fishing wire for potlights- questions

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jackson3
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fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by jackson3 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 8:06 am

a couple questions

1)I wanted to use the current switch location and swap out a single gang box for a double gang, run up the new line from the basement up to the location and then fish up and into the ceiling. do I have to worry about stapling within the wall the wire I fished up? next to impossible but wonder if the inspector will fail me on that, opinions?

2)what is the best way to fish the wire through the ceiling from can to can if the joist are running perpendicular? do I have to cut holes in the ceiling every joist or so to drill the joist and feed the wire through or is there an easier way? I tried to hit a couple joists from one hole and then pull through but the 2nd joist I was hitting high and running into the subfloor above. again, looking for opinions.

and lastly a specific problem-
one of the walls I was trying to fish up to the ceiling there is a joist right next to the top plate coming from the wall, so I need to drill the top plate plus this joist and feed the wire through two holes but the 2nd hole is basically trying to fish blind up a 90 deg angle. what to do? was thinking that perhaps I'd have to drill the 2nd hole bigger and try to get a clothes hanger wire with a hook on it and hope I could thread the wire up the first hole and pull it through with the hanger hook, thoughts? a better way? could be really hit and miss.
thanks

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Aaron
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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by Aaron » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:59 am

Answering your questions in order.

1) Yes, if you use non-metallic cable (NMD90), you will need to follow cable attachment rules. This would require you to remove the drywall so you can do this. I believe, though I'm not 100% certain, that it would be okay to fish "BX" cable behind drywall without attaching it to the studs. This cable is actually called MC (metal clad) cable in the US, and it's a flexible coil of steel wrapped around wires. But the stuff is expensive, difficult to work with, and may require special fittings. It's mostly used in commercial applications.

Personally, I would remove rectangular sections of drywall (the drywall covering the stud cavity), use NM cable, and tack it up properly. Then give your inspector the chance to see it before you patch the drywall.

2) The ceiling is a royal pain because of those joists running perpendicular to your wire path. Again, it's best to remove a strip of drywall between your lights. Your NM cable should "lace" through holes that are through those joists at least 2 inches above the edge of where the drywall would be--though directly centered between the ceiling drywall and subfloor above is ideal. The hole to lace the cable should be no larger than required for the cable, so you maintain as much strength in the joist as possible. Newer homes have engineered wood "I-beam" joists that have "knock-outs" that you blow out with a hammer, so use those instead of drilling holes if your joists aren't regular nominal lumber.

If you are installing a lot of pot lights, it honestly might be easier, and make more sense, to just replace the whole ceiling because drywall is inexpensive. I know installing ceiling drywall is a pain, but so is patching sections--especially if you have a textured (popcorn) ceiling. It would also give you the opportunity to discover problems in your subfloor above (if you had any), and to have a non-textured ceiling if that's really what you prefer.

3) For your top plate, you could notch it from the front and stable your cable down into the notch. Then you need to tack down a steel protector plate above the cable you tacked down. You may be able to get away with this notching for the joist wiring of the pot lights too, though I really don't recommend it. Notching is really a last-resort sort of thing.

jackson3
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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by jackson3 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:23 pm

thanks,

1)I guess I'd just have to cut a hole below and above the switch box to be able to staple within 12" for those cables running up into the box and running up from the box to the ceiling, the rest because it's going through holes in the lumber should meet 'affixing' requirements.

2)are you saying just to cut a strip all the way down the whole run of the drywall? ie. 2 to 3" wide and the length of the room? lmk, as I'm just trying to clarify. the thought of taking down the whole ceiling did somewhat cross my mind but was hoping to get around it.

3)there is some plumbing running in the area as well and the builder has placed some insulation there. I'm assuming to help keep electrical separated from water lines etc. so it makes it a bit harder to 'notch' out unless I pull all that out too. thoughts?

thanks for the response.

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Shannon
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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by Shannon » Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:22 pm

I agree with "akaasa" removing the whole drywall ceiling will really leave you a much better finished product and create a much easier wiring and lighting job. Other than the extra cost of the drywall you will likely even complete the job quicker not having to work in the holes you cut and to drill and also all the patching. If it is only a couple lights in one small area the cutouts might work ok but if you are doing more lights all over the room then I would pull the ceiling .

As for stapling the wires in the walls of course it would be better to have them done perfect but I see words fished all the time without staples . I would check with your local inspector to see what they would like to see in a retro fit type job like this before you go to all the patch work.

Just my 2 cents!
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jackson3
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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by jackson3 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:30 pm

thanks, i'll give the inspector a call next week to see what he says about the staples.

it's 7 lights so I think doing the whole ceiling rip down would be over kill. so I'm going to try the strip cutting method. should make running the wires much less frustrating than what we were trying to do and since i'll be having someone come in to tape and mud the basement then I can have them do the repair work quick. (thought about doing it myself but never tried it before and not sure I would be completely satisfied with the result, plus they would get it done faster).

no thoughts on my 90 deg fishing problem Shannon??

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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by Bryden_1986 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:06 pm

1) in Canada there is no need for staples in a finished wall. The Cec (Canadian electrical code) allowes wires to be fished into wall without staples as per rule 12-510 (3).

2) cutting strips in the drywall is a good way.

3) sounds like you are going about this in the right way. Try using a fish tape and a cat hanger with hooks on them. Sometimes the wire isn't strong enough to pull on. As for notching no can do the code doesn't allow that anymore.

jackson3
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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by jackson3 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 7:36 pm

thanks, even if they are fished to a device box? (ie. the switch box, no need to staple within 12")

yes, I'm thinking about trying that way if I can drill the joist hole a little bigger, push the wire up through the first hole in the top plate and try to catch it with a hook through the joist hole and pull it through. might be hit or miss but going to give it a shot.

taking Friday off to continue the project plus Saturday afternoon. i'll post an update of how things went when I get a chance.

if anyone has any other pointers in the meantime, keep them coming.
thanks again

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Aaron
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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by Aaron » Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:17 am

Yep, he's right!
Rule 12-510 Running of cable between boxes and fittings Cables must be supported in a manner that does not damage them. Subrule (1) requires that cable be supported at intervals of not less than 1.5 m throughout the run and within 300 mm of a box or fitting to support and prevent the cable from being pulled away from the box or connector. Subrule (2) considers cable run through holes in joists or studs to be supported.

When it is impractical to support the cable such as when it is fished in hollow spaces of walls and ceilings or other non-accessible locations, Subrule (3) allows the cables to be installed without means of support except where metal sheeting or cladding, metal joists, metal top or bottom plates, or metal studs are used (see Rule 12-520).

Subrule (4) allows the use of self-contained devices in lieu of a device box. Self-contained devices are wiring devices with an integral enclosure that have brackets that securely fasten the device to walls or ceilings of conventional frame construction, for use with non-metallic-sheathed cable. Self-contained devices are used in dry locations and are primarily used in mobile homes, recreational vehicles, manufactured buildings, and on-site frame construction.
I'm going to have to see if similar language is in US NEC code, too, because it may be.

jackson3
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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by jackson3 » Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:46 am

thanks for checking, so I guess no need to call the inspector then?

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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by Shannon » Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:59 am

As a last resort I would do the notch and be sure to attach a metal cover plate. Again you could check with your inspector on that.
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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by Aaron » Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:52 pm

I don't know how inspectors are in your jurisdiction but here in St. Paul, they get really annoyed if you ask too many question of what is allowed or not. They also charge you for trips if they need to make more than two trips to re-inspect a screw-up or deficiency.

Maybe it's just been the personality of the individuals I've dealt with, but I really got the vibe: "We're not here to educate you, you need to hire a professional if you don't know what you're doing."

So unless my improvements are on the exterior of the house where a drive-by inspector will look for the posted notice of a permit, I now avoid inspections if at all possible and do things under the radar. It's technically illegal, but if they don't know improvements are being made to the interior of the house it potentially keeps my property taxes lower. ;)

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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by Shannon » Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:07 pm

I would not ever what to suggest to anyone here that working without the proper permits is a good idea. I know it happens and you as individuals can make your own decisions about getting or not getting permits but I will not recommend it.
I know many inspectors frown on to many questions but because areas adjust codes to fit their areas it is hard for me to suggest exactly what your own local area inspectors want to see. Sometimes even picking the brain of an electrician is possible but most will not give up work easily, and I understand that. These are some of the reasons that people go with no permits as you mentioned.
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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by Aaron » Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:10 pm

The big box home improvement stores are really sort of a mixed blessing. On one hand, they have made building materials cheap and readily available to the general public, and instills confidence in DIY projects. But it can also be a false confidence... they can enable people know only enough to be dangerous... So pulling permits and getting inspections done is actually more important than it was in the past, I think.

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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by Shannon » Mon Jan 26, 2015 7:59 am

I would agree, and lets face it the permits are there to protect us and our families from harm of unsafe situations.
Part of what we do here at House-Improvements is to try and give people the most knowledge they can to do things right. I realize that many people do things without permits and I can not support that but I hope if they see what we show that at least it is safe.
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jackson3
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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by jackson3 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:55 am

Hi Guys,
got that wire through, my idea worked. made a hook out of a clothes hanger and put it through the joist hole, then fed the wire up the wall plate hole and into the hook, pulled the wire into the start of the hole. then got needlenose pliers on it to pull it the rest of the way through. all in all it was some work but got it done. finished the living room, family room and hall wiring for the potlights. just have the kitchen left. I have the wire up to the switch box from the basement and wire from the box up to the ceiling. just have to cut the light holes and wire to them, so fairly productive. once i'm done that I can get back to the basement to finish up wiring there and call for inspection.

as per your conversation above- I am only looking for inspection on electrical because I don't want to have any issues if there is ever a problem with insurance. however depending on how it goes I may regret that decision as there are a lot of hoops to jump through apparently.

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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by Aaron » Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:30 pm

Sounds good! Good luck on your inspection.

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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by Shannon » Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:13 pm

Good luck with the inspection, let us know how it goes.
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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by jackson3 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:42 am

Hi, just updating. had my inspection this morning and passed, so now just have to finish some a/v wiring and then get going on insulation and drywall.

thanks again both of you for your help on various questions thus far.

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Aaron
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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by Aaron » Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:04 pm

Glad to help. Good for you on passing the inspection.

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Re: fishing wire for potlights- questions

Post by Shannon » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:09 pm

No problem ,glad to here the inspection went well.
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