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30
votes
13answers
8k views

Protecting solar panels from kids who may throw stones to get monkeys off roof

I have read this question - Solar panels and hail and my question is similar. I have the possibility that neighboring kids may throw stones at my roof top solar panels to scare off monkeys which are a ...
30
votes
4answers
74k 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 ...
30
votes
5answers
117k views

Why does my dishwasher back up into the sink, but running the disposal allows it to drain?

When my dishwasher runs the kitchen sink backs up. I have a two tub sink and only the side nearest the dishwasher with the garbage disposer backs up. Running the disposal for a few seconds causes the ...
30
votes
3answers
192k views

What's the practical difference between “latex” and “acrylic” water dispersion paint?

I see lots of water dispersion paints in shops and they usually come in two flavors - "latex" and "acrylic". The application range and procedure seem the same, they are all relatively safe, don't emit ...
30
votes
4answers
18k views

Should I agree to have more insulation added to my attic?

I have a 6 year old home with about 12 inches (R-30) of blown-in insulation in the attic. Recently door-to-door sales representatives for an insulation company offered a free inspection and quote to ...
30
votes
6answers
136k views

What is the purpose of tape when taping and mudding drywall?

Sorry if this is a stupid question, but it doesn't seem immediately obvious how a thin strip of paper tape actually helps the mudding process in drywall installation except for perhaps reducing the ...
29
votes
18answers
15k views

How to remove nails with heads cut off?

Yes, I know I can go to the big box store and buy lumber. That is not the point of this question. I have some boards that have the nail heads removed, leaving the nail flush with the surface of the ...
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.
29
votes
5answers
6k views

Is it safe to remove the bottom chords of a series of garage roof trusses?

See attached picture. Looks like an 8x10 cut-out. He wants to lift cars up so he can walk under them. Is this safe? Doesn't removing the joists affect structural integrity?
29
votes
3answers
7k views

Why do Contractor Levels have two vials with the same orientation?

It seems to me that having multiple vials in the same orientation is redundant, but many levels seems to include this feature. What am I missing? There has to be some reason.
29
votes
18answers
209k views

How do I finish off a silicone sealant like a professional?

I have patched a couple of places at the base of my shower with silicone rubber sealant, using a caulking gun and it has worked well. The water no longer escapes from the shower. However, where I have ...
29
votes
4answers
3k views

If DC adapters are so prevalent, why is AC used in construction by default?

I'm not sure if there's a better place to ask this or not. Why, at least here in America, is the standard electrical system set up for alternating current (AC) rather than direct current (DC)? I'm ...
29
votes
5answers
41k views

Should I use nails or screws for hanging drywall on the ceiling?

I'm replacing water-damaged drywall on my ceiling and was considering using screws. Other than cost, is there any other reason I should use nails instead? Or am I too paranoid that nails won't have ...
29
votes
5answers
10k views

What is this vertical metal pipe in my backyard? old well? septic?

Purchased this house last week and the previous owners also did not know what it was. The pipe is heavy duty and set in concrete. There's water about halfway up the length of the pipe, but I haven't ...
29
votes
4answers
15k views

How do I build an ice rink in my backyard?

I'm considering building a small temporary ice skating rink in my backyard. I'm hoping to do this without buying many or any materials, and without causing any devastating damage to my lawn when ...
29
votes
6answers
5k views

How should I support this large drywall patch?

after the installation of a new water heater and a relatively extensive plumbing fix, I wanted to save a buck trying to patch the drywall myself. It's the very first time I buy a piece of drywall or ...
29
votes
9answers
565k views

What humidity should I set my dehumidifier to?

I just bought a 50 pint dehumidifier for my basement. What humidity level should I aim for? This time of year the outside humidity is very high (over 80%) and we do not have central air. Right now ...
28
votes
7answers
8k views

Why is my fire extinguisher emptied after one use?

I'm planning to make a small DIY gas tank and I saw people using old or used fire extinguishers but I don't understand why my fire extinguisher can't hold pressure after one use. I have this fire ...
28
votes
10answers
20k views

What are the most important things to check/do after buying a home?

We are in the process of purchasing a home that is over 20 years old. What are some of the most important things we should check/patch/do right away to make sure the home is running correctly and ...
28
votes
10answers
11k views

Propane appliances throwing orange flames suddenly and generator's back firing

So here's the deal: about 1.5 to 2 weeks ago, our generator started backfiring like crazy and our cookstove, water heater and heater are throwing yellow orange flames intermittently as well as ...
28
votes
5answers
3k views

Good way to remove something from a bathroom sink overflow drain?

My wife dropped an earring down the overflow drain of her bathroom sink. The earring is about 1" in diameter, so the hole which goes from the overflow to the main drain is too small for it to pass ...
28
votes
7answers
95k views

Extension cord and power strip safety

I've heard that there are some safety and building code issues involved with using extension cords or power strips (surge protectors) for anything other than temporary use. What are the issues, and ...
28
votes
7answers
6k views

Are soldered electrical connections code-compliant?

I was changing a switch in my house when I found a number of connections in the electrical box that were soldered rather than secured with a wire nut. The solder joints look very well done, the ...
28
votes
15answers
57k views

What is a humane, safe and clean way to dispose of a live mouse caught in a glue trap?

A glue trap in my garage caught a mouse. I consider it inhumane to let the mouse die in the glue trap. I am looking for a method to euthanize the mouse that meets the following requirements: Humane - ...
28
votes
2answers
2k views

What spacing difference is acceptable with a contracted tile job? [closed]

What is a reasonable difference in gaps between tiles? We just had our bathroom floor done by Lowe’s (first mistake), and I’m not happy with the outcome, AT ALL. Is this just me being picky, or should ...
28
votes
7answers
91k views

How do I rehang a wooden door with worn screw holes?

I have a wood door in one of my rooms where the top screws no longer hold the hinge to the wall because the screw holes have worn loose. I have tried slightly larger screws and filling with wood ...
28
votes
7answers
24k views

Pouring concrete, is it safe to add large rocks to increase volume?

Backround I'm going to pour some concrete to anchor a swing set. The base of the swing set that is being anchored is two 4x4s with a 2x4 footer crossed perpendicularly to the 4x4s. I have a bunch of ...
28
votes
9answers
206k views

I have a basement floor with lots of moisture, can I paint or seal it to make it waterproof?

My basement has a slight dampness issue, where if I leave things on the floor they will get wet. There are no leaks and no standing water, the moisture seems to be wicking up through the concrete. I ...
28
votes
10answers
128k views

Are toilets supposed to be caulked to the floor?

I've heard that in some cases toilets are supposed to be caulked to the floor. I replaced both toilets in the condo I moved into last week, and one was calked to the floor, and one was not. One ...
28
votes
8answers
256k views

How many CFM for a range hood do I REALLY need?

I like to cook. I would like to put in a fairly powerful range (nothing huge, though; I don't need six burners and a griddle), and will need a hood that can carry smoke, heat, steam, grease, etc. from ...
28
votes
5answers
223k views

What kind of lubrication should I use for a lock?

I recently made the Yale lock on my front door much easier to open by spraying some WD-40 in there. However, I just saw this question on WD-40 not being a “true” lubricant, and wondered whether it ...
28
votes
1answer
5k views

Why does dirt kill saw blades?

What is it about dirt getting into a saw blade (as opposed to, say, sawdust, rock chips, etc (presuming the right blade is being used, of course)) that will kill a saw blade? I've seen it happen to ...
28
votes
9answers
225k views

How do I install a GFCI receptacle with two hot wires and common neutral?

In my kitchen, I want to replace a regular 120V receptacle with a GFCI-protected receptacle. The instructions describe what to do with a regular 2-wire + ground feed, with and without daisy chaining ...
27
votes
5answers
29k views

Do you really need a p-trap on bathroom sinks?

If I do away with the trap what is it going to hurt? Will something bad happen? A friend had a problem with clogs. He took his out and has had no more problems. Can you tell me why that is?
27
votes
5answers
10k views

Is it unsafe to remove one stud from a load bearing wall?

I need to cut a hole for a recessed medicine cabinet. This wall is at the end of the house. I only need to cut one stud to make a frame for the cabinet. Will this damage the integrity of the bearing ...
27
votes
13answers
5k views

Locating source of excessive energy use

Background Info: My house is all electric. Last month when I got my electric bill, I flipped. It was triple that of any month prior. Now I know the cold (heating) can affect this so I decided to ...
27
votes
7answers
13k views

Are water boilers dangerous when showering?

Where I'm from (Serbia) everybody says to turn off the water boiler (the container that heats up water and stores it for use in the bathroom and shower) when you take a shower or use the bathtub. They ...
27
votes
12answers
595k 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 ...
27
votes
5answers
769k 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.
27
votes
7answers
82k views

Is there a way to simply splice in an additional length of 12/2 NM-B cable?

Is there a way without using junction boxes to simply splice in additional length of 12/2 NM-B cable? Can I use twist caps? I'm putting in a dog door and as it so happens, there is some 12/2 right in ...
27
votes
5answers
330k views

Is it ok to have mixed grounds and neutrals on bars in a breaker box?

So to continue my line of electrical questioning (and perhaps narrow down my flickering light problem), I took a look through the two panels in this house. There is a 200amp main service in the ...
27
votes
9answers
286k 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 ...
27
votes
8answers
329k 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 ...
27
votes
5answers
11k views

What is the best method to patch a large hole (2-3 inches) in drywall?

I have a large hole where a TV wall mount once was (I believe the hole was used to run power and coax cable to the TV). I have since moved the TV and would like to patch the hole. What is the best way ...
27
votes
6answers
293k views

What are the pros and cons of a whole house humidifier?

In the winter, my house (~2500 sqft) becomes unbearably dry. Last winter, my wife and I used a tiny humidifier for the master bedroom to keep us from completely drying out, but since then I have been ...
27
votes
5answers
36k views

Is it OK to borrow a ground wire from a different circuit?

I've got a circuit in the basement carrying a handful of outlets. This circuit has no ground wire. I want to add a couple of outlets and want them to be grounded. I may even want gfci outlets on ...
26
votes
12answers
5k views

Avoiding dust scattering when you drill

When I drill into concrete, stone or similar materials - a lot of dust gets scattered. I realize this might sound like a newbie/trivial question, but - how can I avoid this? Both dust getting on me, ...
26
votes
4answers
8k views

What is the best tool for cutting up scrap wood?

I have some wood left over from building a patio, mainly some planks. Normally when I'm creating firewood, I just use an axe a split the wood, but these are too long for that. I really don't want to ...
26
votes
17answers
79k views

How do I change a light bulb I can't grip?

We have two bulbs in our house that need replacing. They appear to be PAR38 bulbs. The bulbs are both in recessed sockets. There is not enough space between the bulb and the well to get fingers ...
26
votes
14answers
59k views

Does Pex tubing have any advantages over copper?

What are the advantages/disadvantages of Pex tubing? How does it compare to copper?

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