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31
votes
8answers
77k views

How do I wire an old house with Cat6?

I have a older home (build in the 50's) with 1/2" dry wall and then plaster on top. I would like to run Cat6 cable through most of the house (living room, kitchen, entertainment room,etc). So, I'm ...
31
votes
3answers
3k views

Why can I not assemble conduit around cable, but must pull it after assembly?

I have seen a number of answers here from our esteemed electricians about running wiring through conduit, and many of them include a warning similar to: You're not allowed to piece the conduit ...
31
votes
4answers
200k 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. ...
31
votes
15answers
75k 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 - ...
31
votes
13answers
13k views

Is there a technique to make a shower mirror fog-free?

We want to install a permanent mirror in a new shower, but hope to find a permanent way to prevent it from fogging up. I have seen gooseneck mirrors that hook up to the showerhead itself so as to run ...
31
votes
4answers
82k 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 ...
31
votes
3answers
204k 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 ...
31
votes
5answers
248k 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 ...
30
votes
18answers
19k 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 ...
30
votes
6answers
12k views

What do you call the fastener that's like a metal zip tie with a screw?

I assure you that this is not the beginning of a fastener-related standup routine. While working out at the gym, I saw a fastener that looks like a metal zip tie, with a screw to tighten it. Two ...
30
votes
10answers
8k views

What is a NON-self-tapping screw? What does self-tapping mean, really?

Someone on the site suggested that I use "self-tapping screws", and gave me a link to the Wikipedia page about them. So, I went there, saw the definition: A self-tapping screw is a screw that can ...
30
votes
11answers
8k views

Should I tilt my DIY self-standing bookshelf backwards to prevent it falling down?

Context I intend to build a self-standing bookshelf using 18mm-thick, CNC-router-cut plywood. The bookshelf is made of nested planks, and entirely fits a 35cm-deep recess in my wall. Following ...
30
votes
12answers
7k views

What are the “must do” tasks before winter hits?

I've had my furnace serviced in time for winter, but what other things should I consider doing before the snow and the ice come?
30
votes
14answers
158k views

What are cheap ways to build strong shelves with a large span?

I have removed several old and moisture damaged built in storage units from my house. I would like to replace them with shelving. There are a number of different sized gaps (width and depth to fill). ...
30
votes
3answers
9k 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.
30
votes
18answers
243k 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 ...
30
votes
6answers
45k 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 ...
30
votes
7answers
97k 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 ...
30
votes
3answers
7k views

Would it be Code legal to have an all-240V house in the United States?

My goal is to have a house where all loads are powered by 240V, that is fully livable in all the normal ways. And this question concerns the hard, in-house, built-in wiring; we will armwave the ...
30
votes
7answers
10k 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 ...
30
votes
4answers
21k views

Why am I getting an electric shock from the water in my hot tub?

I have noticed that when I touch the water of my Hot Tub when I am grounded (barefoot standing outside of tub) I am getting a very small electric shock. Using a multimeter it is reading 2Vac between ...
30
votes
1answer
10k views

Metal spike with heavy metal cord found in front lawn

While raking my front lawn I came across this metal stake in the ground, wrapped in a thick metal wire/cord. I could not pull the stake up. I dug around and found the wire, pulling up on it and it ...
30
votes
9answers
314k 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 ...
30
votes
8answers
387k 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 ...
30
votes
13answers
9k 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
7answers
31k 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 ...
30
votes
5answers
119k 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
10answers
137k 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 ...
30
votes
4answers
19k 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
9answers
585k 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 ...
29
votes
14answers
78k 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
11k 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
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 ...
29
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
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
12k 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
21k 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
9answers
216k 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 ...
29
votes
8answers
272k 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 ...
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 ...
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
12k 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
17answers
98k 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 ...
28
votes
12answers
698k 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 ...
28
votes
5answers
837k 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.
28
votes
8answers
101k 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 ...
28
votes
5answers
390k 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 ...
28
votes
2answers
13k views

What is a tandem breaker (aka duplex, cheater, twin, double-stuff, etc.)?

I keep hearing about tandem breakers, and how they won't work with 240V loads and how they should never be used for a multi-wire branch circuit. Aside from those issues... What is a tandem breaker? ...
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
114k 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 ...

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