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Old 03-25-2008, 09:13 AM   #1
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Replacing old wire in finished walls/ceilings


I have been working on replacing the ungrounded circuits in my older home. I am trying to do this in a "minimally invasive" way by removing the receptacle/switch boxes, and using a diversa-bit to drill through the floor plate of the wall to run wires up through my basement. So far I havent had to cut much of the drywall, which is great, but leads to my question:

Is there a rule of thumb or safety consideration for attaching the wire to a 2x4 or floor joist every so many feet, or next to the electrical box? As it is right now I may be running wires ~8ft horizontally unsupported through floor joists (finished basement ceiling), and ~6' vertically unsupported through walls.

The main safety concern to me is when I hack into the celing with a drywall saw in 5 years and go through the wire that was resting on the drywall, instead of being nailed to the floor joist, although there is potential for cutting into the wire either way. Are there any other safety issues to consider in this situation?

One other issue - I am planning on blowing insulation into some of these walls after the wiring is done. Are there any special considerations for this while I am wiring?

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Old 03-25-2008, 09:24 AM   #2
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Replacing old wire in finished walls/ceilings


You are allowed to fish cables and leave them unsupported. There really is no "non invasive" way to staple them.

Your best bet would be to install arc fault circuit breakers, that way if you do happen to drive a nail or nick them with a hacksaw, the arc fault will help with that.


I don't know about the blown insulation, though, so I won't comment on it.

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Old 03-25-2008, 10:31 AM   #3
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Replacing old wire in finished walls/ceilings


Like Andy said, there is no need to staple the fished wires inside the walls and ceilings. When you cut one with a saw later on, the circuit breaker will trip. The blown in insulation will be no problem either. I do these types of jobs pretty often. Do staple your wire in the basement when you can see it.
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Old 03-25-2008, 10:38 AM   #4
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Are the boxes in good shape? If you can reuse some of the boxes that will cut down on extra cutting and demolision.
If you are moving the boxes or they need to be replaced, get some "cut in" boxes. They are designed for your situation.
Use ceilings and floors to push or pull new cables, don't cut walls unless you have too. In many cases you can pull out the old stuff with your new cable attached to it. If it is stapled really good this will not work. But a couple good jerks on the old cables may free them for you.
Just try to work either from the top or from the bottom. You can drill new holes in either location and fish your new cables in. Never make connections anywhere except for in approved boxes. Use boxes under the house and in the attic as needed. And most important......GOOD LUCK.
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Old 03-25-2008, 11:10 AM   #5
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The boxes are old metal folded ones with screw-clamps at the top and bottom entrances. I think it might be impossible to reuse them...
I have found the "old work" or "cut in" boxes that you mentioned, pretty clever design. I've also tried to pull the old wires out but they used a heavy hammer to drive those staples - no luck there. In most cases Im running the wires along different routes anyways. Thanks for the tips and the good luck wishes - im going to need it
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:39 PM   #6
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The boxes are old metal folded ones with screw-clamps at the top and bottom entrances. I think it might be impossible to reuse them...
I have found the "old work" or "cut in" boxes that you mentioned, pretty clever design. I've also tried to pull the old wires out but they used a heavy hammer to drive those staples - no luck there. In most cases Im running the wires along different routes anyways. Thanks for the tips and the good luck wishes - im going to need it
JRoot;
Can you let me know how the diversibit works out?
I am in the same situation, and considering purchase of one, but read that they tend to go dull real fast if they hit old plaster chunks or anything else that's hard.

FW
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Old 03-25-2008, 09:34 PM   #7
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FW,
I've only drilled 6-7 holes so far and its not dull yet. My main problem was getting the drill stuck - I spent ~2 hrs trying to get it out of my wall (this was on the first hole too). I ended up cutting about 16" off the end of the shank before I could get enough torque through the shaft to get it loose. My advice from my limited experience - if it feels like its getting stuck or coming up against a nail, drill a new hole at a different spot. Other than that it has worked great so far - saves money & time on drywall repairs.
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Old 03-25-2008, 11:16 PM   #8
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The main safety concern to me is when I hack into the celing with a drywall saw in 5 years and go through the wire that was resting on the drywall, instead of being nailed to the floor joist,

Think about the physics of it. The cable laying loose would be more likely to slide off to the side of the saw.
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:33 AM   #9
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I buy my fishing bits from this place. I have had great luck with them. I own an assortment. I use the BES high speed steel bits with 1/4" shafts. I also bought the steering handle after I punched a hole to the outside of my own house, right through my new siding. The bits can be sharpened like any other drill bit. But mine stay sharp for a long time. I drill a lot of old oak studs and plates. I like their fiberglass fishing rods also.

https://www.milestek.com/search.asp?...476&image.y=54
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Old 03-26-2008, 04:18 PM   #10
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Replacing old wire in finished walls/ceilings


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I buy my fishing bits from this place. I have had great luck with them. I own an assortment. I use the BES high speed steel bits with 1/4" shafts. I also bought the steering handle after I punched a hole to the outside of my own house, right through my new siding. The bits can be sharpened like any other drill bit. But mine stay sharp for a long time. I drill a lot of old oak studs and plates. I like their fiberglass fishing rods also.

https://www.milestek.com/search.asp?...476&image.y=54
I like this place. A 1/2" x 54" flex-bit with replaceable auger, $17.85, and replacement bit $8.25. A much more cost effective solution than the Greenlee DiversiBit.
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Old 03-27-2008, 03:47 PM   #11
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Replacing old wire in finished walls/ceilings


I just bought a Greenlee DiversiBit Extension, 1/4", 54" long.
This is a compromise for me, since I didn't feel comfortable going with the DiversiBit itself, which has a non-replaceable bit.
With the extension, I should have the best of both worlds. Only problem is that the chuck is too big for 1/2" drill. That's OK, as I have been using 3/4, but would be nice to use smaller bit sometimes.

Haven't had a chance to use the extension yet.

FW

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