18,579 reputation
34499
bio website gregmaclellan.com
location Canada
age 33
visits member for 4 years, 9 months
seen yesterday

Started working for my dad's water treatment company in my teens, installing and repairing pumps and water treatment systems. Later worked on automated monitoring and control systems for small water treatment systems, including PLC programming, panel design, systems integration, and designing and building our own SCADA software package. Currently employed as a senior software architect at a print software company.

Renovations around my houses have included installing complete bathrooms (both reno and adding new), complete basement gut and reno, and all types of electrical, plumbing, and ethernet/video/audio cabling. Also have a particular interest in home automation -- my current house has several rooms controlled using Insteon gear.


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.
Jan
9
comment Enclosure for whole house water filter
It sounds like you have a city water supply -- so what type of filters are you using? If you need sediment filters, the city is not doing their job at all. If you are using activated carbon (for taste), you're going to end up going through cartridges rather quickly, with the water for your washing machine, dishwasher, shower, and toilets all being filtered. Most people don't really care what their toilet water tastes like, but I digress.
Jan
9
comment wiring switch loop properly
What do you mean by an 'energized white wire'? How did you determine this?
Jan
6
comment How to fix leak coming from pressure gauge on water tank?
@mbeckish I was merely reacting to your suggestion to just replace them next without further troubleshooting/diagnosis.
Jan
6
comment How to fix leak coming from pressure gauge on water tank?
@mbeckish No, if the new valve leaks, either there is something else very wrong (eg: the pressure is actually really high and the pressure gauge is broken) or there is actually a leak from somewhere else that dripping onto the relief valve and just making it appear that's where the leak is. Don't just blindly replace other components.