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

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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 ...
17
votes
4answers
39k views

What is the proper, safe, and effective way to apply diatomaceous earth?

We are looking at using diatomaceous earth against bed bugs. However, we're having trouble finding any reliable information on how to use it properly. Our questions are: how should it be applied? ...
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 ...
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 ...
16
votes
9answers
932 views

What basic safety equipment should everyone have?

When doing DIY what safety kit should everyone have (and use)?
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. ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
12
votes
1answer
353 views

How to make this electrical main safe

An older home has a strung electrical main. The main connects with exposed lugs on the roof above the deck. Not only is the height and location unsafe, while working on the roof today I noticed that ...
12
votes
2answers
922 views

We built a pergola, is it safe?

We found a pergola design that we loved and copied the design but now that it's (mostly) up we are questioning its stability and safety. The 2x6 beams are notched 3" to fit together, which I have ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

How do I know if it is safe to remove a wall?

When looking at a wall, how can I tell if I can safely remove it?
8
votes
2answers
337 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

Is an LED light strip safe to use under a bed?

I see a lot of RGB LED light strips being sold on sites like Amazon etc. The lights appear to be of decent quality, run off of 12V but do need up to 5-6 Amps to power. This is a lot of current, so ...
8
votes
2answers
213 views

What is an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter?

What is an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) and where should they be used?
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 ...
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 ...
7
votes
3answers
459 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 ...
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
740 views

Is a negative reading from a non-contact voltage detector sufficient?

I'm a beginner at doing electrical work, and I want to make sure I'm not taking unnecessary risks. Let's say that I'm preparing to work on some wiring. I have a non-contact voltage detector that ...
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
280 views

What type of clothing is required when working around asbestos?

I find myself exploring environments rich in Asbestos, the specific type of asbestos appears to be both pipes and potentially the cladding around them (steam pipes etc), occasionally broken sheets as ...
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 ...
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?
6
votes
6answers
892 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
769 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
237 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
790 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
650 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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
7answers
222 views

How can I subtly mark a height difference to prevent tripping?

Between two of my rooms I have a height difference of about 4cm. What is an obvious but subtle way to mark the marble floor so the step is obvious, and help to prevent tripping? I'm thinking of ...
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?
5
votes
2answers
12k views

Must I remove asbestos from my heating vents?

I've got an old house with some asbestos tape on the heating vents, and some old floor tiles which are asbestos suspects as well; duct cleaning firms won't do cleaning on the vents with the tape ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

How to I safely anchor a safety line to a chimney?

I am going to be installing an antenna at the top of my brick chimney and I'd like to be able to use a safety line with a fall arrestor. The chimney visually looks OK. I'm trying to figure out the ...
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 ...
5
votes
3answers
7k views

Why did I feel an electric current when touching my light switch?

While reaching behind a desk in my office, I leaned against the wall and felt a pinch on my shoulder. I realized I was leaning on the lower screw of the light switch and thought it had a metal burr or ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Does washing reduce asbestos?

So I was doing some work in the garage a few months ago and dislodged about a lemon size chunk of what at the time I thought was just some old concrete which fell on me and left some dust on a ...
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 ...