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

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20
votes
10answers
11k 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
25k 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
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
2answers
801 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 ...
15
votes
8answers
5k 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. ...
15
votes
9answers
794 views

What basic safety equipment should everyone have?

When doing DIY what safety kit should everyone have (and use)?
14
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
3k 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
1k 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
3answers
42k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
285 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
681 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
377 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
4k 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
1k 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
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
322 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
3k 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
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?
7
votes
3answers
384 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
1k 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
966 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
2answers
459 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
2answers
204 views

What is an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter?

What is an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) and where should they be used?
7
votes
1answer
189 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
406 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
2k 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
750 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
1answer
189 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
1answer
398 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
1answer
466 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
2answers
5k 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
2k 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 ...
6
votes
7answers
193 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
2answers
8k 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
711 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
465 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
4answers
229 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
2answers
1k 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
2k 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
857 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
154 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
487 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
548 views

Is it possible to earthquake-proof furniture when you have plaster walls?

Is it possible to earthquake-proof furniture (e.g. tall bookshelves) when you have plaster walls? I was dissuaded from attaching to studs by an employee at a local hardware shop, while at the same ...
4
votes
3answers
1k 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
214 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. ...
4
votes
3answers
6k 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?
4
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...