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21
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
21
votes
10answers
19k views

My inflatable hot tub says “don't use with an extension cord”… but can I?

Sadly they don't explain WHY not to use it with an extension cord. I wonder if it's to do with the risk of having such connections outside in the elements? The cord it comes with is 7m long, and ...
21
votes
5answers
10k views

Make a hole deeper than the drill bit is long

The longest drill bit I have is 23.62 inches and apparently the thickness of the concrete I need to penetrate is 27.5 inches. I don't wish to buy another drill bit, is there a smart solution? The ...
21
votes
10answers
8k 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
16answers
153k views

Should drywall be hung horizontally or vertically?

For reasons including time, money, ease of installation, and structural strength, should drywall be installed horizontally or vertically.
21
votes
6answers
5k views

Car in driveway is source of garage door opener interference

It has been determined that the car parked in my shared driveway is interfering with 2 other condos. The garage door company is sure it is coming from my car which has been parked there for years. ...
21
votes
8answers
16k 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
7answers
5k views

Paint-stripping purgatory - stuck in the middle - what should we do?

My wife was prepping our kitchen to be painted this weekend in our 1920's era condominium. Presumably lead paint is present but we do wear masks when working. There's an old door and door frame, and ...
21
votes
20answers
202k 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
4answers
52k 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, ...
21
votes
8answers
56k 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
9k views

Bathroom exhaust fan without duct

I just found out that our bathroom exhaust fan has no duct attached to it. Our current fan is Panasonic FV-08VQ2 (90 CFM, 4" duct diameter). The fan just blows the air to the inaccessible attic. There ...
21
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 ...
21
votes
8answers
105k views

What happens if I use vegetable oil instead of machine oil or grease?

It's kind of tempting to use vegetable oil for lubricating door hinges and other similar basic mechanisms around the house - vegetable oil is readily available in almost any household. However I ...
21
votes
4answers
6k 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
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
7answers
7k views

Why is my house wired with two coax in every room and an RJ11 splitter?

My house was built around 2005, though I've only owned it a year. Setting aside from the insane cluster of coax wiring we found in the attic, I'm trying to understand why every room in the house has ...
21
votes
3answers
8k 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
7answers
22k views

Lubricant for squeaky doors

I'm looking for a long term solution to my squeaky doors. Our home is fitted with brass hinges on all doors and lately they have all been starting to squeak. I've tried several silicone based ...
21
votes
11answers
90k 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
17answers
239k views

When installing hardwood floors, should I use rosin paper, roofing felt, or nothing underneath? Why?

I've installed hardwood floors, over top of OSB subfloor with a layer of roofing felt in between. I copied this from the hardwood floor contractor who did a kitchen in my home once. He'd been in ...
21
votes
5answers
90k views

Why does the shower get cold when I flush, and how can I prevent it?

When the shower is running and someone flushes a toilet, why does the shower get cold (or sometimes hot) in some houses, but not others? More importantly, would fixing that require replacing the ...
21
votes
3answers
6k 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
4answers
8k views

What is the use for this different threading near the head of a large screw?

I'm inquiring about the strange threading at the base of this screw: These were used in somewhat heavy-duty outdoor construction. What is the purpose of that corkscrew, and is it safe to replace it ...
21
votes
1answer
87k views

What do I need to install LED strip lighting?

I've been looking to install LED strips, either RGB or white for lighting and ambiance. It wouldn't be the main lighting of the room, so no necessity for high power LEDs. The perimeter of the room is ...
21
votes
4answers
33k views

Is it safe to re-use drill holes in a wall?

I've just mounted a 42" TV with a new wall mount that uses 3/16" bolts into some studs on the wall. I now want to use an articulating one, which means I'll need to replace the old mount. The new ...
21
votes
6answers
90k 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
389k views

What's the most common cause of A/C refrigerant lines freezing?

I noticed my house wasn't getting under 75°F this weekend when I had the thermostat set for 70°F. Since I'd done a lot of drywall sanding inside recently, my first idea was to replace the filthy air ...
21
votes
1answer
30k 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
69k 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
11answers
10k views

My room lights' brightness pulses when I turn on my toaster oven

I have a house with old 2-prong wiring in most of my bedrooms. My toaster oven is plugged in on the kitchen countertop. Whenever I turn it on, the brightness of the lights in 3 (out of 4) of my ...
20
votes
7answers
53k 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
6k 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
8answers
303k 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
6answers
33k views

Can I safely use a 9w LED bulb in place of a 40w incandescent?

I bought a reading lamp that on the box says: Max 1x40W The shop also sold me an LED light bulb that says: 9W=75W So my question is, can I use light bulb or not? I am confused between the 75W and the ...
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
6answers
17k views

How do I mount this towel rack that was ripped off the wall?

Hi one of my tenants sent me a pictures of my broken towel rack. What would be the most cost effective fix?
20
votes
8answers
81k 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
4answers
5k views

What bit should I use to drill a two inch hole in a solid concrete wall?

I am planning to install a 1.5-inch conduit through a poured concrete wall. I am planning on drilling a two-inch hole to accommodate the size of the conduit body. I have been searching up and down, ...
20
votes
7answers
77k 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
18answers
141k views

When wiring outlets should I use pigtails or both sets of outlet screws?

I'm replacing the outlets in our house and pulled out one that had two black and two white cables. My first thought was that it was two circuits, one of them being switched, but then realized the tab ...
20
votes
12answers
106k views

What is simplest strategy to map circuits to breakers in the panel?

My breaker box is very poorly labeled and I want to figure out which circuits may have overloaded (or close to it) and which could reasonably handle a little more. In the past I have just tried ...
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
6answers
72k views

How do I stop the dripping noise from my gutters?

It has just recently started raining where I live, and I am new to this house. When the rain ceases and the water is dripping from the gutters through the drain, I can hear the dripping from inside ...
20
votes
5answers
5k views

Contractor is installing a vinyl fence and posts but is not using any water with concrete. Is he doing it right?

I hired a reputable local company to install 6 foot vinyl fence around my yard. Salesman was telling me how they would be using cement to hold the post in place. To my surprise I see the workers use ...
20
votes
8answers
9k views

What is this pipe coming out of the basement floor?

I’m finishing an old (1930) empty basement and have a random pipe coming out of the floor. ⁠I have no clue what it is or what it went to as it sits alone in the space. ⁠It is metallic (tested with a ...
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
73k 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
12answers
133k views

Is it bad to turn off the water while on vacation?

I'm a little OCD when it comes to traveling. I have learned from experience that when I am away, I constantly have visions that a pipe in the wall had burst and that the water is slowly filling the ...

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