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223 votes
2 answers
66k views

What is the purpose of these holes on my wire stripper?

I have been using this wire stripper for a while, but I have always wondered what was the purpose of those holes in the center and above LOOP, and those teeth on the handles.
alecail's user avatar
  • 3,186
140 votes
11 answers
121k views

How to prevent heavy rainwater from jumping the gutter?

During heavy rain, the water collects from my second floor roof and runs onto the first floor roof as it should. The problem is that since all this water is now concentrated from the second floor ...
Ryan's user avatar
  • 1,383
133 votes
21 answers
80k views

Is there an easy way to measure the height of a tree?

I'm looking to get an antenna installed for Internet service that will need to clear some trees on my neighbor's property because it requires a clear line of sight to work. I really don't trust my ...
JohnFx's user avatar
  • 4,692
119 votes
17 answers
138k views

When should I not use WD-40?

Looks like WD-40 can be used for lubricating just about any metal parts. Are there non-obvious cases where using WD-40 will be harmful to the stuff lubricated?
sharptooth's user avatar
  • 9,647
115 votes
7 answers
683k views

How can I add a "C" wire to my thermostat?

So, the spiffy new wi-fi thermostats want power on the C wire from thermostat, but the old thermostat doesn't have a C wire at it. What's the easiest way to add the C wire/24 volt to the thermostat ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 6,451
100 votes
3 answers
39k views

Why does my freezer get a little warmer every 14 hours?

I equipped my fridge-freezer (Bosch KGN 33X48/13, bought around 2013) with a self-made temperature monitoring system to warn me whenever the internal temperature of the freezer rises above a certain ...
tgal's user avatar
  • 893
95 votes
8 answers
649k views

Should a washer go on nut side, or the bolt side?

Often I take something apart and when I go to reassemble it, I don't remember which side the washer was on. When there's only one washer, does it generally go on the nut side (pressed up against the ...
wim's user avatar
  • 1,185
94 votes
18 answers
86k 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 ...
Evan's user avatar
  • 1,039
88 votes
2 answers
44k views

Why did my electrician put metal plates wherever the stud is drilled through?

My electrician put the metal plates pictured below wherever he drilled through a stud. My guess is that this strengthens the stud, because it was weakened by the holes he drilled. Studs with metal ...
milesmeow's user avatar
  • 5,096
87 votes
13 answers
100k views

How to remove screws with stripped heads?

I have wood screws whose heads are stripped from trying to remove them with a drill. The drill (or screwdrivers) can't grip the heads anymore. What can i use to remove these screws easily?
LordHits's user avatar
  • 1,025
86 votes
15 answers
11k views

Are solar panels cost-effective?

Environmental issues aside, I'd like to know whether solar panels are worth it from a monetary standpoint? How long before payoff occurs? Pros & Cons? Is technology moving too fast, e.g. should I ...
AngryHacker's user avatar
82 votes
12 answers
70k views

Is there a case where nails are better than screws, from an engineering/structural standpoint?

Is there a case where nails are better than screws, from a structural standpoint? For instance: Say you used screws instead of nails on a backyard deck, when the design specifically called for nails. ...
Chris W. Rea's user avatar
  • 1,495
82 votes
7 answers
536k views

Understanding US Screw Sizes

I'm going to be building a workbench, so I've been 'screw shopping.' I need some explanation on the sizing of screws when they are advertised as (example) 6 x 3/4". I know that 3/4" is the length of ...
Calvin Allen's user avatar
  • 1,139
72 votes
10 answers
126k 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?
brendan's user avatar
  • 1,155
71 votes
14 answers
39k 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 ...
Torben Gundtofte-Bruun's user avatar
66 votes
11 answers
191k views

If metal expands when heated, how does heating a bolt loosen it?

If you're having trouble removing a stuck bolt, common advice is to heat the bolt up. But if metal expands when heated, wouldn't heating up the bolt just make it harder to remove? How does heating ...
Tester101's user avatar
  • 132k
64 votes
14 answers
586k 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 ...
Vebjorn Ljosa's user avatar
64 votes
7 answers
503k views

Can Romex (NM-B) cable be run through conduit?

A few days ago I asked an electrician if I could run cable through conduit - he gave me a funny look and said "No, Romex is not allowed in conduit." When I searched online, there seems to be ...
BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft's user avatar
62 votes
11 answers
41k views

Is there a trick to applying caulk using a caulk-gun?

Perhaps it is just me, but no matter how careful I try to be, any attempt to apply caulk or cement or anything with a caulking gun into a crack results in total mess. The main problems that seem to ...
JohnFx's user avatar
  • 4,692
61 votes
11 answers
93k views

When I turn down the dimmer switch on my lights, do I actually use less electricity?

My wife and I have several lights on dimmer switches throughout our home. We generally prefer the ambient lighting provided by dimmed lights. I am curious, though, if we are saving any electricity by ...
ahsteele's user avatar
  • 947
59 votes
14 answers
44k views

How to avoid stripping screw heads?

In at least two different contexts now (installing shower handrails, installing gate on fence) I've found myself stripping the head of the screw beyond all use. I must be doing something wrong, so ...
Paul Price's user avatar
  • 1,217
55 votes
77 answers
48k views

What are the tools that every Do-it-Yourselfer must own?

What are the tools that every DIY'er should have? This is a community wiki as there is no one right answer. Instructions: One item per answer (so they can be voted on - answers with multiple items ...
55 votes
1 answer
16k views

Half my power out, but firing up an appliance turns it back on

Hoping for some much needed help. The other day my lights flickered and half the power and outlets went out in my home. They have gone and off periodically since then, spontaneously shutting off at ...
Jimmy Vincent's user avatar
55 votes
2 answers
63k views

What is the purpose of this Y shaped bit?

I have bought a bits set and there is this bit: It is a Y shaped bit, and there is a groove on the inside of the branches. The angle is approximatively 90˚ (a little more).
alecail's user avatar
  • 3,186
54 votes
5 answers
408k views

When pre-drilling for screws, how do you determine the correct bit diameter?

Suppose I want to pre-drill for, say, a 5/16 screw. How do I determine the correct drill bit diameter?
ageektrapped's user avatar
54 votes
5 answers
218k views

How can I fix electrical outlets that don't "hold" plugs that are plugged in to them?

In short, most of the outlets in my house have one working receptacle and one that any cord plugged in will immediately slip out of. Some of my outlets don't have any working receptacles (I hope I'm ...
Chris Sobolewski's user avatar
53 votes
10 answers
33k views

Which way is up? (electric outlet)

My house has electric outlets in both orientations. Which one is correct? Should the ground hole be at the bottom or the top? OR
Jeremy Stein's user avatar
  • 1,362
53 votes
8 answers
181k 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?
Matt's user avatar
  • 747
51 votes
12 answers
27k views

What are insulated screwdrivers for if you’re not supposed to work on a live circuit?

It’s not just that I’ve been told by some people to never work on a live circuit as an amateur (I know that electricians often do work on live circuits)... but the package itself containing the ...
Josh Withee's user avatar
50 votes
10 answers
71k views

Should old knob and tube wiring be replaced?

I have been doing some electrical work in my house and I noticed it has old knob and tube wiring that is still hot, should this be replaced as found or is it fine to just leave it? It seems really ...
Tester101's user avatar
  • 132k
50 votes
12 answers
10k views

How can I remove a lemon from a toilet drain?

My little boy flushed a whole lemon down the toilet. It is stuck. What can I use to remove the lemon?
Kristin Westrup's user avatar
50 votes
4 answers
51k views

Are there ways to determine if a wall is load bearing?

Other than looking up blue prints, which many homeowners may not have, are there ways to determine if a wall is load bearing? Methods I can think of might include: Going up in the attic to check if ...
Doresoom's user avatar
  • 15.8k
49 votes
9 answers
172k views

When drywalling a room, should I do the ceiling before the walls?

Is there any value in installing drywall (plasterboard) on the ceiling before the walls or does it not matter?
user avatar
49 votes
10 answers
264k 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 ...
Jeff Atwood's user avatar
48 votes
10 answers
685k views

How long should I wait before plugging in a new refrigerator?

Today I received my new refrigerator, and I've been told not to plug it in until a couple of hours have gone by. Some people told me a couple of hours was enough, but others have told me up to 12 ...
Fernando Briano's user avatar
47 votes
7 answers
284k views

Why does this receptacle have the ground tied to the neutral?

I was replacing some outlets in my house with tamper-resistant ones, and came across one where the white and ground were wired together, as seen in this picture. Why? Is that okay or appropriate ...
Scott Stafford's user avatar
47 votes
8 answers
146k 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 ...
mohlsen's user avatar
  • 6,301
46 votes
7 answers
24k 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 ...
arathorn's user avatar
  • 561
46 votes
7 answers
50k views

Why are there so many different types of screws (phillps/flat/hex/star/etc)?

Newbie question. Why is it that there's a bazillion different types of screws? Why can't we just always use one standard screw type? Are there advantages/disadvantages to the different types? Are ...
Doug T.'s user avatar
  • 1,407
46 votes
8 answers
131k views

How do I run wires for a wall-mount flatscreen TV?

Like a lot of you, we have several wall-mounted LCD HDTVs in the house. The TVs have two wires -- power and HDMI -- running down the wall to the power outlet and cable box. I've historically been too ...
Portman's user avatar
  • 1,099
44 votes
8 answers
79k views

How can I pull a wire through a pipe that has too many turns for fish tape?

I need to replace a sump pump, but have run into a problem. The route for the cord goes through a 2" pipe with two 90 degree bends, and fish tape is ineffective. The pipe appears poorly jointed as ...
Bryce's user avatar
  • 10.9k
44 votes
4 answers
283k 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. ...
Kermit's user avatar
  • 1,228
44 votes
7 answers
33k views

How to reinforce a joist with plumbing running through it?

After removing the sub floor in my bathroom in order to extend the sewer pipe for the toilet (it's too close to the tank-side wall), I found that the floor joists have extremely large holes cut in ...
Jordan's user avatar
  • 645
44 votes
8 answers
531k views

Why Do 240V Circuits Not Require Neutral?

Someone told me that a 240V circuit does not require a neutral wire in the cable. Can anyone explain this phenomenon from the electricity perspective and generally explain why circuits do and do not ...
amphibient's user avatar
  • 7,513
44 votes
3 answers
185k views

What does "1 Gang", "2 Gang", and so forth mean when talking about electrical boxes?

What does a "1 Gang" mean when talking about electrical boxes? Example: CARLON 1-Gang Metal Adjustable Electrical Box (Lowes.com)
C. Ross's user avatar
  • 747
44 votes
12 answers
310k views

Is using 15 amp components on a 20 amp breaker against code?

I have noticed in a few different houses in Oklahoma that 20 amp breakers are used, but all of the outlets and switches only seem to be rated for 15 amps. This goes against everything I know to be ...
Kellenjb's user avatar
  • 2,070
44 votes
1 answer
206k views

What are the guidelines for holes in joists?

I've been unable to find a good reference for the size/amount/location of holes I can drill through joists. This is mostly in order to pass cabling or pipes through the joist crosswise. Also, what ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 6,451
43 votes
10 answers
26k views

Are gaps above and below framing members a concern?

I recently hired a framing crew to frame a new house. After it was done, I commissioned an independent review. The reviewer described some of the work as "shoddy," and pointed out a lot of gaps, ...
Alaska house's user avatar
43 votes
12 answers
8k views

Can I heat one room and cool another with an in-wall AC?

I work in a bakery. It gets warm in the summer, but not warm enough for bread to rise without extra heat. We have a 'proofer room' where the bread sits while the dough rises. The room is heated by two ...
Able Baker Charlie's user avatar
43 votes
10 answers
298k views

Can I run CAT5/6 cables parallel to electrical cables?

I am building a new house and am planning to hardwire network cables into each room. Can I run CAT5/6 cables parallel to electrical wires without introducing any general safety issues or losing much ...
Martin's user avatar
  • 533

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