Hot answers tagged

93 votes

What are insulated screwdrivers for if you’re not supposed to work on a live circuit?

The idea is to not rely on any single point of failure. For you to be planted six feet under, you want at least three things to have gone badly wrong at the same time. Your lockout padlock fell off. ...
user avatar
71 votes

Does a 2100W angle grinder need an earth pin?

Your grinder is a Class-II Double Insulated appliance and therefore does not require a ground/earth connection. But even if you did decide to fit a 3-pin plug, what would you connect the 3rd pin to?...
user avatar
  • 4,987
71 votes

What are insulated screwdrivers for if you’re not supposed to work on a live circuit?

A de-energized circuit is like an unloaded gun Once I worked on a circuit. I shut off the breaker (I knew the circuit well, since it powered the lighting in the electrical parts crib) and double ...
user avatar
68 votes

Is it safe to remove the bottom chords of a series of garage roof trusses?

Absolutely not safe. Those trusses were engineered with a heavy (critical) dependency on the bottom chords, which are in tension. Removal has left them extremely vulnerable to collapse due to ...
user avatar
  • 104k
64 votes

Why is my fire extinguisher emptied after one use?

Fire extinguishers (here in the US anyway) are REQUIRED to not be usable after being discharged, partial or not, because you can never know HOW MUCH extinguishing material was discharged by just ...
user avatar
  • 14.4k
63 votes
Accepted

What are the dangers of operating a mini excavator?

OSHA has a search engine. Many accidents are not reported to OSHA, in particular, amateur/homeowner operators like you don't have a reporting chain to OSHA. But here are those OSHA knows about. ...
user avatar
63 votes
Accepted

Why don't bookshelves come with wall mounting screws included?

From the linked assembly instructions: Screw(s) and plug(s) for the wall are not included. Assess the suitability of the wall to ensure that it will withstand the forces generated. Use screw(s) and ...
user avatar
60 votes
Accepted

Is there a way to safely have exposed electrical wires?

Yes. This is not only safe but best practice. Tuck the capped wires completely into the junction boxes to avoid accidentally snagging on passing ladders, wallboard, etc. If the room continues in ...
user avatar
58 votes
Accepted

When doing electrical work, what do I use to check wires are safe?

Test Tools In approximate descending order of safety (though the professional multimeter could arguably be higher if you are careful about how you use it) Voltage tester A professional electrician ...
user avatar
57 votes

Why has my 10 year old ceiling fan suddenly started shocking me through the fan pull chain?

DANGER!!! This sounds like a ground fault. They are particularly dangerous if you get wet, which is why Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters have been required for many years in kitchens and bathrooms, ...
user avatar
53 votes
Accepted

Is this 230V steampunk metal robot lamp safe?

It's dangerous. You've spotted one important flaw but it can combine with others to make a really dangerous product. I originally suspected it was made in Europe by someone with more interest/...
user avatar
  • 3,664
50 votes
Accepted

Should I tilt my DIY self-standing bookshelf backwards to prevent it falling down?

Use Screws Anyway If it was me, I would quietly ignore "I am not allowed to secure it using screws in the wall." We are talking about a couple of screws here, which would leave ~ 1/4" ...
user avatar
44 votes

Is my repair to this plug safe?

That plug needs redoing. Urgently. It is unsafe. Make sure the clamp is on the covering for the cable not the individual wires This is a correctly wired UK plug... different live & neutral ...
user avatar
42 votes

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

WARNING: This answer describes a fictional installation, and is NOT meant to be a solution to a problem. This setup should NEVER be implemented in the field, as it is unsafe, and violates countless ...
user avatar
  • 128k
42 votes

Is there a way to safely have exposed electrical wires?

With the breaker off, put a wire nut on each wire separately (don't nut them all together!) and you're good to go. That is the proper way to terminate unused wires, whether the breaker is to be turned ...
user avatar
  • 8,444
42 votes

How can I know if one extension cable and outlet can handle so much electricity use?

The four pumps will require 9.2 amps. Your outdoor outlet has a breaker that's either 15 or a 20 amps so if nothing else is on the circuit, you'll be OK. If you have other stuff plugged into that ...
user avatar
  • 53.1k
39 votes

I live in an older home without ground wiring. Is it safe to install 3-prong GFCI with only a hot and neutral?

Absolutely! There are a number of different functions that an ordinary ground wire performs. A GFCI, despite the "G", does not actually need a ground wire to function. In fact, a properly ...
user avatar
35 votes
Accepted

Why do my led bulbs state: not for use in totally enclosed luminaires?

Yes, it is because of the heat buildup in enclosed fixtures, and no you should not use the bulb in that ceiling fixture you listed unless you are willing to accept shortened bulb life. Your options ...
user avatar
  • 13.7k
35 votes

What kind of gloves should I wear during electrical work?

Depends on the voltage you're working with. If you're working in a residential setting, simply turn off the power and wear any type of glove you find comfortable (including none). If working in an ...
user avatar
  • 128k
34 votes
Accepted

Why is my fire extinguisher emptied after one use?

If it's a dry chemical extinguisher (seems likely, most common, particularly with a pressure gauge) the simple answer is that the valve has got dry chemical dust in it and no longer seals properly as ...
user avatar
  • 132k
33 votes
Accepted

Can I safely plug a 15A 100V appliance into a 20A 250V wall outlet?

No. That is a NEMA 6-20 receptacle. Your NEMA 5-15 appliance is specifically designed to not plug into it. Because it would destroy the appliance if you did. That is why the system of plugs works ...
user avatar
31 votes

Is it safe to remove the bottom chords of a series of garage roof trusses?

With no bracing above, you might want to check the out side walls - they are probably already spreading. Once they start moving the stabilization and repair can cost many thousands if the roof stays ...
user avatar
  • 95.4k
30 votes
Accepted

Is it safe to use a drill bit with a half broken tip?

The fact that part of the bit has broken off does lead one to believe the rest of it may be in danger of disintegrating during use with the potential for bits of metal to go flying in unexpected ...
user avatar
  • 29k
29 votes
Accepted

What is the relative importance of cut-retardant safety gloves when using a chainsaw?

A diagram put out by the US Product Safety Comission shows that the left leg and left arm/hand are the most commonly parts of the body injured by chainsaws: (Source: OSHA Web site) If the dots on ...
user avatar
  • 4,714
29 votes

Is it possible to dangerously short a U.S. power outlet with multimeter probe?

Unless you shattered the insides of a normal outlet, you wouldn't be able to short out the outlet using a multi-meter. Looking at the picture below, each female part of the socket is in its own ...
user avatar
  • 53.1k
28 votes

How can I protect my fingers while using a band saw?

Do not wear gloves while using a bandsaw (or any powered saw, drill press, or planer for that matter). The gloves will give you a false sense of security and do very little to protect your hands. In ...
user avatar
  • 15.5k
28 votes

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

Almost all of the Home Depots that I do business with have short term rental trucks available right in their parking lots for very reasonable rates. Call in and reserve one for a particular time. ...
user avatar
  • 61k
28 votes

Is this cord bend ok on electric range?

I'm not certain what guage that wire is but many manufacturers will cite a minimum bend radius. It may or may not be code compliance wherever you are in the world. I suspect that wire has a minimum ...
user avatar
  • 8,593
27 votes
Accepted

Paint inside refrigerator water shutoff valve—clean or replace?

At this point, I'd just replace it. You're missing the connecting nut and ice makers have different connecting methods than they did years ago. You can get a compression valve, which is what you have ...
user avatar
  • 53.1k
26 votes

Is this 230V steampunk metal robot lamp safe?

The safety solution is to either add a grounding using a grounded cord with the ground branching off and attaching to the metal as close to where it enters as possible. Or you can convert the lamp to ...
user avatar

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible