18,349 reputation
34497
bio website gregmaclellan.com
location Canada
age 33
visits member for 4 years, 8 months
seen 17 hours ago

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.


Dec
2
comment how do i improve the temperature of my sons room?
Although poor attic insulation can definitely be a major contributor to heat loss, it seems less obvious to me that this is the source of the problems if other upstairs rooms are significantly different temperatures. You should check for other obvious drafts (electrical outlets, windows) and other places where heat can be lost (outside walls, or especially windows). It might be worth buying an infrared thermometer (can be found online for as little as ~$20) which will make it easier to find cold spots around the room, as well as compare different rooms to each other.
Dec
1
comment How can I rewire a three-wire ceiling fan installation where there is a two-wire set up?
...assuming there is a conduit there, which the OP didn't specify. I've never seen conduit used like this in residential situations, personally -- normally it's 14/2 NMD stapled to the framing.
Dec
1
comment Can I use #10 wire instead of #12 when wiring a new house?
At my current local pricing, #10 is about double the cost of #12. You'd probably be better off selling (or returning) the #10 you have, buying new #12, and using the leftover money to buy beer (or something else less exciting).
Dec
1
comment Ceiling Fan and separate ceiling light fixtures
There are too many variations in wiring for this to just draw them all out. If you can post a (partial) diagram, showing which wires are in each location and how it's currently wired up, that would be a good start.
Nov
28
comment Soundproofing a room from outside traffic noise and vibrations
Care to provide any details? Do you mean 'soundproof' as in "I am building a recording studio and there needs to be zero noise" or "I live next to a loud highway and want it to be a bit quieter"? Is this room interior or exterior walls? What is the existing construction? Are you willing to knock-down and rebuild walls, replace or remove windows, etc, or is this a rented apartment that you can't make any permanent modifications to?
Nov
28
comment What different types of remotely controlled light switches exist?
That's definitely a concern, and something that should be considered when buying any of these types of devices. Good questions I would ask are: Does it rely on a 'cloud' service? What happens if your internet connection is down? What happens if the company shuts down their servers? Is there any type of SDK or API that can be used to interact with it? Is there an active user community? Is there an ecosystem of plugins/companies around this that add value?
Nov
26
comment How to Convert an Undersink Filter System to an Above Sink System
Tough situation. I'm definitely not aware of any type of off-the-shelf adapter ring as you described. Because of the pull-out faucet, it's going to be even more of a tough fit with the hose looping down through the countertop as well. I'd probably look at coming out the side of the cabinets or something. If there's no backsplash, and it's not an outside wall, put a hole in the drywall to route around the counter top maybe? It's really difficult to suggest viable alternatives without knowing the full layout. You could also try negotiating with the landlord to just permanently install correctly.
Nov
26
comment How to Convert an Undersink Filter System to an Above Sink System
Is this an RO system or something else..? Is the dispenser faucet currently mounted inside your cabinet right now? An "undersink filter system" to me means that the filter is under the sink with a dispensing faucet right next to the kitchen tap, mounted in the countertop. This is in contrast to having the actual filters mounted in the basement somewhere (still, with the dispensing faucet somewhere accessible), or a whole-house filter (where the kitchen tap itself is filtered water). Picture maybe?
Nov
26
comment What different types of remotely controlled light switches exist?
Also, possibly dupes: What are the pros and cons of different types of smart switches (that are on the US market) ?, What is the most common home automation technology?, What are some scalable, affordable home automation options?
Nov
26
comment What different types of remotely controlled light switches exist?
Tip: Don't do X10. It's cheap, but that's literally the only thing going for it. X10 is really, really awful (as in, random noise is mistaken for the "All on" command on a monthly basis, signals get lost, multiple commands noticeably take several seconds to send). Insteon is decent (so long as you use dual-band), reasonably cheap, and the gear looks nice. Z-Wave has more manufacturers supporting it, the gear is starting to look nicer than it used to, and apparently it works quite well. UPB looks nice (programming flexibility puts all others to shame) but is a bit more niche.
Nov
26
comment What different types of remotely controlled light switches exist?
How is an Arduino not a "hub" in the way you described? Single centralized device, bridges gap between protocols, and relays control signals...
Nov
25
comment Christmas lights haunting me
@Tester101 Updated. Feel free to edit in specific NEC citations if you like :)
Nov
25
comment How can I extend a circuit so I can plug in my under cabinet lighting?
@Steven: There actually is such a thing as a DC extension cord, though I doubt you'd find one at a store like Home Depot.
Nov
25
comment How can I extend a circuit so I can plug in my under cabinet lighting?
@tester if run along the top of cabinets and used to plug in a standard plug, wouldn't this be considered "temporary"? I have a lamp in my living room plugged in via extension cord that had been that way since I moved in, but it is still "temporary". Not clear to me that this situation is any different..
Nov
24
comment Mounting a 32" LED TV to Dry Wall without Stud Support
Are you saying that chunk of drywall is on studs 32" (80cm) apart? That is very suspicious as 1) that is too big a span for drywall, and 2) standard spacing is 16" (and the only other common spacing is 24")... I would bet there is another stud exactly between the two you found, which of course you could use for your mount. Try a bit harder with your stud finder, or try putting an exploratory finishing nail in. (Note: with only one stud in the center, I'd rely on the bulk of the weight being supported by the stud but still use drywall anchors of some type mostly for stability)
Nov
24
comment How can I extend a circuit so I can plug in my under cabinet lighting?
Is this literally just sitting on top of the cabinets? Why not run an extension cord over to the new location? As long as you're not building this in (eg, routing through the cabinets, or behind walls), from what you described it would be okay to do this way. Similarly, you could extend the low-voltage wire that goes to the LED lights -- either with a purpose-built DC extension cord (if it'll work), or by splicing in your own extension (you can ask another question for details on how to do that safely).
Nov
24
comment Fire proofing walls with Aluminum Foil Tape
I think you're on the path to spend a lot of money and effort to achieve little result (eg, 30-60 minutes extra of rated fire time). Also, do you have an exterior fire-rated door on the room? Is the ventilation system separated? The first thing that comes to mind is that you should make sure you have arc fault breakers on the circuit(s) in the room, as well as a smoke detector and nearby fire extinguisher. Far less money, and even if you have all the type X drywall in the world it's still not good to have a fire in your house.
Nov
21
comment Plumbing: Dual volume control valve WITHOUT mixing
I've certainly never heard of a valve that has two separate in/outs like you're describing. However, I am thinking about this being possible using solenoids.. but safety is an issue.
Nov
21
comment Plumbing: Dual volume control valve WITHOUT mixing
Clearly this is related to your other question
Nov
20
comment Very old furnace- I need a technician to inspect it-What would be a good check up list?
I can't imagine anyone would be willing to provide that type of guarantee. If there does end up being a problem, how could you possibly prove whether the inspector missed it or if it was a problem that developed afterwards?