34
votes
4answers
98k views

How can I add a “C” wire to my thermostat?

So, the spiffy new wi-fi thermostats want power on the C wire from thermostat, but the old thermostat doesn't have a C wire at it. What's the easiest way to add the C wire/24 volt to the thermostat ...
26
votes
9answers
8k views

Should old knob and tube wiring be replaced?

I have been doing some electrical work in my house and I noticed it has old knob and tube wiring that is still hot, should this be replaced as found or is it fine to just leave it? It seems really ...
17
votes
4answers
8k views

How do I rehang a wooden door with worn screw holes?

I have a wood door in one of my rooms where the top screws no longer hold the hinge to the wall because the screw holes have worn loose. I have tried slightly larger screws and filling with wood ...
20
votes
5answers
25k views

Should I use steel or wood studs for basement exterior walls?

Related: When should you use metal studs? I'm planning on finishing my basement. (assuming all water issues are resolved) I'll be putting up a water barrier (tar paper) on all exterior walls, ...
10
votes
5answers
43k views

How do I install a GFCI receptacle with two hot wires and common neutral?

In my kitchen, I want to replace a regular 120V receptacle with a GFCI-protected receptacle. The instructions describe what to do with a regular 2-wire + ground feed, with and without daisy chaining ...
9
votes
3answers
4k views

What benefit do plasterboard/drywall screws have?

I have some plasterboard screws like this: However, without a drill I have a job getting them into the wall. Am I safe to use normal screws on hangings that aren't going to be taking a great deal ...
18
votes
17answers
4k views

What is an affordable 2D drafting software for amateurs?

Background: We have about 1500 feet of unfinished basement that I am contemplating finishing off into a "grandma suite". Before getting serious about the project, however, I would like to play around ...
22
votes
14answers
36k views

How can I get rid of a mouse in my house?

There is a mouse in my house. What's the most effective way to get rid of the mouse (and any "friends" it might have) and ensure that it doesn't come back.
14
votes
3answers
3k views

How do I build a French drain?

There's a shed near the side of the house with a roof that's pitched to shoot water at the house's foundation. That side of the house also has no gutters. There's a very slight grade to send water ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I soundproof my vaulted townhouse wall?

I want to soundproof my wall. In fact, it's this wall: I know, right? It would probably be an enormous task, but I really want to get it soundproofed because I have a neighbor on the other side ...
2
votes
2answers
8k views

Where does the ground wire go in a 3-prong dryer cord configuration?

We moved to a new place where the dryer connection is 3-prong instead of 4-prong. The dryer was originally 4-prong, so we bought a 3-prong cord and installed it. It works fine, except I am not ...
17
votes
4answers
4k views

Is it OK to borrow a ground wire from a different circuit?

I've got a circuit in the basement carrying a handful of outlets. This circuit has no ground wire. I want to add a couple of outlets and want them to be grounded. I may even want gfci outlets on ...
16
votes
8answers
73k views

How much weight can screws in drywall withstand?

I've always had the question of how much weight can a single screw into a drywall withstand? For instance, I would like to do things like this: It's hanged with 5 screws. The whole thing weights ...
7
votes
2answers
19k views

How do I replace oven insulation that has been soiled by mice and smells bad?

We've had mice work their way into the oven insulation of our standalone range and now it stinks when we turn the oven on. Looking around on the web suggests that replacing the oven is the most ...
32
votes
9answers
57k views

How do I run wires for a wall-mount flatscreen TV?

Like a lot of you, we have several wall-mounted LCD HDTVs in the house. The TVs have two wires -- power and HDMI -- running down the wall to the power outlet and cable box. I've historically been too ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the pros and cons of different types of smart switches (that are on the US market) ?

When putting in a new switch for a light it is often less work to put in a smart switch than run the mains cables. However, how do you choose the type of smart switch to use? See also "What are ...
11
votes
3answers
19k views

What kind of mortar should I use to point a fieldstone foundation?

What kind of mortar should I use to point a fieldstone foundation? The old mortar is crumbling, and sandy mortar is falling out onto the basement floor. I plan to remove the crumbling mortar (see ...
18
votes
5answers
4k views

What is the best method to patch a large hole (2-3 inches) in drywall?

I have a large hole where a TV wall mount once was (I believe the hole was used to run power and coax cable to the TV). I have since moved the TV and would like to patch the hole. What is the best way ...
19
votes
4answers
3k views

Are there ways to determine if a wall is load bearing?

Other than looking up blue prints, which many homeowners may not have, are there ways to determine if a wall is load bearing? Methods I can think of might include: Going up in the attic to check if ...
13
votes
4answers
5k views

Is there a way to simply splice in an additional length of 12/2 NM-B cable?

Is there a way without using junction boxes to simply splice in additional length of 12/2 NM-B cable? Can I use twist caps? I'm putting in a dog door and as it so happens, there is some 12/2 right in ...
5
votes
1answer
13k views

How do I wire a GFCI/Switch Combo?

I'm replacing an old GFCI/Switch combo. In the old one there are two wires coming into the line side, a hot wire and a neutral. On the load side there is one wire leading up to the lighting fixture. ...
10
votes
4answers
17k views

Is using 15 amp components on a 20 amp breaker against code?

I have noticed in a few different houses in Oklahoma that 20 amp breakers are used, but all of the outlets and switches only seem to be rated for 15 amps. This goes against everything I know to be ...
48
votes
12answers
25k views

How to remove screws with stripped heads?

I have wood screws whose heads are stripped from trying to remove them with a drill. The drill (or screwdrivers) can't grip the heads anymore. What can i use to remove these screws easily?
14
votes
2answers
15k views

How do I fix a squeaky floor below my carpet?

I have a squealy floor below my carpet on the 2nd floor of my house. It sounds like the subfloor under the carpet is moving up and down a little and makes this awful load squeak when I step down on ...
26
votes
3answers
14k views

How do I fix a “water hammer” problem?

When I shut off a water faucet or right after the toilet tank refills after flushing, I hear a vibrating sound in my pipes. It last between one and two seconds. On the interwebs, I found out that ...
11
votes
2answers
23k views

How do you plan capacity for electrical circuits?

I'm finishing a section of my basement, which currently only has one bulb for bare light. In planning the electrical arrangement of things, how do I estimate the load of light fixtures or electrical ...
22
votes
10answers
24k views

Doors are sticky and noisy when opened?

For some reason, the doors in our house make a very loud "unsticking" sound when you open them. It's almost as if the paint isn't cured, since the sound seems to come from the contact area around the ...
14
votes
3answers
26k views

How should I rewire a miswired 3-way switch?

I have a 3 way switch that was wired incorrectly when the switches were replaced with a different color switch. Is there a methodical way for me to identify which wires represent which piece of the ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

Why does my toilet intermittently run continually?

I've pretty much fixed up my bathroom since moving in. The last bit of annoyance now is this: Not every time, but every 10 or so flushes, my toilet will run continually. It'll sound like it's water ...
11
votes
4answers
13k views

Why do my toilets flush slowly and often incompletely?

I have three toilets that all flush slowly and incompletely. I've adjusted the chain to ensure the flap raises completely. I've raised the float to ensure the tank fills nice and high. Yet I have this ...
11
votes
2answers
7k views

How much weight can you mount to a wall?

I would like to mount a fairly heavy shelving unit (~150lbs) to a wall with a number of L-brackets. It being a shelving unit, I would be putting all kinds of books and random stuff on it, thus ...
11
votes
3answers
8k views

How do I run ethernet, speaker wire, and coax through a wall into a crawlspace?

I would like to run three low-voltage cables from my entertainment center through an old plaster wall, down (1-3 feet) through the sill plate, and into the crawlspace. The cables are Ethernet, ...
12
votes
3answers
37k views

How can I find the source of a mysterious bad smell?

We have recently moved home, and all is fine appart from a mystery smell which I'm unable to track down. It's driving me crazy (actually, my wife thinks I am crazy as she can't smell it). I'm hoping ...
6
votes
2answers
11k views

What wire gauge do I need for a 100 Amp subpanel at the end of a 60' wire run?

I am adding an attached garage to my house. I'm going to be putting in a 100 Amp subpanel which is about 60 feet away and run through the basement joists. What gauge wire do you recommend for ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

How do I install a portable air conditioning unit in a large sliding window?

I have a large sliding window that is 53 inches top to bottom and I want to install a portable air conditioning unit. The kind that don't sit in the windows but vent to the window. The window ...
4
votes
7answers
7k views

what is beeping in my house?

I know this sounds like a silly question and it may be closed before it may get a single answer but there is something strange in my house which beeps infrequently. I tried to troubleshoot the sound ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

How do I identify the C terminal on my HVAC?

How do I identify the C terminal on an HVAC, furnace, or boiler? If the terminals don't have a screw labeled C what should I look for on the wiring diagram? What steps should I take if a wiring ...
21
votes
20answers
5k views

What projects should never be DIY?

What are the most common DIY projects that you should not do yourself? What must be hired out? Edit: Just to be clear, what we're looking for here are the things that a regular homeowner might think ...
15
votes
6answers
67k views

How do I prepare an already painted wall for new paint?

We are repainting a number of rooms in our home, do we need to put primer over the existing paint? Are there any other gotchas that we need to prepare for before repainting the walls?
14
votes
6answers
4k views

What are some cost-effective tips for reducing external sound from entering a room?

I have a small office room that shares a wall with our living room. When we have guests over, their voices travel fairly well; they sound somewhat muffled but are still audible. As I WFH ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

How do I fix a hole in drywall?

There is a hole in my drywall from a doorknob repeatedly hitting it, is there a straightforward way to fix it?
6
votes
10answers
49k views

How can I remove a really stuck screw?

I often come across screws that just won't budge with a manual screwdriver or even a driver bit in a drill. They are of different screw types and heads in a variety of different materials. What are ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

Can I add a standard receptacle on a GFCI circuit

So, I want to add a receptacle in the bathroom (I tend to run out of batteries on my phone while crapping at the end of the day). There's a GFCI outlet on the other side of the crapper wall that ...
13
votes
5answers
10k views

What kind of lubrication should I use for a lock?

I recently made the Yale lock on my front door much easier to open by spraying some WD-40 in there. However, I just saw this question on WD-40 not being a “true” lubricant, and wondered whether it ...
10
votes
3answers
7k views

Do I really have to fasten interior-wall electrical wire to a stud to keep it from moving?

I am fresh out of cable staples and would rather not go all the way to Lowe's just to get a box. What are the implications of not fastening loose electrical wires to a stud? It's not like there's ...
9
votes
5answers
6k views

Do the breaker amp readings sum up to dictate my current panels total / possible amperage?

So I know practically nothing about houses having rented for many years, just bought a house and was told by my inspector the panel is only a 70 amp panel and will need to be upgraded before I go to ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

How do I prevent this bath faucet from leaking while the shower is running?

Here's a photo of my setup: The hose and nozzle hanging down in the picture make up the shower head assembly (it is a hand shower that can hang up on the wall or be removed for directed use). ...
5
votes
3answers
16k views

What is the purpose of a watt regulator in my ceiling fan?

The lights on my harbor breeze fan stopped working this morning. When I came home from work, I got the ladder and took down the lights. I don't have a multimeter but I saw that there is this Watt ...
12
votes
1answer
631 views

How can I fix the noise level in my home?

When anyone walks above me in our two level home it sounds like a herd of elephants stomping through. Is there any way to fix this?
11
votes
4answers
3k views

I have a 3-pronged receptacle but no ground wire connected to it. Is this ok?

I removed the plates from outlets to paint walls and noticed that some of my electric boxes have ground wires connected to outlets while others do not have a green wire at all. Is this ok? I know ...

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