This article is from my roughing-in series for electricians.
A wood frame setting is often referred to as a residential setting because you are using NMD90 (Loomex) wire. A commercial setting often uses Armored Cable (BX90), or has a lot of EMT Conduit (Electrical Metallic Tubing).
This is a GENERAL statement, and not always true, as some commercial builds are made of wood, but most commercial buildings either use concrete, cinder blocks/bricks, or METAL studs.
What We Cover in this Article:
- Electrician Tools for Pulling Wire
- Labelling on Both Ends of the Wire
- Pulling Wire through Studs
- Always Leave a Wire Service Loop at the Electrical Box!
- Stapling Wires (Quick Overview)
Electrician Tools for Pulling Wire
Each stage requires! a different set of tools.
- In the boxing stage, you require a drill, tape measure, and screws (See my recommended tools for electricians).
- The next stage is drilling holes for wire, which requires your drill, drill bits, as well as a lot of planning!
- When pulling wire (the stage we’re on), I like to use angled sidecutters, a hammer, and metal/plastic staples.
Here’s some quick pictures of the tools for pulling wire as an electrician (wood frame setting):
MY FAVORITE TOOLS: Tools for Apprentice Electricians
Labelling on Both Ends of the Wire
The most important thing about pulling wire is LABELLING.
If the wire is not identified with a label, you will have no idea what wire is which! (You also have to think of the NEXT person.. as you may not be the one splicing wires after).
A wire must be labelled ON BOTH ENDS.
This means you label the loose end, AND the spool of wire, so when you come back to cut the wire, you know which wire belongs to which spool.
Pro-Tip – Remove the old label on the wire spool and replace it with your new label BEFORE pulling more wire!
Give Space on Your Wire Labels
LABEL AT LEAST 12″-18″ INCHES UP THE WIRE!
If wires are labelled too close to the end, it gets REMOVED while cutting-in wires.
The trick here is to label 12-18″ inches up the wire, SO THAT YOU STILL HAVE THE LABEL WHEN THE WIRES ARE ENTERED INTO THE BOX!
This is a PRO-TIP because when you work with multiple electricians, you are often having to re-label 2-3 times PER WIRE PULLED… simply because they didn’t think ahead!
You must train yourself to remember these two things when pulling residential wire (Recap):
- Label BOTH ENDS of the wire (and remove the old label on the wire spool before you pull new wire)
- Label up higher than you think, so you don’t have to keep relabeling over and over! (This goes for both residential and commercial wire!)
Pulling Wire Through Studs
After drilling holes for wire into the studs, the next step is pulling your wire!
That’s a joke you’ll never stop hearing on the jobsite..
Hey Sparky! Pulling your wire, eh?Any construction worker other than an electrician 😂
Anyways, the pulling process is pretty straight-forward, and your speed increases with time.
When first starting, your journeyman may start you off with EXTRA-LOW-VOLTAGE wires (like internet, coax, or fiber). This is to train you to get up to speed.
When pulling wire through studs, you can use one hand over the other through each stud for a fast workflow (like shown in the video above!)
Always Leave a Wire Service Loop at the Electrical Box!
I can’t tell you how important leaving a service loop is!
Very often homeowners or do-it-yourself handymen create tutorials showing how to do electrical. This is very dangerous to watch to learn to become an electrician, as you’ll learn bad practices, and they are actually not even certified to do electrical!
You know you need a permit to do electrical work for a customer, right? (Your company will be pulling this permit on your behalf if you’re working for an employer! Handymen are not allowed to pull an electrical permit!!)
A service loop is so important because things happen on a jobsite.
If you take the mindset of “Nothing will happen”, you are going to get yourself into a very hard (or expensive) situation later-on in your electrical career.
Leaving a simple service loop is the EASIEST WAY to give you that extra advantage out there..
Here’s some problems you can run into, where a SERVICE LOOP helps so much:
- The plug needs to be moved to the next stud
- The wire gets damaged by a drywaller’s rotary cut-out tool
Stapling Wires (Quick Overview)
The final step of pulling wire is stapling.
The golden rule is this when stapling wires:
Electrician’s staple wire BACK.. AFTER they have pulled the wire to the destination.
Before you staple, make sure your wire is long enough, and it made its path successfully (that the wire isn’t sticking out of the wall because you forgot to go into a stud!)
If you pull multiple wires at once, when you can staple multiple wires on your way back, which improves efficiency!
CONCLUSION: How to Pull Wire in a Home, Condo, Apartment (Wood Frame Setting – Residential)
Typically we use NMD90 is a wood frame setting, which is most often a home, condo, or apartment.
Always make sure you staple your wire back for a clean look, and improved efficiency.
Be sure to read all the other roughing-in series tutorials!