a combination of both?

One of the double sockets in our garage needed replacing (damaged after a washing pole hit it) - a pretty trivial job that I'd done before. So I flipped the MCB for the ring main, used a non-contact ...
3
votes
2answers
187 views

Can a 1x4 jack stud be used instead of a 2x4?

I just noticed that my contractor,whom is building a shed, has cut the sole plate and replaced the jack stud with a 1 by 4 to accommodate a door he ordered. He had framed the opening too small and ...
13
votes
10answers
3k views

How can I protect my fingers while using a band saw?

I intend on using a band saw to cut out large meeples (the wooden pieces from the board game Carcassonne) from a 2x4 board. I'm worried about cutting my fingers. What tool can I use to help keep ...
0
votes
2answers
889 views

Is ceiling fan missing grounding wire from the ceiling box, and is this safe?

I recently had a contractor/handyman install a Hunter ceiling fan for me. It worked great, but my wife came home and thought it was too big. I ordered a different Hunter fan, and figured I could ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I safely paint the walls and ceiling in this high ceiling staircase?

I need to paint the walls and ceiling in this staircase. The ceiling is flat, and does not slope down with the stairs. That means that the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs is very high. The walls ...
1
vote
1answer
90 views

Are molds dangerous to health if they are not in my own apartment?

I need a help to decide if I will move out from this building because of mold and health risks. Is it dangerous to live in a buliding in which the hallway is full of mold? I've been reading about ...
2
votes
2answers
839 views

Ways to Safely Repair 45 Degree Pitched Roof without Jacks?

What methods can a person use to safely repair a roof that is slanted at a 45 degree (or greater) angle without using Roof Jacks? Is there anyway it is possible for a person to safely walk on such a ...
3
votes
1answer
306 views

Can I build 11' x 5.5' loft with 2x2x8 beam and 2x4 joist?

I have looked at a lot of span tables and calculators and am not sure if I can safely build this loft. It is in a garage and will need to bear the weight of two or three people and a build-in desk ...
2
votes
3answers
298 views

How can I attach a safety gate at the bottom of the stairs?

I have a wall on one side with trim molding at baseboard and opposite end is the wooden banister. What type of gate can I attach. The drywall is not holding the screws in place and we we frequently ...
0
votes
2answers
278 views

What happens if you wire a four-prong dryer cord backwards?

What happens if you get the red and black wires of a four prong dryer cord backwards? This question assumes: we are talking about U.S. Residential wiring the person doing the wiring gets the green ...
1
vote
2answers
76 views

What could be causing my electric hob to leak voltage?

When cleaning my ceramic hob yesterday (wet, but not excessively), I noticed some voltage going through my wet finger when touching the shaft of one of the knobs (I had removed the knobs before). I ...
1
vote
2answers
233 views

Power Strip/Extension Cord on TV stand

I have a question. I have a TV stand with a capacity of 80 lb., and on it a TV that weighs ~50lb. On the wall directly behind my TV, I have two electrical outlets. On the floor, I have a surge ...
0
votes
1answer
83 views

811 just marked my utilities, can I mow my lawn?

I had 811 mark my utility lines. They were here today.They marked with both spraypaint and flags. The markings are valid per their rules for 30 days. It will be about 2 weeks before I can get the ...
1
vote
1answer
115 views

Is there an electrical problem if my voltage/metal detector alerts for the whole wall?

I'm about to drill some 5mm diameter x 35mm deep holes to support a new curtain rail and when I used a voltage/metal detector to check for cables etc. it gives an alert for the entire surface of the ...
-1
votes
1answer
83 views

220v Grid Tie Inverter

I just bought a 3000w 220v grid tie inverter and I'm wondering if it is safe to simply plug it into the 220v port in my laundry room (the one my dryer runs on) and then run it, or is there more I need ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the relative importance of cut-retardant safety gloves when using a chainsaw?

I am evaluating some cut-retardant gloves for use with a chainsaw. At first the idea of protecting my hands appealed to me, but later I couldn't really justify to myself why that purchase would make ...
0
votes
2answers
109 views

How can I know the 'capacity' of an electric socket?

I bought an electric oven, and the safety instructions say that it should be plugged to an electric socket with "capacity at least 10 Ampere". How can I tell the capacity of my electric sockets? I ...
0
votes
1answer
87 views

How can I be sure I connected the electric power socket correctly?

I just installed a new power socket (instead of an old one) for the first time. I plugged in a light lamp and it seemed to work OK. But the socket should be used with much heavier instruments (kitchen ...
1
vote
1answer
98 views

UL Listing for Small Appliances - Commercial vs Home [closed]

Is a small appliance (microwave, coffee maker, etc.) that's UL & c-UL Listed for Commercial Use Only safe to use at home? What about the reverse: is a small appliance that's UL listed for ...
2
votes
2answers
262 views

Replacing hardwired fire alarms with 10 year sealed alarms

My house was built in 2004 and came with fire alarms pre-installed and hardwired. The alarms also use a 9V battery backup, so we have to replace the batteries regularly (not an easy task with 9 ft ...
1
vote
1answer
456 views

Safety of 3-Way Lightbulb That Exceeds Max Wattage Only On Highest Setting

Can you safely use a 3-way bulb (50-100-150W) for a lamp that accepts a 100W bulb maximum? Is there any fire hazard involved?
0
votes
1answer
267 views

Is it okay to use brass inserts in a plastic reverse osmosis pipe?

I've learned that letting metal contact reverse osmosis filtered water is generally a bad idea as it corrodes the metals and leaches them into the clean water supply. However, I'm having a hard ...
3
votes
2answers
584 views

Why was the ground for this fluorescent fixture not connected to the ballast?

I just purchased a set of fluorescent fixtures that are fitted with a plug to connect to a standard 3-prong receptacle. My intention is to replace the plug with Romex cable, and wire the fixture ...
4
votes
3answers
547 views

How do safety labels on light fittings work with energy saving bulbs?

My lamp says "Max 40W or Energy Saving 8W". I have a halogen bulb which says "28W = 36W". Is it safe to use with the lamp? Why / why not? (Sorry if the answer is easily available on the web - I ...
0
votes
2answers
6k views

Why is there a copper wire attached to this water pipe?

The outdoor faucet was turned on today(45 degrees), shortly after we discovered a leak in the house. We're not sure if the faucet broke or the pipe fractured/burst. After pulling back the drywall we ...
0
votes
1answer
130 views

Legal requirements regarding 100% asbestos duct work [closed]

I am renting a condo. After starting the heater, dusty air came out of the registers, so I called out a company to clean the ducts. They verified the ducts are 100% asbestos and cannot be cleaned. ...
2
votes
1answer
297 views

Why is there an exposed wire coming out of my wall near my fluorescent light fixture?

We are in the process of replacing the ballast in our fluorescent light fixture (after replacing the bulbs, the lighting was still dim, so we figured it was a fault of the ballast). After we ...
6
votes
1answer
655 views

Why is my light switch leaking electricity?

I have a home built in 1950 and a laundry room added sometime in the unknown future. There is a light switch that seems to be emitting electricity according to my Fluke voltage tester. I noticed it ...
3
votes
3answers
165 views

What kind of portable electric heater should I use in my kitchen?

My landlord doesn't see the need to install a heater in the kitchen, but I do as it's like 12°C (54°F) in it this morning. I'll buy an electric one then. But I realize there are many types: fan ...
3
votes
1answer
93 views

At what Lead levels are respirators and hazmat suits required?

I am under going demolition work in pre-1978 building. I have paint chip samples sent away to determine ppm of lead. At what levels are contractors required to wear hazmat suits and respirators? ...
2
votes
3answers
9k views

Why does my laptop charger make a spark when plugged in?

From time to time (not always but often enough) when I plug my laptop's charger in the wall outlet it makes a spark (even if I use different outlets it's the same). Why does it do this? Is this a ...
6
votes
1answer
240 views

Is it okay two breakers are controlling the same outlets and appliances?

To be specific, we recently had some electrical work done. The electrician added a second panel. He left without labeling anything. So today I've been testing outlets and switches trying to figure out ...
2
votes
3answers
391 views

Any problem with installing two identical circuit breakers in series?

Suppose I want to reduce risk of a circuit breaker malfunctioning and failing to disconnect a shorted circuit. What if I install two identical breakers sequentially (one after another) so that if one ...
1
vote
2answers
328 views

Can I use EPS concrete for a fire bowl?

I found this recipe for EPS concrete, and am thinking of using it to make a fire bowl (a decorative concrete bowl like the one described here, which holds a chafing dish gel fuel pack.) I would like ...
0
votes
2answers
155 views

Are electrical subpanels safe in the bedroom?

If not, how do you correct it, or can it be moved without making too much work?
3
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I safely work around power lines?

I have to do some painting and repair work on the outside of the house near the incoming power line. The repair is pulling off molding and replacing it as well as painting the surrounding area. I am ...
4
votes
4answers
4k views

How safe is having my boiler in my daughter's bedroom?

I just moved into a new house where the 10 year old boiler is located in the bedroom where my 3 year old daughter sleeps. I'd like to get an idea of how safe/dangerous this situation is. Could the ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Can I use a cord and plug to power a wall sconce?

I have a wall sconce that my wife really likes and wants installed on a brick wall. The sconce she purchased is designed to sit on top of a wall box that has been prewired. I don't want to install ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Properly venting a gas water heater

Ahh, the joys of an old house. The former owners of my house did some funky stuff with venting the water heater. Let me explain: the water heater is in the basement there is a 3 in single walled ...
3
votes
2answers
318 views

What kind of mask is required for grouting?

I finished putting up tiles for a backsplash last night and am getting ready to grout tonight. I looked at the package and saw Contains known or probable carcinogens. Yikes! What kind of mask ...