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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 ...
20
votes
8answers
473k views

What is the proper procedure to apply multiple coats of Polyurethane?

Polyurethane is confusing me. ;) I'm finishing a table top with polyurethane. I've sanded down the original finish to bare wood down to 220 grit paper. I vacuumed and wiped it all down, then did a ...
20
votes
3answers
270k views

How do I refill a fire extinguisher or should I just buy a new one?

My fire extinguisher is out of charge and I want to either refill it or buy a new one. Is it better/cheaper to refill it or just buy a new one? (Can I even refill this fire extinguisher?) EDIT:
20
votes
4answers
42k views

Do USB sockets draw power when not in use?

I would like to replace a couple of electrical outlets in my house with ones that have USB sockets. My concern is that they will continually draw power, even when I don't have a phone plugged in to ...
20
votes
6answers
3k views

Is all copper pipe pretty much the same?

Is there different levels of quality in copper plumbing pipe? I see copper pipe at Home Depot and I assume plumbing supply stores sell it too. Does pretty much everybody sell the same quality of ...
20
votes
7answers
17k views

How do I remove wallpaper from drywall?

I know there are a lot of different ways to remove wallpaper, ranging from elbow grease to chemicals and steam machines. What way(s) work(s) best?
20
votes
3answers
9k views

What is the safe/correct way to work on gutters? From a ladder or from the roof?

I am very comfortable working on the gutters (usually just cleaning them) from one story up by just sitting on the roof. I do this on my own home over the garage and at my parents one-story home. I ...
20
votes
4answers
20k views

Are there any cordless power tool systems that offer a corded option?

Are there any cordless powertool systems (e.g., drills, drivers) that have a corded battery option (i.e., an adapter that fits where the battery would normally go that can be plugged in)? I've used ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Should lintels above wall portals be considered for smoke alarm placement?

I need to place a smoke alarm on my first floor (no sleeping areas). There is a wall portal with a 15" lintel (see image) between the living room and the dining room. I am unsure whether one alarm is ...
20
votes
1answer
170k views

How do you trigger the HVAC with wiring only?

I have a HVAC that has the usually wiring C R G W Y Pinouts What wires do I need to connect to turn on Heating? What wires do I need to connect to turn on the A/C? Is there a risk of damaging any ...
20
votes
6answers
2k views

What “code” applies to projects that I do in my own home?

A good portion of the answers and discussion on this site references "code". What does a DIY-er need to know about code as it relates to project in their own home? Most of what I can find online ...
20
votes
5answers
25k views

What are the different types of drywall anchors, and what are the advantages of each?

I recently put up wire shelving in my pantry, and spent forever figuring out what type of drywall anchor I should use. I even found several types that I didn't even know existed. It might be good to ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the name of this part of drawers?

I was trying to describe a specific part of a set of drawers in another question, and cannot find the right name for it. A photo showing the same part. Notice not all drawers have these, or they may ...
20
votes
5answers
40k views

What is the best way to incrementally finish an unfinished basement?

my wife and I are in the process of buying our first house. The house has a 750 square foot unfinished basement (cinderblock walls and concrete floor), and is brand new (rather, it will be brand new ...
20
votes
1answer
726 views

Is flushing a waterheater a good idea?

I've been told that water-heaters build up sediment at the bottom over time, and should be flushed out (ie. drained, then allowed to refill). Is there value in this exercise? Does that value exceed ...
20
votes
3answers
4k views

What types of home radon mitigation systems have you used, and how well do they work? [closed]

What types of home radon mitigation systems have you used, and how well do they work? Do recommended types of mitigation systems vary significantly with varying levels of excess radon? Does climate ...
20
votes
11answers
24k views

How do you protect solar panels from hail?

Saw another question on solar panels and it reminded me of one big thing that always made me hesitant to consider them. We get several hail storms each year and having an expensive glass covered(?) ...
19
votes
6answers
6k views

Weird Power Outage in Certain Rooms- Condominium

Half of the Condo I rent is losing power sporadically, sometimes for minutes other times for hours. We have power loss to our kitchen lights, microwave, outlet above dishwasher, the dishwasher, entire ...
19
votes
4answers
8k views

How can I unscrew the faucet nuts in the tight space behind my sink basin?

My bathroom faucet is dripping, and I would like to change the washers in it. The problem I am running into is the placement of the nuts holding the faucet valves in place: This is the underside of ...
19
votes
15answers
1k views

What do you do/ask when hiring a contractor

In a world where every guy with a truck full of tools is a "contractor", how do you weed out the good from the bad?
19
votes
6answers
7k views

Why does Tesla recommend such a small gauge wire for their chargers compared to this chart I found online?

We are looking to install two NEMA 14-50 outlets for our kids to charge their electric cars, and I'm confused about wire choice. I thought I understood the correct wire to use, but then ran across a ...
19
votes
5answers
9k views

Can anyone help me identify this old audio cable?

I have this old Bang & Olufsen vinyl record player, with a old connector for the speakers. Do anyone know what type of connector this is? And if there exist some converters? Looks like DMX, but ...
19
votes
12answers
35k views

How can I repair a puncture in a hollow-core wooden door?

Someone punched my wooden door. Now it has a giant dent in it. The dent is similar to this one. Fortunately, it's a bit less severe than this. How can I "pop" the dent back out?
19
votes
3answers
7k views

Damage when drilling a mirror — normal or not?

I've just had a bespoke mirrored bathroom cabinet installed. The mirrors have had holes drilled for the knobs, and one of the holes has a white mark around it and generally doesn't look very clean. ...
19
votes
7answers
4k views

How to deal with broken compact fluorescent (and its mercury) without breaking the bank?

We're now out of the compact fluorescent era, fortunately, but we wound up with 3 or 4 broken CF bulbs from somebody not being careful with a box of them in the garage ... We're moving and I want to ...
19
votes
7answers
5k views

How do I safely replace a worn out electrical outlet?

I have a number of outlets that are old and worn out (plugs fall out of them mainly.) Obviously I need to turn off the breaker to replace them safely. Any guidance on how to rewire them, how to ...
19
votes
2answers
10k views

What danger/code violation is oversized breakers?

I just got the results of a home inspection where they claim there is mismatched breakers and wires in my electrical panel. Specifically, the range (40A breaker) and heat pump (50A). He claims the ...
19
votes
13answers
325k views

What direction should laminate flooring be placed in?

I'm thinking of installing laminate flooring and have a question: If I'm installing laminate throughout the house, should ALL of it be going in the same direction? Say for example, let's say I have ...
19
votes
8answers
73k views

What's the best/easiest way to paint edges?

Been doing a lot of interior painting lately and I always find the edges — by the ceiling, windows, baseboards, etc. — the most tedious. What's the best way to paint the edges — old ...
19
votes
5answers
14k views

Orange Outlets Near Breaker Box

I haven't noticed these over the years I've owned my home. Only recently I happened to look down and think "huh, that's odd, why are those outlets colored bright orange." I have, over the years, ...
19
votes
4answers
132k views

I have a 3-pronged receptacle but no ground wire connected to it. Is this ok?

I removed the plates from outlets to paint walls and noticed that some of my electric boxes have ground wires connected to outlets while others do not have a green wire at all. Is this ok? I know ...
19
votes
6answers
2k views

How can I calculate my anticipated peak current load?

Preamble This question takes place in Japan. In Japan, domestic electrical service is metered, but there is also a monthly fee that increases with larger service capacity. Units are wired for (...
19
votes
2answers
5k views

How does a ball bearing door hinge work?

I've been unable to find a clear explanation of the design principle behind a ball bearing door hinge. In the image below, the casing for a ball bearing assembly is highlighted. One description ...
19
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 ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

Setting cut depth on a circular saw

When using a circular saw to cut through panels or dimensional lumber or whatever, the DIY folk on YouTube always set the cut depth to “a hair beyond what you’re cutting”. I’ve been blindly doing the ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

Nicely mounting 2x4s to wall

I would like to make some bookshelves similar to what is seen here: My question is how to nicely mount these to the wall. Obviously I could simply angle some screws into the wall studs, however I ...
19
votes
6answers
4k views

How to disconnect air conditioner lines from outdoor unit?

I need to temporarily move the outdoor unit to one side to access the wall behind it. Is it possible to do this with basic tools? I just need to disconnect the copper pipes as there's enough slack in ...
19
votes
3answers
4k views

What is this bug and should I be concerned?

I see these guys crawling around. What are they and are they here to destroy my house and cost me money and waste my time?
19
votes
3answers
5k views

New home with gaps in stairs

The stairs in our home being built (production builder) is concerning. The gaps in risers and treads doesn't seem right. When seeing all other homes in same neighborhood under construction they do not ...
19
votes
2answers
3k views

Can you identify this receptacle?

I was walking through a house during the middle of construction and came across what appears to be a recpticle attached to a pvc pipe that seems to pass a low voltage wire. Also connected to the ...
19
votes
3answers
19k views

What is the right way to connect 7 conductors in an electrical box?

What is the "right" way to join 7 different wires in a single electrical box? Here's the situation. I opened up a four-gang light switch. There were four switches controlling five lights. As ...
19
votes
6answers
11k views

What is the best order for interior painting (walls, trim, windows, etc.)?

I'm repainting a room. I'm removing wallpaper from the walls, and stripping paint from trim around doors, windows and baseboards. There's no crown moulding. I might repaint the ceiling, not sure yet. ...
19
votes
7answers
29k views

What are some cost-effective tips for reducing external sound from entering a room?

I have a small office room that shares a wall with our living room. When we have guests over, their voices travel fairly well; they sound somewhat muffled but are still audible. As I work from home ...
19
votes
8answers
17k views

Is there a lifetime failure count for a breaker?

I have an external cutoff for my air conditioner that has two physical fuses (TR-50's, time delay 50 amps) outside. This is between the condenser unit and the main power panel, where it is protected ...
19
votes
3answers
27k views

Is running ethernet cable through an air return allowed under US code?

I'm looking to wire up the second floor of my house and the cold air return provides a convenient, straight run from the office to the utility room. Is it safe and within code to run ethernet cable in ...
19
votes
6answers
42k views

What is the best way to cut receptacle holes when hanging drywall?

I will be installing drywall in a 10x10 room this weekend, walls only. I'm planning to use the longer sheets so there is only a single horizontal seam on each wall and install the top sheet first, ...
19
votes
3answers
6k views

Is it OK to create a third prong ground from a cold water pipe, for a 2-wire circuit?

When or is it NEC code compliant to upgrade a 2-wire circuit, by adding a third prong equipment ground from a nearby cold water pipe? A different case of borrowing a ground from a nearby circuit is ...
19
votes
3answers
211k views

Do I really need a special bulb in the oven?

My oven light burnt out recently. After dismantling it I found a 40W 130V "appliance" bulb with a standard Edison connector. The bulb is slightly smaller than a normal incandescent bulb. Looking for ...
19
votes
4answers
5k views

How can I get a wire that is outside a wall to be inside a wall

I recently removed an abominable drop ceiling from my dining room and found this close to the ceiling on the one side of the room. There is definitely a stud between these two holes. On the other ...
19
votes
1answer
3k views

What is this balloon with “eyes” printed on it, hanging from the eave on this house?

I have seen this, or something very similar on various houses in the city I live in. It is rare enough to be remarkable, but common enough to make me think it is a "thing". Any ideas?

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