17,212 reputation
14292
bio website gregmaclellan.com
location Canada
age 33
visits member for 4 years, 3 months
seen 7 hours ago

Professional software developer, with several years working on industrial control and monitoring systems. Slowly remodeling parts of my house.


Jul
16
comment Salt free and low maintenance water softener
+1 Make sure the hardness setting is calibrated correctly, and switch the head to one that does a flow-based recharge.
Jul
13
comment Is it a problem that I have two of each color wires on my Honeywell thermostat?
It's certainly not a normal thing to have this, so I'd want to make sure I know what's connected prior to touching it. You need to trace the wires. How is it connected in the furnace? Do you have another thermostat in the house?
Jul
10
comment How can I tap an unused well for outdoor watering?
In many areas, using concrete tiles to construct a well pit as you described is no longer allowed: they are a common source of ground water contamination from run-off, animals dying and decomposing in the pits, etc (which contaminates the aquifer and surrounding wells, not just your well).
Jul
8
comment Rule of thumb for prefilling drywall vs. recutting a piece of new drywall
Great answer. Another tip that works for both maintaining plane and re-enforcing the edge on any hole is to use a piece of backing -- like some scrap plywood or 1-by material -- and screw it to the back of the existing drywall, then screw the new drywall to it as well. It will keep them aligned and add strength, and makes it easier to install and tape.
Jun
25
comment How do I get rid of white lines in wall corners showing up after painting?
It's hard to tell but it kinda looks like you used a roller only, and didn't use a brush to do the corner first?
Jun
23
comment Cover old ugly floor in a rented apartment?
What is the existing floor (carpet, vinyl, tile, ...)? Is it a rectangular shape or something non-standard? How big? Are you trying to avoid seams? Is it a high-traffic area? Is carpet okay or is this eg, a kitchen where carpet would get dirty? Are there any doors that open over top of this floor that would limit the height of what you can put on top?
Jun
23
comment Plumbing cuts through five studs. Is ok?
A lot of this strikes me as odd: the wiring not being stapled, suddenly transitioning to armored, and general haphazard-looking install; several notches cut for the drain; the stud that is actually two 2x4's stacked (top picture, stud on the edge of drywall, ~3.5' up); the non-GFCI receptacle over the sink (or perhaps it's shared with the other what looks like a GFCI on the left, which is also wrong). This looks like the work of someone that didn't know what they were doing. Be careful working on this -- the only assumption you should make on anything is that it's wrong. :)
Jun
23
comment Is it a bad idea to cool a room on the second floor by pumping air from the basement?
Do you have a forced-air system now? Two comments on your idea: 1) a fan every meter is overkill; one is enough and it doesn't really matter where it is (should just be based on minimizing sound from the motor, ease of access if it breaks). 2) when you force air into a room, the existing air has to have somewhere to be displaced to. Modern HVAC systems have a supply and same-sized return in (nearly) every room; some smaller rooms (eg, bathrooms) may rely on a bit of airflow though the gap at the bottom of the door and the door being not fully closed most of the time.
Jun
23
comment Rusty Bulkhead Repair
What sort of bulkhead? I think a picture is necessary here.
Jun
23
comment Does it make sense for a high pressure water motor to run 24/7?
I'm not sure if you're considering buying the entire building or just an apartment; but if you're buying the building it would also be worthwhile to look into how this system operates. Ideally the apartments draw from the tank, which is in turn kept full (using float switches) by the well pump. This keeps the water in the tank 'fresh', allows emergency use with no human intervention, and gives you a buffer if demand temporarily overpasses supply. You'd also ideally have a continuous level monitor or at least a low-level alarm to alert you before the tank runs out.
Jun
23
comment Does it make sense for a high pressure water motor to run 24/7?
Are you sure he meant 'spinning 24/7' and not just 'powered on 24/7, but controlled via pressure switch so it intermittently turns on and off as needed to keep the system pressurized'?
Jun
20
comment Installing cable trunking on ceiling without damaging the ceiling paper
Wallpaper on the ceiling? Yuck, maybe it SHOULD be "accidentally damaged". :) On a serious note, I've used the 3M Command scripts and was impressed by their ability to be cleanly removed (though I removed after only a few months), but I'm not sure if it would work as well on wallpaper. I'm confident at the worst it would do the same and most likely less damage than the adhesive usually on those conduits, but you'd have to weigh that risk considering your rental agreement.
Jun
19
comment Networking Phones Together in Building
But I do agree, this is off-topic. @David you need a Siemens HiPath switch, and then you need to learn how to program it. You might be able to do this, or you may spend a lot more time than if you were to get a simpler system. I'd suggest you come up with criteria you need from a phone system first, and then if this system satisfies those needs you can consider using it.
Jun
19
comment Networking Phones Together in Building
@sr_1436048 is incorrect about needing 3 lines: You can run a PBX with 0 outside (aka PSTN aka trunk) lines if you want. The number of trunk lines dictates how many simultaneous external calls can be handled. The smaller "key system" PBXes usually have each line accessible using a button on the phone and are a bit simpler; when you get into larger scale PBXes with more than ~8 lines this becomes unmanageable and different methods are used to handle call routing and transfers.
Jun
19
comment Can I attach 2x4s to the studs in order to mount my TV?
Depending on the weight of the TV, you might also be able to use 1-by stock (eg, a 1x8) or even a piece of plywood on the surface. Be sure to use lag bolts still. Keep in mind that the further the TV is away from the wall, the more force it will have on the attachment -- mostly a concern if the mount is articulated. I have a couple computer monitors at home on articulated arms attached to 1-by stock on the outside of the drywall, but if I was doing say, a 50" TV on an articulated arm, I'd use a 2x4 or 2x6. Or just get a mount that was 24"+ wide.
Jun
19
comment How do I convert a 3-way circuit with two lights into two 3-way circuits that control each light separately?
@bib My diagrams show a couple possibilities of how it's setup NOW (as the text above them indicates), because the final wiring diagram entirely depends on existing setup. If you'd like to draw the wiring diagrams for all possible variants then post your answer and I'll upvote it :) Also if you read Andrew's replies above, he is talking about one of the lights being a light+fan combo, and actually controlling the fan separately. At this point, I don't know if he wants the two lights separate (one of the lights really being fan+light), just the fan separate, or all three separate.
Jun
18
comment Which cylinder door lock shield design is most secure?
Just a comment: If someone approaches a lock with a drill capable of drilling through it and has the intent of doing so, I highly doubt they'd be deterred by a hardened lock cover and simply give up. There is always a 'weakest point' in your security, and at best upgrading to a lock like this will simply shift your lock a tiny bit further away from being the weakest point. If it IS the weakest point, that probably means your house has no windows, re-enforced concrete walls and the door can withstand a battering ram. Sounds lovely.
Jun
18
comment How do I convert a 3-way circuit with two lights into two 3-way circuits that control each light separately?
As an alternative you could replace the existing switches with 'smart' switches or keypads (eg, Insteon, UBP or Z-wave) and install in-line modules in the fan to get independent control everywhere, without opening walls. The hardware is more expensive and it's a bit more technologically complicated, but it may work out depending on the difficulty fishing wires and the types of repairs you need to do after.
Jun
18
comment How do I convert a 3-way circuit with two lights into two 3-way circuits that control each light separately?
@Andrew That is also possible, but a bit different from what I showed and different from what you asked. There are many options, and it really depends what you're willing to go through -- eg are you okay with opening drywall? You can have 3 switches at two locations to control each light AND the fan independently (which means a few new wires and lots of holes in drywall), or depending on the current wiring you may be able to have one switch control both lights, and the other switch control the fan WITHOUT having to open walls up.
Jun
17
comment Digital TV pixelation of picture at Manchester using Winter Hill
The faceplate is loose, or the connection is loose? Have you taken the faceplate off to see if the connection on both sides is good? Tried another cable? Checked any other connections between there and the antenna? Checked the antenna itself for signs of damage? Has anything obvious changed since it last worked? Are there any trees in the way (leaves can block signals; may work in winter but not spring)? With a bit more information on the situation (pictures help a lot) we might be able to help. Complaining about previous people doesn't add anything useful to your question.