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25
votes
6answers
31k views

How to prevent batteries leaking out in devices?

Is there a common method of preventing batteries from leaking out and destroying the device? Why does this happen in the first place? I have laid another head lamp to waste because it was sitting in ...
25
votes
1answer
2k views

What is this bolt in my basement floor?

In my concrete basement floor, there is a rather large bolt and washer. The washer is about 4 inches in diameter, and the bolt has a 1 inch head. What is it? All I can think of is that it's some ...
24
votes
11answers
9k views

Is it damaging to turn off a small fridge for two days every week?

I am a student who studies in a different city than my home so I go home almost every weekend or second weekend. I recently brought a room sized fridge and to save electricity costs, whenever I go ...
24
votes
8answers
58k views

Going to be away for 4 months, should we turn off the refrigerator or leave it on with water inside?

I have found people saying it's better to leave it on with water inside because then mould will not form. Is there any other downside except for electricity bill? It's a smallish refrigerator which ...
24
votes
11answers
10k views

Any hidden disadvantage to lever-type door latches?

I have a lever-type door knob on one of my bedrooms and I like it a lot more than the ordinary round knobs. I am considering replacing all the door knobs in the house with levers. Is there any reason ...
24
votes
9answers
8k views

Is there a freezing-water-resistant metal pipe?

I want to install a water outlet on the outside of my house for gardening etc. Outside temperatures here in Latvia fall to -25°C sometimes, so I cannot use a common water pipe; it would burst when the ...
24
votes
6answers
7k views

Can a toilet get “too old” to the point where it can never be unclogged and must be replaced?

We had an issue where a toilet that worked fine since we moved in 6 years ago recently would not flush. I took a plunger to it and snaked from the roof and it helped in that the toilet would slowly ...
24
votes
4answers
9k views

While drilling into kitchen wall, hit a wire - any advice?

While fixing the extractor hood yesterday, I accidently hit a wire when drilling and exposed the copper. The wires are too tight to get some kind of a box in there and putting an electrical tape may ...
24
votes
4answers
216k views

Does a bathroom exhaust fan have to vent to the outside?

Is it normal and/or code compliant to have a bathroom exhaust fan venting to the attic? I've seen this a couple times now, and the first time I saw this I thought it was very odd. But I mentioned ...
24
votes
5answers
25k views

Does a refrigerator compressor need settling time after being laid on its back or side?

A friend of mine mentioned that after laying my fridge on its side or back, that I need to let it sit for several hours before plugging it in. In the discussion, he said that it was to allow the ...
24
votes
10answers
77k views

Why do my led bulbs state: not for use in totally enclosed luminaires?

I recently bought some nice inexepensive LED bulbs but I noticed the warning states: (see image below) not for use in totally enclosed luminaires I am guessing that it gets too hot but I find it ...
24
votes
5answers
3k views

How do you find helpers for larger DIY projects?

Question: In cases where you have the time and skills to do a project yourself, but physically cannot without a second skilled person to help, how do you go about finding and hiring someone that is ...
24
votes
6answers
296k views

When should pipe dope vs thread tape be used?

For threaded plumbing connections, you typically use pipe dope or thread tape (aka teflon tape). Are there situations when one is preferred over another? Does the size of the pipe, type of pipe, part ...
24
votes
3answers
79k views

How much gap to leave between basement concrete floor and bottom of drywall board?

We have a dry basement with a concrete floor. When putting on the wall boards, how much (if any) gap should there be between the concrete floor and the bottom of the board? The boards are 3/8 inch, ...
24
votes
8answers
127k views

How do I compensate for the sun confusing my garage door opener's sensors?

Only during summer and only when the sun is close to the horizon the light from the sun confuses my garage door opener and in order to close the door I have to hold down the wired button which is a ...
24
votes
3answers
6k views

Why should we replace smoke alarms every 10 years?

I'm having a hard time understanding a requirement to replace smoke detectors every 10 years (or whatever the manufacturer suggests). With previous generations of ionization based detectors, I ...
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?
24
votes
7answers
10k views

How can I repair rusty tools?

Should I use sandpaper to clean the rust from the tools (e.g. Needle-nose pliers), or can I soak them in vinegar or lemon juice? Would I be better off just buying new tools (which can be an ...
24
votes
1answer
33k views

Humidity Levels

What is a healthy and safe humidity level that I should try to keep my house at?
23
votes
8answers
8k views

Why aren’t there water shutoff valves for each room?

Had an issue today with a nail going through a water supply line in a bathroom. It got me wondering if there is a practical or technical reason there aren’t typically room-specific shut offs between ...
23
votes
8answers
11k views

Drilled into studs, light flickered momentarily but everything else seems fine now - should I be worried?

I was installing shelving in my closets, when drilled a hole into studs, the lights flickered momentarily for 2 seconds. I stopped drilling, and everything else seems fine now. The circuit didn't ...
23
votes
3answers
5k views

Why do single electrical receptacles exist?

Given that the following are true. They are the same size. They take the same amount of work to install. Doubles are twice as useful. Double adapters are a thing. Why do single electrical ...
23
votes
2answers
7k views

What's the 1 inch square knob sticking out of the wall?

I noticed there is a square knob sticking out of my basement wall. Does anyone know what this is?
23
votes
3answers
124k views

Should all Federal Pacific panels be replaced?

I understand that Federal Panel Stab Lok breakers have the potential for becoming stuck, overheating, and starting fires. My home has a Federal Pacific panel but no outward markings of being a Stab ...
23
votes
4answers
7k views

Why would two circuit breakers be connected inside the service panel?

I was trying to locate the circuit breaker for an outlet in my garage and found a truly baffling setup. Two breakers control the same outlet (both plugs). After some head scratching, I opened the ...
23
votes
7answers
29k views

How do I run cable through my ceiling?

I have a cable that I need to run through the ceiling. I'd like to go under the floor, but I have a split level house, and this is the lower floor, so I don't believe there is room in the bottom half ...
23
votes
4answers
143k views

How do I properly feed coax through an outside wall?

I would like to add a new cable outlet to an outside wall and wanted to find out what kind of drill bit is needed to drill through and feed the coax cable as well as anything else to be mindful of. ...
23
votes
3answers
21k views

Are “1/4 turn” water supply valves more reliable than “multi-turn” valves? Or vice-versa?

Aside from personal preference, is there any reason why I would want to buy a "1/4 turn" water supply valve instead of "multi-turn valves"? Is one technology/design clearly superior than the other in ...
23
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
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?
23
votes
6answers
246k 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 ...
23
votes
7answers
91k views

Purpose of Fill Valve Tube Going into Overflow Drain

I can easily understand the purpose of the overflow tube itself, but why is the little black hose that comes from the fill valve placed down into the overflow tube? On my toilet, there is a strong ...
23
votes
2answers
119k views

How do you plan capacity for electrical circuits?

I'm finishing a section of my basement, which currently only has one bulb for bare light. In planning the electrical arrangement of things, how do I estimate the load of light fixtures or electrical ...
22
votes
5answers
8k views

Architect drawing home addition by hand

I am planning to expand master bedroom and hired an architect to draw the plan. What I learnt is that he drew diagram by hand and not using CAD. He is an old guy. But I am wondering if I should be ...
22
votes
3answers
4k views

How can I remove material from this wood beam?

I am trying to mount a roller shade in between two wood beams on my porch. The problem is that the beams are a hair too close together to accommodate mounting the shade. I am trying to remove a small ...
22
votes
11answers
18k 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. ...
22
votes
5answers
4k views

How do I reattach a shelf to the wall when it ripped out of the wall?

I had attached a shelf to my wall using the hardware that came with the shelf, but then it came crashing down in the middle of the night and all of my stuff came down with it. The hardware came from ...
22
votes
11answers
8k views

What should we look for when buying a fixer-upper house?

My fiance and I are considering buying a fixer-upper house rather than an apartment when we get married. Obviously things like location, neighbors etc. are important, but; what should we be looking ...
22
votes
13answers
13k views

What items in a house can potentially be damaged by shutting them off at the circuit breaker?

Are there certain items in a house (anything from a computer to a furnace) that can be damaged by shutting off its circuit at the electrical panel? If so, must one avoid turning off that circuit at ...
22
votes
8answers
5k views

How can I fill a wheelbarrow tire when the bead is gapped away from the rim?

I have this wheelbarrow with tubeless tire, I had to replace it with the new one, however I don't see how to pump it! The tire is quite stiff, and it was tricky to put it on the rim, but now it looks ...
22
votes
12answers
180k views

What grit sandpaper should I use between coats of polyurethane?

I'm planning on applying polyurethane to a pine bench I've finished staining. I decided on foam brushes for application, but I wasn't sure what grit sandpaper I should use between coats. Is 400 good ...
22
votes
4answers
81k views

I added insulation to my attic rafters, but should I have left room for airflow?

I added insulation to my attic rafters and plugged the space between the outdoors and my attic with insulation. It lowered my heating bill by $150/month, but I've seen some information that I may ...
22
votes
4answers
67k views

How would I go about turning a tree in to a tabletop?

My father-in-law is about to cut down a large Ash tree (on the insistence of a neighbour). At the same time, we need a dining table, and quite like the idea of a simple wooden slab on legs. ...
22
votes
26answers
148k views

How do I remove polyurethane spray foam from my hands?

I should have worn gloves but sadly I didn't. Now I have yellow stuff all over my hands. I got most of the stickiness to go away by using WD-40. Is there anything that will get this off without giving ...
22
votes
5answers
11k views

Is it OK that the frame of my house doesn't line up with the slab?

My new house is being framed. I saw that the frame extends 1-2" from the foundation: Click photograph for full size The builder told me it happens often and the city inspector will catch it if this ...
22
votes
3answers
12k 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'?
22
votes
3answers
5k views

Mounted tv too high, OK to use same studs to remount?

I mounted a tv (60") on my living room wall too high. The heavy-duty mounting bracket uses large screws that required that I drill a 7/32" hole into the studs and used a socket wrench to tighten them ...
22
votes
4answers
85k views

Why are homes wired using solid wire rather than stranded?

If stranded wire can carry more power for a given wire gauge, why are homes typically wired using solid? If solid wire is less expensive to make, that provides a compelling reason why solid is used, ...
22
votes
5answers
45k views

What is the proper way to run Category 6 underground?

I'd like to run some Category 6 cabling underground, for a distance of about 120 ft, between a main home and a 2nd unit, for ethernet connectivity between the two homes. I've run Category 5 indoors ...
22
votes
1answer
3k views

240v Outlet with 120v and 215v - How?

Ok this is a weird one and maybe I just don't understand how mains work (though I feel I have a good enough knowledge to stay safe and do basic breaker work & wiring). Buddy moved into a new shop ...

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