All Questions

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
5answers
694k views

Is there a standard height and depth for stairs?

Is there a standard (or a standard range for) the height and depth of each step in a flight of stairs? If your answer refers to your building code, please say where you live.
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
211k 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
21k 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
74k 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
289k 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
75k 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
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
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
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 ...
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
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
28k 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
138k 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
8answers
122k 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 ...
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
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 ...
23
votes
2answers
118k 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 ...
23
votes
1answer
33k views

Humidity Levels

What is a healthy and safe humidity level that I should try to keep my house at?
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
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
6k 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
11k 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
176k 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
66k 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
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
4k 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
83k 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
43k 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
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'?
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 ...
22
votes
3answers
88k views

How to determine the type of wall on which I'm putting up a shelf?

I'd like to put up a small shelf. I have never tackled any kind of DIY project before so this is a first (I don't even have the necessary tools yet!) and I have a rather newbie question: Having read a ...
21
votes
6answers
12k views

Is it important not to scratch copper wire when removing insulation?

I use a small cutter made for max 14 gauge wires, but I'm bad at removing insulation, it takes me a bit of time to get it right, so I end up cutting and repeating, because I see scratches on copper ...
21
votes
20answers
11k views

What projects should never be DIY?

What are the most common DIY projects that you should not do yourself? What must be hired out? Edit: Just to be clear, what we're looking for here are the things that a regular homeowner might think ...
21
votes
6answers
8k views

How can I fix this gap between bookcases I made?

I just built two bookcases to line the wall of a room in my house and apparently didn't build them square enough so, when I put them next to each other, I get this giant gap. (I think the one on the ...
21
votes
11answers
10k views

How can I close a gap between my fence and my neighbor's that's on his side of the property line?

My heighbor erected a fence about 4" into his property. I recently erected my fence and put the post about 2" from the property line. I then extended the fence (boards only) to come as close to his ...
21
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 ...
21
votes
6answers
7k views

Is my plan to safely remove asbestos siding sound?

After reading a some other questions I haven't found an answer similar enough for what I'm thinking about doing. So here goes. Full disclosure up front. Before I even touch a single siding shingle, ...
21
votes
10answers
5k views

Turning a hard to access nut?

Working on the propane conversion of my gas stove. One of the orifices to be changed is in a very hard to access location - shown in the photo. The orifice is the "nut" I'm referring to, which you can ...
21
votes
8answers
15k views

Are standard light bulb bases being phased out?

Recently we've been shopping for light fixtures, and have noticed a dramatic increase in non-standard bulbs. CFLs in particular seem to be drifting away from the common threaded base, in favor of 2-...
21
votes
3answers
121k 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 ...
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 ...

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