Fishing Wires In 100 Year Old House

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My 120 plus year old house, with remodeling about 85 years ago has the same kind of challenges. Although there indeed may be no blocking as mentioned by an earlier poster, there is just as likely a chance to find flocking in odd places/spaces/spacing.
When they installed the heating system in the 20"s, they made a square channel to run some pipes up. If I didn't look carefully I could have missed this "channel" in a little hallway. In addition, I created my own "channel" in an upstairs bathrood by putting in an angled wall behind the toilet (the vend pipe had been boxed in, just on that floor). This gave me a shot down and up (I'm 3 stories, not sure what you are dealing with). I rand a plastic onduit up this for future purposes, and left a pull string in.
I was not able to find a place where I could run a 3 foot drill bit. Before I got carried away with trying stuff, I would drill a small pilot hole large enough for a 4 guage ground wire and use that to determine how far I could go before hitting an obstacle.
IMHO adding the channel in the closet may be your fastest alternative.
You can always consider doing what they had to at I believe it was Sears tower where they realized they had left out floor to floor chases, and had to add and external chase! You could probably hide that along side a chimney.
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In NYC at the Waterside apartnment complex they did not prewire for phones when it was built in 1974. So those wires run all around on the outside of moldings. The buildings were in the news recently, as the architect for it died a week or so ago.
Don <www.donwiss.com> (e-mail link at home page bottom).
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As has been said there should be vent pipes or water pipes or hot water pipe of heating ducts you may be able to get next to. I would also look for closets you could use.
wayne
klaatu wrote:

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My in-laws house is a single story. From what I can tell, it was originally built without electricity, and only minimal plumbing. The only heat was an oil stove, and the stove and chimney were removed many years ago. There's no ductwork of any type, all plumbing is in the basement except for a single 2" vent that runs on the outside of the house.
I plan on drilling a couple of small holes top and bottom to see if an interior wall is free from blocking. If not, I'll go with conduit in one of the closets.
Anthony
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Ah, the single story does add a twist since nothing needs to penetrate too far. Oh well.
A note regarding "fishing" through the probe holes. As I mentioned earlier I used a heavy guage ground wire that I measured and marked with tape at certain legths so I knew how far I was getting before hitting an obstruction. I had tried to use a string with various weighted objects attached including a plumb bob, but they are very clumsy to move around. There may be a path for what you want to do, it just might not be in an exact straight path, so using a wire or real fish tape helps.
Good luck!
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you can also by small cameras or rent them to look into cavities, useful for lots of stuff like wonder whats leaking.
sometimes a picture is wort a 1000 words or plumb bob drops
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What I have done a couple of times already is tie a small nut (3/8") to the end of a string line. It fits through small holes, and offers just enough weight to pull the string down. I slowly let the string drop, jiggling it up and down a few times, or swinging it side to side, if it gets stuck on a blob of plaster or something, until it reaches the bottom. It doesn't have to line up with the hole below, just get fairly close. I then take a piece of wire with a little hook bent into the end, to reach up through the bottom hole and fish around in the wall to catch the string. Once I have the string out, I can tape it to the actual electrical cable and pull it up through the wall.
It works fine as long as there's no blocking in the wall.
Anthony
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Other things that sometimes work good in the walls are bead chain (like used on sink stoppers) and sash chain. These are very flexible and will pile up and spill down thru holes when shaken. They are also very easy to snag with a hooked wire. I also found that a folded over and twisted piece of heavy solder tied to a light string could be jiggled around and made to fall thru small holes. A cotton ball on a thread with a powerful shop vacuum will sometimes do wonders. A long drill bit, preferably flexible, one person above with string, chain, and wire, and another below with stiff and flexible wire hooks can connect and pull a wire nearly anywhere. Did it many times for many years.
Don Young
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