All Questions

22
votes
2answers
11k views

Why are 2“x4”'s really 1.5“x3.5”?

Just curious as to the reasoning, is it a spec, or is it simply 'backwards compatibility'?
16
votes
4answers
79k views

When to use holes instead of side terminals to wire an outlet

This question comes from Shirlock's comment on this GFCI wiring question. When and why should you use the holes on the back of an outlet rather than the side terminals? I always assumed the holes on ...
13
votes
1answer
3k views

How can I fix the noise level in my home?

When anyone walks above me in our two level home it sounds like a herd of elephants stomping through. Is there any way to fix this?
12
votes
5answers
23k views

Does turning circuit breakers off cause wear?

A comment over on another SE got me thinking. With screw-in fuses, unscrewing it and then later screwing it back in causes negligible wear on either part of the installation. But what about modern "...
10
votes
4answers
289k views

Which side of a two-wire cable should be used for “hot”?

I bought a custom length of a 16/2 cable (two 16-gauge stranded wires, individually insulated). The two wires have identical colors and insulation; the only thing to tell them apart is that along one,...
10
votes
5answers
92k views

How do I eliminate the “whooshing” sound of water running though pipes?

At every faucet and toilet in our house, when water is running, it creates a loud wooshing noise in the walls. I'm not sure how else to describe it, but it's like the normal "oh I can hear the sink or ...
9
votes
3answers
173k views

Is a ground required when replacing an old single pole single throw switch?

I need to replace a switch that controls a single light source in a bathroom. The switch has two wires connected to it. I bought a replacement switch that has two screws (one for each wire), and a ...
6
votes
0answers
459 views

What are the pros and cons of different types of smart switches on the UK market? [closed]

When putting in a new switch for a light, it is often less work to put in a smart switch than run the mains cables. However how do you choose the type of smart switch to use? See Also "What are ...
6
votes
4answers
214k views

How soon can I use my shower that I recently grouted and tiled? Should it cure first?

We have been retiling my tub surround area and finished grouting the tile last night. I used non-sanded PolyBlend grout (sold at Home Depot) and added a bottle of Grout Boost Advanced Pro. Everything ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Tighten rope without turnbuckles? [closed]

I have two 4-ft x 4" x 4" wood posts, and each post has a screw eye. There's 12 feet of distance between each post. How can I tighten a piece of 1/2" diameter rope that goes through each screw eye ...
5
votes
2answers
35k views

How to tell if a ceiling junction box is braced to hold the weight of a ceiling fan?

My new home is almost done being built, and one of the extras I asked for was for two of the rooms to have junction boxes in the ceiling suitable for hanging a ceiling fan in the future. The light ...
5
votes
3answers
8k views

How can I temporarily soundproof my apartment ceiling?

Currently I'm living in an apartment that has poor soundproofing. My upstairs neighbors get up at 4:30 am to go to work. They have two dogs. So there's a lot of noise between 4:30 am and 5 am. Like ...
3
votes
2answers
15k views

Is a little ice on the cooling coils ok?

This is our first summer in a new house which has central air. It was a bit hotter today than normal so the AC was running for a long time. After awhile we noticed the airflow stopped because the ...
2
votes
2answers
6k views

How do I add grounding to my old electrical wiring?

This old house is (50's) is wired with cloth covered 12/2 Romex with no ground and all metal boxes. Can I just run a 12 ga or 14 ga solid wire between boxes and then to the ground bus of my service ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Does a split neutral conform to the NEC?

I am a Building Inspector and recently have came across a question about splitting the neutral wire between the garbage disposal and the dishwasher. I am unable to locate this in the 2011 NEC. Does ...
17
votes
3answers
26k views

How do I replace this cast iron toilet flange?

I have a big old gawd awful cast iron (at least I think it's cast iron, the house was built in 1940) toilet flange that is in sorry shape. See? There will never be a better time to replace it - as ...
14
votes
4answers
85k views

If my wall has metal studs, is it better to anchor heavy objects through just drywall or also through the studs?

I live in an apartment that has that has metal studs. I'm considering hanging various things from the wall, including a coat rack that will span 5 or 6 studs. I've seen advice that says metal studs ...
13
votes
5answers
95k views

How do I install transition molding between my new hardwood and existing tile floors?

I have ripped out some old carpet and am preparing to install a new solid hardwood floor myself. In several places, the floor transitions to an existing tile floor. The hardwood floor guys told me ...
11
votes
3answers
257k views

What causes a water heater's relief valve to discharge water?

I have a Gas Reliance Water Heater 1212. I found recently (in winter) there is a water dip through the relief valve into a 5 gallon bucket. Sometimes, it can fill the whole bucket. Sometimes, it has ...
10
votes
3answers
119k views

Is it okay to have an ungrounded light fixture?

I recently moved into an older home (built in 1968) and have been replacing some of the older light fixtures. We pulled down one of the lights and found that there is a ground running into the box but ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I drill a hole in a small stick of wood?

I need to make a few arrow shafts hollow, they're about 1/2" thick. Example: There would have to be enough space in the middle to put iron wire in it (the thickness of an old coat hanger)
7
votes
5answers
26k views

Can I use a 23 W CFL in a fixture that's rated for a 60 W incandescent?

I have a lamp that is rated at 60 Watts for an incandescent bulb with a disclaimer to use a 13 Watt bulb instead when using a CFL replacement. Do I really need to respect that disclaimer? Would not a ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

Why am I getting shocked by a water heater?

Background: I live in Metro Manila, Philippines where the electric distribution company, Meralco, delivers split-phase power to residential buildings. Our old (1980s) Meralco service drop consists ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

Is this an acceptable way to add a light to a 3-way circuit?

I have three way switches at the top and bottom of my stairs. There is a light at the top of the stairs controlled by the switches and I wish to add a light at the bottom. A 14/2 runs first to the ...
6
votes
2answers
42k views

Can I put a recessed light in a shower?

I am in Montgomery County, Maryland and I had a contractor tell me it's against code to put a recessed light in my shower. The shower is 3' X 3' X 7'1" (3 foot by 3 foot and the height is 7 feet 1 ...
6
votes
4answers
65k views

Is it safe to install a three pronged cable into a four pronged dryer?

I just moved into an old home that has a three pronged wall jack as shown below: I have a newer dryer that has a four pronged cable. Please see the back of the dryer, I've removed the four pronged ...
6
votes
2answers
21k views

Getting shocked by a neutral wire

I'm trying to figure out how I got a shock from a neutral wire. I didn't think it was possible until I read this article on being "in series with the neutral." Here's what happened: I was ...
6
votes
9answers
56k views

What is the best way to remove and prevent leaf stains on concrete pavers?

We have a brand new paver stone walkway/patio. To my dismay, I noticed that their were leaf and acorn stains from the oak tree in the front yard. I've learned my lesson and I'm going to try to keep ...
6
votes
3answers
13k views

Can I hang a 60 lbs TV on 1 inch drywall?

Can I use drywall screws with plastic contraption 3/8" diameter to put a TV on the drywall? What is the load limit for 1 inch drywall and how many screws and how close apart they can be put to carry ...
6
votes
1answer
20k views

How does an external tower style bathtub drain work?

I have this style tub drain and can't figure out how it works. Does it simply block the flow of water when lowered? Or is there something more complicated happening? My tub has stopped draining and ...
5
votes
2answers
25k views

Does the NEC allow electrical wiring to run next to a ventilation duct?

I am about to install a vent to the outside for the range hood exhaust in the kitchen. In the same bulkhead that will have this vent, there is some electrical wire (some 12/2 NM and some low voltage ...
5
votes
2answers
34k views

LCD TV mounting bracket does not “fit” the studs location in the drywall - how can I overcome that?

I would like to mount my 32" LCD TV to a wall using a swivelling bracket that I bought. The wall it needs to go to is plasterboard so I need to mount it on the studs. However, I've got a problem - the ...
4
votes
2answers
8k views

What gauge wire is needed to feed a 70 ampere panel 300 ft. away?

What gauge of wire do I need for direct burial for a 300 ft run for a 70 amp subpanel? I am going to install a 50 amp plug for a 5th wheel and eventually add some lights to a green house about 70 ...
4
votes
5answers
126k views

How can I mount a TV when I can't find studs inside my wall?

WARNING: I'm not the greatest handyman. I bought a TV mount the other day, expecting to hang my heavy 40" TV above the fireplace. However, the instructions specifically say to first screw the mount ...
3
votes
5answers
19k views

LED light bulb flickering in socket, incandescent works fine

I have a couple of outdoor light sockets with built in motion detectors. These seem to work as you'd expect with regular incandescent bulbs- you can set a timer for how long you want them to be on ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Half of my lights and oulets are not working after heavy winds?

We have solar panels and mains power. Last night was very windy; we heard quite a few bangs from outside and thought it might be the wires getting knocked together. Woke up this morning and we have ...
2
votes
2answers
24k views

How many receptacles can I place on a 20 ampere 120 volt breaker?

How many receptacles can I place on a 20 amp breaker if it's a 120 volt circuit? How many on a 15 amp circuit? I'm trying some DIY on my bathroom and bedroom. Help would be appreciated.
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Draining problems in dishwasher. Is this drain setup ok?

I have issues with dirty water in filter area and dishes not coming clean. This is a new dishwasher. Old one had similar issues so I think it is the drain and not dishwasher. Is the drain setup ok? ...
2
votes
6answers
46k views

Can I take a 220 line and convert it to a regular house outlet what would be the damage?

I have a electric 220 dryer hook up in my kitchen now I want to convert it over to use for a higher grade power supply for my microwave blender and toaster without converting Any wires or touching the ...
2
votes
4answers
21k views

How do I determine the fill rating of a conduit?

I Will be installing a subpanel in a detached garage. The subpanel will be 60 amp. The garage is about 30' from the main-panel in-house, and I will of course get an exact length before selecting the ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I level a floor with uneven joists?

Ripping up 3/4" particle board underlayment over 1/2" plywood subfloor. Running with the joists the floor is flat and level. But running perpendicular to the joists I have high spots every six to ...
1
vote
1answer
6k views

Why are the white and orange wires both connected to my thermostat's W terminal?

I wanted to get a programmable thermostat, but when I look at the wiring of the existing thermostat I’m not sure why the white and orange wires are both going to the W terminal. Other thermostat ...
1
vote
2answers
546 views

Testing and proper breakers for a multi wire branch circuit?

How do you determine if an outlet is part of a unidentified multi-wire branch circuit? Also, does code say MWBCs need to be on double throw circuit breakers and is it permissible to link CBs with that ...
0
votes
1answer
191 views

How to get heating system working again?

We have an oil-fired boiler that does both the hot water and the forced hot water baseboard heating system. It was unusually cold and windy last night here in north-central Massachusetts. I turned ...
0
votes
3answers
7k views

Can I install two independent gfci outlets in one double-gang box?

Cam I have two GFCIs connected to one double gang box in my laundry room and if so can I do a single line connection so that they both can work independently? I have a 12/2 going from the panel ...
84
votes
18answers
65k views

How do I make a height adjustable desk?

Has anyone made their own height adjustable desk? I'm interested in making a computer desk that can easily be adjusted for either standing or sitting. The lift mechanism could be electric or ...
64
votes
15answers
33k views

What should I consider regarding LAN wiring before building a house?

I am planning a small house (4 rooms, 2 floors, no basement, no attic, 120 sq.meters) and I want to run a lot of LAN cables throughout because of poor WiFi experiences in my apartment. Because the ...
67
votes
10answers
102k views

How can I improve the water pressure in my shower?

I recently purchased my first home. It has two bathrooms and the water pressure in both is less than ideal. What are some steps I can take to increase the pressure?
19
votes
1answer
86k views

What do I need to install LED strip lighting?

I've been looking to install LED strips, either RGB or white for lighting and ambiance. It wouldn't be the main lighting of the room, so no necessity for high power LEDs. The perimeter of the room is ...
43
votes
7answers
22k views

How can I speed up my slow hot water?

Our water heater (gas) is located in the garage. It is 25 to 30 feet away from the closest faucet, which I'm guessing is the main reason it takes so long -- a minute or longer -- to get hot water ...

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