4
votes
1answer
601 views

Is there aluminum wiring in my vent fan?

I just purchased and installed a new Panasonic FV-10NLF1 inline exhaust fan. My house has copper wiring, but the wires on the fan appear to be aluminum (they are silver in color). I didn't think ...
7
votes
2answers
458 views

Why aren't all houses equipped with fire sprinklers?

Fire sprinklers are common in office buildings but not so common in people's houses. How come? I'm thinking of adding such a system to my house but... I don't know... maybe there is a reason for why ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

How can I reduce whistling due to wind across a gas fireplace vent?

We have a gas fireplace venting through the roof of our attic bedroom; there's a cap on a chimney up there. Double-wall construction, such that it pulls combustion air in from outside. When the wind ...
2
votes
1answer
813 views

How can I remove old tea stain from carpet/rug?

I once accidentally spilled some tea on my carpet, and since I was in hurry I couldn't clean the carpet at all. The stain is now dried up, and my landlord is asking me to replace the whole carpet. How ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What could cause the battery in a smoke detector to heat up?

One of my smoke detectors was chirping and when I removed the 9V battery, I found it was hot. In fact, it was making a 'cooking' sound. Was it the smoke detector causing the battery to cook itself ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How can I remove a Mortise Lock and deadbolt from a door?

I got an old door from a junk yard that I'm trying to reuse. The door is going to end up being sliding barn door so I have no use for its existing door knob and lock mechanisms. From what I can tell ...
7
votes
5answers
10k views

How do you remove paint from hair?

We painted a closet recently with a latex/acrylic based paint and no plastic hair caps. This lead to the issue with some unsightly paint splotches on our hair. After several washes the paint still ...
2
votes
1answer
763 views

Does pickling wood with steel wool and vinegar harm the wood?

I love the look produced from pickling wood with steel wool and vinegar. I am hesitating to actually do this on a raw ready-to-finish table because I fear the steel wool/vinegar product actually ...
8
votes
3answers
36k views

Should we install carpet before the baseboard and door casings?

We just had a carpet layer come in for measurements and a quote. We've not put in the baseboard or door casings yet, but the carpet layer has suggested that this will make things easier. Is this true ...
2
votes
1answer
121 views

How should I refinish a pine shelf unit?

I'm refinishing a shelf unit made out of pine and painted. It has a lot of holes and cuts in it (I think it was used as a cutting table, or was near one). It's solid, so I want to refinish it and ...
7
votes
3answers
7k views

What should I do about ceiling tiles that potentially contain asbestos?

A family member is considering purchasing a house, built in the Midwestern United States in 1958. In the basement, there are nine inch ceiling tiles on the ceiling. The home inspection mentioned that ...
7
votes
8answers
24k views

My dryer heating element broke in two: Can I just wrap the ends together?

I have a Whirlpool Estate dryer that recently quit drying. I narrowed the problem down to the heating element, then removed the element assembly and found a clean break in the coil at one end. A ...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

How do I extend electrical boxes 3 inches or more?

I am hanging a new wall using Genie Clips. After the clips, hat track, and two layers of drywall, we're talking about an added distance from the electrical boxes of over 3 inches. Quick research has ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Should a generator transfer switch have continuity between all contacts in the “Gen” position?

I am finishing up installing my generator transfer switch today and I think I have a wiring problem... I have a six circuit transfer switch wired in with a power inlet box outside. Everything is ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Can I install new flooring on top of the existing hardwood floors?

I have some 30 y.o. hardwood floor (parquet type) that is overall in decent shape (firm, no squeaking, even, etc.). I'd like to install new hardwood floors, and my contractor says that new floor can ...
5
votes
1answer
735 views

What's the right tool for painting joist bays in my basement?

I'd like to paint the joist bays in my basement to brighten the basement up. No, putting up acoustic tile is out of range for the budget, but paint is in. I've tried a small portion with a roller and ...
6
votes
1answer
6k views

Does PEX leach BPA when used for hot water plumbing?

Would using PEX for potable hot water result in having Bisphenol A (BPA) leached into the water? Does PEX have BPA content?
3
votes
1answer
3k views

What could cause low pressure in both hot and cold water lines after flushing hot water tank?

I just drained my water heater to flush out any sediment that may have accumulated at the bottom of the tank. When I filled it back up, I suddenly am lacking water pressure, both cold and hot, at all ...
1
vote
1answer
428 views

What type of material should be used for sole plates on screened in porch?

I'm following along in a guide to installing a screened in porch and the following photo is shown. The instructions are 'Secure sole plates to the patio or porch floor using construction adhesive ...
5
votes
1answer
317 views

Can I spray foam up to roof sheathing when air sealing skylight tunnel?

I've been doing some air sealing in the attic with canned spray foam and I'm about to tackle my skylight tunnels. They are framed and covered with drywall. I have easy access to them in the attic and ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Can I use a US-bought chandelier in India?

I am planning to buy a chandelier in the US for my home in India. I understand the voltage difference (110 V in the US as compared to 220 V in India). The chandelier uses 60 Watt candelabra bulbs. ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

What are my non-gas alternatives to a wood burning fireplace?

Our house has a wood burning firplace that we want to convert to something else but we have no gas lines in the area. What are our options for heating benefits and esthetics?
9
votes
2answers
624 views

What type/thickness of drywall should be used in water heater closet?

I have a rental house built in the 70's that had severe water damage in the small room (4x5 feet) that houses the hot water heater. The room is off of the garage. I've had the water heater replaced ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Where should the floor transition from tile to carpet go?

I have 2 rooms planned, one will be tiled and the other will be carpeted with a door opening between them. Where should the tile stop and the carpet begin? In the figure below I have 3 different ...
0
votes
1answer
434 views

How do I clean an oxidized steel terminal before attaching a wire to it?

I have to replace wiring in a power meter box in an apartment building. There're four really beefy wires running vertically through the whole building and each wire has a short stripped segment inside ...
2
votes
2answers
13k views

Is my furnace operating normally?

I just moved into my house and I am wondering if this is normal for a furnace. So I have my furnace set to 68 degrees. The temperature on the thermostat says 66 degrees. The furnace is on, but does ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

How do I disable a thermostat to prevent it from turning on the AC?

I need to disable my thermostat from turning on the AC. Yes, covertly. I think one of my housemates is missing his native Antarctica. So, the thermostat still must be active & setable, but I want ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Was there a NEC Code Change that disallows 14 gauge wire in a residential receptacle?

I am thinking of remodeling my home. I have a bunch of 14 gauge THHN wire. A friend told me I can't use 14 gauge wire in a residential receptacle application. Has there a code change that would not ...
9
votes
2answers
6k views

How do I fill holes around a light switch?

I have a light switch where the plaster board around the edges of the face plate have broken away. I was thinking of using some kind of filler like Polycell to fill the holes but I'm not really ...
4
votes
1answer
5k views

How can I fix a sink drain stop which won't hold water?

I have a bathroom sink & fixture which are about a year old. The drain has worked fine, until about a month ago. Recently, any water I try to hold in the sink slowly leaks out. This is mildly ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

What's the procedure for stripping wires with pliers?

In this answer to this question on stripping wires pliers are mentioned as a tool suitable for that job. I guess it can be done, but I feel quite paranoid about damaging the conductor which is made of ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Where should I install a wall heater?

I have a house with no wall heater, and would like to install one. What criteria should I use to help me determine the best place for the heater? Is it better, for instance, to be on an inside wall? ...
20
votes
10answers
23k views

Why are “Wire Nuts” not used in the UK?

I have never seen a wire nut used in the UK, but they seem to be very common in the USA, why?
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Soundproofing a floor: How about cement backer board w/ Green Glue and mass-loaded vinyl?

I've been researching soundproof underlayments for floors, but the selection seems to be very paltry. It appears that you're pretty much stuck with mass-loaded vinyl (MLV), QuietWood, and a few other ...
3
votes
1answer
558 views

How reliable are connector strips with plug-in terminals and how do I select and use them properly?

Here's a close-up photo of a connector strip with plug-in terminals It's used for connecting 220 volt mains wires – you can see a bare metal wire coming in – that's 4mm2 aluminum wire. Each of the ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

When installing new stud in existing frame, does the stud have to be the *exact* height of the inside of the frame?

I am about to install two new studs into my wall's frame. I noticed that the studs are about 1/16th of an inch shorter than the inner height of the frame. That doesn't appear to be a lot to a layman ...
2
votes
1answer
857 views

Is this wall board made of dangerous material?

There's a room in my house that has walls made of a material that I've always thought was weird. It's not like normal drywall. Recently, I pulled up the base boards I got a better look at the bottom ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Securing furniture to prevent tipping due to earthquakes and babies

I'm a new resident in the Bay Area, and with small children in the house, I'm looking at our furniture with some unease. What's the best and easiest way to secure and fasten tall bookshelves in case ...
2
votes
1answer
387 views

Installing a swing set between two brick walls?

My neighbors and I are considering putting up a swing set in the alleyway between our houses. The space is about 10' wide, and the house walls on both sides are brick (about 4" thick). Which of the ...
10
votes
4answers
57k views

How do I install transition molding between my new hardwood and existing tile floors?

I have ripped out some old carpet and am preparing to install a new solid hardwood floor myself. In several places, the floor transitions to an existing tile floor. The hardwood floor guys told me ...
3
votes
1answer
25k views

How can I add a single pole switch next to a 3-way switch?

I currently have a 3-way circuit in the family room. I would like to install a 2 gang box @ one of the switch locations and add a single pole switch to control an exterior light. Can I wire the single ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Can wind force rain into the soffits?

There is 1 and only 1 leak (thank God) that is driving me crazy. When the wind blows from the south and hits the house from that side, there is a drip that develops and comes from above the top of the ...
2
votes
3answers
7k views

How does a water-heater know when to turn on?

Now that it is getting colder, we have noticed that when we get home from work, our water is not that hot. It was warm at best after a four-day trip. The water heater is in an unheated basement, ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Is there a required ceiling height for a garage door opener?

I recently bought a bank-owned house. They converted the garage into a living space and I would like to take it back to being a garage. I was hoping to install a garage door opener for the new door, ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

What can I do to make my new bathroom vanity more stable?

Note: Feel free to edit the title of this question if you know of a better way to put it. I got a new bathroom vanity (cabinet and sink top). In spite of its high price, the quality is not so good. ...
5
votes
1answer
147 views

Does lack of zone control delay hurt heat pump?

I had a new HVAC single heat-pump system installed with dual zone controls: 2 thermostats and 2 dampers for separate zones. The system works, but the zone control board does not have any time ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Can I safely use a switch rated for “1A at 125V” with 240V, assuming I stay below 125W?

I recently purchased a foot switch for a standing lamp. The switch is rated for 1A at 125V. I would like to use this switch with a low energy lamp (typically 10W or below) but with a 240V supply. Is ...
7
votes
1answer
4k views

What's the proper method for installing new studs in existing frame?

FYI - This is similar to a question I asked last week, but is about something more specific. Expect to see this image yet again in another question I will be asking later today :). Here's my wall: ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Wiring gas hob with electric ignition to mains

We are currently in the process of moving into our newly renovated house. The electrician has completely rewired the house, and the plastering has been done. Only when we went to install the oven and ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

What is this 110/24V 60Hz transformer in the breaker room for?

My friend sent me a photograph of this transformer, which is installed above the main breaker panel, with leads running from the panel into the transformer. The stamped labels read PRI. Volts: 110 ...

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