All Questions

14
votes
1answer
60k views

Can I add a standard receptacle on a GFCI circuit

So, I want to add a receptacle in the bathroom (I tend to run out of batteries on my phone while crapping at the end of the day). There's a GFCI outlet on the other side of the crapper wall that ...
35
votes
9answers
120k views

How do I drill a 2⅛ inch door knob hole over an existing 1½ inch hole?

I need to replace the door knob for this interior door: The door knobs I've found at the stores require a 2⅛ inch hole. Mine is only 1½: Did door knobs used to be smaller? Is there some place I ...
29
votes
14answers
77k views

How can I get rid of a mouse in my house?

There is a mouse in my house. What's the most effective way to get rid of the mouse (and any "friends" it might have) and ensure that it doesn't come back.
15
votes
4answers
7k views

How do I build a French drain?

There's a shed near the side of the house with a roof that's pitched to shoot water at the house's foundation. That side of the house also has no gutters. There's a very slight grade to send water ...
11
votes
10answers
149k views

Why is GFCI tripping on refrigerator circuit?

My refrigerator is tripping the GFCI on the socket into which it is plugged. Searching about this topic seems to indicate that this is a reasonably common complaint. However, I can't find any ...
6
votes
5answers
78k views

Why am I getting 50V at a light when the switch is off?

I am trying to put in a switch and a light it controls in a storage building and this is how I wired it. Click for larger view When I checked the wiring it registered 120V when the switch was on, ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

multiple motion detectors wired together

I would like to wire multiple motion detector light kits in parallel, so when one motion detector is tripped it will turn on all three lights. Each light kit has 2 LED lights on it. Schematic and ...
42
votes
8answers
122k views

Should I use a subfloor for a finished basement's floor?

We are refinishing our basement and have not yet decided what to do for the floors. Part of the basement will be tile, and we are all set. However, the rec room side is going to be carpet. The ...
39
votes
9answers
554k views

How can I paint over mold to prevent it from coming back again?

The source of the leak has been fixed, however the old mold keeps showing though the new paint.
55
votes
14answers
394k views

Should I set fence posts in dirt, gravel, crushed rock, or concrete?

I have received conflicting advice about how to set wooden fence posts. Many web sites suggest setting them in a concrete cylinder. Someone at the local hardware store had seen posts set in concrete ...
36
votes
7answers
49k views

How do I run ethernet cable through a wall cavity?

I want to install an ethernet jack in an interior wall of one room. I'd like to run the cable up through the wall cavity (so it is hidden) into the crawl space and back down another wall to another ...
32
votes
4answers
305k 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,...
20
votes
17answers
12k views

What is an affordable 2D drafting software for amateurs?

Background: We have about 1500 feet of unfinished basement that I am contemplating finishing off into a "grandma suite". Before getting serious about the project, however, I would like to play around ...
26
votes
12answers
544k views

How can I remove a really stuck screw?

I often come across screws that just won't budge with a manual screwdriver or even a driver bit in a drill. They are of different screw types and heads in a variety of different materials. What are ...
23
votes
2answers
6k views

How can I get rid of ants in an environmently friendly way?

Is it enough to pour boiling water in their mount?
21
votes
4answers
80k views

Do I really have to fasten interior-wall electrical wire to a stud to keep it from moving?

I am fresh out of cable staples and would rather not go all the way to Lowe's just to get a box. What are the implications of not fastening loose electrical wires to a stud? It's not like there's ...
24
votes
4answers
3k views

How do I fix a hole in drywall?

There is a hole in my drywall from a doorknob repeatedly hitting it, is there a straightforward way to fix it?
36
votes
7answers
80k views

Are push in connectors up to code?

Just came across a neat product at the local hardware store, but I wonder if they are up to code and safe to use. They are a wire nut that allows you to simply push the wires in, instead of twisting ...
19
votes
8answers
51k views

Does a homeowner need a permit for electrical work in Massachusetts?

Does a homeowner need to obtain a permit from the town in order to do electrical work on his own house in Massachusetts? The unofficial answers I can find online (e.g., this forum and the websites of ...
18
votes
4answers
123k views

I have a 3-pronged receptacle but no ground wire connected to it. Is this ok?

I removed the plates from outlets to paint walls and noticed that some of my electric boxes have ground wires connected to outlets while others do not have a green wire at all. Is this ok? I know ...
17
votes
3answers
151k views

Should the backer board be in front of or behind the tub flange?

I'm installing a new bath tub and shower. I've removed the old tile down to the studs. Should the backer board be in front of or behind the tub flange? I put it on the rear tub wall from floor to ...
27
votes
4answers
69k views

What temperature should I set my water heater to?

When adjusting my water heater, what temperature should I set it to? Is the answer different if you have: Concerns about diseases A dishwasher Young children or elderly that can be easily burned ...
18
votes
4answers
209k views

Which Kitchen outlets do NOT need GFCI?

I have the 2 circuits in the kitchen with GFCI outlets, but I'm not quite sure which other ones do NOT need GFCI. Other circuits in the kitchen include Microwave, Fridge, and Dishwasher. It makes ...
17
votes
6answers
181k views

How can I find the source of a mysterious bad smell?

We have recently moved home, and all is fine appart from a mystery smell which I'm unable to track down. It's driving me crazy (actually, my wife thinks I am crazy as she can't smell it). I'm hoping ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Can cable splice devices be concealed?

Devices exist that claim to be able to splice nonmetallic sheathed cables together outside of a box, and in concealed locations. Are these types of devices allowed by National Electrical Code? Here's ...
8
votes
9answers
334k views

How long should I wait before painting or staining pressure-treated wood?

My husband is installing a new deck with pressure-treated lumber at our home in Tennessee. How long does he need to wait to paint, or should he stain the deck now?
13
votes
5answers
120k views

What is the proper 'per code' method for running nonmetallic sheathed cable above a ceiling in the attic?

Can the wiring be run over the top of the ceiling joist, or must it be run through bored holes when running perpendicular to the joists? This is a non-habitable space, will have an attic entrance ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Can I feed 2 sub-panels off one breaker?

I have a 225A main service panel. I also have 2 sub-panels with 125A and 200A ratings respectively. There's a 100A 2-pole breaker in my main panel. I want to feed both sub-panels from that single ...
12
votes
1answer
19k views

How exactly does a 3-way switch work?

I just finished replacing all of the switches and outlets in my apartment, after fighting a long war with a weird 3-way switch. Needless to say, I won, but I'm still trying to grasp the concept of how ...
7
votes
2answers
24k views

How do I install a portable air conditioning unit in a large sliding window?

I have a large sliding window that is 53 inches top to bottom and I want to install a portable air conditioning unit. The kind that don't sit in the windows but vent to the window. The window ...
2
votes
3answers
5k views

How can I make a bluish “white” LED less blue?

I recently bought this white LED reading lamp. I like it a lot, but the "white" light produced is significantly blue; I'll guess its color temperature is about 5000K. I've noticed that, when this is ...
25
votes
9answers
197k views

How do I prepare an already painted wall for new paint?

We are repainting a number of rooms in our home, do we need to put primer over the existing paint? Are there any other gotchas that we need to prepare for before repainting the walls?
17
votes
3answers
31k views

How do I fix a squeaky floor below my carpet?

I have a squealy floor below my carpet on the 2nd floor of my house. It sounds like the subfloor under the carpet is moving up and down a little and makes this awful load squeak when I step down on ...
49
votes
8answers
163k views

When would one use an impact driver versus a regular drill?

Or vice-versa. As best as I can tell, the impact driver is very good for most any type of screw going through wood. When would you use a drill (with screw bit) instead?
26
votes
9answers
264k views

How much load can a (wood) board support, if it is supported only at the ends?

How much load can a board support, if it is supported only at the ends? At the moment my specific problem is hanging a tire swing between two trees, and depending on which trees I choose they could ...
23
votes
6answers
245k views

Why do my toilets flush slowly and often incompletely?

I have three toilets that all flush slowly and incompletely. I've adjusted the chain to ensure the flap raises completely. I've raised the float to ensure the tank fills nice and high. Yet I have this ...
7
votes
4answers
217k views

Toilet not always flushing fully, what could be wrong?

I have a toilet that about half of the time doesn't flush fully, but will always flush fine on the second attempt. It does this regardless of the "contents" in the bowl. I first took a plunger to it, ...
36
votes
10answers
137k views

Doors are sticky and noisy when opened?

For some reason, the doors in our house make a very loud "unsticking" sound when you open them. It's almost as if the paint isn't cured, since the sound seems to come from the contact area around the ...
11
votes
7answers
119k views

What are the pros and cons of adding a vapor barrier behind shower backer board?

After much research, I have a lot of conflicting advise about the need to add a vapor barrier before installing the backer (hardy / cement) board for my bathroom shower. The "expert" at Home Depot, ...
10
votes
7answers
68k views

Why is it safe to use 15 A receptacles on a 20 A circuit?

OK, the one answer I got was way off target, and another commenter couldn't figure out what I was asking, so I'm restating the question... Are 15A 3-prong grounded outlets actually rated to 20A, ...
9
votes
5answers
83k views

Why would my TV image turn black when electrical appliances turn on?

I have my computer connected to my TV via HDMI. Every time something electrical happens (fridge turns on, stove sparks, etc), the image on the TV goes black for a second and then comes back on. And ...
19
votes
6answers
58k views

How do I stop the dripping noise from my gutters?

It has just recently started raining where I live, and I am new to this house. When the rain ceases and the water is dripping from the gutters through the drain, I can hear the dripping from inside ...
18
votes
5answers
67k views

Where should I NOT use a GFCI or AFCI?

There is a lot of information out there about the benefits of GFCI and AFCI and the places where they must or should be used. But are there any circumstances where you're better off without them? If I ...
10
votes
1answer
63k views

How can I install this programmable switch where a neutral is not present?

I'm trying install this programmable switch but the instructions do not match reality. The instructions refer to the existence of a black (load) cable and a white (neutral) cable supposedly coming out ...
8
votes
3answers
11k views

Why does my toilet intermittently run continually?

I've pretty much fixed up my bathroom since moving in. The last bit of annoyance now is this: Not every time, but every 10 or so flushes, my toilet will run continually. It'll sound like it's water ...
16
votes
2answers
42k views

What are the rules for unplugging a refrigerator?

I'd like to unplug my fridge for a few hours each evening to have silence in my small studio while I fall asleep. It is on a timer, so it happens at random times through the cooling cycle. I was ...
15
votes
3answers
22k views

How do I run ethernet, speaker wire, and coax through a wall into a crawlspace?

I would like to run three low-voltage cables from my entertainment center through an old plaster wall, down (1-3 feet) through the sill plate, and into the crawlspace. The cables are Ethernet, ...
14
votes
7answers
336k views

Why is my hot water running out quickly regardless of other household water usage?

I've noticed that my shower, which used to run hot water for what seemed like forever, now can only produce about 15 minutes of hot water. This doesn't appear to be related to other water usage in the ...
7
votes
1answer
16k views

What is a split bus panel, and how do I recognize it in the field?

I'm having trouble identifying a split bus panel. I design and install Solar systems, and lately (after Mr Wiley gave a few seminars to local inspectors) the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

How do I soundproof my vaulted townhouse wall?

I want to soundproof my wall. In fact, it's this wall: I know, right? It would probably be an enormous task, but I really want to get it soundproofed because I have a neighbor on the other side and ...

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