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

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10
votes
4answers
7k views

Best practice for oily rag safety?

Most everyone's heard about piles of oily/greasy rags igniting. Linseed oil seems to be a popular culprit for it, but I've also recently heard claims of common automotive oil being involved. I've ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

When is it generally safe/acceptable to use a wire nut?

Can someone please clarify for me when exactly it's safe/acceptable to use wire nuts? Regional building codes withstanding, I think the general rules of thumb are: Only use wire nuts in ...
14
votes
3answers
4k views

Which tools should not be operated while wearing gloves?

Does anyone know of any safety organization like osha that gives a list of tools that should not be operated while wearing gloves? It has always been my understanting that a person should not wear ...
7
votes
3answers
460 views

Do Old Houses Have a Pre-determined Lifespan?

Taking into consideration the building supplies that were available in that time period for that particular geographic area (say, a major metropolitan city in the mid-western United States), do homes ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

If I do not have any fuel burning devices, do I need a carbon monoxide detector?

Is there any reason that a home without any fuel burning devices would need a carbon-monoxide detector?
4
votes
1answer
2k views

What glass for an interior, mainly glass, wall?

We would like to install a small interior wall (say 3m long) with a wooden door. We want to make it out of large wooden beams with glass between them (there is already one such wall in the house, and ...
2
votes
1answer
442 views

Alternatives to extension cord over the grass to light a Christmas tree

I have a nice little pine tree that sits about 30 feet from the corner of my house. Ideally, I think it would look nice to throw some Christmas lights on it and spread some holiday cheer. I hesitate ...
3
votes
1answer
289 views

Can I use a rusty soldering iron?

I am thinking of getting back into stained glass. One of the projects I want to work on is to fix a stained glass window that has a section with a crack in it. I was given a couple soldering irons ...
21
votes
10answers
14k views

What are the most important things to check/do after buying a home?

We are in the process of purchasing a home that is over 20 years old. What are some of the most important things we should check/patch/do right away to make sure the home is running correctly and ...
8
votes
2answers
339 views

Is it within code to complete 12g wiring circuit with 10g wire?

In installing a dishwasher on a dedicated 20amp circuit on 12g wiring, I've come short about 5 feet to run a line. I have some surplus, heavier, 10g wire. Would it be safe to install a junction box ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Can re-closing a circuit-breaker be dangerous?

I have a circuit breaker that keeps tripping. When i try to reset (close) it, it immediately jumps back to the open position with a noise that sounds a little scary. I have now stopped trying to do ...
15
votes
9answers
6k views

Would bullet proof glass help deter burglars? How does it compare to normal glass?

We consider buying an apartment, which has previously been used as a shop. Our only concern is that it has large windows (2,5 meters x 2,5 meters), which would function like an invitation to burglars. ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I join two cables outside so that they're safe and kept dry?

I have a new pond with a pump but the cable on the pump is far too short. I have some similar cable which will do the job to extend the length. My only concern is the junction outside. I need to make ...
4
votes
2answers
268 views

Is operating a 66' boom lift something that a non-construction type homeowner could likely manage?

I'm wanting to mount a radio receiver (for internet access) to a really tall tree in my yard. I don't have a death wish so climbing it with tools is a non-starter. So I've been thinking about renting ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Is earthing required for a submersible water pump?

I have a submersible water pump with a power cable that ends with a three-pronged plug with a protective neutral contact. Having a matching outlet is problematic - there are only unearthed outlets at ...
13
votes
4answers
15k views

Extension cord and power strip safety

I've heard that there are some safety and building code issues involved with using extension cords or power strips (surge protectors) for anything other than temporary use. What are the issues, and ...
14
votes
4answers
64k views

How do you know when and where it is safe to drill into a wall?

Lots of home projects involve cutting or drilling through walls (everything from nails, screws, or hooks to mount things to cutting through drywall and drilling through studs to run wire). In ...
6
votes
6answers
896 views

What is the safest way to cut up an old kerosene storage tank?

Folks, I need to remove an old kerosene storage tank (for central heating) from my in-laws back garden. The tank is moulded plastic, and has a 1,000 litre capacity. The access point it was ...
7
votes
2answers
449 views

What is the best short-term solution for fused neutrals?

I have inherited a house that has been in my wife's family since 1860. I do not know when it was electrified, but it seems to have skipped knob and tube. There is a lot of fabric-covered wire, and ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Covered or Locking Light Switch?

I have an attic fan that is operated by a regular old light (toggle) switch. The problem is that the switch was installed by the previous owner in the master walk-in closet, right where one would ...
1
vote
2answers
465 views

How to install 230V Light with Light-activated-resistor?

I am trying to set up light-activated-resistors that activate a light during dark hours. I have bought a ready Chinese thing that apparently contain a driver to change from AC to proper DC output for ...
0
votes
2answers
150 views

Safety about windows

The house which I rent and am living in has a kitchen on the first floor, where there is a window facing the yard with its lower half covered by security bar and screen, like this one . Is it safe ...
1
vote
3answers
122 views

Safest weed killers?

Are there any weed killers that aren't endocrine disruptors or carcinogens? I'm at war with dandelions, but prefer a few dandelions to cancer or reproductive damage, most days.
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Can a stove be beneath a window

I'm upgrading my kitchen and after endless deliberating, feel that the kitchen is best laid out having the stove directly beneath a window (the window is about 8" above the stove). I was wondering ...
3
votes
1answer
163 views

What is a propane burner with multiple torches called?

If you watch Mythbusters, you'll notice they have a propane burner with a bunch of nozzles at different angles. What is this called? I would like to make or purchase one for melting metal (in a ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the safe/correct way to work on gutters? From a ladder or from the roof?

I am very comfortable working on the gutters (usually just cleaning them) from one story up by just sitting on the roof. I do this on my own home over the garage and at my parents one-story home. I ...
2
votes
2answers
385 views

Roof Safety: Proper way to adjust position of carabiner/lanyard on rope attached at the top of the roof

Here's a diagram of a typical harness system: X | | | ?-C-L-H | | | X = attachment point | = rope C = carabiner L = shock-absorbing lanyard H = harness What's the device called that allows you to ...
0
votes
1answer
309 views

Where to find glass 'support' requirements?

Where could I go about finding the maximum safe span of a pane of glass for a specific width? I.e. say you had two rafters, X meters apart, with glazing bars, supporting a pane of toughened glass ...
5
votes
4answers
237 views

How do you maintain good posture when working on things on the floor?

Over the past few days I've been working on some aluminum frames which are fairly large and don't fit on any tables (without stuff piled on them) I have. Now, my back is starting to hurt from being ...
1
vote
2answers
874 views

Alarm turns on after power failure

I have an alarm mounted at home, which I don't use (it was installed by previous owners). The annoying feature is that it turns on after every power failure (i.e. when the power comes back - its ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Fire Extinguisher In Unheated Garage & Shed

We are talking about getting fire extinguishers for the various areas of our house. One place where it seems a fire extinguisher would be a good idea is the garage. I also plan on adding a shed to ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

What to do with an apartment with only 2-pronged outlets

I just rented an apartment (Colorado, for what it's worth RE code) that has 2-pronged outlets throughout the place except for two GFCI's, one in the bathroom and one in the kitchen. I bought the ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

How can I protect my hands when using power tools?

When doing many DIY projects there's a strong need to protect hands against cutting by sharp part edges. Gloves seem a natural solution. However recently I was mounting a countertop and wearing ...
2
votes
2answers
838 views

What de-icing products can be used on a patterned concrete walkway / driveway? (Salt causes problems.)

I came across the following question here: Is there a safe way to de-ice an unsealed driveway? The accepted answer mentions rock salt being fine for such a driveway (asphalt), and the other answer ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

Any recommendations for smoke detectors with wireless remote alarms?

I would like to put a smoke detector in my attached garage and barn, with a wireless/remote signal with a a receiver inside the house. So far I have found this one I am assuming that with that ...
1
vote
4answers
4k views

How do I take a live wire off of a two way switch?

if I know how to take the live wire off then my job is easier.
2
votes
3answers
7k views

Is there a “safe” sub-floor leveling compound?

I have some gashes in my sub-floor that I'd like to fill/level before placing laminate flooring down. Upon checking at my local home depot, I found some floor leveling compound but quite frankly, I'm ...
12
votes
4answers
404 views

What should I know about radon levels at home? What levels are safe and do they affect resale value?

My wife and I are looking to buy our first home. We recently found one, but a report says the radon levels inside the home are unsatisfactory. I've never really been aware of radon levels in homes ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there any “easy” ways to trace a home electrical system?

We bought a home a few months ago, and the electrical panel (and subpanel) are completely unlabelled. We have no way, short of flipping breakers, to know what breaker powers which fixtures. Is there a ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Why doesn't the main breaker shut off power for house?

Location: California | United States I'm certain I'll need a licensed electrician for this but wanted to get thoughts on what could be going on. I recently noticed that power remains on in my house ...
1
vote
4answers
2k views

How could I extend a baby gate at the bottom?

Our 11 month old is starting to crawl, and it is beyond time to put a baby gate at the top of the stairs. We received a baby gate, along with instructions, which clearly state that the maximum ...
5
votes
1answer
161 views

Should I install tamper resistant receptacles

When changing out receptacles should I be installing tamper resistant receptacles? It seems that the 2008 NEC requires these devices to be installed for any new install, should I be installing them ...
5
votes
3answers
507 views

What is a UFCL brand circuit?

I'm shopping for a combination vent fan/light for a bathroom, and some of the ones I've found state this: UL Listed for use over bathtubs and showers when connected to a GFCI protected branch ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

How do I fill a hole under a sidewalk?

The sidewalk leading up to my front door developed what looked like a sink hole under it about a year ago. Since then, an animal of some kind has made the hole even bigger and it now runs as a tunnel ...
6
votes
3answers
6k views

Can I safely power a three-prong electrical device from a light socket?

I have a covered lampholder (light socket) outside my house that I want to use to temporarily power a plug-in string of indoor/outdoor lights. Using CFLs, the total wattage of the string of lights ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

At what height should a stair handrail be?

I am almost dne replacing the steps to my front porch. It is 5 steps so I definitly need a handrail, but I don't know exactly how high to make it. I have some posts that should be plenty tall but I ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

What types of home radon mitigation systems have you used, and how well do they work?

What types of home radon mitigation systems have you used, and how well do they work? Do recommended types of mitigation systems vary significantly with varying levels of excess radon? Does climate ...
4
votes
3answers
224 views

How do I get utility lines marked on my property?

In Michigan, there is a service called Miss Dig for identifying buried utility lines. We've just moved from Michigan to New Hampshire, and we would like to know where our utility lines are buried. ...
1
vote
2answers
171 views

Fitting glass fibre loft insulation - recommended eye protection

I've tried various goggles (some with more ventilation than others) and resorted to swimming goggles, but they all steam up after 60 seconds at the most. Maybe I sweat too much(!), but whatever I try ...
1
vote
1answer
302 views

Using a char coal BBQ, how far should I be away from the house?

Are there any guidelines, rules anywhere?