Suppose you have an existing pipe or conduit for electrical wires, speaker wires, phone or internet cables.
Sometimes you will find that it is easier if the wires are both pulled (at one end) and pushed (of just fed from the other end). If you are pulling heavier cables or electrical wires that bind as they are pulled through the bends and fittings of the pipe, you will need to apply a suitable lubricant (often called "soap" by electricians) to the wire as it enters the pipe. If there is already another wire or cable inside the conduit, then it is often simpler to disconnect it and use it as the "pull string". If you are trying to put several wires in the same pipe (most often you may need to put two wires), put them together (rather than one after the other and pulling them afterwards through the pipe). If wires travel less than 6 feet through conduit and make only one or two turns, you may be able to simply push them through. At a box or pulling elbow, push the fish tape into the conduit and thread it back to the point of entry.
It is important to be aware of how much string has been pulled in, so you know when to expect the string's exit on the other end. If needing to pull more than one to three smaller wires, connect wires in such a way that the point of connection to the heavy string is not a single "clump of wires" folded over. If the conduit run is long, has several bends, has more than 25% of its area filled with wires, etc., the strength and flexibility offered by a fish tape or snake will make pushing into the conduit much easier. Be aware that many household lubricants can do serious and permanent damage to some types of wires and cables (most common wires and cables are PVC insulated), so consult a professional and acquire the proper type of lubricant. Wrap some tape on them so that there is no visible ends (this will prevent the cables getting stuck inside somewhere).
Have a helper feed the wire carefully from one end of the conduit while you pull at the other end.
Regardless of how well I reamed the end of the conduit to remove burrs, I found that my solo wire pulls still nicked the plastic covering on the insulation. Thin wires are delicate and the both the conductor or the insulation can get damaged if pulled too hard.
Many "big box" home supply centers sell wire pulling lubricant in the electrical department. The first extra wire is to replace the wire being used as a pull string and the second is to be left in the conduit as a pull string for possible later use. If you work alone, precut the wires (leave yourself an extra 2 feet or so) and unroll them so they can slide smoothly through the conduit.
Fiberglass does not conduct electricity and is highly recommended for use instead of metal fish tapes and snakes.
The result should look like the end of a pencil and will pass much easier through the conduit. In just a few minutes, I finished the pull without causing any damage to the wires.Kenneth B.
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