6 Tips for Headache-Free Electrical Wiring

6 Tips for Headache-Free Electrical Wiring

Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or a professional, there are sure to be some methods you’re not familiar with that can make your jobs go more smoothly. Below are six tips for how to run electrical wire that can save you hours of needless frustration and even help prevent electrical issues later on.

Keeping Kinks Out of Your Cable

You can dramatically simplify your ability to guide wire through walls if you take extra care with uncoiling the cable first. Start by grabbing about four loops of cable from the middle of the coil, and then throw them out across the floor like a rope. Step on the uncoiled part of the cable, to straighten it out. Meanwhile, the rest of the cable is still neatly contained and easy to move.


Prevent Fish Tape Snags

One of the most frustrating roadblocks to fishing cable through walls is snagging. Fortunately, this is easy to prevent. Simply strip about eight inches of your cable, and use side cutters to remove all wires but one. Make sure the angle of the cut is steep, to avoid edges that might catch. Hook the stripped cable around your fish tape loop, and cover it all with electrical tape. This keeps your cable on your fish tape, and prevents both from catching on obstacles.


Don’t Discount Your Stud Finder

A quality stud finder is critical tool for both the electrician and handyman. However, don’t discount it once you’ve found your stud. Use it to scan the entire wall for potential obstructions, so you don’t discover you should have gone one stud over, and have to restart the process.


Take Precautions Before Touching Cables

It’s easy to get comfortable when you’ve had a lot of experience with wiring, but this can result in dangerous electrical issues or accidents. Before you work with any wires, you want to be absolutely certain that it’s functioning properly. For this, it’s recommended to have a non-contact voltage meter, which can be purchased either online or from a home improvement or electrician supply store. You’ll want to test each cable for proper functioning, before you call the job done.


Diagnosing GFCI Issues

GFCIs are great safety devices that can save lives. However, they occasionally present issues. One of the most common problems occur when one GFCI is handling multiple outlets. To figure out the cause, cut power to the GFCI and remove the wires from its load terminal. Hit the reset switch and connect a GFCI tester to it, before turning on the electricity. If it shuts down after you turn the electricity back on, the GFCI needs to be replaced. If it stays on, there’s a problem with a downstream outlet. The easiest way to fix this, is by replacing all downstream outlets with new GFCI’s, that cannot be tampered with.


Single Hot Wire, Several Switches

A box with multiple switches is already cramped without added pigtails and connectors. Rather than using a different pigtail for every switch, simply keep one long pigtail. Carefully use strippers to remove approximately 3/4″ of sheathing at necessary points, along the single hot wire. Connect the exposed parts to the terminal screws of each switch.

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