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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
12answers
214k 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 ...
25
votes
3answers
5k views

Now I realize I used too many GFCI outlets. How can I reclaim them?

Yeah, so the building inspector redflagged a bunch of outlets for not being GFCI. Before I understood how the LOAD terminals work, I just replaced every single one with a GFCI outlet. Most had a ...
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
6k 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
34k 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
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
16answers
10k views

How to dig a trench for a cable for a garden office

I'm trying to dig a trench for the electrical cable for a shed/office I'm building in my back garden. This is about 7 m long and should be 0.5 m deep. My soil seems to be about 5 cm of ...
24
votes
8answers
104k 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
7k 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
15k 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
11k 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
8answers
10k 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 ...
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
5answers
46k views

How do I find studs when stud finders won't work?

I was trying to hang my TV at my new place, on an interior wall (between living room and a bathroom). Using the stud finder on other walls worked fine, but on this wall I got some very strange ...
24
votes
5answers
61k views

Safe/professional way to transport lumber with just a roof rack

I'm doing some home improvement, and have the necessary skills, tools, etc, for the job. There is one thing I'm lacking: a large pickup truck for transporting lumber. A buddy of mine used to have one, ...
24
votes
4answers
100k 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 ...
24
votes
2answers
8k 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?
24
votes
8answers
40k 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 ...
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
28answers
167k 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 ...
24
votes
8answers
145k 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
8k 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
25k 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
4k 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
7answers
11k 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
6answers
255k 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 ...
24
votes
3answers
826k views

What wire gauge do I need for a 100 Amp subpanel at the end of a 60' wire run?

I am adding an attached garage to my house. I'm going to be putting in a 100 Amp subpanel which is about 60 feet away and run through the basement joists. What gauge wire do you recommend for ...
24
votes
1answer
34k views

Humidity Levels

What is a healthy and safe humidity level that I should try to keep my house at?
23
votes
7answers
5k views

Why are there ovens with control panel toward the back?

I often see ovens with their control panel behind the elements, mostly in US American settings, like in the picture below. Where I live, the controls are always in front of the appliance. It seems ...
23
votes
11answers
22k 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 ...
23
votes
8answers
14k 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
6k 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
13answers
27k 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 ...
23
votes
4answers
9k 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
91k 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
3answers
16k 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'?
23
votes
2answers
4k views

What type of lightbulb is this?

I need to replace a faulty lightbulb but it's not one I've come across before. It's being used in a light fixture in my washroom above the vanity. Can anyone here identify it? I'm hoping I can order ...
23
votes
3answers
11k views

Why don't I have ground wiring on any of my outlets?

My house in California was built in 1989 (I believe) And in the last 5 years I've replaced at least 20 outlets myself (successfully), and noticed there were never any ground wires to connect to the ...
23
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
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
1answer
5k 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 ...
23
votes
2answers
125k 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
6answers
103k views

Where should I NOT use a GFCI or AFCI?

There is a lot of information out there about the benefits of GFCI and AFCI and the places where they must or should be used. But are there any circumstances where you're better off without them? If I ...
22
votes
5answers
9k 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
8answers
6k views

Do I have to secure an IKEA TV stand to the wall?

I'm a young adult preparing to move out into an apartment the first time, and I'm trying to fill out some gaps in terms of furniture before I get going. I found this IKEA tv stand that's perfectly ...
22
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 ...
22
votes
7answers
8k views

Is it safe to flush newspaper down the toilet?

Recently an Australian newspaper printed several blank pages to help readers who may have run out of toilet paper. Would it be safe to flush pieces of newspaper down the toilet?
22
votes
6answers
8k 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, ...

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