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22
votes
4answers
85k 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 ...
22
votes
12answers
184k 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 ...
22
votes
5answers
68k views

How would I go about turning a tree in to a tabletop?

My father-in-law is about to cut down a large Ash tree (on the insistence of a neighbour). At the same time, we need a dining table, and quite like the idea of a simple wooden slab on legs. ...
22
votes
4answers
83k 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 ...
22
votes
26answers
151k 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 ...
22
votes
5answers
11k views

Is it OK that the frame of my house doesn't line up with the slab?

My new house is being framed. I saw that the frame extends 1-2" from the foundation: Click photograph for full size The builder told me it happens often and the city inspector will catch it if this ...
22
votes
3answers
12k 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'?
22
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 ...
22
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
22
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
22
votes
4answers
87k 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, ...
22
votes
5answers
46k views

What is the proper way to run Category 6 underground?

I'd like to run some Category 6 cabling underground, for a distance of about 120 ft, between a main home and a 2nd unit, for ethernet connectivity between the two homes. I've run Category 5 indoors ...
22
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
22
votes
4answers
26k views

What should I use to secure/organize data cable runs?

I am running Cat-6 and Coax in new construction. I am looking for advice/best practices on how to organize and secure the cables during the runs. I will be running 2 Cat-6 and 1 Coax to a single-...
22
votes
2answers
4k views

Why exactly is WD-40 not a true lubricant?

According to this answer WD-40 is not a true lubricant. I don't get it - even Wikipedia says The long-term active ingredient is a non-volatile, viscous oil which remains on the surface, providing ...
22
votes
3answers
93k 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 ...
21
votes
6answers
12k views

Is it important not to scratch copper wire when removing insulation?

I use a small cutter made for max 14 gauge wires, but I'm bad at removing insulation, it takes me a bit of time to get it right, so I end up cutting and repeating, because I see scratches on copper ...
21
votes
20answers
11k views

What projects should never be DIY?

What are the most common DIY projects that you should not do yourself? What must be hired out? Edit: Just to be clear, what we're looking for here are the things that a regular homeowner might think ...
21
votes
6answers
8k views

How can I fix this gap between bookcases I made?

I just built two bookcases to line the wall of a room in my house and apparently didn't build them square enough so, when I put them next to each other, I get this giant gap. (I think the one on the ...
21
votes
11answers
12k views

How can I close a gap between my fence and my neighbor's that's on his side of the property line?

My heighbor erected a fence about 4" into his property. I recently erected my fence and put the post about 2" from the property line. I then extended the fence (boards only) to come as close to his ...
21
votes
10answers
6k views

Turning a hard to access nut?

Working on the propane conversion of my gas stove. One of the orifices to be changed is in a very hard to access location - shown in the photo. The orifice is the "nut" I'm referring to, which you can ...
21
votes
8answers
15k views

Are standard light bulb bases being phased out?

Recently we've been shopping for light fixtures, and have noticed a dramatic increase in non-standard bulbs. CFLs in particular seem to be drifting away from the common threaded base, in favor of 2-...
21
votes
20answers
181k views

What is the advantage of PEX pinch clamp vs. crimp rings?

I just saw these for the first time today at Lowe's: The advantages I can see over the crimp style are: A single tool can work with multiple PEX sizes That single tool is cheaper than a single-size ...
21
votes
6answers
18k views

What benefit do plasterboard/drywall screws have?

I have some plasterboard screws like this: However, without a drill I have a job getting them into the wall. Am I safe to use normal screws on hangings that aren't going to be taking a great deal of ...
21
votes
4answers
5k views

How to get rid of CO₂ in a house with A/C in hot summer?

Recently, I've been measuring the CO₂ concentration during multiple nights and the levels in the bedroom where I sleep are very high and unhealthy (over 1600 ppm). I use an AirVisual monitor, which ...
21
votes
7answers
25k views

Ethernet cable instead of Thermostat wire?

I need to pull new wire from my furnace to my thermostat and was wondering if there would be any problems in using an Ethernet cable instead of standard thermostat wiring. The reason being is I have ...
21
votes
5answers
4k views

Central Vacuuming: Is it worth it, and how does it compare to normal vacuuming?

I am in the process of buying a brand new home in the US through a builder. The home will be approximately 3,000 sq ft and I was given the option of buying a central vacuuming system for the house. ...
21
votes
2answers
5k 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? ...
21
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
21
votes
11answers
81k views

What is the proper way to install/paint baseboard?

I've installed some new baseboards, though I'm not really sure I have the right method down. Here's what I do: Paint baseboard Paint walls Cut and install baseboard (using brad nailer and/or liquid ...
21
votes
3answers
4k views

Repurpose telephone line to ethernet

I have a (UK) telephone socket in the same corner of each of the three floors in my house. My broadband router is connected to the socket on the bottom floor. The wiring looks like the following: ...
21
votes
3answers
645k 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 ...
21
votes
1answer
29k views

Are cracks in a newly poured concrete basement floor a problem?

I'm having a new home built and found a large crack in the newly poured concrete basement floor and wanted to see if it's something I should be concerned about. The floor was poured sometime in the ...
21
votes
5answers
58k views

Should I release the pressure out of an air compressor when it is not in use?

Just got a new compressor and I wondering if I should be releasing all of the pressure out of the unit when it is not in use? Or is it better to leave the pressure in so that the unit does not have ...
20
votes
7answers
3k views

Panel breakers are alternately 90 V and 140 V

Everything in the house is acting up. The fridge has melted ice, the radio is acting strange, etc. I multimetered the panel box and each breaker is either 90 V or 140 V alternately. I have a plan to ...
20
votes
7answers
49k views

What's the best way to account for saw blade width (kerf) when cutting boards?

In theory, to cut a 350mm piece out of a longer board, I would have to mark the line at 350mm + half of blade width. So if I have a 2mm hand saw, the line would be drawn at 351mm. How does that work ...
20
votes
17answers
12k views

What is an affordable 2D drafting software for amateurs?

Background: We have about 1500 feet of unfinished basement that I am contemplating finishing off into a "grandma suite". Before getting serious about the project, however, I would like to play around ...
20
votes
5answers
4k views

Can a 40amp breaker be used safely and without issue with a 40amp device on 6AWG wire?

We are installing a Cooktop that calls for a 40amp circuit. I was given 6AWG wire (instead of the 8AWG wire I asked for) by mistake. The electrician saw the 6AWG wire (that I had already run) and used ...
20
votes
6answers
5k views

Does A/C encourage mold growth

I think i'm being sold bunk by a mold company, but not sure. We live in the tropics, we recently had our bathroom ceiling flood due to a burst pipe, and went away immediately after. (the landlord had ...
20
votes
5answers
32k 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 ...
20
votes
7answers
286k views

Can I backfeed a portable generator into my house's electrical system?

Is there a safe way to power my house using a portable generator? The power rating for the generator is 6kW, and I want to run my electric water heater (4.5kW) and my refrigerator (0.5kW) and possibly ...
20
votes
7answers
67k views

How can I fill a screw hole so it can be used again?

My dishwasher attaches to the cabinets on the side via a screw. This hole has become a little stripped, is there a way to fill it in and then screw in to it again? I can't change the location of ...
20
votes
7answers
65k views

How to unscrew screws that are barely accessible?

I need to remove the face of a fake drawer that is screwed from behind. Unfortunately, a kitchen sink is preventing me from using a screwdriver. There is approximatively 4cm of space. The screw head ...
20
votes
8answers
53k views

Does a homeowner need a permit for electrical work in Massachusetts?

Does a homeowner need to obtain a permit from the town in order to do electrical work on his own house in Massachusetts? The unofficial answers I can find online (e.g., this forum and the websites of ...
20
votes
2answers
3k views

Will removing shelving screws from studs damage the studs?

We live in a newly built home. My husband hung some Ikea shoe bins on the wall and mounted them in to the studs. I am going to paint the hallway and would like to remove the bins and hooks, patch the ...
20
votes
3answers
4k views

How is DIY done so much on 'fixer uppers' in areas where AHJs demand permits and licenses? [closed]

I see a lot of cases of major 'fixer upper' homes or general home improvement done in an area where the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) requires permits and only offers them to licensed pros. How ...
20
votes
11answers
65k views

How can I fix a garbage disposal with crushed glass in it?

I have a garbage disposal that had a shot glass fall in. It got ground up. The disposal got jammed; I unjammed it and now it makes a glass grinding noise because of the shards inside. How do I clear ...
20
votes
6answers
7k views

Does unblocking power bar outlets through short extension cords increase fire risk?

Power supply units are often large relative to the outlet and block access to adjacent outlets in a power bar. A simple solution is to use 1/2 ft or 1 ft (15cm, 30cm) power extension cords to keep ...
20
votes
10answers
66k views

What's the best way of replacing a plug or switch in a house with aluminum wiring?

My house has aluminum wiring, which from what I understand isn't recommended any more. How do I replace a plug or switch since the new unit only takes copper wiring?
20
votes
6answers
19k views

Is this light switch installation safe and legal?

I did this wiring in my bonus room years ago, and now I'm wondering if it is in fact legal and safe. This is a built-in book case that I built and installed myself. The bookshelf went in over a ...

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