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drh 02-15-2008 09:09 AM

Running new 2nd floor wiring on *exterior* of our home?
Hi guys,

Quick question to confirm my sanity here - we're in the process of pricing out some knob and tube replacement in our home, and one electrician we had pricing the job suggested something peculiar.

He suggested that rather than fishing wiring up through walls, he prefers to bore holes in the exterior wall and run the wiring to the second floor on the OUTSIDE of the home, boring back in on the second level.

This seems ludicrous to me, to have electrical wiring runs on either side of our home, on the exterior. Not to mention an unsightly mess.

Was I correct in thanking this guy for his time, and quickly showing him the door? I mean, would something like even pass code?


HouseHelper 02-15-2008 09:16 AM

It might pass code, but it shows the electrician is lazy and not concerned with how his work may look. The only time such a scenario should be considered is if the structure is not wood framed and there are no cavities to fish the wire through.

handyman78 02-15-2008 04:31 PM

This breaks the "insulation envelope" that is so necessary in this day of high utilities- looks unsightly and should only be used as a very last resort after all other possibilities have been exhausted!

joed 02-15-2008 06:29 PM

The wire would need to be outdoor rated for wet location.

HooKooDooKu 02-15-2008 09:44 PM


Originally Posted by joed (Post 98316)
The wire would need to be outdoor rated for wet location.

Hopefully the guy is suggesting the wire be run through conduit (like perhaps conduit used for service entrance... the 2-3" stuff).

jbfan 02-15-2008 09:54 PM


Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu (Post 98351)
Hopefully the guy is suggesting the wire be run through conduit (like perhaps conduit used for service entrance... the 2-3" stuff).

It would not matter. If you run wire wire outside in conduit, it must be rated for a wet location

goose134 02-15-2008 10:26 PM

Many times it is easier to run a single piece of conduit to the attic with a few circuits and branch off of them from above. It's what I did at my friend's place to replace his K&T. Depending on the amount of circuits, you wouldn't need better than a 3/4". Incidently, MOST THHN wire is also THWN rated. You wouldn't need to run the romex through the conduit. That would just be a waste.

hms 02-15-2008 11:27 PM

find someone to do it the right way and more importantly to your satisfaction.

troubleseeker 02-16-2008 12:15 PM

It is not uncommon to run ONE conduit up to the second level or completly up to the attic, and use it to pull feeder lines through, then wire the upper story from the attic above. This is much more economical than fishing 10 or 15 wires up throught two story walls, and will not be visually objectionable if run neatly. But if he was talking about running an exterior conduit to each device he needed to feed, you were indeed best served by sending him down the street.

220/221 02-16-2008 02:15 PM

You CAN run (the proper type of) cable on the outside of your house.....but I wouldn't do it.

Asthetics are important to me.

BigJimmy 02-16-2008 04:41 PM

I agree with Goose and 220.

Where I live, I've seen several instances of conduit being run up to the attic on the exterior of the house in which several circuits are pulled that eventually fan out to various things on the second (or top) floor. Provided that the correct materials are used, there is nothing wrong with this. If this was his approach then I wouldn't necesarily say that it was bad. On the other hand, if he's thinking of running several conduits, then I'd agree that he's probably not the best.

As 220 mentioned though, aesthetics are a big issue with this type of approach, especially if this is your house. You'd be the ultimate judge of whether it'd be unsightly.

Take care,

nap 02-16-2008 04:52 PM

If it came down to it, I believe repairing a wall somewhere inside the building if that is what it took to run a large conduit for all the branch circuits up to the attic, rather than running it on the outside.

Don;t forget to derate the conductors!!!!!!

drh 02-16-2008 06:27 PM

Thanks to everyone who responded. This is precisely the type of forum and exchange that helps us newbies make the right decision - and for that I am truly grateful.

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