All Questions

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
26
votes
8answers
250k 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 ...
25
votes
11answers
23k views

Can I replace a 30A breaker with a 40A breaker for a new water heater?

I have a 30 amp circuit breaker installed for my tank type hot water heater. I would like to replace the hot water heater with a tankless hot water heater that requires a 40 amp circuit breaker. I ...
25
votes
3answers
11k views

Can anyone tell me what this little white box on my outlet is?

Recently bought a house that's about 40 years old. The previous owner was clearly very fond of doing the wiring himself and has left me some idiosyncrasies to work out. One is this box in one of my ...
25
votes
5answers
14k views

What should be done before using a fireplace that has not been used in decades?

We are moving into a house with a fire-place. The current tenants (friends of ours), have been living there just short of 2 decades, and have never used it once. The house is about 90 years old, so it ...
25
votes
5answers
148k views

What actually happens if I vary proportions of cement and sand in mortar?

When preparing cement mortar proportions of sand and cement can AFAIK be varied. I've always been using the "default recommended" 1-to-3 (one volume of cement for every three volumes of sand) ...
25
votes
3answers
6k views

Can you cut open a plastic junction box and just lay splices inside?

This doesn't look like it should fly to me, but the "electrician" hired by the seller of this property is arguing that this is an acceptable way to put an open splice into an box. I know this shouldn'...
25
votes
3answers
3k views

Why are the inside diameters of some pipe larger than the stated size?

I'm looking over some specifications for black pipe. I understand why dimensional lumber is smaller than the stated dimensions, but why would the pipe manufacturers give you more volume than what is ...
25
votes
5answers
30k 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 ...
25
votes
9answers
85k 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 ...
25
votes
4answers
45k views

How do I remove and reinstall baseboards (Skirting Board) without damaging them?

I need to temporarily remove the baseboards in a couple rooms. I am interested in some suggestions for removing the baseboards without damaging them so they can later be reinstalled. Suggestions may ...
25
votes
5answers
34k views

Is there a trick to opening a tube of caulk?

Is there a tool especially designed for opening a tube of caulk, silicone, or construction adhesive?
25
votes
6answers
309k 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 ...
25
votes
4answers
3k views

How can it be dangerous to feed a water heater from two separate panels?

In a recent question, a user asked "Can a water heater be installed between two apartments and wired to both apartments' breaker boxes, effectively splitting the bill between the two?". One of the ...
25
votes
3answers
5k views

Diagonal brace left in the basement by builder. Can I remove it? Replace it?

I have a diagonal brace running across an interior wall in the basement, and it even goes partially into the floor concrete. Is this meant to be permanent, or was it supposed to be removed during ...
25
votes
6answers
32k 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
3answers
2k views

How did my ground and neutral become energized by a short in the buried main line?

Long post, because I'm not sure what information is critical. The ultimate question is what, if anything, I need to do to ensure there are no hazardous conditions in my home. Friday night, the ...
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
10k 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
68k 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
4answers
6k views

Why don't electrical receptacles have more than one ground?

All modern receptacles have places for additional hot/neutral wires so you can add more outlets in series, but they all have a single screw or hole for the ground wire. Why don't they have two ground ...
24
votes
11answers
11k 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
9k 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
5answers
12k views

Marijuana smoke migrating to my condo!

I just bought a condo which is a three-level townhouse and was built in 1980. I am adjacent to my neighbor and share a common wall. My neighbor, an older couple, smoke weed frequently and do not air ...
24
votes
6answers
8k 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
131k 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 ...
24
votes
4answers
10k 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
229k 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
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
4answers
153k 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. ...
24
votes
3answers
87k 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
132k 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
3answers
23k 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 ...
24
votes
4answers
4k 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
3k views

How can I add an ammeter and/or voltmeter to my home breaker panel?

In my professional life, I work in datacenters and all of our PDUs have ammeter displays on them. Of course they do: we always want to know how many amps a PDU is using. But in my house, nobody has ...
24
votes
4answers
89k 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, ...
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
7answers
101k 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 ...
24
votes
3answers
96k 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 ...
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
7answers
12k views

Why does my house heat up, even when it's cool outside?

Summary The question pretty much says it all. It's probably a ridiculously easy one to answer. It's cool outside but I know that my house is heating up because my AC kicks on periodically. I've ...
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
12k 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
4answers
8k 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
4answers
84k 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 ...
23
votes
7answers
32k 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
27answers
153k 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 ...
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 ...

15 30 50 per page