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

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6
votes
2answers
793 views

Can I use two ladders to create a makeshift scaffold?

I have a really high stairwell to do walls around (cca 18 ft). Scaffolding is impractical. I had rigged a temporary platform that I used to hang drywall and it worked well but I had to remove it ...
1
vote
3answers
233 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
776 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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
5answers
22k views

How do I pressure test a natural gas line and what do the valve pressure ratings mean?

I'm planning to add an appliance to my house, and will want to do a pressure test of the newly installed gas lines. My main shutoff says 175 PSI, but most of the appliance valves say either 1/2 or 5 ...
0
votes
3answers
156 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 ...
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 ...
5
votes
3answers
13k views

What kind of gloves do I need for working around electrical wires?

What kind of gloves could I wear before manipulating electric wires if I really want to be safe even after having turned off house electricity? And where to buy them?
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
13
votes
5answers
13k views

How do I keep my Christmas tree from falling over?

It never fails: I bring home a 9-foot pine, cut the trunk flat, remove the lower branches, and place our Christmas tree in the stand only to have it fall over a little later in the evening. How can I ...
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 ...
7
votes
5answers
4k views

Is it safe to run a USB cable inside a wall?

I need to extend a USB device from a corner of my room to the above the fireplace. Since I'm already going to be installing some HDMI and audio cables through the wall, I'd like to have my USB device ...
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 ...
0
votes
0answers
41 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Should a fire alarm be installed in the attic?

I installed hard-wired and interconnected smoke alarms through the house. I wondered, though, if a fire spread through my attic I might not know about it until the ceiling or roof collapsed. Should I ...
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. ...
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 ...
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
81 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
97 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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
184 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Are there any good videos available that teach basic carpentry?

I apologies if this was already covered but I could only find a thread on books, and it was geared towards someone having some basic skills already. While I am far from useless, I never had a reason ...
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
836 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
2answers
4k views

Is it safe to shut off cold water entering water heater?

I have a pretty bad situation at my place. I have a leaky shower faucet which has gone from drips to a steady stream. I calculated the flow at .3 gallons per minute. My very old home has no private ...
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
821 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
301 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
388 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
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
571 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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
3answers
295 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
275 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
1answer
112 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
vote
2answers
231 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
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
262 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 ...