17,944 reputation
34396
bio website gregmaclellan.com
location Canada
age 33
visits member for 4 years, 6 months
seen 10 mins ago

Started working for my dad's water treatment company in my teens, installing and repairing pumps and water treatment systems. Later worked on automated monitoring and control systems for small water treatment systems, including PLC programming, panel design, systems integration, and designing and building our own SCADA software package. Currently employed as a senior software architect at a print software company.

Renovations around my houses have included installing complete bathrooms (both reno and adding new), complete basement gut and reno, and all types of electrical, plumbing, and ethernet/video/audio cabling. Also have a particular interest in home automation -- my current house has several rooms controlled using Insteon gear.


36s
comment Coast 3-way — does this conform with Code?
If you're using x/4 or 2 x/2 cables, why bother? Just wire the 3-ways normally, and run two travelers and hot and neutral. Much less confusing to anyone trying to decipher the wiring later, and you only need to pigtail one connector instead of two (eg: i.imgur.com/pDQAXfi.png). However, the question remains: if done in way that saves a conductor (by using a neutral from somewhere else for the light), does that meet code? It would be interesting to see some real examples of where this is actually useful (I have never seen this in the real world, but I'm on the East coast..).
21m
comment how critical are distances between studs?
After drywall is up it can be annoying, but is rarely a big deal: most people use a stud finder at or very near the (vertical) point they're drilling anyway. Not having regular centers (16 or 24") can also be annoying when hanging things that span studs (cabinets, shelves, tv mounts), but again, usually you use a stud finder and mark them all anyway because you just never know what people have done before you.
24m
comment how critical are distances between studs?
Well, it will certainly make hanging drywall more of a pain. It will take longer to mark and no doubt several screws will get misplaced. If you're paying someone else to hang drywall, are you okay with them taking longer? If you're hanging it yourself, well, I predict that you'll soon find out that the answer to this question is indeed: just make the studs plumb and consistent :)
2d
comment How do you replace existing wires behind walls
Conduit can be good, but if you do that, don't run the new wires inside it, run them along the outside and leave the conduit empty (or just with twine inside). It's likely that cat 5e/6 will be useful for many years to come, and it's easier to pull new wire through an empty conduit.
Jan
27
comment What could cause my outlets to not have enough power?
What is leading you to that conclusion? There's really not a lot of info to go on. Are you testing it with a multimeter, or something else plugged in? Does this stuff work fine on other circuits? Where are you located (120V or 240V power)? Is your panel fuses or breakers? Are these outlets all on one circuit(controlled by same fuse/breaker)? Are they the only thing on that circuit, and if not, is anything else experiencing this problem? Is there a GFCI or Arc-fault breaker on these, a GFCI outlet in the circuit, or a switch controlling the outlets (all or partially)?
Jan
26
comment What is this? (Something to do with water filtering?)
You can buy hardness test strips online, which is a pretty simple way to test the hardness before and after. However, since you appear to have a private system -- probably a well -- it is not a bad idea to have the water tested so you know what you're dealing with (eg if the water is safe to drink, use for cooking, showering, etc). The best way is to get a company that specializes in water treatment to come in and assess your system and take some samples for lab analysis. You may also be able to have bacteria testing done for free (in Ontario, the local health units provide this service).
Jan
26
comment How do I clean a cheap blow torch?
I dropped one in the mud once and had to clean it, but otherwise I concur: never have had to clean during normal operation.
Jan
25
comment Slope roof window rain noise, would it help if I convert it to part flat roof vertical window?
Do you mean that you have a skylight? A couple pictures (inside and out) would probably help here. What's the material on the roof? Where are you located / what is your climate like? Is there currently insulation in the ceiling?
Jan
24
comment How do I connect my whole house humidifier to my furnace?
Yes, you don't need to use the transformer that came with it at all. I also realized looking at the instructions again that it came with a cheap, foil duct; do yourself a favour and go buy buy some semi-rigid stuff at your local hardware store.
Jan
24
revised How do I connect my whole house humidifier to my furnace?
update now that we know models, and added images of my own install
Jan
23
comment Fan speed control with timer?
Are you trying to control speed because of noise? You can get fans that are low noise (less than 1 sone is pretty quiet) for in the $100 range (vs $30 for crappy, loud builder grade). Note that the vent size and run is a factor: you sometimes will have to use 4 or 5" vents to get that rating, and that long runs or many turns will also increase noise.
Jan
23
comment Acceptable “3-way” switch wiring solution?
Have you considered off the shelf home automation products (insteon or z wave)? Achieves the same capabilities (actually it gets you true three way) without major permanent modifications. One of the problems with a modification like this is resale later. At best if you do a really good job it's some strange wiring; at worst it's a complete mess of the electrical system that could affect the sale when found during inspection.
Jan
23
revised Is there a minimum distance required from the bottom of the sink to the outlet?
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Jan
22
comment Can I add a three way switch to a light circuit when I only have access to light switch and it just cuts the power to the switch?
Interesting code point: is it necessary to bring this whole thing up to code in this case (as it would require pulling a new wire between light and switch and/or new power feed to switch), or is that a judgement call the AHJ makes?
Jan
22
revised How do I connect my whole house humidifier to my furnace?
added 76 characters in body
Jan
22
revised How do I connect my whole house humidifier to my furnace?
added 153 characters in body
Jan
22
revised How do I connect my whole house humidifier to my furnace?
tags, title, formatting
Jan
22
answered How do I connect my whole house humidifier to my furnace?
Jan
22
comment Replacing dumb wall switch with smart one (wiring)
To figure out which one is hot, turn off the power, disconnect all the blacks, then cap them individually with wire nuts (for safety). Turn on the power, then use a non-contact voltage detector to figure out which one is live -- and that is the one you connect 'line' on your switch to.
Jan
22
comment Replacing dumb wall switch with smart one (wiring)
Where did the labels (TL, TR, BR) come from, and do they mean something? Without knowing where the wires go (and which is incoming power) it's impossible to answer. If there are two lights and BR and TR both go to each light, then yes, your drawing is correct. If TL is the light, BR is a receptacle (constant power) and BR is the incoming power, then your switch is backwards (and same goes if BR is a receptacle and TR is incoming power).