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Old 09-12-2009, 01:37 AM   #1
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Extra cable length in the walls?


Adding some overhead lights to our place - we just have switched outlets. (Which are also handy, but we'd like some overhead light as well.)

The house was originally K&T, and was re-wired with 12-2 and 12-3 NM and 125 amp service for each story (it's now a condo, we own the top half) at some point in the past. No live K&T left - I've only found a few instances of short, and dead, K&T wire remaining, probably missed under the insulation in the attic. None going into any walls that I can find, and certainly nothing hooked up to the service for the house.

Up in the attic I'm finding evidence of the place once having ceiling lights when it was K&T; I don't know why they didn't put up new ones when they rewired. Perhaps they just ran out of wire running cable up and down the stud bays between outlets.

Anyway - as I go through and work on this, I'm noticing a lot of places have a fair amount of extra wire on the runs in the wall - while this has been handy, as it means I have a fair amount of slack if I want to put a junction box in the attic and reuse runs to switches, I have to wonder if this is proper. There was probably an extra foot in the last wall I looked in - the wire sort of curled around behind the switch box, went down behind it, and then came back up. Some of them seem to have even more.

The amount of wire in the boxes themselves is perfectly fine, but I wonder if the extra wire in the walls is an issue? I mean, it's not how I'd run the cable, but should I leave things as is, in case I want to relocate an outlet or something, or should I be rectifying this situation as I have things opened up?

Sorry this is a bit rambling.

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Old 09-12-2009, 05:02 AM   #2
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Extra cable length in the walls?


1. pierce

Hello and greetings.

So you been fishing wires inside you home walls.

And you think there my be to much extra cable in the wall.

My opinion is that an foot of extra cable left inside a wall is not a excessive amount. I think having the option of being able to remove the electrical cable is good one. And I can't at this time, think of a reason why it wouldn't be allowed.

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Old 09-12-2009, 05:20 AM   #3
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Extra cable length in the walls?


Well, I've only fished a couple of cables - the ones with ridiculous amounts of extra length in the walls are the ones already there from the last folks to wire this house.

Looking at some of the other ones I've got open, well, it's actually an extra few feet!

Thanks for the help.
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Old 09-12-2009, 07:45 AM   #4
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Extra cable length in the walls?


I have seen books on wiring suggest leaving some extra slack in cables in the wall just in case someone wants to move an outlet box or in case a wire breaks off and more length has to be pulled into the box.

Except that cables must be supported within the wall within (is it 8?) inches of entering the box and may be fastened with staples so tightly that you tear the jacket if you try to pull on the cable.

>>> ...once having ceiling lights when it (the wiring) was knob & tube...
Built in bedroom and living room ceiling lights (other than recessed can lights) went out of style in the 1950's through 1980's time frame.
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Old 09-12-2009, 08:06 AM   #5
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Extra cable length in the walls?


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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
.....Except that cables must be supported within the wall within (is it 8?) inches of entering the box and may be fastened with staples so tightly that you tear the jacket if you try to pull on the cable.....
This does not apply when the wires have been fished into voids behind finished walls, and outlet boxes with connectors or clamps have been utilized.

Leaving some slack in the walls can be a good thing, allowing for relocation and/or repairs when needed.
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