Questions tagged [safety]

For questions generally relating to preventing or avoiding injury in the home or on the job site.

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42
votes
11answers
19k views

What are insulated screwdrivers for if you’re not supposed to work on a live circuit?

It’s not just that I’ve been told by some people to never work on a live circuit as an amateur (I know that electricians often do work on live circuits)... but the package itself containing the ...
35
votes
3answers
25k views

When doing electrical work, what do I use to check wires are safe?

If I am thinking of replacing a light switch, a light-fitting, a socket/outlet or doing other work with household wiring where there may be 120 Volts or 240 volts present ... There is already a ...
35
votes
4answers
402k views

How do you know when and where it is safe to drill into a wall?

Lots of home projects involve cutting or drilling through walls (everything from nails, screws, or hooks to mount things to cutting through drywall and drilling through studs to run wire). In general,...
33
votes
8answers
6k views

What are the dangers of operating a mini excavator?

I plan to rent an excavator like this: I am aware that it is quite dangerous if someone walks by and is hit by the bucket, but assuming I can clear the area of passers-by, what are some common ...
33
votes
4answers
32k views

Is there a way to safely have exposed electrical wires?

We have a dumpster on our property for another home project and are hoping to take advantage of this by disposing of some bathroom lights and a ceiling fan. However, we do not currently have a ...
30
votes
11answers
9k views

Should I tilt my DIY self-standing bookshelf backwards to prevent it falling down?

Context I intend to build a self-standing bookshelf using 18mm-thick, CNC-router-cut plywood. The bookshelf is made of nested planks, and entirely fits a 35cm-deep recess in my wall. Following ...
30
votes
7answers
98k views

Extension cord and power strip safety

I've heard that there are some safety and building code issues involved with using extension cords or power strips (surge protectors) for anything other than temporary use. What are the issues, and ...
29
votes
5answers
12k views

Is it safe to remove the bottom chords of a series of garage roof trusses?

See attached picture. Looks like an 8x10 cut-out. He wants to lift cars up so he can walk under them. Is this safe? Doesn't removing the joists affect structural integrity?
29
votes
10answers
20k views

What are the most important things to check/do after buying a home?

We are in the process of purchasing a home that is over 20 years old. What are some of the most important things we should check/patch/do right away to make sure the home is running correctly and ...
28
votes
7answers
9k views

Why is my fire extinguisher emptied after one use?

I'm planning to make a small DIY gas tank and I saw people using old or used fire extinguishers but I don't understand why my fire extinguisher can't hold pressure after one use. I have this fire ...
28
votes
5answers
6k views

Electric shock - was I stupid, unlucky, or a combination of both?

One of the double sockets in our garage needed replacing (damaged after a washing pole hit it) - a pretty trivial job that I'd done before. So I flipped the MCB for the ring main, used a non-contact ...
27
votes
5answers
7k views

Is this 230V steampunk metal robot lamp safe?

I bough a steampunk robot lamp from ebay. It is made out of (painted) metal fittings. After receiving it, I was a little concerned regarding safety and disassembled it. The plug suggests that this is ...
27
votes
6answers
9k views

Why has my 10 year old ceiling fan suddenly started shocking me through the fan pull chain?

My fan has been working fine for ten years now and suddenly if I’m barefoot and touch the metal pull chain it lightly shocks me, but does not if I have shoes on. Does this mean I need a new fan or is ...
25
votes
4answers
3k views

How can it be dangerous to feed a water heater from two separate panels?

In a recent question, a user asked "Can a water heater be installed between two apartments and wired to both apartments' breaker boxes, effectively splitting the bill between the two?". One of the ...
24
votes
5answers
64k views

Safe/professional way to transport lumber with just a roof rack

I'm doing some home improvement, and have the necessary skills, tools, etc, for the job. There is one thing I'm lacking: a large pickup truck for transporting lumber. A buddy of mine used to have one, ...
24
votes
3answers
8k views

Why should we replace smoke alarms every 10 years?

I'm having a hard time understanding a requirement to replace smoke detectors every 10 years (or whatever the manufacturer suggests). With previous generations of ionization based detectors, I ...
22
votes
11answers
19k views

Would bullet proof glass help deter burglars? How does it compare to normal glass?

We consider buying an apartment, which has previously been used as a shop. Our only concern is that it has large windows (2,5 meters x 2,5 meters), which would function like an invitation to burglars. ...
22
votes
4answers
8k views

Is my repair to this plug safe?

The red copper wire was burned so I took out the burnt part of the wire and reinserted all the wires by myself.
20
votes
3answers
10k views

What is the safe/correct way to work on gutters? From a ladder or from the roof?

I am very comfortable working on the gutters (usually just cleaning them) from one story up by just sitting on the roof. I do this on my own home over the garage and at my parents one-story home. I ...
20
votes
3answers
4k views

What types of home radon mitigation systems have you used, and how well do they work? [closed]

What types of home radon mitigation systems have you used, and how well do they work? Do recommended types of mitigation systems vary significantly with varying levels of excess radon? Does climate ...
19
votes
10answers
11k views

Is it more economical to use hot water before boiling or to bring cold water to a boil?

Since the arrival of our newborn, we have been using the stove to boil water in order to sterilize the nipples, bottles and rings. Which got me thinking, is it more economical to start off using hot ...
19
votes
7answers
6k views

How do I safely replace a worn out electrical outlet?

I have a number of outlets that are old and worn out (plugs fall out of them mainly.) Obviously I need to turn off the breaker to replace them safely. Any guidance on how to rewire them, how to ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it permissible to have exposed mains conductors in holiday lights?

I've just had a holiday lights company install some outside tree lights, and I found they had done it so that at several places the prongs of mains cable plugs had been left exposed, and carrying ...
19
votes
4answers
104k views

What is the proper, safe, and effective way to apply diatomaceous earth?

We are looking at using diatomaceous earth against bed bugs. However, we're having trouble finding any reliable information on how to use it properly. Our questions are: how should it be applied? ...
18
votes
9answers
2k views

What basic safety equipment should everyone have?

When doing DIY what safety kit should everyone have (and use)?
17
votes
6answers
7k views

What sorts of appliances will malfunction on a reversed AC outlet?

The house I recently acquired had some wiring done in the basement by the previous owner. I've identified 3 outlets (all on the same circuit) where the live and neutral wires are reversed. I've ...
17
votes
8answers
31k views

Which tools should not be operated while wearing gloves?

Does anyone know of any safety organization like OSHA that gives a list of tools that should not be operated while wearing gloves? It has always been my understanding that a person should not wear ...
15
votes
12answers
13k views

How can I protect my fingers while using a band saw?

I intend on using a band saw to cut out large meeples (the wooden pieces from the board game Carcassonne) from a 2x4 board. I'm worried about cutting my fingers. What tool can I use to help keep ...
15
votes
11answers
3k views

Is it safe to use a drill bit with a half broken tip?

I broke the tip of the masonry drill bit. The tip looks like this now. Half of it is missing, and it seems that the tip itself moved slightly towards the center (since at the bottom, it is parallel to ...
15
votes
5answers
140k views

How do I keep my Christmas tree from falling over?

It never fails: I bring home a 9-foot pine, cut the trunk flat, remove the lower branches, and place our Christmas tree in the stand only to have it fall over a little later in the evening. How can I ...
15
votes
1answer
3k views

Is this box bonded properly to the ground?

The receptacle is from the mid-1950's and my multimeter shows that it is grounded. There are a solid 120 volts when testing between live and ground. I noticed a bare copper wire coming from the cloth ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the relative importance of cut-retardant safety gloves when using a chainsaw?

I am evaluating some cut-retardant gloves for use with a chainsaw. At first the idea of protecting my hands appealed to me, but later I couldn't really justify to myself why that purchase would make ...
14
votes
3answers
4k views

Why did my leaking pool light trip the circuit breaker, but not the GFCI?

This is, I am sure, an extremely naive question. I hope that's okay (and I hope it can be answered at a level I'll understand). The background: My swimming pool has underwater light fixtures, on ...
14
votes
2answers
13k views

How do I join two cables outside so that they're safe and kept dry?

I have a new pond with a pump but the cable on the pump is far too short. I have some similar cable which will do the job to extend the length. My only concern is the junction outside. I need to make ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

We built a pergola, is it safe?

We found a pergola design that we loved and copied the design but now that it's (mostly) up we are questioning its stability and safety. The 2x6 beams are notched 3" to fit together, which I have ...
13
votes
5answers
18k views

What kind of gloves should I wear during electrical work?

What kind of gloves should I wear during electrical work? I need to know which glove material is most suitable for this kind of work, as I wish to purchase the proper gloves.
13
votes
11answers
85k views

How can I get a shock from a circuit when the breaker is off?

While I was replacing an old outlet, I received a shock from something in the box. I think it was the metal box itself. Before I started, I performed the following to ensure the power was out: ...
13
votes
6answers
21k views

Should gloves be worn when working with concrete to prevent it from coming in contact with skin?

I was told recently that concrete is slightly corrosive. Should gloves be worn when using concrete or is it fine to handle concrete as long as its not done on a regular basis?
12
votes
3answers
7k views

Does a 2100W angle grinder need an earth pin?

I have recently purchased a Makita 2100W angle grinder. It has just the live (L) and neutral (N) connectors unlike the one I previously used, which had a third protected earth (PE) connection. Would ...
12
votes
5answers
13k views

How can I protect my hands when using power tools?

When doing many DIY projects there's a strong need to protect hands against cutting by sharp part edges. Gloves seem a natural solution. However recently I was mounting a countertop and wearing ...
12
votes
1answer
674 views

How to make this electrical main safe

An older home has a strung electrical main. The main connects with exposed lugs on the roof above the deck. Not only is the height and location unsafe, while working on the roof today I noticed that ...
12
votes
5answers
719 views

What should I know about radon levels at home? What levels are safe and do they affect resale value?

My wife and I are looking to buy our first home. We recently found one, but a report says the radon levels inside the home are unsatisfactory. I've never really been aware of radon levels in homes ...
11
votes
7answers
39k views

Best practice for oily rag safety?

Most everyone's heard about piles of oily/greasy rags igniting. Linseed oil seems to be a popular culprit for it, but I've also recently heard claims of common automotive oil being involved. I've ...
11
votes
4answers
4k views

Is this cord bend ok on electric range?

Will this be okay for a 40 amp range? The box was set a little too low. I wasn't sure if they bend what cause any issues.
11
votes
2answers
47k views

Must I remove asbestos from my heating vents?

I've got an old house with some asbestos tape on the heating vents, and some old floor tiles which are asbestos suspects as well; duct cleaning firms won't do cleaning on the vents with the tape ...
11
votes
8answers
32k views

Why is my brand new PEX clear tubing turning green near the water heater?

I just moved into my house with brand new PEX (uponor) plumbing. I used clear for the hot and cold instead of red and blue, because I bought everything myself and I thought it would prevent wasting ...
11
votes
1answer
22k views

What's the appropriate range for the angle of a slide?

I'm building a slide, but I can't find any information on what angles are safe yet fun. What's the appropriate range of angles for a slide?
11
votes
1answer
5k views

How do I know if it is safe to remove a wall?

When looking at a wall, how can I tell if I can safely remove it?

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