How To Pull A Wire Through Conduit: Learn Different Methods To Make Your Work Easier

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

While making electrical connections at any place, guarding against damage from the outside environment is essential. Today, we will dig in the conduit, which allows for an easy path for wires. However, wiring the conduits is a challenging task. Pulling wires hundreds of feet through conduits should be done carefully to avoid damage. This article will discuss how to pull a wire through a conduit.

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electrician wiring a building

Image: electrician wiring a building

Cable Pulling Methods

You can pull wire through conduits through several methods.

String Method

The string method is one of the simplest pulling wires for short and straight conduits. And the technique mainly uses a strong pull string.

  • First, tie the pull string to a long, flexible rod.
  • Second, insert the tied end of the rod into the conduit and push it until you can see the string on the opposite end of the conduit.
  • Now, tie the electrical wires to this end of the string.
  • Finally, pull the rod with the string through the conduit. You will pull the electrical wires along with the rod and the string as you do this.

Conduit Mouse Method

In this method, you use a conduit mouse or a conduit piston instead of a rod, as you did in the string method. This small tool is like a foam cylinder whose diameter is smaller than the inner diameter of the conduit. When conduits have some twists and turns, you can use this method. However, length can be a constraint.

  • First, take this conduit mouse tool and tie a strong, lightweight string to it. Make sure that the tool has a wire loop running through it.
  • If you want to pull wire from the right side, insert this conduit mouse into the conduit from the left side. Make sure that you fit this mouse in the inner space of the conduit so that it pulls the string along.
  • Now, take a shop vacuum and place it tightly to the opposite end of the conduit to create good suction.
  • Switch on the vacuum so that it sucks the mouse to its end. Once the string reaches the other end, switch off the vacuum and remove the mouse.
  • Finally, tie the wires to string and pull it from the opposite end so that the wire passes through the conduit safely.
tools for conduit mouse method

Image: tools for conduit mouse method

source: https://www.thespruce.com/ 

Fishing Weight Method

This method uses a heavy fishing weight to guide the wire through the conduit. This method is best suited for straight and vertical conduits.

  • Firstly, tie a heavyweight to one end of the wire with the help of a fishing wire or a string. Ensure that the weight is thin enough to enter and run through the conduit efficiently. At the same time, it should be heavy enough to pull the wire.
  • Secondly, insert the fishing weight inside the conduit and adjust the wire to pull along easily.
  • Now, once you drop the fishing weight into the conduit, adjust the conduit so that the weight moves with gravity. As the weight moves, it will take the wire along, and you will have to adjust the conduit orientation to take the weight around the curves. Continue changing the conduit until and unless you get the wire to the other end.

Fish Tape Method

The fish tape method is best for a flexible conduit having more curves and turns. This method uses fish tape to pull wires. It is a long and flat metal wire that coils around a spool with a hook at one end. The length of the fish tape can vary from 25ft to 100ft. This technique also requires a wire stripper and pliers. The method involves the following steps:

  • Firstly, insert the end of the tape into the conduit from where you want to pull the wire. Now, push the tape through the length of the conduit and keep unwinding the spool as you push. Once you see the end of the tape at the other end of the conduit, stop unwinding.
  • With the help of wire strippers, strip the wire’s insulation. If using multiple cables, strip all of them. However, make sure that one wire is longer than all the others.
  • Hold all the wires together to align the insulation and twist them using pliers.
  • Now, bend the longest wire in the form of a hook and attach this wire hook to the fish tape hook. To ensure tight attachment, wrap this point with electrical tape tightly. 
  • Ask one person to feed the wire from one end and pull the fish tape from the other until you pull the whole wire.
fish tape method

Image: fish tape method

source: https://www.thespruce.com/ 

Joint Fish Tape Method

Sometimes, you may face 90-degree turns or some existing wires inside the conduit while dealing with conduits. These bends and existing wires fail all types of pulling methods. However, you can solve this problem by using two fish tapes at each end of the conduit. 

  • Firstly, exposing the end of one of the fish tapes. Now take a strong string, create a loop bundle, and attach it to the fish tape end. Wrap it with electrical tape.
  • Secondly, create a hook at the end of the second fish tape. Now, test these two points (loops and hook) and ensure that they catch each other quickly.
  • Feed these two tapes into the conduit, each from one end of the conduit. Continue feeding the tape into the conduits until the two fish tapes meet at the problem area.
  • Once the two tapes meet at the problem point, spin the hook so that it attaches itself to one of the loops of the first fish tape. When both get attached, pull one fish tape to pull the other along the length of the conduit.
  • Once one fish tape runs along the whole length of the conduit, you can use the standard fish tape method to pull the wire through the conduit.

What About Pulling Wire Through a Wall Conduit

worker puts the wire

Image: worker puts the wire

Things to know before you pull through a wall conduit:

  • Make sure that the new device you add does not overload the circuit.
  • Always draw an electrical wiring path for easy connections
  • Use a raceway if the pipeline is missing behind the wall.
  • Cut off the power of the circuit breaker to avoid any shocks and currents.

Follow these steps to pull wire through a wall conduit

  • First of all, turn off the power supply on the power outlet. Your equipment must not load your electricity consumption. 
  • Secondly, mark the position of the electric box and keep it away from the stud. You need to ensure that the markings are straight.
  • You can pass the cable either through the ceiling or the floor. Depending on this, drill holes through the roof or the floor. Then, insert a hardwire into the hole.
  • Now, drill a 1.5-inch hole for the electrical box and cut along the outline starting from the hole. Use a drywall saw to create a space for the electrical box.
  • Next, create a hole on the top or the bottom of the electrical box, depending on the wiring path. Now, insert fish tape in the wall opening, and push it (either on the roof or floor). In the end, use a hanger hook to pull the fish belt end through the hole.
  • Now, fix one end of the cable to the end of the fish belt and wrap it with electrical tape. Start pulling the fish belt slowly and carefully until the cable reaches the opening of the wall.   

 Image: electrician installing wall socket

Additional Tips for Pulling Cable

Before picking any of the above methods of wire pulling, you must be aware of the conditions and accordingly prepare yourself for the process.

  • Examine your conduit: The very first thing before you start any method is to scrutinize the conduit. Take note of the length and any twists and turns that can create problems in pulling. Accordingly, choose the way of pulling the wiring.
  • Check for tools: Sometimes, conduits have existing wires and cables so you can use these as pull strings. Also, check for broken wires, which create obstacles in pulling wires.
  • Wire lubrication: Pulling wires in conduits is difficult. Lubricating wires with a non-conductive lubricant can make the pulling easier. You can use gel or soap as a wire lubricant as they allow you to slip wires through all turns and twists.
  • Take help of a partner: Pulling of wires always becomes more convenient when you have a partner with you. He can pull the wire as you push and lubricate the wire from the other end. 
  • Verify local codes and laws: The National Electrical Code permits sheathed cables (an alternative to insulated wires). However, you cannot use it for an outdoor application. Similarly, if you have to rewire non-metallic cables, go through local codes and laws to ensure acceptance.

Conclusion

Knowing the right tools and methods can cut down your time of pulling wires through conduits. We, at Gloom, deal in different types of cable assemblies and wiring harnesses, and our experts can help with your electrical wiring and cable installations. Contact us today for more information or a quote.

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