Questions tagged [safety]

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

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7
votes
4answers
61k views

Can I safely power a three-prong electrical device from a light socket?

I have a covered lampholder (light socket) outside my house that I want to use to temporarily power a plug-in string of indoor/outdoor lights. Using CFLs, the total wattage of the string of lights ...
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
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

Why do fire extinguishers lose pressure over time?

We have a lot of fire extinguishers we're using in our company, and I'm wondering why fire extinguishers become depressurized even they're not being used, just on standby. I want to know why it's ...
7
votes
3answers
38k views

How do I fill a hole under a sidewalk?

The sidewalk leading up to my front door developed what looked like a sink hole under it about a year ago. Since then, an animal of some kind has made the hole even bigger and it now runs as a tunnel ...
7
votes
1answer
6k views

When to replace respirator filters?

I've got a respirator like this one: I assume with the particulate filters (for dust) you just change them when they get hard to breathe through, but what about the organic vapor or chemical ...
7
votes
3answers
873 views

What is the best short-term solution for fused neutrals?

I have inherited a house that has been in my wife's family since 1860. I do not know when it was electrified, but it seems to have skipped knob and tube. There is a lot of fabric-covered wire, and ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Considerations for hardwiring electronics project in wall

What things will I need to consider for hardwiring a planned electronics project into the wall? The plan is a DIY smart thermostat. An LCD touchscreen panel will be flush with the wall. Attached to ...
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
4k views

How to safely route a wide groove in 2x2?

I would like to create a groove 3/4" wide and 1" deep in a piece of red oak 2x2, approximately 5" long (it is being sized to slip over a 1x2). I have a 1/2" router bit, and have successfully created a ...
6
votes
3answers
738 views

Replacing a power outlet safely

I want to replace some power outlets in my condo with ones that have built-in USB ports. The condo was built in 2008. My thinking is I can simply turn off the breaker for those outlets and get to ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Can the neutral and hot be split like this?

The picture describes it better than I can, but here is the plan. Run a circuit off the panel (hot, neutral, ground) into a GFCI. Off the load side of the GFCI run wires into a light switch box that ...
6
votes
3answers
663 views

Safety equipment for a pressure washer

I'm planning to use a pressure washer for the first time, as a "once off" task, to clean and remove caked-on and ground-in mud, dirt and debris from rebar and concrete beams, before I pour concrete ...
6
votes
4answers
5k views

Can I move the main breaker and the electrical meter?

I feel this is a no-brainer (in that I should probably get someone more qualified in to do this) but I thought I'd ask some opinions. I've just moved into a new place and one of the rooms is just big ...
6
votes
2answers
13k views

How can you determine if an air compressor tank is safe?

I've recently learned that old air compressor tanks can catastrophically fail. I can't find anything about the average service life of a tank, but it appears the ones that do explode are typically ...
6
votes
1answer
514 views

Is it okay two breakers are controlling the same outlets and appliances?

To be specific, we recently had some electrical work done. The electrician added a second panel. He left without labeling anything. So today I've been testing outlets and switches trying to figure out ...
6
votes
4answers
278 views

How do you maintain good posture when working on things on the floor?

Over the past few days I've been working on some aluminum frames which are fairly large and don't fit on any tables (without stuff piled on them) I have. Now, my back is starting to hurt from being ...
6
votes
3answers
85k views

Why did I feel an electric current when touching my light switch?

While reaching behind a desk in my office, I leaned against the wall and felt a pinch on my shoulder. I realized I was leaning on the lower screw of the light switch and thought it had a metal burr or ...
6
votes
4answers
20k views

How do I make my gas oven produce less carbon monoxide?

I had someone perform a combustion safety test on my oven today and he discovered that it's producing an elevated level of carbon monoxide compared to average: 80 PPM. He said the best ovens he's seen ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

How can I prevent unpleasant smells and organisms in our water tank?

There is an 8000 liter water tank on top of my house which provides water for the house. Bacteria, fungi, algae, etc. often start developing in the tank, giving unpleasant smells, etc. The water is ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

Is it possible to earthquake-proof furniture when you have plaster walls?

Is it possible to earthquake-proof furniture (e.g. tall bookshelves) when you have plaster walls? I was dissuaded from attaching to studs by an employee at a local hardware shop, while at the same ...
6
votes
7answers
2k views

How can I subtly mark a height difference to prevent tripping?

Between two of my rooms I have a height difference of about 4cm. What is an obvious but subtle way to mark the marble floor so the step is obvious, and help to prevent tripping? I'm thinking of ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I determine what is in my water?

My question is, how can I determine exactly what these "floaties" are that I see in my drinking water? I know that I sound crazy and more than a little obsessive-compulsive....my wife tells me this ...
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
4answers
2k views

Should a UPS be unplugged when working on the electrical circuit it is plugged in to?

I need to do some electrical work on a circuit in my home. One of the outlets on the circuit has a UPS battery backup plugged into it. The UPS is tucked away behind a lot of other equipment, so I'd ...
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
27k views

How safe is having my boiler in my daughter's bedroom?

I just moved into a new house where the 10 year old boiler is located in the bedroom where my 3 year old daughter sleeps. I'd like to get an idea of how safe/dangerous this situation is. Could the ...
5
votes
2answers
8k views

Why doesn't the main breaker shut off power for house?

Location: California | United States I'm certain I'll need a licensed electrician for this but wanted to get thoughts on what could be going on. I recently noticed that power remains on in my house ...
5
votes
4answers
8k views

My kitchen cabinets were mounted with drywall screws. How can I better secure it to the wall?

The kitchen cabinets in our apartment were hung with drywall screws which has been flagged to us as a safety concern because they might not bear the load when the cabinets are fully loaded with dishes:...
5
votes
2answers
585 views

GFCI seemed to fizzle and pop, and now works as a non-GFCI outlet - what happened?

An outdoor GFCI that's under a covered porch has been working fine for a long time, but recently started failing to turn off when the 'test' button is hit. Here's what I observed. Right after ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it safe to harvest rainwater that fell on solar panels?

I am working on creating blueprints for my new home. My plan is to have both solar panels on the roof and a rainwater catchment system that directs water from the roof into some tanks in the basement. ...
5
votes
6answers
46k views

How can I make wooden stairs slip-proof?

My wife loves the idea of removing our stair carpet and putting bold/bright wallpaper on the vertical faces (risers)... ...but we're concerned that the horizontal parts (treads) would be much more ...
5
votes
4answers
6k views

How can I safely replace a light fixture above a stairwell?

In my 1911 home, there is a stairwell that has a 180 degree turn with a landing, and there is a light fixture directly overhead (centered over the railing) that I would like to replace with a pendant ...
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 (...
5
votes
2answers
463 views

What are the drawbacks of using a GFCI instead of a proper ground wire?

I notice that it is considered up to code to install a GFCI in the absence of a proper ground, but that it must be labeled (link). Why is this? Does the GFCI have some drawbacks compared to a proper ...
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
1answer
5k views

When is it generally safe/acceptable to use a wire nut?

Can someone please clarify for me when exactly it's safe/acceptable to use wire nuts? Regional building codes withstanding, I think the general rules of thumb are: Only use wire nuts in enclosed/...
5
votes
3answers
731 views

What is a UFCL brand circuit?

I'm shopping for a combination vent fan/light for a bathroom, and some of the ones I've found state this: UL Listed for use over bathtubs and showers when connected to a GFCI protected branch ...
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 ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Mystery current on neutral wires coming into outlet box

In reworking outlets and switches in our 1960's California home to use AlumiConn connectors + copper pigtails where needed (instead of older wire nuts + Noalox), I came across a duplex wall box in the ...
5
votes
1answer
269 views

Should I remove limbs before felling a tree?

I'm going to fell a 75' pine in my yard. Should I cut limbs before felling the tree even if they are balanced? I've seen mixed advice. On one hand removing limbs makes the fell more predictable and ...
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
2k views

Can I use a 2-wire NM cable staple on 3-wire cable?

I have a package of Gardner 1/2 inch staples and the package shows that they are good for 2-wire, see below: I am running some 14/3 wire (flat) wire for AC hardwired smoke detectors but these staples ...
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
488 views

Is operating a 66' boom lift something that a non-construction type homeowner could likely manage?

I'm wanting to mount a radio receiver (for internet access) to a really tall tree in my yard. I don't have a death wish so climbing it with tools is a non-starter. So I've been thinking about renting ...
5
votes
2answers
658 views

Potential Home Grounding Issue - Illinois

I recently bought a new manufactured home. There are instances where people have touched the front door and received an electric shock. Using a non-contact voltage detector, I confirmed that there ...
5
votes
2answers
7k views

Does converting a non-polarized plug to a polarized one actually make the appliance safer?

I bought an amazing vintage clock, but have some anxiety about using it, since it's quite old. Some pictures for reference: I would like to re-wire the clock with a newer cord, as the old one has ...
5
votes
1answer
138 views

Is there a reason drill bits are stored pointy side up?

The title says it all... Is it for marketing purposes, or is there an actual reason bits are typically stored sharp side up?
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
1answer
10k views

What glass for an interior, mainly glass, wall?

We would like to install a small interior wall (say 3m long) with a wooden door. We want to make it out of large wooden beams with glass between them (there is already one such wall in the house, and ...

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