62 votes
Accepted

Where can I get a cover for a main supply?

Some important UK context is missing from the other answers. In the UK this is know as the "Service Head" or main cut-out. It is the responsibility of the local Distribution Network Operator ...
Engineer Green's user avatar
48 votes

Why am I getting an electric shock from the water in my hot tub?

Edit: This is sounding more and more like a problem with either a neighbor's electrical or the utility's supply. See last entry. DON'T get in that hot tub again! The "very small" shock was due to ...
Harper - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
46 votes
Accepted

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

You got a bad roll of the dice. Very good ideas and attempts that would work in more normal soil conditions. The problem is, if you continue then you will likely undermine the soil because that small ...
Ack's user avatar
  • 5,729
46 votes

Why do British houses have "indoors" windows in some rooms?

The purpose is to allow natural light into the room. Generally these room-to-room windows are used for rooms which have no external wall, and so cannot have a “normal” (outside) window. The risk of ...
Matt's user avatar
  • 391
40 votes

Are USB sockets on wall outlets live all the time, even when the switch is off?

In the US, no the USB ports will not have power when the outlet is not powered. Most outlets in the US don't have power switches on them, so if you switch them off there is no way for power to be ...
Dotes's user avatar
  • 4,809
39 votes
Accepted

My inflatable hot tub says "don't use with an extension cord"... but can I?

I think you have likely answered your own question. The use of an extension cord could cause a voltage drop, especially since the factory cord is long already and the spa probably has an electric ...
Jimmy Fix-it's user avatar
  • 35.8k
33 votes

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

Change your wiring method You started with non-metallic jacketed cable, requiring 500mm of cover. That's similar to the US where cover must be 24" for that type of cable. However, the US has other ...
Harper - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
32 votes
Accepted

13A UK plug - wiring safety

That would fail any safety inspection. Get a new plug. Those side grip cable clamps do a very poor job [& that one was never even adjusted in the first place. That plug has been hazardous since ...
Tetsujin's user avatar
  • 11.5k
31 votes
Accepted

Is there supposed to be a gap between the wall and the roof?

Is it supposed to be like that? There needs to be air circulation in unheated space to prevent condensation causing rot. It's freezing up there That is good. It means your loft insulation is ...
RedGrittyBrick's user avatar
31 votes
Accepted

Why do I have Insulation in internal wall between two rooms?

It was probably installed to reduce sound transmission. It's common to see materials that are more dense than fiberglass used as acoustic insulation, but fiberglass is used as well. The sounds of ...
isherwood's user avatar
  • 138k
30 votes

While drilling into kitchen wall, hit a wire - any advice?

Obviously, safety considerations like isolating that circuit are paramount, and note that even if that circuit's breaker is off, then the neutral touching earth can still trip the Earth Leakage ...
Solar Mike's user avatar
  • 27.4k
30 votes

My inflatable hot tub says "don't use with an extension cord"... but can I?

The basic reason is that if they said, "Feel free to use an extension cord", someone would connect up a 50m, 3A, two-core cable with no Earth and a loose socket. They would then sue the company when ...
Oscar Bravo's user avatar
28 votes

What should I be aware of in buying second-hand sinks and toilets?

I applaud your effort at frugality and environmentalism. The "throwaway" mindset peeves me to no end. Many folks change out fixtures just to change the look or size, and there are plenty of good units ...
isherwood's user avatar
  • 138k
28 votes

Why is my background energy usage higher in the first half of each hour?

Insufficiently close reading of the actual data. Can't put an image in a comment, so here we are. Power use is only greater the first half-hour for the first half of your day, because it's not about &...
Ecnerwal's user avatar
  • 215k
27 votes

Is it possible to replace just the antique locks or will I need to get whole new doors?

If you really have your heart set on replacing the lock sets on those, I'd recommend taking the whole door off with the handle and hinge included and taking it to an architectural recycler. As noted ...
FreeMan's user avatar
  • 47.3k
26 votes

Computers lose power, lights dim. I suspect the mains power supply; is there anything I can do?

Obviously you can put both computers onto an "Uninterruptible Power Supply" (UPS) and if the outages are short, that will keep them up, until its batteries go bad (as they always do - buying ...
Ecnerwal's user avatar
  • 215k
24 votes
Accepted

Bang sound and breaker has tripped, anything else to check?

Very difficult to diagnose. If there were other people in the house at the time you could ask them if they did anything to cause it. Otherwise .... The bang itself, what you heard, may have been an ...
jay613's user avatar
  • 37.9k
23 votes
Accepted

Why is my background energy usage higher in the first half of each hour?

I've done enough signal analysis to recognize that double-shadow-sinewave anywhere. That's a "beat frequency". You have some event kicking off every 57 or 63 minutes or so, running for ...
Harper - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
20 votes

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

Too narrow to be practical in soil with normal obstacles. Some may advise renting machinery, though most typical "trenchers" are likely to have an expensive "oops" when they meet your buried debris. ...
Ecnerwal's user avatar
  • 215k
20 votes

Contractor work caused a water leak in the house - UK

Let me tell you a story about insurance companies and how they will screw you. First, before you call your insurance company to report an accident, call them and ask for a policy review to see if your ...
d.george's user avatar
  • 12.4k
17 votes
Accepted

How can I stop water flow in a pipe if the valve isn't working?

If you remove the blue handle, then there should be a shaft with two flats or a square end. Turn that with a suitable spanner or adjustable. Some will suggest pliers but then you can end up rounding ...
Solar Mike's user avatar
  • 27.4k
16 votes

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

I have dug hundreds of trench’s in my life and never seen one so narrow , wow. I use a narrow spade maybe 6” to 8” or . 2 meters wide to go down 18” max, and a full width of 10” or .25m wide to go ...
Ed Beal's user avatar
  • 103k
15 votes

While drilling into kitchen wall, hit a wire - any advice?

Given the size and location of the wire, It looks like you hit the range feed which may draw upto 50 amps. Such high current applications require greater care in making connections such as splices. in ...
hildred's user avatar
  • 887
15 votes

Why am I getting an electric shock from the water in my hot tub?

I had an electrician to check out the problem and: I am in the UK and there is only live and neutral at the meter (earth and neutral are the same wire at that point) The Hot Tub water is directly ...
Lee's user avatar
  • 589
15 votes

Outdoor burst pipe best practice for the winter

What I would do ( have done) is replace the elbow with a "T" and add a valve to be opened in winter . Presumably the valve will be below grade and will need something like a sprinkler valve ...
blacksmith37's user avatar
  • 8,291
14 votes

Why do British houses have "indoors" windows in some rooms?

In my last house, (in U.K.), I took out a stramit block wall from a bedroom, and replaced it with thermalite blocks. Since the bedroom was dark-ish, I built a narrow double-glazed strip (something ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 5,308
14 votes
Accepted

UK Light Changing Rose and too many wires

You have neutral, live and a switch loop (in addition to ground). Plus a daisy chain to the next light in the circuit in another room. The neutral block with all the blues has all the neutrals that ...
ratchet freak's user avatar
14 votes

UK Light Changing Rose and too many wires

I'm trying to change a UK light ceiling rose The UK ceiling rose is possibly the most elegant junction box in the world. It has exactly the right terminals for any of three different applications. ...
Harper - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

Insulating a wooden shed to provide strong heat rejection

Insulation works both ways, so it'll reduce the heat coming in from the sunlit outer walls as well. Small windows are also favourable in these conditions. For warm but not over the top situations, you ...
MiG's user avatar
  • 2,370
12 votes
Accepted

Motion Sensing Light Switch Requires Minimum Load of 60W - can I use with LEDs?

This is not really suitable for LEDs. Not only is the wattage too low, but since the switch has no direct neutral connection, it gets its power by trickling a small current through the light. With an ...
DoxyLover's user avatar
  • 12.7k

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