Cleaning up the wiring in my workshop


Old 10-22-12, 03:44 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: USA
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Cleaning up the wiring in my workshop

I've got a weathertight workshop with a flat roof with 2x12 joists on 16" centers. Right now there's a motley of wiring- some drilled through the joists, some in EMT conduit attached below the joists, some stapled below the joists. I have plans to finish the ceiling and obviously I need to get all of the wiring, and the other systems like the compressed air, up in, drilled through the joists.

As for electrical, there are three banks of 120V fluorescent lights each switched separately but fed by a 4-switch decora switch, at least one circuit for ceiling-mounted 5-20 receptacles, a circuit (that needs replaced as it's wired wrong) for the 50A 240V service to the HVAC, and 240V 50A to a receptacle on the far end of the workshop from the subpanel.

I'm wondering how hard it'll be to put rigid PVC conduit in through holes drilled in the joists. I want to be able to change or repair as needed. Will the PVC in 1" size be able to flex enough during install to pull it up into holes drilled? If not I can always use liquidtite or some other flexible conduit, but since I plan to insulate and finish with sheetrock I won't be able to readily access everything to make changes, especially if I use high density closed-cell spray-in foam like I'm considering.

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Old 10-22-12, 05:43 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
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I'm wondering how hard it'll be to put rigid PVC conduit in through holes drilled in the joists
That will be very difficult if not impossible. If it must be through drilled holes in the joists with capability to make changes later, I'd use PVC ENT (plastic flex) conduit or flexible steel conduit that can be threaded through drilled holes. I would much prefer, however, to use EMT surface mounted after the drywall is taped and painted. If you go with ENT, it can be glued, using PVC cement, into the sockets of standard PVC fittings.
Old 10-22-12, 05:52 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 16
Seems like a funny and time consuming way of doing it. I would just rewire it correctly to the way you want and test everything before covering it up. If your worried about changes u can leave an extra circuit or two in the ceiling boxes
Old 10-22-12, 05:55 PM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
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I'd do as Joe suggested and use ENT or "smurf tube".
Old 10-22-12, 06:10 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
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In my opinion, for a workshop you are better off pulling all the stuff that is on the surface of the studs, finish the walls, then run new EMT for your workshop circuits. That way you can easily make changes later if needed. Things like lights will likely not change locations so that you could use NM-b.

I would also install the air lines on the surface.
Old 10-23-12, 07:43 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: USA
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Well, the lights will probably have to change in the not-too-distant future, as they're old 8' T12s, so I don't know what's going to replace them later.

I guess that I just want a finished look in there. Right now the ceiling is exposed and is a total rat's nest of cabling. The previous owner started insulating years before in the ceiling along one wall with paper-backed batting but didn't get very far. Also with the current lights, there's no reflector so I'm not getting all of the lighting that I should, and where I work I deal with exposed conduit and other post-initial-construction changes that I guess I'd just like to avoid at home. I had to use some panduit surface-mount raceway in my basement to connect the AV gear to the projector and I'd rather have not needed to do even that. Oh well.

I hadn't really considered ENT, I'll have to give it a look.

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