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Feb
23
comment Is fixing these stairs as simple as just replacing the stairs and supports?
@TylerDurden Can you cite what the issue with these is, specifically? I was inclined to agree with you, until I went searching for code and found that attaching treads using cleats is acceptable (though best practice is to glue and screw). As far as I can see, the IRC only states live load requirements (and tread/riser dimensions). Can anyone cite specific relevant IRC saying this is allowed or not allowed?
Feb
19
comment Blade comparison, DW4765 vs DW4701:
The description for DW4765 states it's for a tile saw, while DW4701 says it's for a grinder. I'm not sure why those would not be interchangeable however, given that they seem to have the same arbor size and type?
Feb
18
comment How do I verify that a 240v outlet is wired properly?
Or improper conductor size, or mismatch between the current ratings of the receptacle, wiring and/or breaker (eg: 50A breaker on 14AWG wiring with a 30A receptacle). One of the terrible things about electrical is it can "work" (for years, even) while actually being very unsafe.
Feb
5
comment Connection new 4-line phones to an existing multiline network system
Also important: with a key system (or a PBX) you can only use phones that are designed to work with that system. Mixing in regular analog phones (including a multi-line phone that connects directly to PSTN lines) will not work: if connected as an extension, it will probably just malfunction (or worse, damage your PBX); if put in parallel with the KSU/PBX you'll have usability issues including not being able to transfer calls properly, collisions when you pick up lines in-use, and voice mail won't work properly (if your KSU/PBX has that).
Feb
2
comment Can I move my kitchen to the front of the house or any other ideas?
The biggest part of any way you go with this is going to be dealing with the load bearing walls. Do you know which ones are? Is there a basement level below this? What type of foundation? Adding a beam will mean creating new point loads where the beam is supported, and these need to be supported down to the foundation. Remember, the load is the same, but it's going to be supported by two points holding up a beam instead of distributed across the length of the wall. Depending on how things are constructed, you may need to install new footings in the foundation to make this possible.
Jan
31
comment What could be the source of an intermittent, unlocatable rotten egg smell?
You may be having olfactory fatigue and unable to smell it (interesting tip from wikipedia: coffee beans can apparently "reset olfaction" -- which may help you track things down). However, gas is a definite possibility. If I were you, I would call your gas company to get them to come check things out -- they likely have an emergency number for this (free) service. If nothing else, you eliminate one possibility and get to sleep better knowing you're not in imminent mortal danger.
Jan
31
comment Why is half of my house without power with no flipped breakers?
Sounds like perhaps you've lost one leg of the power. Check a 240V stove or dryer plug using your multimeter/tester. Hot-to-hot there should be 240V, and hot-to-ground and hot-to-neutral from both hots should both be 120V. If you have in fact lost one leg, I'd try: flipping the main breaker off and back on, in case it partially tripped. Check with neighbours on the same transformer to see if they have the same problem. Look for any obvious faults in your power hookup (eg, a tree on the power line).
Jan
30
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..).
Jan
30
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.
Jan
30
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 :)
Jan
28
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
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
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
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.