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
13k 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 ...
34
votes
4answers
15k 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 ...
32
votes
4answers
313k 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,...
30
votes
11answers
5k 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
3answers
16k 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 ...
28
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 ...
27
votes
7answers
93k 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 ...
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
3answers
6k 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 ...
23
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
22
votes
11answers
18k 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. ...
20
votes
3answers
8k 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
3k 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
4answers
38k 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, ...
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
99k 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
1k views

What basic safety equipment should everyone have?

When doing DIY what safety kit should everyone have (and use)?
18
votes
7answers
5k 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 ...
17
votes
10answers
9k 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
16
votes
8answers
25k 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
10k 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
5answers
100k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
3k 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
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
2answers
10k 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
11answers
76k 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: ...
12
votes
3answers
6k 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
8k 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.
12
votes
5answers
11k 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
618 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
4answers
629 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
6answers
37k 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
2answers
43k 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
5answers
16k 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?
11
votes
1answer
14k 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?
10
votes
8answers
418 views

What do-it-yourself cautionary tales do you have?

I'm curious what sort of cautionary tales everyone has come across (or experienced themselves). For instance, my dad used to work on live wires all the time — until he was putting a stove in (...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

Is it okay to regularly turn off lamps (2) via a power strip rather than their individual switches?

Okay, full disclosure: I know next to nothing about electronics. Just trying out my first little amateur diy project: adding lights to my vanity. So here goes my question. I just bought 2 little ...
10
votes
1answer
4k 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?
10
votes
1answer
9k views

False positive from a non-contact voltage tester?

I'm replacing a 240-volt split-phase electric baseboard heater. I've shut the power off at both the thermostat and the breaker box. Testing the wires with a non-contact voltage tester shows an ...
10
votes
3answers
17k views

What to do with an apartment with only 2-pronged outlets

I just rented an apartment (Colorado, for what it's worth RE code) that has 2-pronged outlets throughout the place except for two GFCI's, one in the bathroom and one in the kitchen. I bought the $....
9
votes
3answers
4k views

Is wiring with melted insulation and exposed copper dangerous?

A plumber has melted the grey sleeve on a two core electrical cable in our kitchen whilst soldering a joint on an adjacent copper pipe. I can see exposed copper through a small hole the cable sleeve. ...
9
votes
4answers
18k views

Can a stove be beneath a window

I'm upgrading my kitchen and after endless deliberating, feel that the kitchen is best laid out having the stove directly beneath a window (the window is about 8" above the stove). I was wondering ...
9
votes
5answers
14k views

Is it safe to run a USB cable inside a wall?

I need to extend a USB device from a corner of my room to the above the fireplace. Since I'm already going to be installing some HDMI and audio cables through the wall, I'd like to have my USB device ...
9
votes
8answers
25k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
336 views

How to detect mildew or fungus?

We live in an apartment, and since a couple of months, my girlfriend suffer from all sort of lung/breath/throat problems. ( Multiple visits to the Doctors give the same result: she has nothing, might ...
9
votes
4answers
6k views

Can I replace an electric smoke detector with a combined smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detector?

My house has electric smoke detectors wired into an ADT alarm system. I'm not using the alarm system but the smoke detectors seem to work anyway. I'd like to have carbon monoxide detectors too. ...