Questions tagged [safety]

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

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11
votes
1answer
1k views

Is my Non-Contact Voltage Tester from Klein Tools safe?

There are many questions regarding Non-Contact Voltage Testers. They are a great safety tool when used as recommended and when they are functioning as designed. Has mine been recalled? Model: Klein ...
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?
10
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8answers
484 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
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.)
10
votes
5answers
19k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
6k views

Can a water leak cause a fire in a light fixture?

The upstairs bathroom got too much water on the floor and it dripped through to the kitchen below, by the ceiling light fixture (discoloration on ceiling around light fixture). The place was built ...
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
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 ...
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 $....
9
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7answers
4k views

How do I safely place an extension ladder near windows so I can clean my gutters?

I am trying to get an extension ladder in position so I can finally clean these gutters. I have a stabilizer, but it's narrower than the span of 2 windows, and I'm very uncomfortable putting the ...
9
votes
3answers
6k 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
3answers
2k views

GFCI vs. 40v 5ah battery for water safety

My wife has recently taken to running a cord out near our pool to watch TV. She's very careful, but I was thinking of doing what I can to make it safer, since the outlet in question is NOT a GFCI ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

How to demolish old stone walls safely?

We are renovating an old property in France where three walls of an old stone schoolhouse (10ish meters high I'm guessing, maybe more in some places) sit adjacent to the more recent house (1950s). We ...
9
votes
3answers
71k views

If polyurethane is not food safe, why is it used on dining tables?

Why do online sites say that polyurethane isn't food safe, and is there some way I can use it on my kitchen worktop and still be safe? I don't prepare or store food directly on it or use it as a ...
9
votes
4answers
32k 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
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 ...
9
votes
5answers
42k views

At what height should CO detectors be installed?

I've got a Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector (BRK CO250B, instruction sheet PDF) that I am looking to install in our house. All of the bedrooms are on the top level of our quad-level house, and I'm ...
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 ...
9
votes
2answers
358 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
8k 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. ...
8
votes
9answers
34k views

Should a smoke alarm be installed in the attic?

I installed hard-wired and interconnected smoke alarms through the house. I wondered, though, if a fire spread through my attic I might not know about it until the ceiling or roof collapsed. Should I ...
8
votes
14answers
11k views

What's the safest type of power saw? [closed]

I would like to purchase a power saw for general use (i.e., for various DIY and home improvement projects). I currently exclusively use a handsaw to cut wood. Even though it is a pull saw (which ...
8
votes
3answers
121k views

What kind of gloves do I need for working around electrical wires?

What kind of gloves could I wear before manipulating electric wires if I really want to be safe even after having turned off house electricity? And where to buy them?
8
votes
2answers
30k views

If I do not have any fuel burning devices, do I need a carbon monoxide detector?

Is there any reason that a home without any fuel burning devices would need a carbon-monoxide detector?
8
votes
2answers
481 views

Is it within code to complete 12g wiring circuit with 10g wire?

In installing a dishwasher on a dedicated 20amp circuit on 12g wiring, I've come short about 5 feet to run a line. I have some surplus, heavier, 10g wire. Would it be safe to install a junction box ...
8
votes
5answers
42k views

Is an LED light strip safe to use under a bed?

I see a lot of RGB LED light strips being sold on sites like Amazon etc. The lights appear to be of decent quality, run off of 12V but do need up to 5-6 Amps to power. This is a lot of current, so I'...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Would running a band saw or cnc machine in my basement be safe?

I'd like to get a band saw and drill press but I don't have room in my garage so I'd like to put it in my basement. The problem is I don't have any ventilation to remove sawdust so would having it in ...
8
votes
2answers
62k views

Outdoor electrical outlet exposed to the rain

Besides tripping a circuit breaker, is there any risk created by a 120V electrical outlet getting wet from the rain? The outlet was installed on an outdoor patio by the builder, so it was intended to ...
8
votes
4answers
12k views

How to I safely anchor a safety line to a chimney?

I am going to be installing an antenna at the top of my brick chimney and I'd like to be able to use a safety line with a fall arrestor. The chimney visually looks OK. I'm trying to figure out 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
19k views

What protection is needed to access the crawlspace under the house?

We have a crawlspace about 2 feet tall under the house. (Scary!) Looks like it has a black plastic barrier on the ground (which I believe is just dirt). How should one dress to crawl under there, and ...
8
votes
4answers
357 views

1960s bomb shelter a safe place to wait out a tornado?

I have a 1960s 10x12x8 ft concrete room. It was built under our concrete kitchen floor which is at ground level in 1963. The concrete is 12" thick, except for the ceiling which would be about 24" ...
8
votes
2answers
427 views

What is an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter?

What is an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) and where should they be used?
8
votes
3answers
13k views

Fire Extinguisher In Unheated Garage & Shed

We are talking about getting fire extinguishers for the various areas of our house. One place where it seems a fire extinguisher would be a good idea is the garage. I also plan on adding a shed to ...
8
votes
1answer
6k views

Are service loops allowed by US electrical code in residential wiring?

I'm about to rough-in my electrical wiring for a remodel of our bedroom and have seen several videos where people leave an extra 6-8 inches of wire looped outside of an outlet box which will allow for ...
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 ...
7
votes
4answers
5k views

Why don't bookshelves come with wall mounting screws included?

I was assembling an IKEA bookshelf, and one of the most important steps to ensure safety is the installation of the L-bracket to secure the bookshelf to the wall. All the parts, including the bracket ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

Circuit breaker door shocked me. Static?

I was switching through breakers to isolate outlets. I had the panel door open, stepped away, and when I walked back to touch the panel's DOOR, I got a static-like shock on my finger. I was wearing ...
7
votes
10answers
25k views

Why is a steel security door safe if they can break the glass, slide their hand in, and unlock the door?

OK I had a hard time thinking of a good title but here's the gist of the problem/concern I have which I can't find an answer to anywhere online. Please note that this is a very specific but common ...
7
votes
7answers
5k views

I've moved into a new apartment for a while. Is this mold? Is it safe to continue live here?

I've moved into a new apartment for a while. Lately, I found these molds on my things. Is it safe to continue living here? Do you think a dehumidifier will solve this problem? I don't want all of my ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

How to cover old Red Dot outdoor outlet for constant use?

Here's the current outlet. I need to leave a cable connected constantly. Is there a snap-on cover for this type of thing? (Can I gaff tape a quart baggie over it?) tia...
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
615 views

Why bother referencing neutral to ground in residential transformer?

I'm going to list the 3 scenarios for electrocution I can think up for both a residential transformer with grounded neutral and an isolated transformer. I find that the grounded neutral transformer ...
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 ...
7
votes
4answers
22k views

What can I do about electric code violations in a rental unit?

My fiance and I are currently renting an apartment in Baltimore, MD and recently we have become alarmed by much of the house's wiring. Things we have seen included: countless wires that are spliced ...
7
votes
1answer
9k views

Can I use two ladders to create a makeshift scaffold?

I have a really high stairwell to do walls around (cca 18 ft). Scaffolding is impractical. I had rigged a temporary platform that I used to hang drywall and it worked well but I had to remove it ...
7
votes
3answers
643 views

Do Old Houses Have a Pre-determined Lifespan?

Taking into consideration the building supplies that were available in that time period for that particular geographic area (say, a major metropolitan city in the mid-western United States), do homes ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

Why is my light switch leaking electricity?

I have a home built in 1950 and a laundry room added sometime in the unknown future. There is a light switch that seems to be emitting electricity according to my Fluke voltage tester. I noticed it ...
7
votes
2answers
12k views

Does washing reduce asbestos?

So I was doing some work in the garage a few months ago and dislodged about a lemon size chunk of what at the time I thought was just some old concrete which fell on me and left some dust on a ...

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