Fishing Wire

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  #1  
Old 02-01-06, 01:49 PM
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Fishing Wire

I have never ran electrical wire and I need some help.

I have a #6 aluminum wire that I want to replace with a proper 10 gauge wire (for a dryer circuit). The wire goes straight up from the panel a few feet and comes across a finished basement ceiling (about 15 feet, parallel to beams). The cable must take a 90 degree bend and travel 10 feet into the laundry room (through the beams I guess).

What is the technique for doing this? What should I watch out for? Keep in mind that this #6 wire is pretty big stuff.

In my mind, you would just fasten the old wire to the new wire and then pull the old wire through, thus pulling the new wire in. It can't be this easy.

Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 02-01-06, 05:03 PM
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Making the 90 degree bend is the kicker. Basically you are right in the method used, but you may never make the cable pull back through the beams unless the holes in the beams are large enough, which I doubt. You state it transverses an unfinished ceiling in the basement. Can you see the entire length of #6 from the panel to the dryer? If so, I would just cut the #6 in several places and pull it from the holes and replace it with the #10-3wg. It will be easier to pull the 10 through the existing holes. If I have assumed anything in error, post back and I'll take another swing at it.
 
  #3  
Old 02-01-06, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by XS6DFG0
The wire goes straight up from the panel a few feet and comes across a finished basement ceiling (about 15 feet, parallel to beams).
It must be strapped.

The cable must take a 90 degree bend
You will never pull/push the old cable around a bend like that through wood.
The sheath and insulation will strip before it ever makes a turn like that.


As chandler said, the new stuff will fit easy through the old holes.

At the minimum, you'll need a hole at this bend.
 
  #4  
Old 02-01-06, 07:00 PM
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Fishing wire in finished rooms is an art and I cant tell you all the things you keep on your truck to accomplish getting wire from point A to point B then to point C. One thing I can tell you is you will have to resign to the fact you are most likely going to have to cut holes in the finished ceiling and maybe the walls. Study any alternate routes that may be available> You dont have to follow the original cable.
You must be very careful or avoid drilling holes above the panel if the majority of the cables exit the top of the panel. Everytime you drill or cut you want to keep in mind there may be a cable you cant see inside the wall or ceiling. Try to anticipate when your drill or hole saw or whatever is going to break through to the inside. One saftey issue is cutting a live wire with a hand drywall blade and your bare hand touching the metal blade....you wont like it. remember there are lots of other cables in the ceilings and walls...and you dont know where they are.
Without seeing your situation or some photos it will be very hard to tell what you will be faced with.
I doubt you will even be able to get the old cable out as it should be strapped and fastened in some manner to the framing. You never know though if it was done by a homeowner. I would just figure you are going to have to abandon it in place.
We might be able to give you some advice on somethings to try if you can give us a detailed description of how the ceiling is and are you going to have to run parallel to the joists thru insulation for a long distance, are you going to have to run 90 to joists where bored holes will be necessary. Are you going to be able to enter the main panel from the top or bottom. You want to avoid drilling above the panel if it is full of cables I would look to see if there is a way to come into the panel from the bottom, even if that meant opening the wall. You dont want to risk drilling through a wire, fixing drywall isnt all that tough but trying to get above the panel to fix drilled through cables is a major pain. Every situation is different you will just have to size things up best you can. A cutout tool is very helpful when opening up holes in the drywall as it can be depth adjusted to just cut the drywall thickness and wont protrude into the wall or ceiling cavity too far. Lots of things to consider.
 
  #5  
Old 02-02-06, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Roger
We might be able to give you some advice on somethings to try if you can give us a detailed description of how the ceiling is and are you going to have to run parallel to the joists thru insulation for a long distance, are you going to have to run 90 to joists where bored holes will be necessary. Are you going to be able to enter the main panel from the top or bottom. You want to avoid drilling above the panel if it is full of cables I would look to see if there is a way to come into the panel from the bottom, even if that meant opening the wall. You dont want to risk drilling through a wire, fixing drywall isnt all that tough but trying to get above the panel to fix drilled through cables is a major pain. Every situation is different you will just have to size things up best you can. A cutout tool is very helpful when opening up holes in the drywall as it can be depth adjusted to just cut the drywall thickness and wont protrude into the wall or ceiling cavity too far. Lots of things to consider.
This is what I have:

Disregard anything I may have said before - this is accurate. The wire goes straight up from the panel, along with all the other wires. There is a 2 to 3 inch gap between the wall and the ceiling that all the wires go up into. I can see enough into the gap to know this wire has a staple or two holding it as it goes up. The wire must come straight back through holes drilled in the floor joists (perpendicular to the beams). It makes a 90 degree bend somewhere in the ceiling around the end of the gameroom. If all things are as they look, the wire should then run parallel down the floor joist right into the laundry room. In the corner of the gameroom, where I think the 90 degree bend is, is a wall-length closet. Someone before me cut a 6 inch square hole in the top of the closet and I can actually see the wire in there! The problem is that the hole is like 6 feet away from where I would expect the right angle bend to be.

You guys brought up a good point - I don't know where this thing is stapled. If you run parallel to a joist, I would just assume it is stapled. If you run the wire perpendicular to the joist, I would assume stapling is not needed since the wire goes through drilled holes. to get from the panel to the closet, it has to run through holes drilled in the joists - this means I have to remove at least that section of the #6 wire, right?

One more thing - the section of basement where the wire would need to run parallel with the joists is also drywalled (until I enter the laundry). Is it permissible to simply push or pull the wire from the closet to the laundry room? I can't fasten the wire to the joists at that point - is it OK if the wire is just resting on the ceiling drywall?

Thanks - I have a few more questions about which wire to use also, but I'll save that until later.
 
  #6  
Old 02-02-06, 10:24 AM
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You have the right idea with trying to use the existing drilled holes by removing the old cable in this area of the floor. Make sure you explore other routing even if it is a longer distance it may be easier. First thing you want to do is disconnect the old cable from the breaker in the panel and remove it from the panel. Be very careful and dont let the bare ends of the cable touch the always hot main lugs. Might want to cut the bare ends off as a precaution. It should be stapled above the box as you mentioned.

Now here is where we are probably going to differ and you are going to frown. Drywall is cheap if you cut a hole no matter what size in a textured finished drywall ceiling the ceiling texture for the whole room is probably going to have to be redone. If it is a painted ceiling then things arent quite as bad. I wouldnt fool with trying to find a way to get the old wire pulled out of the bored holes without opening the ceiling. I would take a cutout tool or if that isnt in the budget a hand drywall saw and cut a opening about four inches wide the entire length of the ceiling directly under where the old cable is run through bored holes. In other words get access to the entire run from the panel to where it turns and runs parallel to the joists. It is now a simple matter of pulling the cable out and facilitates running the new cable. You may have to cut it here and there to get it out. Replacing the drywall to me is a small thing to worry about and is a skill that a homeowner should learn anyway. We can talk about the drywall issue later if you like. So now you are at the area where you are running parallel down a joist cavity. Code does allow you to fish cable in voids where it is impractical to support. My personnal opinion is support it if you can get access to the area by removing drywall... plus it allows you to get any insulation out of the way. I'm not a fan of leaving cable laying on on the unfinished side of the drywall in a ceiling. It is much better to do the extra work and get it strapped/stapled about midway up on the floor joist for the entire parallel run. This requires taking down the drywall in that area also. The way I do it is I cut it down by following the floor joists edges on both sides of the cavity, keeping the drywall intact as rectangular pieces as much as possible so that I can put the pieces I cut down back up when I'm finished running the new cable. At the same time you can get the old cable out. Then take 2x4's and nail flush to the bottom side of the joists the entire run. This gives you a nailing edge when you put the drywall back. You can put a backer board in at any joints. Same with the bored hole run just put a 1x6 cut to the approx. Width of the joist cavity on top of the channel you cut and use a cordless drill and shoot drywall screws throught the existing drywall into the board on both sides then the channel is covered . Stick the drywall you cut back in the same place and screw it to the board. Do not nail use screws. Its your home do it with the best installation possible.

Ok now if you just do not want to cut that much of the drywall down. You can cut access holes and then tie a strong pull string to the old cable pull the old cable out of the bored holes and at the same time pull the string with it. Tie the string to your new cable and pull it through the bored holes as some helper feeds the cable as it is pulled. At the joist cavity and parallel run, if ends up in an unfinished ceiling area like the laundry you can just tie a string to a weight and toss it down the cavity to your access hole... tie it to the cable and pull it to the laundry room ceiling. Or you can get telescoping fiberglass rods that you can extend down the joist cavity and tie to it and pull the cable back to you. One important thing is pull your cable in sections do not try to pull it around 90 degree bends in wood. At the panel come thru the clamp used for the old panel and plenty of cable to spare. You need to fasten it 12" above the panel or as close to 12" as is possible.
Get a good measuremnt on the cable length you need and be generous, coming up short on cable will ruin your day.
I would just go to the big box store and get a roll of the 10-3-Grd NM-B(orange stuff) long enough to get the job done. a double pole 30 amp breaker and a 10-30R flush mount dryer receptacle and put it in a metal two gang 4x4x2 1/8" metal box with raised cover for a dryer receptacle.

If I remember right you also will need a cable run to your a/c, if you can get us the nameplate data to that unit we can help you with that also. Pay attention to the nameplate data where it mentions things like minimum circuit ampacity, LRA, FLA fan motor, maximum circuit breaker or fuse.

Hope this helps some.
 

Last edited by Roger; 02-02-06 at 10:50 AM.
  #7  
Old 02-02-06, 12:20 PM
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Roger,

Whoa - thanks a bunch for the detail.

A couple of things:

1. You are right about the AC circuit. That wire will probably follow a similar path as the dryer circuit, so keep in mind that we will always be talking about two new wires here.

2. Drywall. I'm not scared to remove drywall - it just isn't very practical unless I farm that part out (which I can't afford). With a family, job, and two hour commute, I will never get it all repaired and painted/re-textured. That said, I know I can open up the ceiling in the closet (right where the 90 degree bend occurs). I'm thinking that I can remove the staple above the panel, cut the wire at the 90 degree bend, and pull it through the closet ceiling hole (along with the new wires). Nothing should/could be stapled when going through a joist hole, right? I would leave the #6 wire in the ceiling to the laundry room, as it is probably stapled (parallel to the joist). Keep in mind that I have seen no insulation thus far. I can see from the old hole in the closet directly into the laundry room. With my new hole in the closet, the old hole on the other end of the closet, and just a short run to the laundry room; I should be able to get my two new wires into the laundry room. I can probably even staple them in enough to keep them from touching the drywall (ceiling).

3. I have my incoming water line running into the closet. It just so happens to go up the side of the closet, into the old hole, and into the laundry room. It basically goes along the same path I want (need) to take and the same path as the #6 wire. Lately I have noticed a ton of condensation on the pipe as the incoming water is quite cold. Is wire designed to withstand this kind of dampness/wetness or should I get a different wire for this job. I know I have to insulate the pipe before I begin any of this, but I don't know if it will completely remove the problem.

4. I know I am going to get crap for this, but here goes. I believe the current wire going from my dryer receptacle to my AC unit is 10-2 (black, white, bare). It is not 12 gauge for sure. I don't know if it is 10 or 8, but I think it is 10. Assuming this wire is correct for my AC needs, which I will check; can I just run a new wire from the panel to my laundry room and just put a junction box in the laundry room ceiling (unfinished - always will be) to connect the new wire with the old?

Thanks.
 
  #8  
Old 02-02-06, 05:49 PM
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Is the water line Metal?

Running NM-B with the water line isnt the greatest thing but shouldnt be a problem. I'd try to get some seperation if I could. Make sure your metal water line is bonded to the main panel neutral bar with a #6 bare copper wire connected to the water line within 5' of where it enters the earth. You also should have a GROUND ROD ot two as a supplemental grounding electrode and bonded to the panel neutral bar with #6 copper.

I absolutely hate unnecessary junction boxes. You can do a junction box if you like I'm just against it. It must remain accessible. Make sure the cable going to the A/C your splicing to is copper and not aluminum. If aluminum then I vote that you dont do the splice and run copper the whole way.

Your plan to fish the wire seems reasonable you will just have to see how it goes. If the holes in the joists are big enough you might get both cables pulled through the drilled holes. Do them both at once in one pull. A little pulling lube might help a bunch in getting that accomplished.
 

Last edited by Roger; 02-02-06 at 06:19 PM.
  #9  
Old 02-03-06, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Roger
Is the water line Metal?

Running NM-B with the water line isnt the greatest thing but shouldnt be a problem. I'd try to get some seperation if I could. Make sure your metal water line is bonded to the main panel neutral bar with a #6 bare copper wire connected to the water line within 5' of where it enters the earth. You also should have a GROUND ROD ot two as a supplemental grounding electrode and bonded to the panel neutral bar with #6 copper.

I absolutely hate unnecessary junction boxes. You can do a junction box if you like I'm just against it. It must remain accessible. Make sure the cable going to the A/C your splicing to is copper and not aluminum. If aluminum then I vote that you dont do the splice and run copper the whole way.

Your plan to fish the wire seems reasonable you will just have to see how it goes. If the holes in the joists are big enough you might get both cables pulled through the drilled holes. Do them both at once in one pull. A little pulling lube might help a bunch in getting that accomplished.
Yes, all water supply lines in my home are copper.

I'll check the grounding when I get home - I know there is a large copper wire connected near the water meter just after it enters my house.

The wire to the AC unit is copper. I may or may not do a junction box. I will have to see how the wire exits the house - I know it goes over a basement bathroom and then out the exterior wall. I don't really want a junction box either, but at least it will be easily accessible.

How does the thickness of two #10 wires compare to one #6 aluminum wire?
 
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