Removing old wire - but its stuck in wall


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Old 05-16-09, 10:46 AM
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Removing old wire - but its stuck in wall

I'm attempting to replace an old wire run in my house (knob n tube).

There is one circuit that feeds to the 2nd story of my house. It leaves the panel as 2 separate shielded wires wrapped in a metal casing. The casing enters the ceiling of the basement, i can wiggle it and feel it in the wall on the first story.

If i go into the attic, i can see a similar metal casing coming up into the attic in the identical position that it goes up in the basement. When i turn off the circuit breaker for what i believe to be the correct wire in the attic, it no longer triggers my tester, and obviously all the lights/outlets on the 2nd story that i want to replace don't work.

My ideal goal would be to attach new wire to one end, and yank the whole thing through. The problem is it seems to be fastened somewhere, likely where the 1st story meets the 2nd. When i wiggle from the top, i can only feel it in the wall on the 2nd story. It must be fastened somewhere.

My question is - how would you solve this problem and feed the wire through? I have other options but i'd really like to see if anyone has any ideas to solving this particular issue. The way i see it i have a few options:
- keep yanking from either side, hope it gives
- cut a hole in the wall near the ceiling on the first story
- cut a hole in the wall near the floor on the 2nd story
- forget it, cap both ends, run new wire elsewhere

Any suggestions, most appreciated!!

Bob
 
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Old 05-16-09, 11:12 AM
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I'm attempting to replace an old wire run in my house (knob n tube).... 2 separate shielded wires wrapped in a metal casing. The casing enters the ceiling of the basement,
What you are describing is most likely old "BX" cable. The wires can not be removed. Your best option is to abandon it. Your last option is the only viable one.

P.S. I wouldn't trust my life to a non contact tester. To much room for error in my opinion.
When i turn off the circuit breaker for what i believe to be the correct wire in the attic, it no longer triggers my tester,
Technical note. If there is no paper around the wires it may be Greenfield but even then getting wires in and out would probably be more trouble then it is worth.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 05-16-09 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 05-16-09, 11:55 AM
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Yes, i believe you're right - BX cable. Why can it not be removed? Just too difficult, or am i missing something?

There is actually a bit of paper within the casing surrounding the 2 shielded wires.

If i end up leaving the wire in the walls i plan on capping both ends, and putting into dead end junction boxes. Let me know if you can think of any other options.

Thanks!!
 
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Old 05-16-09, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by 2chumpy View Post
Yes, i believe you're right - BX cable. Why can it not be removed? Just too difficult, or am i missing something?

There is actually a bit of paper within the casing surrounding the 2 shielded wires.
Paper means BX. It is assembled at the factory with the wires inside. Think metal Romex. No way to pull the wires out. It was never intended for the wires to be removable.
If i end up leaving the wire in the walls i plan on capping both ends, and putting into dead end junction boxes. Let me know if you can think of any other options.Thanks!!
If the wires are truly dead no need for wire nuts or Jboxes. Shove back into the stud space if you can. At the Panel push them out of the panel if possible.

(I believe when you write "shielded wires" you really mean insulated. Shielded and insulated are two separate things.)
 
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Old 05-16-09, 12:36 PM
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All you would need is one staple on the cable or too much deflection thru a tight hole and you will be unable to pull out the old BX.

I think I might pop a small hole on the back side of the wall and take a peek to see what was holding it up.
 
 

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