Q&A: When do smoke alarms need to be hardwired?

- Smoke alarms are required in part by Minnesota Statute 299F. 362, which references the Minnesota State Fire code. That’s a great question. Click the following link for information about Minnesota State Fire Code requirements for smoke alarms. . I’m no expert when it comes to the state fire code, so I’m not going to try to explain all that. I can, however, discuss what the state building code says, because the requirements for smoke alarms change when work is being done to a house, and that’s where the building code comes in ..More

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Trench digging without nasty lawn scars

- It took me the rest of the summer to get new grass to fill in the scar left by that trenching machine, and probably another year or two before there wasn’t a big obvious line of different grass in my yard. Part of that was surely due to my lack of a green thumb, but that’s beside the point. The downside to using a trenching machine on a lawn is that it’s like using a chainsaw to do surgery; you’re going to have a huge scar. ..More

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How to correct improper joist hanger nails

- In most cases, there will be a few joists that aren’t butted up tight to the ledgerboard, and the tips of the nails will be visible if the short nails were used:. The easiest way to determine if short nails were used at this location is to look underneath the joists. ..More

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Nuisance tripping at AFCI circuit breakers

- . Another wiring problem is more of an incompatibility issue than a wiring issue, and it has to do with multi-wire circuits. Check out Charles Buell’s blog post for a good explanation of a multi-wire circuit. When older AFCI single-pole circuit breakers were used on multi-wire circuits, the circuit breakers would trip as soon as a load was applied to the circuit. Today, manufacturers make AFCI circuit breakers that are compatible with multi-wire circuits. GE makes single-pole breakers that are compatible with multi-wire circuits, Siemens makes a 2-pole AFCI circuit breaker, and so do Square D and Cutler Hammer ..More

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Repairing a window with fogged glass

- . They used these measurements to order new, custom insulated glass units from a local manufacturer. The glass was ready in about two weeks ..More

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