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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.
Jan
22
comment Replacing dumb wall switch with smart one (wiring)
Where did the labels (TL, TR, BR) come from, and do they mean something? Without knowing where the wires go (and which is incoming power) it's impossible to answer. If there are two lights and BR and TR both go to each light, then yes, your drawing is correct. If TL is the light, BR is a receptacle (constant power) and BR is the incoming power, then your switch is backwards (and same goes if BR is a receptacle and TR is incoming power).
Jan
21
comment What is the purpose of a “framed” switch?
Specifically saying it has no purpose would be fine. I downvoted only because this was accepted but I didn't feel it actually answered the question, and I was genuinely curious myself as I'd never thought about it. (Eg: you can get spec-grade framed toggles, so simply saying framed = residential, non-framed = spec grade is misleading).
Jan
20
comment What is the purpose of a “framed” switch?
This answer would be alright if the question was about cheap vs spec-grade... but the question is "what is the purpose of a framed switch?" which this doesn't answer at all.
Jan
19
comment Why isn't my garage door opener opening the door?
Does the door move freely by hand? Is this a newly installed opener, and was there one there before? If you allow the opener to "open" then attach the (opened) door, does the opener shut it? Does it work in the other direction, or if you attach it mid-way open?
Jan
18
comment Very low pressure at the end of natural gas pipe
I realize you want to DIY this, but saying "I disconnected the flex hose to the stove and quickly turned on the gas valve, and indeed the sound of the gas coming out" ... I'm no gas fitter but I will take a leap and say this is not the way to test your gas lines. I hope I don't read about you in the Darwin Awards, and I equally hope you don't live in a hundred meter radius of me, eh?
Jan
18
comment Outlet trips GFCI outlet
I'm also confused by your wiring description, though it makes me question if the wiring is correct. Another option is your surge protector is faulty, or there is a fault in the connected wiring (eg disconnected neutral), and the GFCI is correctly doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing. I'm not clear on if the new GFCI is replacing an old GFCI or a standard outlet, but what promted you to install the new GFCI specifically? Have you tried plugging anything else into the new GFCI and does it trip? A (labelled) picture or diagram of the wiring you did would help greatly.
Jan
18
comment Will many weak bulbs be more luminous than one bright one?
Perception of this light is probably a bigger concern than lumens, and what the light is for and how your room is setup will influence the best answer to your question. If you are trying to read/study, a task light (for example a "reading light"), even at lower wattage, will probably be a better choice. But if you want the entire room to feel bright, more lights and/or indirect lighting (bouncing off light-colored walls/ceilings) can be better. Whether you can get a single fixture that adequately can light the entire space for any purpose is impossible to answer with the info you've provided.
Jan
16
comment When to Replace UV Bulb in AC System?
Fair enough. As I said, my experience is with water systems, where UV working properly is a more concrete health concern: the acceptable level of E.coli, for example, is zero. I have personally serviced UVs where the "treated" water tested positive for bacteria, and the UV bulb was either coated with a film (due to ineffective pre-treatment) or when you ask the owner when the bulb was last changed they respond "Oh, probably when it was installed a few years ago, I suppose". With HVAC, this dire health risk isn't present (eg you will not immediately get sick from no/ineffective UV treatment).
Jan
14
comment Can I add an outside switch to exterior floodlights?
Yep this was my thought as well -- but do not use X10, it is really, really awful. Use Insteon or something Z-wave-based (Lutron and Leviton are increasingly using Z-wave), if you're going to go that route. Nice thing with these types of systems is you can later add motion detectors (multiples, if you want), as well as controllers that can do simple time-based schedules or complex actions based on time/motion/switches.
Jan
14
comment What to fill the cut in quartz counter top with?
If the installer is really not responsive, might be worth getting your local Better Business Bureau or other consumer protection organization involved.
Jan
14
comment The soil over the pipe from the well is subsiding
If you have a submersible pump, you can check for absence of a leak: turn off the supply to your house (after pressure tank). Watch the pressure: if it stays steady, there's likely no leak. If it goes down, there is either a leak in the pipe, or your check valve is broken and water is draining back into the well (and in my experience, it's usually the latter).
Jan
14
comment Replacing my locks/door handles
(And yes, btw, last time I had keys duplicated, it is actually a machine that takes a picture of your key, then can make as many duplicates as necessary. It took the guy not even 30 seconds of interaction with the machine to make me 4 duplicates).
Jan
14
comment Replacing my locks/door handles
The only type of key that can't be duplicated is electronic: eg those based on a passcode, bluetooth, keyfob or access card. It depends on what you're trying to accomplish, such as ensuring there are only a certain number of people/keys with access to the house vs ensuring you don't have to change the locks after tenants move out. If you can provide what your objectives are then someone might be able to suggest a better solution than stamping keys with "DO NOT DUPLICATE" and crossing your fingers that there are no dishonest minimum wage employees trained to press the 'duplicate' button.
Jan
13
comment How do I get my garage door open without prying it with a hanger?
You won't be able to 'hotwire' the keypad at all. Most keypads are wireless (since you're talking about programming, I'll assume this is brand new), and are all digital. They have to send a special unique code (an encrypted "open" command probably - I'm not sure exactly how they do it), and the only way they'll send that code is if you enter the right sequence of buttons. An un-programmed keypad won't even know what command it should send, even if you could somehow 'trick' it into sending it (which you can't anyway). Good for protecting from intruders, but not your current situation :)
Jan
11
comment wiring switch loop properly
Non-contact voltage detectors can be misleading, as induced current running from nearby wires can cause a false positive. Does the wire 'bringing the power' come from the panel, or some other switch/outlet? Step one is to ensure that has 120V hot on the black conductor, neutral on white, and a grounded bare wire. Using a multi-meter is a good way to be certain things are correct: you should measure 120V hot-to-ground, 120V hot-to-neutral, and 0V neutral-to-ground.