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    1. Help me understand AC diagnosis, please?

      In December 2023, I had the AC replaced for the upstairs of our house. Installed was a "Bryant Preferred 2 Ton" 227TAN02400A and the corresponding Fan Coil FV4CNF002L00. Two weeks ago, when the...

      In December 2023, I had the AC replaced for the upstairs of our house. Installed was a "Bryant Preferred 2 Ton" 227TAN02400A and the corresponding Fan Coil FV4CNF002L00.

      Two weeks ago, when the heat came (I'm in NE Florida), I noticed that our upstairs was not able to keep up. We keep it set to 73 both up and downstairs and the upstairs unit was just continually running from 11AM-7PM and never getting below 76-77.

      A tech came out and let me know that, based on the pressures he was seeing, the expansion valve and coil needed to be replaced. It was under warranty, so I said sure, go for it. The install was scheduled for Monday, a week ago.

      That tech showed up last Monday and replaced both parts. When he left, he said that we should be good to go and everything was looking great. Last week was a milder week for temperatures (mid to high eighties), but I did notice the humidity was still quite high in the upstairs (in the 70's and low 80's).

      Things still didn't seem right by the end of last week, so I called again and they scheduled someone to come out today.

      When the guy showed up today, he checked the pressures and said I was on the low side of the manufacturer's specs. He topped it off a bit and brought me to the high side of the manufacturer's specs.

      Of bigger concern he said that my drain pan was cracked. He said this had been identified by the very first tech and the part had been on order since then. He said they installed the coil and valve to get things cooling better even though they didn't have the drain pan in yet.

      Today was the first I heard anything about the drain pan. Anyway, they are trying to get that as soon as possible and will have to install it when it comes in.

      So, now that the background is done, here's my question. Would this cracked drain pan cause my cooling issues? Right now (4PM) it is 97 outside. My downstairs unit has no problem getting me to 73 and 50% humidity (and shutting off). The upstairs unit is running non-stop and is at 76 (set to 73) and 83% humidity.

      I understand that the crack in drain pan is making it "all wet" inside the air handler. I understand that can cause the humidity to be high, but would that also be the cause for cooling issues?

      13 votes
    2. Should I go heat pump only?

      Hi all, I am in the middle of taking bids with my local HVAC companies and am looking for someone to nudge me in one direction or the other. For background, I bought my house in western Michigan,...

      Hi all,

      I am in the middle of taking bids with my local HVAC companies and am looking for someone to nudge me in one direction or the other. For background, I bought my house in western Michigan, right off the lake Michigan coast near Grand Rapids, last Fall. My home inspection made it clear the AC would need work and I haven't started to feel the need for it until recently. I called an HVAC company out and when they said the unit was 25+ years old, I just told them to forget about even fixing it because it would be at least 10% of the cost of a new unit and still way less efficient.

      So.

      My natural gas furnace is also ~20 years old and the first HVAC guy said that if it broke down, it likely wouldn't pass a safety inspection. They said something about how the coils being dirty or positioned someway or something, I can't really recall 100% what the issue would be but the gist that I got was that when it breaks down, whether it be 1 year, 2 years, or 5 years, it won't be worth fixing or it will be unfixable. A new AC would be ~$6500 and a new furnace would be ~$7000.

      So I started up the conversation towards installing a heat pump unit in instead of a standard AC unit. My initial thinking is that when the furnace goes, I have the back up ready to go instead. Now a heat pump unit is going to cost me around $2000 more. I don't think my plan will be to ever install a replacement furnace. Depending on what the solar assessment says, evaluating both ground mounted and roof mounted solar, will tell me how worth it is to go that route and have discounted or free heating and cooling.

      Where the calculus gets tricky for me is there is the Inflation Reduction Act which will give me a $2000 tax credit for a heat pump. But that will come with buying a more expensive, and efficient unit, and I believe I will also have to completely get rid of the furnace I currently have since the total home system has to meet the efficiency standard. In addition, last month I replaced my fuse box with a 200 amp panel and if I meet the requirements to get the $2000 tax credit, I would also get $600 tax credit for the panel since I can tie them together.

      All in all, I am looking at getting a more efficient unit for roughly the same price as the less efficient unit but without the natural gas furnace as either main heating, or back up heating. My hesitation is that natural gas is so cheap that it doesn't make sense financially to go heat pump only unless I have renewable energy to pair with it. But maybe I am just overthinking it? And maybe I have gotten something wrong in my calculations?

      Any advice or clarifications would be greatly appreciated. I have one more quote coming this Thursday and I hope to make a decision by Friday to get the work started

      31 votes
    3. Plumbing questions

      New house owner here, a couple of weird plumbing things I'm noticing and not sure how big of a concern they are. All of these are very sporadic. Possibly relevant things to note, I live in the US,...

      New house owner here, a couple of weird plumbing things I'm noticing and not sure how big of a concern they are. All of these are very sporadic.

      Possibly relevant things to note, I live in the US, we do not have a basement, do have a crawlspace, are connected to the town sewer lines, have lived in the house for about 2 weeks and it was vacant for a month prior to us moving in (with occasional visits and contractors.)

      1. A couple of times, but only a couple, the bathroom sinks have made a sound when flushing the toilet. Maybe once this happened with the kitchen sink but I couldn't be sure. Not sure if this is something I should be trouble shooting or I'm overthinking it.

      2. We've had occasional sewer gas odors. I've run water down the second bathroom's drains just in case it was due to those being unused, but I can't tell if that fixed it because it's inconsistent. Anything else I can/should do?

      3. The main suite shower is a circular rain style shower head. Occasionally, hours or even a day after using it, it'll just run water, the way you'd expect it to drain out of the shower head after turning off the shower. The internet suggested this could be just something where the water is held in the shower head until air/water pressure shifts and it can escape. It's also possible that this needs a vinegar bath to clean up some hard water scaling. Am I on the right track?

      4. One of my toilets keeps running/not running when the float gets stuck. I've fixed that before, though the last time I did it, it was a rubber float on a stick and this is some plastic contraption. (I am discovering home repair makes me feel like a 72 year old grumpy old man. ) Pretty sure I can clean it and see if that fixes it, adjust the screw on it, and replace it if needed. But any tips there besides a YouTube video or two?

      Never owned a house before so any advice is worthwhile.

      5 votes
    4. Toilet/plumbing upgrades

      Not sure if this is a "home improvement" topic, but I didn't see anywhere else relevant this would fit so I am going to drop it here. I've lived in the same place for around 12 years now. Before I...

      Not sure if this is a "home improvement" topic, but I didn't see anywhere else relevant this would fit so I am going to drop it here.

      I've lived in the same place for around 12 years now. Before I moved in, the place was owned by one other person for around 10 years. The place is probably ~20 years old. I have two toilets in the house. About 5 years after I moved in, the flushing mechanisms on one of the toilets stopped working and I inspected it and it looked like the bobber/float switch was busted to the point where when it got to max height, the water flow wouldn't shut off.

      I pulled up a couple articles on the internet and it seemed like the parts were pretty straight forward to replace. So I went to Lowes, got the replacement parts needed and a few hours later, toilet was fixed. No big deal. About a year later the other toilet started acting up in the same manner so I just did the same thing. Both toilets had the original parts in them. They were all metal parts. The replacement parts were a brand called "FluidMaster" and I didn't really think much of it at the time. The replacement parts were almost entirely plastic.

      So fast forward to today, and I have replaced the innards of the toilets on a fairly routine basis. It seems like every 18 months or so, I am having to replace the innards of the toilets because the float switch starts to fail. I came home from a day vacation on Saturday evening to find that one of the toilets was running and for god knows how long. I open the lid and sure enough, bobber is at the top, but the float switch hadn't disabled the water flow so the toilet just keeps running. I turned off the water to it and made a note that I'll have to go back to Lowes and pick up more parts. This will be the fourth or fifth replacement I've had to do on it.

      What's going on here? Why are these float switches in these kits breaking so frequently? Does anyone else have this problem? Am I just buying the wrong parts continuously? Is there a better set of parts that I can buy to correct this issue?

      9 votes
    5. Mini split confusion (efficiency and sizing)

      I'm right on the edge of buying a mini split for our shop space and I'm having a bout of indecisiveness. To preface, we are located in south/central Texas. The shop is a standalone structure, is...

      I'm right on the edge of buying a mini split for our shop space and I'm having a bout of indecisiveness.

      To preface, we are located in south/central Texas. The shop is a standalone structure, is fairly well insulated but has a 2-car garage door and a single-pane window, so it isn't ideal. It's 625sqft with 9 foot ceilings. We have various tools that will be in use but nothing that creates excessive heat.

      We are quite limited in funds so I'm not going with an HVAC company, nor am I going with a mr cool or other diy friendly unit due to cost. I'm capable to do the install myself, I'm not overly concerned about that.

      I was originally looking at the 18k (1.5ton) senville leto. I ran various calculators and they all suggested this size would be enough up to 1000sqft or so. However, since I have 9 ft ceilings and I live in a hot climate and I have the big door and crappy window, the calculations pushed my 625sqft up to around 900 or so equivalent sqft in some cases and in others as high as 1200.

      Due to my circumstances, I think I've convinced myself to move up to the 24k unit instead. I don't think it's too over provisioned for my specific scenario but I would like to hear your thoughts on how off the mark I am here.

      Apart from size, there's also the question of efficiency. The other model I was looking at is the Aura by senville, and the difference is a higher seer2 rating and energy star certification.

      Now, doing rough math, the difference in efficiency would be paid off by the savings of the more efficient unit in something like 8 or 9 years based on projected usage and my energy costs. I'm a pessimistic person and don't expect this unit to last 8-10 years. This is a cheap way to get the space comfortable to work in so that my side business can progress, and I would think if it's still going in that amount of time, I'll be able to afford a nicer unit by then.

      However, after saying all that, I do notice that the capabilities of the Aura unit are greater. It is advertised to work in -20f weather while the leto works in as low as 5f.

      Now, being in Texas, my primary concern is cooling, not heating, but no where can I find if the Aura system is more capable in hotter weather like it is in colder weather. This is slightly concerning because it seems most people use these primarily as heat sources and secondarily as cooling sources, and my situation is reversed.

      Does anyone have any input as to whether the higher efficiency system will make a noticable difference in cooling performance when it's 110f outside?

      Thanks for weathering my wall of text.

      14 votes
    6. I'm at a loss on what to do about my backyard grass situation

      My backyard has become a muddy mess and it's creating some downstream effects, such as me spending WAY too much time vacuuming and mopping (3 dogs), and not being able to do anything meaningful in...

      My backyard has become a muddy mess and it's creating some downstream effects, such as me spending WAY too much time vacuuming and mopping (3 dogs), and not being able to do anything meaningful in the backyard. Here are some details:

      • I'm right on the edge of USDA zones 9a and 9b -- the map shows that my house is specifically in 9a, but one block south of me is 9b
      • The grass in the backyard was mostly St. Augustine when I bought the house. For a number of reasons (some really harsh winters and summers, three dogs trampling the grass, etc.), the St. Augustine is entirely gone
      • Last fall, as a stop-gap, I put down some weed killer to control the weeds and seeded the entire backyard with winter rye. It grew amazingly well and I had a lush, verdant backyard for one season.
      • This spring, my plan was to grow bermuda grass. My thinking was that it would be able to withstand the summers but could also handle the dog traffic a bit better. So, I did some pre-emergent, scalped the winter rye, raked up most of the detritus, got the ground really wet and muddy, and laid down some bermuda seed + fertilizer
      • Now, almost a month later, I haven't seen a single bit of growth. The pre-emergent has done a pretty good job of keeping the weeds out and some winter rye is still growing here and there, but other than that, it's just... mud.

      So, what are my options, especially this late in the season? Should I just throw in the towel and sod it with St. Augustine again? Did I do something wrong with the bermuda? Do I need to make it through a muddy summer and reconsider my options going into the fall?

      31 votes
    7. How do you organize all your electronic gadgets/accessories?

      I'm in the process of moving apartments, and I'm realizing I don't have an elegant solution to all of the tech gadgets/accessories/junk my hoarding tendencies refuse to let go of. By electronic...

      I'm in the process of moving apartments, and I'm realizing I don't have an elegant solution to all of the tech gadgets/accessories/junk my hoarding tendencies refuse to let go of.

      By electronic accessories I mean all the cables, flash drives, SD cards, dongles, headphones, power bricks, etc. that have I've gathered over the years. There are some larger items like musical instrument cables, wireless speakers, an computer mouse, even an old PS3 I don't really know what to do with. While most don't get used frequently, there have definitely been times where one of these items comes in clutch.

      I'm not opposed to getting dedicated furniture like an under-desk cabinet, although I would want to make sure the space is used efficiently, and that it can be sturdy enough to be multipurpose (e.g. my work office cabinets have a cushion that can be used for sitting on top of). I'm in NYC so space is a premium and there's a low likelihood that I'll have extra space in existing drawers/closets, so I'd prefer a standalone solution.

      Hoping there might be some clever solutions/suggestions Tilerinos find handy, even if it's accepting that a Marie Kondo-style purge of unused electronics is necessary.

      16 votes
    8. Question for those in colder climates: Pellet HVAC/boilers?

      Hi, everyone. I'm on the hunt for opinions. I live in a colder climate in North America with no access to natural gas. Most heat their homes with propane or oil. Mine uses a very old 30+ year old...

      Hi, everyone. I'm on the hunt for opinions. I live in a colder climate in North America with no access to natural gas. Most heat their homes with propane or oil. Mine uses a very old 30+ year old oil boiler. I've started to see more pellet boilers, but I'm a bit uncertain about them at the moment. I don't like burning fossil fuels to heat my home, but electric isn't really an option out here and it's hard to argue with the "tried and true" cast iron boiler with the BTU per gallon oil offers. On the other hand, my local government is practically throwing money and/or attractive financing at people to switch.

      I'm curious if anyone out there has made the switch to some kind of pellet-fed heating system from a fossil fuel system. If so, I'd love to hear what you think of them, be it good or bad.

      15 votes
    9. The search for the ultimate home/apartment spring cleaning guide

      I've always considered myself a rather clean and tidy person (and get comments from others to that effect), but realized I was never formally taught on best practices for cleaning. There are...

      I've always considered myself a rather clean and tidy person (and get comments from others to that effect), but realized I was never formally taught on best practices for cleaning. There are probably things I tend to overlook, things that may not be visible (best practices for cleaning pipes for example). There is likely a lot of "traditional" knowledge on cleaning I don't know.

      I am curious if anyone here has some sort of "ultimate guide for spring cleaning" around the house to get everything to a nice deep clean, and some sort of routine on what someone should do every week/month/whatever in order to upkeep this cleanliness over the course of the year.

      Not looking for some extreme clean freaks guide but I am genuinely curious as to what I may have missed and overlook as I was never really "taught" how to clean.

      30 votes
    10. Wooden fence building recommendations

      My wooden privacy fence was blown over in a storm (Houston, TX), any recommendations for the best way to rebuild? Currently thinking of Shadowbox, fence hanger brackets, three rails, with a...

      My wooden privacy fence was blown over in a storm (Houston, TX), any recommendations for the best way to rebuild?

      Currently thinking of Shadowbox, fence hanger brackets, three rails, with a rot/kick board.

      6 votes
    11. Trying to get a better idea of what goes into having a house built

      So I'm looking to get out of apartment living in the next couple of years, so I browse housing listings semi-frequently just to get an idea of what's out there and what I can expect cost wise. My...

      So I'm looking to get out of apartment living in the next couple of years, so I browse housing listings semi-frequently just to get an idea of what's out there and what I can expect cost wise.

      My boss made an offhand comment about buying a lot and getting a prefab installed on it, so I started looking into it, but I came back with a lot of questions.

      1. Home builders seem to have preset floor plans. Every time I try and find a prefab house, all I can find are blueprints for purchase. Do you find a plan you like and then find someone to build it?

      2. Home builders I find all build giant houses. I always see comments online about how "Builders can't build affordable homes because of red tape," but I don't understand how that means they can only build 5B/3Ba houses. I cannot find anyone that has preset plans for a 2B house.

      3. How much about getting a lot "ready" would be up to me vs a builder? Is that gonna depend on the builder and what they offer? Is that all done out of pocket, or would that be included in the construction loan?

      For reference, I'm in Atlanta, though I imagine a lot of these answers will be "It depends on the builder."

      29 votes
    12. I bought a house, now what?

      I posted previously about looking for a house for my disabled partner and myself and after several stressful months we're closing on April 30th! So, now what? I'm working on home insurance quotes,...

      I posted previously about looking for a house for my disabled partner and myself and after several stressful months we're closing on April 30th!

      So, now what? I'm working on home insurance quotes, I have the money arranged for closing. We're in the "these issues need addressed" phase of the contract process (there are no smoke detectors in this house wtf) and the home inspection raised no dealbreakers. No radon or termites.

      So what don't I know about? What new homeowner things do I need to be thinking about now? We plan to move in the latter half of May. Accessibility suggestions are also useful, we're going to have to add a small ramp inside (one step), move a cabinet in the kitchen and replace carpet in the master bedroom.

      Thanks for all the advice last time, please give me more of it?

      54 votes
    13. Anyone know what these LEDs in the center of my ceiling track lights are?

      This is one of those bizarre examples where I think a simple Google would solve the mystery, but I've tried dozens of searches like "halogen track lights with LEDs in center" and NO product comes...

      This is one of those bizarre examples where I think a simple Google would solve the mystery, but I've tried dozens of searches like "halogen track lights with LEDs in center" and NO product comes up with it. Does anyone know what these are?? My guess is that it has to do with one of the lights being out, but why so many LEDs then?

      10 votes
    14. Want to automate my home with a privacy focus (but I'm a bit slow and need help)

      Hey folks - I've been wanting to go whole hog on automating my home, I read through this smart home automation - tips and tricks thread started by @Merry and had a lot of useful information. Some...

      Hey folks - I've been wanting to go whole hog on automating my home, I read through this smart home automation - tips and tricks thread started by @Merry and had a lot of useful information.

      Some of the things I took away from it:

      • Home assistant is pretty great (if you don't mind tinkering)
      • Getting something that will boot back up after a power failure is great
      • Use smart plugs / switches vs bulbs
      • Maintain it's usefulness if there is an internet outage

      Like I mentioned I'd really like for this to be privacy focused and mostly self contained. Sure I'd love to be able to control stuff from my phone while I'm home and also recognize that I'm home or away.

      I just am a bit smooth brained when it comes to even seeing "would something like this work with the wiring / circuity that I have in my home already?"

      If there are any good guides to follow or really specific advice / steps I could follow to begin this process I'd really appreciate it.

      25 votes
    15. How do you keep your home smelling nice?

      Assume cleaning is done on a regular basis. My apartment has a subtle "scent" from, what I assume to be, the vinyl flooring wax. I'd like that to not be the smell visitors first experience. I'm...

      Assume cleaning is done on a regular basis. My apartment has a subtle "scent" from, what I assume to be, the vinyl flooring wax. I'd like that to not be the smell visitors first experience.

      I'm considering an air purifier/diffuser, but don't know if they're effective.

      32 votes
    16. How can I best keep my room cool in summer?

      I’m looking for advice about what sort of portable room cooling devices to look at and what pitfalls to avoid. Some context: Over the past few years I’ve noticed that I do pretty badly in the...

      I’m looking for advice about what sort of portable room cooling devices to look at and what pitfalls to avoid. Some context:

      Over the past few years I’ve noticed that I do pretty badly in the heat, especially at night. I live in Zürich, the concept of air conditioning has not yet arrived in this place. The prevailing wisdom for how to survive summer is to just make sure your house doesn’t get too warm in the first place, but my apartment is pretty badly insulated and during the worst weeks it doesn’t cool down that much at night either, so it’s been pretty bad the last few years. I’ve mostly just avoided being in my room whenever possible, but I do have to sleep somehow.

      The obvious solution to me is to buy some sort of air conditioning device, a topic I know basically nothing about. My flatmate has one for his room, of the “dangle a tube out of the window” kind, which seems to do an okay job, but it is extremely loud and quite bulky - neither of those are dealbreakers per se, but I’d happily pay a bit more money if that gets me something quieter. In addition, our windows are not sliding windows but ones that open like a door, so any device that requires me to poke something out of the window would probably need a solution for this as well. Any sort of permanent modification to the house such as putting a hole through the wall or the window glass are not allowed.

      So my questions are: What types of coolers should I look into, what types are best avoided? Any specific brand or model recommendations would also be appreciated. I looked at one electronics vendor’s website and found a huge range in prices from below 100 to over 1000; I don’t have a specific budget in mind per se, but unless it makes a big difference (e.g. in noise levels) I would rather stay below 500 dollars.

      31 votes
    17. I fixed my dryer myself

      Came home today and found wet clothes in the dryer. Which was weird because earlier, I had found the same load in there wet and just thought I had forgotten to start the dryer. Low and behold,...

      Came home today and found wet clothes in the dryer. Which was weird because earlier, I had found the same load in there wet and just thought I had forgotten to start the dryer. Low and behold, when I stood and watched it, about ten seconds after starting it, it started beeping and gave out an F01 error code.

      While googling it, it seemed that the code meant the relay electronics board had failed and needed to be replaced. I thought, I can probably do that, but the board seemed to be more than $150, which is more than the callout fee on our home warranty ($125). But what we most needed was a working dryer!

      While looking for the exact price and a source to order the board, I found this video describing a simple fix for a blown solder connection. I unplugged the washer, opened it up, and the board was blown in the exact same spot as in the video. I soldered a jumper in, put it back together, and lo and behold, the dryer runs!

      I have an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, even though it hasn't been my day job in a long time. So I could at least evaluate the plausibility of the fix, and I had the tools and know-how to do the soldering. So definitely not a fix for everyone.

      Money is tight right now, so fixing the dryer for $0 (and in half an hour no less) was big for us. Sometimes you need a win, and today was a day I really needed one!

      What fixes around the house are you most proud of, saved you some money, or kept a piece of equipment out of the landfill?

      78 votes
    18. How do you even find quality appliances anymore?

      We bought our house over eight years ago and it came with a number of appliances. Within the first year, both the refrigerator and the dishwasher crapped out on us. We replaced them with new...

      We bought our house over eight years ago and it came with a number of appliances. Within the first year, both the refrigerator and the dishwasher crapped out on us. We replaced them with new Frigidaire and Whirlpool models respectively, but I definitely haven't been satisfied with them. Now my washer and dryer are acting up and I'm not sure how much longer they've got.

      When our fridge first started giving us issues, we had someone come out to try to fix the existing one. He basically told us that it would be around $400 to replace the failing motherboard on it — and given how simple that fridge was, it was essentially the price of a replacement. So you can't fix anything—you just throw it into a landfill and buy a new one.

      The principle of "you get what you pay for" doesn't seem to apply, either. I don't need a fridge that has a 20-inch OLED screen for connecting to a Samsung account. Paying more just seems to get you more features that are likely to cause problems down the road.

      Before we bought our replacement dishwasher, I got a subscription to Consumer Reports. The one we got was one of their recommendations. But it's just… not a good dishwasher. Little parts of it keep failing (e.g., the top rack's glassware holder-spine-thingies). And it's leaking, too!

      So, to bring it back around to the subject title, how do you even find reliable appliances? Does anyone even make reliable appliances? It seems like there has been a race to the bottom among all of the appliance manufacturers (not that this is a unique to appliances, as this Vox piece explains). Long-term reliability doesn't move units off the showroom floor, so it doesn't get prioritized. (Plus there's the whole economic disincentive for "durable goods" to actually be durable.) And with model numbers changing annually, there's no good way to keep track of which models have proven reliability.

      76 votes
    19. Butcher block countertops - stain and finishing

      Howdy all, TL;DR - Installed new cabinets, picked up new butcher block countertops to match existing. Stained it - using the Minwax stain and planned on using Watco Butcher Block finish to finish...

      Howdy all,

      TL;DR - Installed new cabinets, picked up new butcher block countertops to match existing. Stained it - using the Minwax stain and planned on using Watco Butcher Block finish to finish it. I am concerned about food safety and health. Note I am not using these as actual cutting boards. Just countertops. Would using the Watco finish be safe/sufficient for sealing the stain?

      So to give a little context, my wife and I moved into our home close to 5 years ago. The person who flipped our house put in standard big box birch butcher block countertops. We like them! They stained them a nice dark color and we have not thought much about them. From what they mentioned, they "finished" the counters with the Watco Butcher Block finish. Occasionally the areas near the sink get grey and dry from water and could use a clean/restoration. Of which I have been using Howard butcher block conditioner and I think it does a great job of giving the wood some life.

      Now I finally got around to installing some more cabinets, and I picked up another countertop. Obviously wanting it to match, I just used the same Minwax stain that the flipper used. I had planned on sanding all of the old countertops re-applying the stain and then coating in some urethane-like topcoat in hopes of helping stop the discoloration and make the counter more durable.

      This lead me down a rabbit hole of a bunch of people online basically yelling about putting anything other than butcher block finish or mineral oil on butcher block countertops and how its not food safe/toxic. So naturally this kind of freaked me out. Is the stain on the current counters harmful? Do I need to sand everything and then reapply with just a food safe option? Can I just sand and add a poly topcoat? Or am I fine to just have the stain on it and use the Watco butcher block finish? AM I POISONING MYSELF?!

      I would like to add we do not use these countertops as actual cutting boards. We always use a "real" cutting board.

      Really I am just looking for some advice or a sanity check to make sure I'm not harming ourselves. Hoping this could also help someone else learn without having to do it the hard way.

      Thanks all so much for any info anyone is willing to provide.

      10 votes
    20. Fridge recommendations?

      So our freezer is dying. Our fridge is over 20 years old and has served us well, but it's time to move on. Given the reputation of modern appliances, the proliferation of smart appliances, and the...

      So our freezer is dying. Our fridge is over 20 years old and has served us well, but it's time to move on. Given the reputation of modern appliances, the proliferation of smart appliances, and the current class-action lawsuit against LG and Kenmore over faulty compressors leading to fridges dying after just five years, I figured I'd ask for some recommendations on good brands.

      For specifics, we don't need or want any fancy features beyond an ice maker. We'd prefer it to not have any smart features, just a good old simple fridge/freezer that can be expected to function fine for years (again, we've had the current one for 20 years). My mom says she'd prefer a fridge with a bottom freezer compartment, but I don't think that's a deal-breaker (our current one is a side-by-side) so long as it's a good model.

      14 votes
    21. Modular storage systems?

      I'm currently working on decluttering, and coming up with processes to stop clutter from building up in the future. Even after getting rid of a bunch of junk, I'll be left with a ton of stuff that...

      I'm currently working on decluttering, and coming up with processes to stop clutter from building up in the future.

      Even after getting rid of a bunch of junk, I'll be left with a ton of stuff that historically has just "floated around" my living space (cables, adapters, small tools, stationary, batteries, etc...).

      I'd ideally want a bunch of appropriately sized containers that I can organize stuff into. I'd love for each box to be some tesselation of a standard volume, so that I can arrange and stack those containers neatly in a drawer or on a desk.


      If you happen to work with 3D printing, this may sound a lot like Gridfinity, a modular open-source grid storage system. And I agree! Gridfinity's goals completely meet and shoot past what I'm looking for. But I currently have no interest in investing the money or time into buying a 3D printer and making prints. And there doesn't appear to be an obvious commercial version outside of "random" folks on Etsy.

      I also considered getting a Drawer Grid like you'd see in a Maker Space. I might end up getting this if I can't find a better option, though I'd prefer a storage solution I can stuff in a drawer.

      I was curious if:

      • Anyone had any product recommendations that might fit the bill
      • Anyone had any thoughts on the organizational endeavor itself, and if there are any ways I could be going about this better.
      18 votes
    22. Advice on when to call a service for repairs?

      Hey all, Bought a house 2 years ago, and have had a handful of issues where I had to call someone out to take a look. Whether its plumbing/HVAC/whatever, sometimes they are clearly things I...

      Hey all,

      Bought a house 2 years ago, and have had a handful of issues where I had to call someone out to take a look. Whether its plumbing/HVAC/whatever, sometimes they are clearly things I couldn't do myself, but other times, it feels like something I could probably do if I put aside the time.

      Most recently, our sump failed resulting in some flooding and we had to get it replaced, which ended up costing $700 USD. I know pumps only cost around $300 and generally understand what work needs to go into replacing it, but was worried I may miss something crucial, especially when replacing the piping and screw the whole thing up. On the flip side, I've had a lot issues with our furnace, so the last time an issue came up, I spent an hour on Youtube and just figured it out myself.

      Sometimes it just feels silly spending a bunch of money on labor, when its something you could spend an afternoon doing yourself. It just feels hard to gauge when its worth investing the time to figure it out myself or not. I also never know what to do in the situation when the person who took the time to come out gives me a price, it feels like your essentially trapped at that point.

      Anyone with more home ownership experience have any advice?

      13 votes
    23. Gut check on contractor quote

      I received a quote from a local contractor to do some home remodeling. Some of the numbers make sense, but some seem quite high. Like, I can't believe it costs $3k in labor to install an electric...

      I received a quote from a local contractor to do some home remodeling. Some of the numbers make sense, but some seem quite high. Like, I can't believe it costs $3k in labor to install an electric fireplace insert, or an island hood. Anybody have any insight they're willing to share on this quote?


      Remodel estimate

      1. Planning and asbestos test $1,190.00
      2. Move range outlet $1,514.00
      3. Island hood $4,498.00
      4. Electric fireplace insert $4,133.00
      5. Main bathroom $36,552.00
      6. Hall bathroom toilet and fan with humidistat $3,579.00
      7. Concrete landings outside the front and back doors, front siding flashing $2,899.00
      8. Re-pipe plumbing $14,993.00
      9. Bedroom window glass replacement $749.00
        Total $70,107.00

      Description
      Plans will be refined. Drywall will be tested for asbestos content.
      Dust will be contained and floors will be protected.
      The range outlet will be moved.
      An island range hood will be installed. The placeholder hood in the estimate is a Zephyr Brisas.
      An electric fireplace insert will be installed. The placeholder fireplace in the estimate is a
      Dimplex 500001756.
      The main bathroom will be remodeled. The shower will be replaced with a pre-formed shower
      pan and Corian walls, and two shower valves and shower heads will be installed. A sliding
      shower door will be installed. The floor will be tiled. A new vanity cabinet, countertop, sink, and
      faucet will be installed. A new toilet will be installed. The vanity electrical outlets will be
      lowered, a larger lower mirror will be installed, a new vanity light will be installed. A ventilation
      fan and light will be installed with a humidistat/condensation sensor. Drywall will be patched.
      New baseboard trim will be installed. The bathroom will be painted.
      The hall bathroom toilet will be replaced. A ventilation fan with a humidistat will be installed.
      Concrete landings will be poured outside the front door and outside the back sliding door. The
      front door landing will be about 5-1/2’x4’ with a curved corner. The back landing will be about
      3-1/2’x3’.
      The plumbing in the house will be replaced. Drywall holes from installation will be patched and
      painted.
      Window glass will be replaced in the bedroom with the broken window pane.
      Everything will be cleaned up.
      All labor and materials are included.


      Thank you!

      9 votes
    24. What rooms would you deem necessary for a house, and how necessary are they?

      I know for basic living for one single person and no pets, a bathroom, and kitchen+living room+bedroom are the bare essentials. So basically a studio. What I'm looking for is some opinions on what...

      I know for basic living for one single person and no pets, a bathroom, and kitchen+living room+bedroom are the bare essentials. So basically a studio.

      What I'm looking for is some opinions on what separated rooms are needed/wanted for a house, and also how needed/wanted are they? I'd say the bathroom and "studio" room would rank as #1 and #2, unless you plan on having the "studio" area separate. In that case, these are ranked as:
      Bathroom -1
      Kitchen - 2
      Bedroom - 3
      Living room - 4

      Maybe add in closets here and there, and a laundry room?

      Bthrm closet - 5
      Laundry - 6
      Bdr closet - 7
      Pantry - 8
      Lvgrm closet - 9

      But I know nothing of what rooms are necessary (or lesser known possible rooms/areas) for living, or even how big they should be. I know in my state, NC, the bare minimum is 720 sq ft, so shooting for slightly over that would be ideal for me. I don't want to have a huge house to clean, and I love cozy, small spaces. If I want to see some larger space, I'll look out a window or go outside.

      So what would be your numbered list for priority rooms in a house?

      19 votes
    25. Solution for indirect lighting from top of bookcase

      Hey all. I have a room that's currently lit (during the night) by two light fixtures attached to the same wall and on the same switch. Each fixture has two LED lights with a 2700K or 2800K color...

      Hey all. I have a room that's currently lit (during the night) by two light fixtures attached to the same wall and on the same switch. Each fixture has two LED lights with a 2700K or 2800K color temperature (don't remember exactly), 230lm brightness, 3.9W power consumption, for presumably a theoretical total of 920lm and 15.6W. These bulbs are angled some 45 degrees forward aimed at the (white) ceiling in order to reflect diffuse light for the rest of the room.

      I'm going to add two tall bookcases to that wall which are going to cover where the lights currently are, so I need to figure out another solution for lighting. I don't want to damage the ceiling. Currently, my idea is to extend the wiring from the walls up behind the bookcases and place lights at the top of the bookcases, similarly angled forward so they reflect off the ceiling closer to the middle of the room.

      But I'm not finding appropriate fixtures, devices or anything else that I can place on a horizontal surface in order to angle a directed diffuse light forward. The closest I have right now would be something like these outdoor waterproof floodlights.

      They have a number of problems, though, chief of all the temperature being 3000K (that's the lowest available; you can get them a lot colder). For some reason, no one seems to be making 2700K/2800K versions of these. I'm afraid if I buy these, the light in this room will be noticeably different from the rest of the house. They are also very bright at 1000lm each (these are the darkest available; they make them even brighter) for a total 2000lm, more than twice the current brightness. I'm afraid if I sit in a room lit by these, it will affect the quality of my sleep.

      Does anyone have any ideas that might yield something closer to what I currently have, but which can be placed atop the bookcases and directed forward and up, as desired? It's also important that replacements don't require waiting for a 6 week cargo ship voyage from somewhere in China, that the power consumption isn't significantly higher, and that there won't be some huge monstrous device on the bookcase visible from the ground.

      9 votes
    26. What furniture do you like?

      Sorry if this is a bit materialistic. I think furniture reveals a lot about people, and the way that people organise their space is really interesting to me. For example I allocate a vast amount...

      Sorry if this is a bit materialistic.

      I think furniture reveals a lot about people, and the way that people organise their space is really interesting to me. For example I allocate a vast amount of space for bookshelves, whereas some people like to have big open spaces.

      Personally my favourite furniture brand is probably Vitsoe. There's also often some fantastic furniture on EBay, or available at auction from offices (a really mad thing is that it's fairly common for office rental contracts to require the entire fitout to be ripped out and the office returned unfurnished – this often means everything including the ceiling panels and floorboards is throw out – even if the next tennant would happily accept the fitout) as people move out.

      p.s. people who buy really expensive furniture which looks super ugly just so that they can flex their expensive furniture are the worst

      20 votes
    27. Lets talk kitchen dishes

      I'm in the market for a set of dishes. The consensus is: Corelle - lightweight and solid Fiestaware - built to last I'm not a fan of either unfortunately. Not because these brands are bad, but I'm...

      I'm in the market for a set of dishes. The consensus is:

      • Corelle - lightweight and solid
      • Fiestaware - built to last

      I'm not a fan of either unfortunately. Not because these brands are bad, but I'm looking for a particular look. Something akin to stoneware with a darker color. I also prefer heavier dishes. Unfortunately stoneware is known (or said) to chip easily. I'm not looking for something that will survive being dropped (I don't remember the last time I dropped a plate). This is the first selling point that gets brought up I've noticed.

      What did you choose and what has been your experience? Has your stoneware chipped after washing & stacking?

      EDIT
      I forgot to provide more details about my situation to help with recommendations.

      • I'm in the US
      • No family/single, but plan to host for a small group on an occasion (~4 people)
      • I'm starting from scratch and would like a set that works in all situations + everyday use. I'm willing to splurge (assuming it's quality and lasts).
      24 votes
    28. Dust management?

      Any advice on how to clean & control dust in the home? I live in an apartment with no central HVAC, and i suppose certain life choices contribute to excess dust build up.. like Air drying...

      Any advice on how to clean & control dust in the home?

      I live in an apartment with no central HVAC, and i suppose certain life choices contribute to excess dust build up.. like

      1. Air drying clothes-- All the fibers & dust don't get trapped in the dryer, they kind of stay on clothes until they dry and fall off in my apartment
      2. windows are left open (depending on weather)
      3. working on sewing projects

      Not willing to change any of the above, so i might just have to deal with dusting all the time.

      But dusting itself is difficult... Dusters that move dust off surfaces seem perpetually inefficient and can't capture 100%.
      Wiping down surfaces is better but even microfiber cloths don't pick up everything either. Clumps up weirdly. And don't want to use a wet rag for dusting off books e.g.

      Any suggestions are appreciated!

      26 votes
    29. How do you divide a room completely and maintain high visibility?

      So here's my situation and what I'm trying to prepare for. My mom is currently sick (we think it's an infection), and last night she fell and threw up, scared me half to death. She says she's...

      So here's my situation and what I'm trying to prepare for. My mom is currently sick (we think it's an infection), and last night she fell and threw up, scared me half to death. She says she's fine(ish) now, and we're waiting on test results. It got me thinking how she said I'll inherit her Siamese cat breeding business and it got me thinking a lot about it.

      I'm wanting to divide what is currently a purely aesthetic room so the queens can have more room for their kittens who then won't get to hide under/in the couch (yes, inside the couch, because they tore holes in the fabric underneath it, apparently) whenever I try to show them to customers.

      I want to divide my dining room from the entry way, where the front door leads into the living room, so the cats don't escape out the front door. Imagine a hallway (12 to 14 feet long) from the front door to the living room (and it's a double wide doorless doorway connecting it to the living room), but one wall of the hallway doesn't exist, and instead opens fully into the dining area. I haven't measured yet, but I'm estimating it's around 12 to 14 feet across, and 9 or 10 feet tall.

      I'd like to use something budget friendly (ofc), like plexiglass, acrylic, resin, whatever. Something fully see through (or as see through as possible) so the customers can see them immediately. Proper glass will need a whole installation process and will add to the cost. Also, I'll want to add a door to this new "window wall" so the customers and I can walk in and out, and preferably have it be a sliding door, since I think this is the option that will be the least likely to pinch a kitten.

      My dad suggested a garage screen door, with magnetic closing, made of fiber glass mesh, but I can already tell the cats will eventually tear it up and make it look ratty, and also slip out from under it most likely.

      We can't use normal room dividers because our cats can sometimes jump from the floor to the top of the fridge, and room dividers are too flimsy. Also I'm not sure how to fasten a door to them (maybe I could just open them, but idk).

      I've also half-way crossed any meshes, cages, or fencing off my option list because it looks ratty imo. Btw when I say "ratty" I mean it will make me look like some backyard breeder or someone who doesn't care about her cats. I don't want my kittens to look like inmates lol. But cages/metal bars are a last resort, because I need something, as right now my mom has them set up in what I personally consider to be cages that are far too small to keep the mother cat in 24/7 for 2 to 4 weeks. The mother cat can just about lay down once you have to put the litterbox in. (It's the vertical one with the 3 tier platforms, with wheels and a bottom tray that you can find on amazon)

      I've looked all over amazon, just window (lol) shopping/browsing for ideas on what I could use, and omg. Either inflation is horrible, or I'm severely out of touch with what a "budget" option for this project would be.

      I've even gone so far as to consult ChatGPT, who was not really that helpful.

      A list of things I've thought about already are:
      -Garage screen doors (cats will eventually scratch through and slip under)
      -Sliding barn doors (for the end of the entry way that leads into the living room, instead of dividing the dining room, but this would give the kittens and queens access to the front door when people go in and out)

      • Those DIY metal grid panels people use to build storage furniture (ratty looking, and kind of expensive, but is my last resort as it seems to be the cheapest option I think)
      • Ordering a proper glass window wall (this would have to be properly installed into the house, which would cost too much)
      • Normal room dividers (too flimsy, too short, no door option)
      • Chain link fence segments (definitely ratty looking)
      • Decorative metal/PVC room divider modular panels that hang from the ceiling (I can't seem to find a version that has ample visibility without giant holes the kittens could slip through)
      • Just building a bigger cage (more expensive than just building a wall out of the panels, and again, it's ratty looking)
      • Using clear acrylic modular panels with holes in the corners, chained/tied together to hang from the ceiling (it's an option, but I'm not sure if it's the best in terms of aesthetics & cost, and idk how to attach a door that way)
      • 3D printed prefab wall panels (not see through, and idk if/how I'd fit a door on it)
      • Prefab floor to ceiling windows (expensive, heavy, needs proper installation I think)
      • A clear, plastic tent piece, large enough for a patio (that would also look bad, since it's shiny and most likely will get scratched up)

      I may be forgetting some options that I considered already, but I'm a complete novice at construction and home improvement, so I figured you guys probably know something I don't. I need a true barrier, that is preferably as clear as possible.

      Even if you think your idea isn't all that good, suggest it anyway because I might be able to springboard off of it. This includes ideas relating to stuff I've thought of already.

      17 votes
    30. Smart home automation - tip, tricks, advice?

      Next week, I will be closing on my first ever home (hello Michigan tilderinos!). One of the projects I want to tackle and work on after I move in is setting up a smart home ecosystem that is...

      Next week, I will be closing on my first ever home (hello Michigan tilderinos!). One of the projects I want to tackle and work on after I move in is setting up a smart home ecosystem that is sustainable long-term. I saw the open-source Home Assistant but I think I need to do more research on it and find compatible products. For now, my wishlist of projects are:

      • Controllable lighting from my phone or computer
      • Carbon Monoxide/Natural Gas detection
      • Water leak and usage monitoring
      • Thermostat

      Are there any other use cases that you use home automation for? If you use Home Assistant (or used it in the past), what are some things I should consider? Any products that you bought in the past and regret now?

      28 votes
    31. Hanging 100lbs punching bag

      Hello... looking to hang a 100lbs heavy bag in my basement (with regular wood-stud walls). I've researched various options and have gone down all sorts of engineering rabbit holes, including...

      Hello... looking to hang a 100lbs heavy bag in my basement (with regular wood-stud walls). I've researched various options and have gone down all sorts of engineering rabbit holes, including pull-out strengths of various sized lag bolts, horizontal load maximums of different kinds of wood, etc. I've perused various marketplaces for various types of mounting solutions and such. The problem with standard DIY wall mounting is that it doesn't come off the wall far enough.

      I'm wondering though -- and it seems simple enough of a solution -- why the following wouldn't work:

      An 8-foot span of 2x6, turned "vertically" so that the top and bottom faces are the 2" edge, affixed 45 degrees to the studs. ASCII art not-withstanding, it's just an isosceles triangle, where the 8-foot hypotenuse is the lumber, and the "height" of the triangle is 4-feet. It would seem 2 brackets (the kind used in making decks) on each end, screwed into the studs would be suitably strong.

      The "Sagulator" (google it!) seems to think that such a setup would only experience a total 0.01in sag in the center of the span.

      The heavy bag would just hang from this with a strap that loops over the beam.

      An 8-foot span basically means I have a lot of clearance on either side.

      I suppose I could just go right into the ceiling joists, but with my proposed setup I can slide the bag to one end or the other and create a bit more of a dynamic setup (albeit it looks a bit more unsightly).

      Thoughts or suggestions? Or am I crazy?

      16 votes
    32. What are your DIY mattress experiences?

      I have been researching DIY Latex / Hybrid mattresses lately and have been thinking about pulling the trigger. I've been eying a full latex build, 3 inches of Firm, Medium, and Soft talalay (firm...

      I have been researching DIY Latex / Hybrid mattresses lately and have been thinking about pulling the trigger. I've been eying a full latex build, 3 inches of Firm, Medium, and Soft talalay (firm -> soft).I was able to find a good amount of information between Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/Mattress/comments/otdqms/diy_mattresses_an_introductory_guide/?rdt=54627) and Arizona Premium Mattresses, but I feel like I'm lacking information about people's anecdotal experiences.

      Have you gone the DIY route before? Was it a success? Did you end up effectively buying multiple mattresses worth of components trying to dial it in? Looking back would you just buy a bed in a box? Any insight / tips would be very much appreciated.

      22 votes
    33. Insulation R-values and diminishing returns?

      I'm looking into insulating the attic above a closed-in back porch & the estimate also included adding additional insulation on top of the blown-in in the attic. What kinds of factors can be used...

      I'm looking into insulating the attic above a closed-in back porch & the estimate also included adding additional insulation on top of the blown-in in the attic.

      What kinds of factors can be used to think about the value of additional insulation?

      For reference, I'm in Florida & keep setpoint around 80 degrees F most of the time when home, and 86 when not home. Power bills in the summer are in the $150-$180 USD range.

      It's currently R27 and the quote is to add R11 to bring it up to R38. Code here appears to put new construction at R38 as a minimum, but looking at some charts - it looks like I might have already hit diminishing returns?

      This chart I found on "Energy Vanguard" seems to suggest that going from 27 to 38 isn't much of a difference.

      Does anyone else have any insight on when those diminishing returns are hit, and if it can make any appreciable difference in power bills? The house itself is comfortable enough, without large swings in temperature.

      13 votes
    34. Advice on setting up home ethernet (with unused cable already in the walls)

      I live in a townhouse (built in 2002, if it matters for context) it has ethernet cables in the walls, that have apparently never been hooked up (yay futureproofing) they’re cat 5e cables (I...

      I live in a townhouse (built in 2002, if it matters for context)

      it has ethernet cables in the walls, that have apparently never been hooked up (yay futureproofing)

      they’re cat 5e cables (I checked on the cable sleeve, because I wanted to make sure it would support gigabit ethernet and not just 100mbit)

      behind each wall plate, the ethernet cable is just coiled there, not terminated in a connector and not connected to anything (along with coax cable and telephone wires which are hooked up to the wall plate, but which I’m not currently using at all)

      the cables run to a wiring box in one of the bedroom closets. here they are also just hanging around, unterminated and unconnected to anything.

      I have a rough idea of how to DIY this, but I've never done it before - the extent of my networking knowledge is layer 2 and above. so I'm looking for any protips of the sort that you figure out after doing it several times but that aren't obvious the first time you do it.

      right now, my shopping list is:

      • a patch panel (I’m eyeing this one) which will terminate the cables in the wiring box
      • a punch down tool (maybe like this one) for…umm…punching the wires, it seems like?
      • a gigabit switch (I have a spare 8 port one that I’ll use, there's only 6 runs of cable total) to go in the wiring box
      • a wall plate (like this) for each of the 6 endpoints

      I really only care about 2 of the 6 - the motivation behind this project is that my modem & router are downstairs, my home office is upstairs, and currently I run powerline ethernet between them. powerline ethernet isn't great, but it sucks especially hard when something like a portable AC unit is running on the same circuit, and that's currently making the internet speeds in my home office suffer. but the 6 cable ends in the wiring box are unlabeled, and so it seems easier to just wire them all up rather than play guessing games to figure out which of them are the 2 I care about.

      the main thing I'm unsure about is the termination of the cables with the punch-down tool. I've crimped ethernet cables, years ago, and hated it, due to having clumsy hands and large, ungainly fingers. this doesn't seem quite as bad, but I'm still cautious about having to do all this in the fairly cramped closet space, and with limited ability for "do-overs" due to the finite amount of cable installed in the walls. I'm thinking I may buy a cheap ethernet cable and sacrifice it for some test runs of the punch-down tool.

      26 votes
    35. Do you wash your carpets?

      Growing up we had a carpet washer we would use once a year or so, but we had a dog and 3 messy kids. Now that I'm grown up, I'm wondering if people regularly wash their carpets. I know you can...

      Growing up we had a carpet washer we would use once a year or so, but we had a dog and 3 messy kids.

      Now that I'm grown up, I'm wondering if people regularly wash their carpets. I know you can rent some powerful units from local stores or get a portable one yourself, but Im actually wondering how common this is for people to do somewhat regularly (vs doing it when necessary due to pet accidents)

      16 votes
    36. Seeking help with understanding compression fittings

      Hi everyone... I am trying to build a gravity fed watering system for my ducks. I want to have a 5 gallon jug up top, and quarter inch tubing running down into the coop area. I have a float valve,...

      Hi everyone... I am trying to build a gravity fed watering system for my ducks. I want to have a 5 gallon jug up top, and quarter inch tubing running down into the coop area. I have a float valve, and tubing, and brass compression fittings. Everything is a quarter inch, and everything is fitting together really nicely.

      However, I have no idea what part I am supposed to get that connects the compression fitting to the upper jug. There has to be a part that goes inside the jug, has a washer of some kind, and pokes through the jug, so that the compression fitting can screw onto it. Otherwise there is nothing to hold that piece to the jug. Reference Image

      I have never built anything like this and I am trying really hard. I've gone to three separate hardware stores to just kind of look at all the pieces, but it is so disorganized and all the tiny shelves just seem to contain random parts that don't match the label. There are acronyms I don't know and can't find any forums for this specific project. All the animal waterers that are online require a hose or electricity and I have neither of those, hence needing it to be gravity fed.

      I am starting to get really really discouraged :( I don't even know what question I am supposed to be asking. I just want to connect the tubing into a 5 gallon jug without it leaking out, but right now I just have a compression fitting stuck into a hole in a jug and nothing keeping it in place and all the water leaks out the side. Apologies if this is the wrong section to post this.. Thank you in advance if you have any advice.

      18 votes
    37. Starter tool set for someone starting out

      Basic Household Tool List (Edited to add suggestions from the comments and the general philosophy of this list) Tool bag (at least 15 inches long) Hammer (12 or 16 oz) Rubber mallet (white head...

      Basic Household Tool List

      (Edited to add suggestions from the comments and the general philosophy of this list)

      • Tool bag (at least 15 inches long)
      • Hammer (12 or 16 oz)
      • Rubber mallet (white head preferred, non-marking)
      • 6 inch Needlenose Pliers
      • 8 inch Slip Joint Pliers
      • 8 inch Crescent/adjustable wrench
      • 10 inch Slip groove (large jaw) pliers
      • Box cutter (optionally folding) + set of replacement blades
      • Hacksaw + spare blades
      • Scissors
      • 25' Tape Measure
      • Set of precision (small) screwdrivers
      • #1 and #2 Phillips head screwdrivers
      • Small and large straight blade screwdrivers
      • Multi screwdriver with torx/phillips/straight blade heads
      • half-round file (h/t @patience_limited)
      • a metal putty knife or a 5-in-1 combination paint scraper (h/t @patience_limited)
      • roll of twine
      • roll of blue masking tape
      • roll of Gorilla tape
      • roll of black electrical tape
      • super glue
      • small bottle of wood glue
      • 2" paint brush
      • torpedo level
      • small flashlight
      • a strong neodynium magnet - to use as a stud finder and for many other things (h/t @the_man)
      • 9v batteries
      • AA batteries
      • AAA batteries
      • 50 1" #6 wood screws (zinc/steel, not brass)
      • 50 2" #8 wood screws (zinc/steel, not brass)
      • small box of 1.5" finishing nails
      • light and heavy duty drywall anchors
      • course and fine foam sanding blocks (h/t @patience_limited)
      • 5 gallon bucket
      • safety glasses
      • N95 masks
      • leather work gloves
      • foam ear plus (h/t @the_man)

      Bonus list (things that are more expensive or nice-to-have upgrades):

      • a stud finder - the cheap ones are worthless, buy a good one or not at all (h/t @DeaconBlue)
      • a battery powered drill + bit set (h/t @patience_limited)
      • a set of metric and imperial allen keys (h/t @sublime_aenima)
      • a basic socket set with a mix of metric and imperial sockets (h/t @auk)

      The philosophy of this list:

      A good starter set should include tools and supplies someone will be glad they had that they didn't know they needed. Even if they aren't "handy", a handier friend might use them (and they learn something in the process). It doesn't include very specialized things like demolition, electrical, or plumbing tools. If you're going to undertake projects in those areas, you should know a little about what you're doing, and you'll be able to buy the right tools for the specific project. As as electrical engineer, I particularly don't include a multimeter because I don't want to encourage someone to mess around with electricity if they don't understand how it might hurt them.

      This list specifically does not suggest brands (except where the brand is the thing, like Gorilla tape). Opinions on what brand is best vary widely, but my general suggestion is this. Don't break the bank buying high end tools for someone who may never use them. A $2 hammer is going to be fine for someone who uses it once a year. If they are using them often enough to want something better, they can buy something better (or you can buy it for them).

      42 votes
    38. Vertical carousel to storage tools - DIY??

      Hi, I have a weird cubic space in my garage wall due to the location of the chimney and stairs to the basement. The lower edge of that cubic hole is at 41 inches (104 cm) from the floor. Its deep...

      Hi, I have a weird cubic space in my garage wall due to the location of the chimney and stairs to the basement.
      The lower edge of that cubic hole is at 41 inches (104 cm) from the floor. Its deep is 40 inches (101 cm). Width 39 inches (99 cm). Height 46 inches (117 cm).
      Too deep for static shelves, I cannot reach the end. Too tall for sliding shelves (kind of drawer thing), I am 5'7'' (172 cm). In its current form, it is too much of a space for its practical use.
      I thought that a carousel that moves shelves up and down (like in this design for shoes https://storagemotion.com/shoeselect/) but for heavier weights would be practical... I have no idea how to even name the parts to buy them, if they exist.
      Also, I will appreciate suggestions for an alternative solution.
      Thanks.
      PS: located in Massachusetts, US.

      7 votes
    39. Does anyone have experience transforming their boring lawns into more eco-friendly alternatives?

      One of the things I want to do when I purchase a home is not subscribe to the whole lawn culture, not just because I hate lawn care, but because I think they're ugly and boring. I want something a...

      One of the things I want to do when I purchase a home is not subscribe to the whole lawn culture, not just because I hate lawn care, but because I think they're ugly and boring. I want something a little more eco-friendly and more comfortable to be in. I'm thinking fast growing trees, bushes, tall plants, etc.

      Has anyone on Tildes attempted such a conversion? What are some tips you'd recommend?

      76 votes
    40. Cool things to do with old satellite dish

      Anyone have any ideas for a cool project involving an old school satellite dish? It's maybe 6-8 feet in diameter. I've seen some stuff like make an art project or an umbrella but I was hoping to...

      Anyone have any ideas for a cool project involving an old school satellite dish? It's maybe 6-8 feet in diameter. I've seen some stuff like make an art project or an umbrella but I was hoping to use it for picking up signals again. I don't imagine I can use it to get TV but is there any satellites from universities or maybe hobby cube sats that I might be able to use?

      Apologies if this is in the wrong topic it was this or ~space.

      23 votes
    41. How do you hang stuff—from the walls or ceilings—around your house when you're decorating?

      It took me a while to find a good, non-destructive way to put up posters in my living room. I think I started with blu-tack, which dried in a few months and the posters came down. Then I tried...

      It took me a while to find a good, non-destructive way to put up posters in my living room. I think I started with blu-tack, which dried in a few months and the posters came down. Then I tried 3M's hanging strips, which stayed on the wall for longer, but was pretty expensive for what it was. A year ago I had the idea of using velcro that has adhesive tape on the other side. So far this has worked near perfectly for me.

      I know I'm not breaking new ground here, but I was happy to finally find a decent solution. Well, at least for light objects on walls (and elsewhere).

      23 votes
    42. T20 bits and screws, what am I doing wrong?

      I am putting a new surface on my Deck. I am using Trex and 2.5" composite specific screws. These are small head screws with a T20 torx bit. [img]https://i.ibb.co/MchtXPx/20230628-175119.jpg[/img]...

      I am putting a new surface on my Deck. I am using Trex and 2.5" composite specific screws. These are small head screws with a T20 torx bit.

      [img]https://i.ibb.co/MchtXPx/20230628-175119.jpg[/img]

      I am 7.5 boards in out of 25 boards and I have destroyed 5 bits, 3 of them brand name impact rated bits. I am making sure to stay cammed in, and weight on top of the screw. I am lining the drill up with the angle of the screw. I am also predrilling every hole.

      I feel like I have to be doing something wrong. I just don't know what else to do.

      Edit - these are the exact screws I am using - https://www.homedepot.com/p/Grip-Rite-9-x-2-1-2-in-Brown-Star-Drive-Pan-Head-Coarse-Composite-Deck-Screw-10-lbs-Pack-N212CSB10BK/207193648

      16 votes