17,489 reputation
14396
bio website gregmaclellan.com
location Canada
age 33
visits member for 4 years, 4 months
seen 10 hours ago

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


Dec
23
comment Is there an easy way to measure the height of a tree?
@JohnFx - agreed, if you are on flat ground with the tree. If you are on a hill, with the base of the tree below you, this method still works.
Dec
22
comment How can I troubleshoot a ceiling fan light kit Issue?
Is it a single bulb? If multiple, do they all flicker together? Is the bulb a CFL or incandescent, or something else? Have you tried replacing the bulb with another one? How about with another type (brand/technology) of bulb?
Dec
19
comment Can I replace Velux flexible tubes with rigid after installation?
Are you sure rigid vs flexible is the problem, and not the fact that you're making 90 and 120 degree turns? It seems to me like a single straight pipe is going to be the most efficient, while as soon as you start doing turns you're talking about light having to reflect off multiple surfaces to make it to the fixture inside, which means a lot of light will not make it there. Seems like a lot of wasted money to replace the tubes and possibly still end up with the same result..
Dec
15
comment How can I keep an entry gate operating during a power outage?
There's several factors that you need to take into account in addition to this. The startup draw of a motor is generally 6-7 times the full load draw, which means you need a much higher rated UPS just to handle the startup. Many UPSes, especially cheaper ones, put out a modified square wave (instead of a true sine wave) and this may not work or may even damage the motor.
Dec
14
comment How can I keep an entry gate operating during a power outage?
What type of gate (sliding, swing)? A quick search shows that battery backup is basically a standard feature on new gate motors - it may be cheaper/simpler just to buy a new motor rather than try to rig something up to what you have now.
Dec
14
comment Should the flue always be open in a gas fireplace?
With any gas appliances or fireplaces in your house, you should have at least one CO monitor regardless.
Dec
14
comment Is it possible to be electrocuted from a properly functioning GFCI circuit?
GFCI's also protect against faults in the appliance - think a fridge, or power tool, where the chassis is grounded. If there is a short inside the appliance that connects the hot to the chassis, a GFCI will trip and shut off the power. Without a GFCI, the chassis will still be electrified but at least connected to ground, and likely enough current will flow that the circuit breaker will trip (but as Jeff says, a circuit breaker doesn't act as quickly as a GFCI). If there is no ground, when you touch the chassis YOU will form the path to ground and will be seriously electrocuted.
Dec
13
comment What material should be used behind a sink and range in the kitchen?
Do you mean behind the base cabinets, or just above the counter? Are you going to be tiling or putting some type of backsplash up? Is there a specific reason you don't want to use drywall?
Dec
12
comment How to measure a crooked room?
What material are the plates made of? Is there some reason that they can't be cut onsite? I'm in agreement with @shirlock here, pre-measuring/cutting is really difficult when the room is built perfectly; it's impossible if it's not true.
Dec
12
comment How to hang a baby cradle from a concrete ceiling?
How about buying a cradle that is designed to just sit on the floor?
Dec
12
comment Does wardrobe/closet need doors?
Note: UV in this way can come from direct sunlight, to a much lesser extent reflected sunlight (off a mirror, or even wall), and from some florescent bulbs. In other words, this consideration is much more important in a closet that gets direct sunlight during the day and not all that important in a dark-painted room with a north-facing window and incandescent lighting. +1 though, I can't think of any other non-aesthetic reason for closet doors.
Dec
12
comment Can I install carpet in the attic?
One thing to consider is that if there is ever somehow carpet but no subfloor underneath, someone/thing may fall through the roof. This would only be a problem if the carpet and/or subfloor can move independently, and there is some area of the attic that you're not putting subfloor on.
Dec
12
comment How to deal with abandoned wire?
If you are going to cut it off, it's a good idea to short out the wire -- connect white and black with a wire nut -- so that if someone ever does mistakenly hook it up, it blows the breaker. This is much better than having live power on a wire that goes nowhere.
Dec
9
comment How do I control a heat lamp with a thermostat?
You qualify a solution that uses a microcontroller and a half-dozen other parts and requires writing code as just a "bit more complex"?? :)
Dec
9
comment How do I control a heat lamp with a thermostat?
Even a link to the thermostat you're using would help.
Dec
8
comment How can I mount an LCD TV onto the *wall* of an RV?
Interior or exterior wall?
Dec
4
comment Line tester reads power to 220V outlet when the breaker is off
Voltage back-feed is still voltage. There are still 220V on that line, if that's what your meter is showing you. The difference is that it's a very small current, and not enough to turn on the Knopp tester you showed. This also MAY mean that it won't injure you (current is what kills you, not voltage), but unless you're willing to risk your life to do a little electrical work, I'd recommend finding out what you need to shut off to get your meter to read 0 before touching anything potentially live. Use a non-contact testor, and check every time before you touch anything that may be electrified.
Dec
2
comment Apartment building's thermostat located in unheated common area is cooking the tenants
Please let us/future readers of this question know what you end up doing and how it turns out, too
Dec
2
comment Basement Insulation
@shirlock Can you please verify your vapour barrier statement? Installing it on the cold side of insulation goes against everything I've read on the topic -- though it also may depend on climate.
Dec
1
comment How do I diagnose a thermostat and HVAC that intermittently doesn't respond?
Just to confirm, this is a forced-air gas furnace? How old is it? When you're saying "heating up" are you referring to the house (and temp shown on thermostat), or the furnace? Is it blowing hot air after you mess with it? Is it blowing any air at all? Is the furnace itself turning on or making any noise at any point during this? Modern single-stage furances usually work like this: Thermostat calls for hot air; Exhaust fan kicks on, and then gas starts and ignites; After a minute or two, the blower fan kicks on and now you feel hot air coming out of the vents. What is yours doing?