How would the pros run new wire in my house?

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  #1  
Old 10-21-06, 02:34 PM
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How would the pros run new wire in my house?

Well here is my dillema. I live in an older house built back in the '70s. It was originally 1 story, but a previous owner built a second story onto it over the garage. The main panel is on the far end of the garage; the nearest access point to that is the opposite side of the garage inside the house where I have an attic ladder. To give you a better idea, the second story sits completely on top of the garage which happens to also sit on top of all of the house's existing electrical wire, thus there is no way to get to them except for at the panel or in the attic; the distance between the two is 25 feet.

There are two things I need to accomplish, the first being getting rid of the existing aluminum wire that is powering several major appliances such as the a/c, oven and cooktop. The second is that I need some sort of relatively easy way to run new wire.

The first idea I had, which I actually just got through trying today and failed, was to disconnect an aluminum wire from the panel, tape it very tightly to the new copper wire I have purchased, then pull it from inside the attic. I even slicked it up with that clear gel you can buy to make it a little easier. Well that didn't work because all of the wires in the house are all bunched up together. When I tried pulling on the existing aluminum wire in the attic I was met with nothing but hard resistance. At the panel, I was able to push the wire up reasonably easy and it felt like there was plenty of space on that end, but the attic end was a different story. That wire wasn't moving at all.

So now I'm at a bit of a loss of how to be able to run new wire. Would it be possible to rip up the carpet on the second story and pull up floor boards to gain access to the wire? For the pros here who read, if a customer wanted you to run new wire, what would you suggest?
 
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Old 10-21-06, 03:32 PM
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The wire are fasten to the stud or other support bracing. As you have found you won't be able to pull them out.Cutting the drywall in one stud bay above the panel may be your quickest solution.
 
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Old 10-21-06, 04:19 PM
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I took a couple of pictures that maybe will help a bit. The first one is showing what is above the main panel.

http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g255/txn002/panel.jpg

As you can see, practically all of the wires are going through a small rectangular hole in the ceiling and they then proceed to run toward the left of the picture. On the left is the railing for my garage door.

This is the attic picture...

http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g255/txn002/attic.jpg

This is facing toward the route the wiring takes to go to the main panel. There are several joists in the way due to the construction of the second story. For example the grey cable on the right that is sitting on a small board is one of the aluminum wires I am trying to remove. See how it's all twisted in with everything else? Plus to make matters worse the wires are running underneath several load-bearing joists.
 
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Old 10-21-06, 04:49 PM
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I'd think removing drywall in the garage is the easiest, too. 5/8" fire-rated drywall is only about $11 a sheet and easy to DIY patch. You'd have a hell of a time with the floorboards- if they did it right, they're 3/4" T&G plywood nailed every 6" and glued to the joists.

I've worked many a job where the interference work WAY outscoped the cost of the job itself- but it reaches a point where it's just easier to do a little unrelated temp removal to make the main job SO much easier...

Also- I like the telephone flying splices, lol

Any particular reason you want to replace the aluminum cables? There's really nothing wrong with Al if they're terminated right.
 
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Old 10-21-06, 05:25 PM
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I happen to agree. Why are you replacing the cables.
Unless you have to, to extend them for example, it seems like way more work than it is worth.
 
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Old 10-21-06, 05:28 PM
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Well I will give the drywall removal a try and at least get an idea for how the wires are run, although I admit I have yet to ever do any sort of drywall work. I guess I'll learn soon enough though. I have to eventually run wire for several new circuits so I'd like to get rid of aluminum while I am at it.

Good eye spotting the telephone splicing...haha. That is one of the other things the previous owners left there and replacing the phone cable is another project I want to eventually get around too also.

I would prefer to remove all the aluminum wire and get it replaced with copper mainly because I don't like dealing with the differences in resistance when pairing Al with Cu. Plus copper is less resistive anyway.
 
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Old 10-21-06, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by txnoob
I would prefer to remove all the aluminum wire and get it replaced with copper mainly because I don't like dealing with the differences in resistance when pairing Al with Cu. Plus copper is less resistive anyway.
I don't get this. Is the AL spliced to CU somewhere?

Also, the resistance issue is the reason AL must be slightly larger compared to CU.

Bottom line, the choice is yours. If it were me it would stay unless there was a problem.
 
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Old 10-21-06, 06:15 PM
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Yeah, the problem with Al isn't the resistance at all. When Al is used, it's always upsized to compensate, giving you a cable with an identical resistance to a properly sized Cu cable. The biggest problem with Al is corrosion at the terminals, which can be easily prevented with proper maintenance.

given copper prices at the moment, now is really not the time to be contemplating a big replacement job like this...
 
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