16,841 reputation
13886
bio website gregmaclellan.com
location Canada
age 33
visits member for 4 years
seen 2 hours ago

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


Nov
16
comment How reliable are connector strips with plug-in terminals and how do I select and use them properly?
You should be using anti-oxidant (eg, NOLOX) on ALL aluminium wire terminations (including wire nuts). There is really no reason not to.
Nov
15
comment How does a water-heater know when to turn on?
Insulating the pipes is going to be the biggest gain here. Even turning up the temperature won't help completely -- the water in the pipes is going to be the temperature of the basement, and you have to use all of that up before you can get any hot water at all. Even after that, the pipes will still be quite cold and because copper is an excellent heat conductor, they will absorb a lot of the heat from the water.
Nov
14
comment Drilling Holes in Cinderblock Garage?
Note on using a regular drill: It may take a up to a couple minutes (and lots of effort) to make a hole with a regular drill, while a decent hammer drill will do it with very little effort in under 10 seconds (times are examples only - they're of course vary with depth, hole diameter, and density of material). If you're making a lot of holes, this makes a huge difference. If you're using a cordless drill, you may not even be able to finish the job on a single charge. Just wanted to point out that in a pinch a regular drill CAN work, but using the right tool makes a big difference here.
Nov
11
comment How to build a quick-and-easy wood ladder?
I wonder if were one were to be injured using a home-made ladder like this, if there would be implications for getting health insurance? Most ladders have UL certification.
Nov
11
comment Can I move my bathroom sink's drain pipe about 6 inches to the right?
To that end, anything CAN be done.. it's a matter of time/money, and which is directly related to how much you're tearing down and rebuilding. Often the time/money makes the project not worthwhile, such as if you have to reframe an entire exterior wall and move a window, just to move a drain line 6" to the right.. but if you REALLY want to move that line...
Nov
11
comment How can I get my Self-Destruct switches to do something?
Where do the wires for the switches go? If you don't know, you'll have to trace them somehow. Checking plugs (all outlets) is a good place to start, to see if they are controlling outlets. Next step is to find any blank faceplates or exposed wires hanging around (in basement/attic, if possible) - use a non-contact voltage detector‌​, and flip the switches to see if they control something.
Nov
10
comment How do you choose when to use oil vs latex paint?
This answer says latex won't bond to metal, and that's why you'd use oil. Worth discussing/amending answer? (Note, I don't know enough to weight in on the topic, just pointing out the conflict)
Nov
10
comment What do I need to know before selecting and installing a cat/pet door in a door?
Do you actually have rain and wind driving right against this door? What are your winter temperatures like?
Nov
9
comment Is there a way to make reasonably accurate visual measurements?
Is there an easy way to measure the height of a tree? has some ways of estimating height from the ground that will help
Nov
9
comment What can I do to solve the moisture problem in my bathroom?
Are you sure the walls are concrete and not plaster or some other coating? Are they exterior walls? Are they insulated?
Nov
9
comment How is pre-wiring done for motion sensors / alarm system in new construction?
Wired alarms simply work better (no interference, no batteries to change), and are cheaper. The idea of pre-wiring is to avoid the only option being a wireless alarm. For example, a wireless door contact is ~$50 (and requires periodic battery replacement), and a wired one is <$5 (for sensor + cable). May still make sense to use SOME wireless sensors later, but it's not that difficult or expensive to pre-install recessed door contacts, and wires for motion sensors. I'm considering this as a DIY pre-wire -- the economics may change if you have your contractor or a pro alarm company do it.
Nov
8
comment How is pre-wiring done for motion sensors / alarm system in new construction?
Sorry, I meant to add in my question that the alarm may not be installed right away, so it would be better not to have wires sticking out of the wall. Adding an alarm in an existing house can be difficult, especially running wires on exterior walls, and for <$100 of cabling it seems like a logical thing to do before drywall is up.
Nov
5
comment How should I use heat tape?
It would help to know where you're considering using it (inside, outside above or outside below ground and how deep)? What is the pipe material? What is the water supply? Have you had freezing problems in the past?
Nov
4
comment What hardware do I need to have a wireless light switch in UK/Ireland?
Unfortunate that What are the pros and cons of different types of smart switches (That are on the UK maket)? was never answered, as it is one way that would work.
Nov
2
comment Is the carpet in my condo one solid continuous piece?
Good installers will also try and minimize seams, avoid narrow strips (eg, less than a couple feet wide), and avoid putting seams in high-traffic areas
Nov
1
comment Where can I find a Time Restricted Keypad Lock?
Most of these use electric strikes, which can be either fail-safe (unlocked) or fail-secure (locked) -- most are fail-secure. Magnetic locks are by definition fail-safe (unlocked), although some do have batteries that will allow them to continue operating in case of power failure.
Oct
26
comment What's the normal duty cycle of a refrigerator compressor?
@BMitch: Didn't know that. Worth checking before you buy then. The one I have (which is not an actual "Kill-a-watt") works, and in fact I had my fridge plugged in for a week.
Oct
26
comment Why do the radiators in my home heating system get extremely hot?
Do you know for sure that the system worked properly last year? Any chance that it was doing the same thing, but you didn't notice? Has there been any work done on the system since then? A picture or more details about this "electronic device" that lets you switch CH/HW may help. My suspicions are something is wrong with that control (it's not set correctly, broken, misconfigured, or miswired).
Oct
26
comment What's the normal duty cycle of a refrigerator compressor?
You could try plugging in a kill-a-watt (or similar product), to see how much energy is actually being used. You should be able to compare this to the EnergyGuide rating to see if it's running excessively. (Hint: search for GSH25JSX*)
Oct
24
comment Why would a sprinkler Air Valve leak after winterization?
A labelled picture would help especially to figure out what the "something connected above the air valve" that is leaking. It's definitely possible though that the valve(s) have just started leaking now that they've been operated, even if they haven't leaked before. Could be that a gasket is damaged or there is sediment, rust, or something similar keeping it from fully closing.