Best way to fish wires through wall to crawlspace?

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Old 07-12-16, 07:29 AM
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Best way to fish wires through wall to crawlspace?

I am rewiring my entire house and am routing most of the wiring through the crawlspace. The majority of the work will be cutting out the receptacles on the walls and fishing a wire down to the crawlspace. My plan is to cut out the hole for the box, drill up through the bottom plate from under the house, push the wire up from under the house while someone else grabs the wire from inside the house. Is there a better way/tool to do this? I'm trying to minimize sheetrock repair and also the walls have 3/4 inch wood on all sides, both interior and exterior walls. I may have to do it by myself. Thanks!
 
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Old 07-12-16, 08:04 AM
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From top using a flex shaft drill bit is another way. Also just for your info if you were not aware, the cable in the crawl space where running perpendicular to the floor joist needs to be pulled through bored holes in the joist. You are not to stapled the cable across the bottom edge of the joist. I'm sure you are also aware of the need to install arc fault protection on the new circuits requiring it.
 
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Old 07-12-16, 09:08 AM
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A set of "fish sticks" is also helpful in this situation. They're glow-in-the-dark fiberglass rods (like a fishing pole) with a pull hook on the end. Don't remember the manufacturer, but you should be able to find them pretty easily.

A sawzall with a thin metal cutting blade is very useful for shearing off the nails of existing boxes if you're pulling out old ones.

Arlington Industries makes a "One Box" that is very useful when doing box replacements right up against a stud.
 
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Old 07-12-16, 11:46 AM
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I second Ben's mention of fish sticks. Mine are made by Klein but many others make them. They are just flexible enough for the job. After you've cut the hole for the box and drilled the bottom plate, you can easily slide a stick from the box hole through the hole in the plate. Because it will be bent a little, it will stay in place while you go down and attach the wire to the hook. Then you just pull the wire up and out the hole. Most kits come with 3 or 4 sections that screw together to make a longer length if needed, say to go from attic to basement.
 
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Old 07-12-16, 03:12 PM
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To locate where the hole needs to be drilled I will sometimes use a 12" long 1/8" drill bit to drill a test hole down through the floor. Best id baseboard is off. But it gives you a reference from above that you can see from below. You want those holes to be centered as best you can to give the wires protection from nails from either side.

Bud
 
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Old 07-12-16, 03:36 PM
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To locate where the hole needs to be drilled I will sometimes use a 12" long 1/8" drill bit to drill a test hole down through the floor. Best id baseboard is off.
This is the easiest method IMO. Remove the baseboard, drill a small hole all the way into the crawlspace. From the crawlspace, you can estimate the center of the wall and drill up.

The glow-rods are invaluable for fishing cable, but not needed in your case.
 
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Old 07-12-16, 03:38 PM
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I re-wired my old home in MI about 25 years ago. I agree with the above comments / suggestions. You have the right idea working up from the crawl space or down from the attic. Go ahead & buy a long straight drill bit and even a long flexible bit if you can, they are worth it. You are saving a lot of $$ doing it yourself anyway so get some tools to help you out.

If you cannot drill down from within the wall box hole, use the following tip to help in locating holes to drill up from the crawl space. From within the house, right at the wall cavity you want your hole, drill a small hole (just big enough to fit a bare wire thru) right at the junction of the wall & the floor. Stick 1' or so of bare wire thru & go into the crawl space to find it. Now move over from that small hole 2" straight perpendicular to the wall & you will be right where you want your new larger hole in the middle of the wall cavity. Once done you can put a little bit of wood putty in that small hole and no one will see it even if you have a hardwood floor in that spot. You can do the same in the ceiling, but of course will need to use a dab of joint compound to fill the hole.

Try to run as many outlets on interior walls, therefore you do not have to deal with fishing wire thru insulation.

FYI, working in either the attic or crawlspace makes this a fall or winter project. Its no fun being in either of those places in the heat & humidity.
 
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Old 07-12-16, 07:28 PM
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Thanks for all the replies. I like the idea of removing the baseboard and drilling a hole. I'm going to have to get some of those boxes with the screws on the inside. My walls have 1/2" sheetrock and 3/4" lap wood which never works with the tabbed old work boxes because the screws aren't long enough. I wasn't aware you are not supposed to attach wires to the bottom of the joists, perpendicular to the joists.
 
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Old 07-12-16, 07:32 PM
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The crawlspace shouldn't be too hot as I live in the pacific northwest on an island. It's usually pretty cool in the crawler in the summer. Definitely staying out of the attic though. 3/12 pitch with blown in insulation. no thanks.
 
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Old 07-13-16, 12:14 AM
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Instead of drilling holes you can also secure the cables to running boards on the bottom of the joists.
 
 

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