17,046 reputation
14290
bio website gregmaclellan.com
location Canada
age 33
visits member for 4 years, 2 months
seen 9 hours ago

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


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.
Oct
24
comment What are some alternatives to a square ceiling air diffuser?
If you look inside, how big is the pipe that is supplying this vent? Typically, most rooms get somewhere between a 4 and 6" round duct, depending on the size of the room and distance (and probably some other factors -- I'm not an HVAC expert). If this is in fact just a 6" (or smaller) pipe, then you can definitely get away with putting in a 6" round diffuser, and patching up the drywall to make the hole smaller.
Oct
23
comment Are there advantages / uses to having disk and belt sander surfaces?
Also saves space and money by being incorporated in one machine compared to two.
Oct
22
comment Is there a PVC piping primer/cement alternative for a non-plumbing project?
I have definitely seen smaller cans available for ~$6, if that helps your decision any. Another option is to use ABS instead of PVC, and you can just glue it without using primer.
Oct
22
comment Should I run two gas water heaters if I don't need to?
Note too that the only one you can shut off is the first. If you shut off the second one, you'll basically never got hot water because you'll have to run the tap to use the entire contents of the second (cold) tank, and due to mixing, at best, you'll get lukewarm water after 20-60 minutes.
Oct
22
comment What is the best removable insulation material?
What sort of wall (material, interior/exterior)? Why are you trying to stuff it with insulation instead of repairing the crack? How big is the crack? Are you trying to insulate for heat, sound or visual? A picture of the crack may help
Oct
21
comment How do I use precision screwdrivers?
I agree. It's better to have the right tools (bigger handles), but in a pinch pilers will work. You do absolutely have to be careful though, as you do no matter what tools you're using to work on anything you don't want to break.
Oct
19
comment How can I locate the 2x8 boards beneath subfloor, backer board, mortar, and ceramic tile?
Depending on construction, it could be the cross-braces. I put in a new bathroom floor not long ago, and must have put in at least a couple hundred screws all about 8" apart. It helped, but there are still a couple squeaks which I'm fairly certain are the cross braces between the joists. Just a heads up -- would hate for you to destroy all your grout and not even fix the problem.
Oct
18
comment Why am I getting condensation on the first floor joists of my new build?
If that's the case, that the first floor subfloor is actually directly exposed, then I agree - that's the wrong approach altogether. For a few days, it will probably be fine, but more than that and there will be more problems than it's worth. House wrap or tarp will protect it somewhat from rain/dew, but then you'll have to deal with water pooling, which will cause rot and basically require replacing at least all the plywood and possibly the entire structure. I agree with BMitch (and Holmes).. once you start building structure, you have to build all the structure, and make it water-tight.
Oct
18
comment Would running a new subpanel in parallel meet NEC requirements? If not, what should I do?
If you have a smart meter, your utility may also have a website you can log into that shows your mean and peak loads.
Oct
18
comment Would running a new subpanel in parallel meet NEC requirements? If not, what should I do?
I would second shirlock's suggestion of checking the existing load using a clamp-on ammeter (most are decent multimeters and are <$100, and for the work you're doing a good multimeter is an essential tool anyway), just to see exactly what your baseline is now anyway (check a few times, while different things are running). Keep in mind future buyers, too: If I was buying the house, having 3 sub-panels and only 125A service would be a warning flag for me.
Oct
17
comment What are the most important things to check/do after buying a home?
Most/all of these things should be done BEFORE buying