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House Repair Talk

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    Tank hot water heaters : Do they need to be flushed?

    Turn off the water heater heat before draining. Vacation setting is not low enough. For gas heaters turn the little knob to "pilot" (or "off" if you are going to spend a lot of time working on the heater). For electric heaters flip the panel breaker off. Also turn off the water heater's own...
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    Advice on replacing an extension cord?

    Most likely reason for the end of the cord being unusually warm is that the receptacle contacts or the plug prongs (or the cord wires deep inside that connect to those metal parts) are worn and not making a good connection. This can sometimes cause tremendous heat or a fire even though far fewer...
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    Voltage Controlled Infrared Heater

    Does the heater make a distinct although not necessarily loud click when it kicks on or kicks off as you slowly turn the termperature knob back and forth (manually) with or without the heater plugged in? If not then the heater may be one of the few models that does not have a snap action...
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    Dropping Landline

    I have had a land line installed in an unoccupied building so I could have a device I dial into and get a temperature report as a safeguard against heating failure and freeze up in winter. Didn't want to use wifi which would require a running PC that might crash plus an internet ISP which costs...
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    The end of our world within 10 centuries

    Someone whom I will not name said the end of our world will occur in 2033 (ca. 10 years). And I have reason to believe that if our world did not end at that time they had access to the means (such as flash mobs and hyper missiles) to make our world end then.
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    What to do with old water pump/well pit in basement?

    I would say that the best thing is to keep the pit, but it might be necessary to partially fill in the pit (,make it less deep) to ensure its walls cannot collapse. There are a few uses for a basement pit that could be handy in the future. For example it could become added storage space if it...
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    Water heater vent pipe scorching roof

    You might still need to redo some shingles, especially if the new double wall roof stack and flashing is bigger than the existing stack (plumbing drain vent pipe?).
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    How do you wire a light with 2 separate switches on different walls?

    So long as myriads of different and accepted wiring methods exist in actual circuits in buildings, etc. there will be the desire to mention them in wiring handbooks and other literature. Alternatively someone might simplify his/her response to a question by citing just one method or solution...
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    Relight Hot Water Tank Pilot - once every 3-6 months

    How old is the water heater? Maybe the thermocouple is wearing out, which can lead to random widely spaced in time loss of the pilot flame as you are experiencing.
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    Boiler Heat-Much Colder on 2nd Floor-Is this common?

    Partially cover up the radiators with blankets in the warmer rooms (here, downstairs). Then the single zone will actually deliver more heat upstairs because the circulating water won't drop off so much heat in the downstairs radiators during the extended run time of the boiler after you set...
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    What Is A 250-750 mv Thermopile?

    Thanks. Ultimately I got a replacement thermopile with a straight 750 my rating. The new thermopile showed under-load voltages greater than the old one did, so I am assuming for now that the problem (random loss of the standing pilot) has been cured.
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    What Is A 250-750 mv Thermopile?

    I am looking at a thermopile (a cigarette shaped/sized item similar to a thermocouple) rated at "250-750 millivolts" output. Could someone explain the meaning of 250-750 mv versus 250 mv output by itself or 750 mv output by itself? The heater I want to install it in does not work with its old...
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    Steam Boiler not making hot water

    If there is "no hot water" and the boiler is not running then we have not actually found the problem. Your system might be such that any zone or any combination of zones calling for heat would also heat domestic water, and the purpose of a separate zone for hot water would only be for times when...
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    Well Pressure Tank Questions

    Since you are trying to have the pump cycle less, even better results are obtained if (space permitting) you leave the old pressure tank in place and connected. Connect the new pressure tank directly to the water line, not to the first tank.
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    Newly Installed Tub Spout Diverter Wont Shut Water Off To Shower

    Check for a clogged pipe (behind the shower wall) from the tub faucet down to the spout. Spout diverters work via gravity. In the "shower" position the spout opening is blocked. In the "tub" position only gravity keeps water from going up to the shower.
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    GFCI on double tap receptacle?

    Caution: Those hand held testers you plug in and observe a series of lights (like the yellow one pictured just above) often give false readings for other errors in the wiring. I would strongly recommend getting, and learning how to use, a multimeter, preferably one with a moving needle readout.
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    Zero step entry

    A gravel or packed dirt slope up to the doorway is not going to remain a smooth transition for long. You need a hard surface for your stepless walkway or ramp. Rain splashing on the ramp cannot be avoided unless the ramp is covered. The splashing will mean that the bottom of the door will be...
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    What are these dark stripes in the toilet bowl?

    It is mineral deposits from the last few drops of flush water entering the bowl (via the rim holes). Then more mineral deposits occur as water evaporates at the water surface thus leaving the ring at the resting water level in the bowl. Give it a coupl'a million years and you get stalagmites...
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    Boxes Too Good to Toss

    I meant bringing boxes back to the store to use to carry your groceries home in in lieu of having to consume more bags. Not to leave for the store to dispose of.
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    What are some things I can do with that slab of masonry that came with the house?

    Not a good tabletop. Could crack and collapse unexpectedly and spill all the food and drinks onto the ground. Would make a table too heavy when combined with adequate structure underneath to prevent such spillage.