Questions tagged [safety]

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

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35
votes
3answers
26k 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
6answers
7k 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 ...
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 ...
35
votes
4answers
407k 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,...
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 ...
5
votes
3answers
6k views

How can I improve ventilation in my room with a window fan while filtering pollen from a nearby tree?

This is a campus building in Aalto University where you have a tree about 10 cm away from the window. The Espoo city does not allow the student organisation AYY to cut down the tree. There is a poor ...
7
votes
8answers
204k views

How do I pressure test a natural gas line and what do the valve pressure ratings mean?

I'm planning to add an appliance to my house, and will want to do a pressure test of the newly installed gas lines. My main shutoff says 175 PSI, but most of the appliance valves say either 1/2 or 5 ...
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 ...
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
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
720 views

Is an Ionizer Air Purifier effective against birch pollen?

I spot an Ionizer Air Purifier Air Cleaner Air Ionizer and I want to understand whether it could help to alleviate symptoms due to birch pollen particles such as itching, tiredness and shortness of ...
33
votes
4answers
33k 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
10
votes
1answer
13k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Is a negative reading from a non-contact voltage detector sufficient?

I'm a beginner at doing electrical work, and I want to make sure I'm not taking unnecessary risks. Let's say that I'm preparing to work on some wiring. I have a non-contact voltage detector that ...
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

What's my health situation like living in an exposed fiberglass insulation for 2 weeks

My attic floor is covered with fiberglass insulation. I go to the attic very often. Sorting out winter/summer clothes. Or I go up to search for stuff as my attic is a short term storage. 2 weeks ago,...
1
vote
4answers
560 views

Why do some lamps have different power ratings for different kinds of bulbs?

I had a lamp that broke recently after getting smashed against a wall by accident (there are now numerous exposed conductors, making it unsafe to use), so I went to the store to get a new one. I ...
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 ...
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. ...
21
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 ...
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
20k 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 $....
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Are there any “easy” ways to trace a home electrical system?

We bought a home a few months ago, and the electrical panel (and subpanel) are completely unlabelled. We have no way, short of flipping breakers, to know what breaker powers which fixtures. Is there a ...
7
votes
2answers
13k views

Damaged wire while drilling wall caused power to go out. How to fix it properly?

I managed to damage two wires/cables: tv/internet and a power wire. There were three of power wires: a blue, a black and a green/yellow. I've damaged the black one, but just a little bit. When the ...
7
votes
6answers
96k views

Why does my laptop charger make a spark when plugged in?

From time to time (not always but often enough) when I plug my laptop's charger in the wall outlet it makes a spark (even if I use different outlets it's the same). Why does it do this? Is this a ...
5
votes
2answers
14k views

Should I convert a single light switch to a receptacle/switch combo?

First I want to say I've done a little research on my question. I'm familiar (I think) with the wiring, but I'm uncertain if my solution is a good one because of what I plan on using the outlets for (...
3
votes
2answers
125 views

What methods exist for filtering air to alleviate allergies?

I've found out that I have an allergy, especially for the mold. I live in a very wet climate, so it's a problem. I was given advice to buy this AIRFREE E60 air purifier. But now I'm interested to ...
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?
17
votes
8answers
32k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
85k views

What dangers are there with disturbed asbestos drywall?

We had a repipe job done on our home 5 years ago. I was stupid and did not research the company before they destroyed drywall throughout the house. After the pipes were replaced they informed me ...
4
votes
2answers
136 views

What are the relationships between ground and arc protection in breakers and in outlets?

I'm wondering how combos of AFCI & GFCI protection on breakers and outlets affect overall circuit safety & performance. What I mean is, how do different combinations of GFCI and/or AFCI ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How to safely install drywall anchors near wiring

I need to hang a rack on a pantry wall, the other side of which has a light-switch. The rack will be holding quite a bit of weight (well-distributed, and close to the wall, though), and I need to ...
4
votes
6answers
17k views

Should we vent our attic for new polyurethane closed-cell spray foam insulation?

We already installed Quadfoam 2.0, a "two-component, 2 lb., closed cell, spray applied, rigid polyurethane foam system" under the roof of our house, between the rafters. We read the manufacturers ...
3
votes
8answers
6k views

What substances should you avoid contact with your bare hands?

I started thinking about this yesterday because I currently have a weird feeling second skin from the polyurethane adhesive I used to attach my kitchen backsplash on Sunday. I foolishly assumed since ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the purpose of a GFI outlet tripping on low voltage?

As I went looking for a replacement for a GFI wall outlet, I noticed that the advertised features of one outlet included "low voltage trip" – that is, the GFI will trip not only when a ground fault is ...
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: ...
11
votes
8answers
33k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
5k views

Why aren't AFCI breakers required for bathrooms/lavatories?

Why doesn't NEC require AFCI breakers for bathrooms/lavatories? Is there a good reason NOT to install AFCI protection on a 15A/20A 120V bathroom outlet? (I.e., use GFCI only.)
9
votes
2answers
4k views

Add grounding to a 9th floor apartment in country with no electric code at all

I live in a 9th floor 1940s-era apartment in a country with no electrical code and no professional licensing for electricians. My 'electrician,' such as he is, is a security guard who does wiring on ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

What type of clothing is required when working around asbestos?

I find myself exploring environments rich in Asbestos, the specific type of asbestos appears to be both pipes and potentially the cladding around them (steam pipes etc), occasionally broken sheets as ...
6
votes
7answers
3k views

What is the safest way to cut up an old kerosene storage tank?

Folks, I need to remove an old kerosene storage tank (for central heating) from my in-laws back garden. The tank is moulded plastic, and has a 1,000 litre capacity. The access point it was ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Should I install tamper resistant receptacles

When changing out receptacles should I be installing tamper resistant receptacles? It seems that the 2008 NEC requires these devices to be installed for any new install, should I be installing them ...
5
votes
5answers
3k views

Why would a metal file have a cancer warning?

Every metal file at the hardware store bears a California Prop. 65 warning on the label. What could possibly be the cancer-causing agent in a solid metal file?
5
votes
5answers
13k views

Does this look like asbestos insulation?

Found some spare bits of it in the attic, was curious what it is. Fibre glass?
5
votes
4answers
82k views

Is it safe to shut off cold water entering water heater?

I have a pretty bad situation at my place. I have a leaky shower faucet which has gone from drips to a steady stream. I calculated the flow at .3 gallons per minute. My very old home has no private ...
5
votes
4answers
20k views

Risk from installing a “Nest” thermometer without shutting off home power?

I'm trying to install a new Nest-brand thermometer in my parents' house (unscrewing a thermometer from the wall and screwing on the new one. The first instruction in the manual is to shut off power ...
5
votes
2answers
252 views

Is storing hot water over 140F a regional requirement?

It seems to be "common knowledge" that to help prevent Legionella, hot water tanks/heaters should be set at 140F. This temperature is enough to cause terrible burns and scalding so devices like ...