Fishing wires through existing construction

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It can be a real PITA. The one trick I have found to be helpful is to pull off the baseboard molding, cut a hole in the drywall, and then drill a pilot hole down through the floor. Then drill a larger hole up from the basement. Then cut out for your electrical box. Assuming there are no stops in the wall cavity, it is then a simple matter to run the wire. Replacing the molding covers the hole.
The one time I ran from the attic was much more difficult.\\
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If you have an unused wire port in your outlet box, then this might work. You need two fish lines, they have a hook on the end. Pull about 3 feet out of the wire holder on each. Insert one through the outlet hole pointing up, and the other in from the hole in the top plate. Once both wires are inserted, twist slowly and the two ends will meet, and then pull in one direction. The fish wire should come out the other end. Maybe you might get lucky.

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That sounds ok but I'd use a magnet on a string lowered from above and a magnet on a wire from below. Measure and mark string so you know it's not gone below the switch box. Aim to have the magnet say 6" above it.
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Dear Account For Junk -
I would suggest you remove the existing switch box (i.e. Your option #2 above). This will provide you access to the wall cavity.
Cut in the new ceiling box. This will allow you access to the ceiling space.
Since ceiling boxes are 4 inch boxes, you will have more than sufficient space to get your hand in the ceiling space.
Use your fish wire to fish UP from the switch box. Use another fish wire, a coat hanger or a piece of solid wire to 'catch' the fish wire and pull it out the ceiling box opening. Attach your new wired to the fish tape and pull. Slowly and carefully. It is a real pain to yank the wire off the end of the fish after all the work to get the fish there the first time.
Magnets of any size you are likely to have access to are not going to anywhere near powerful enough to do what you want within the space limitations you have.
If you have to drill holes in studs, sil plates, joists or whatever get yourself an auger bit on a flexible shaft (I have seen them up to six feet long).
This type of work is done all the time and at most should only require minor patching of drywall at the switch box and/or ceiling outlet. However, as pointed out by other posters, a little drywall patching is sometimes way more cost/time effective than spending half a day getting one wire to the new location.
Regards,
Doug
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in

Hopefully you have no blocking between the studs. Probably don't.
You are trying to fish through an inside wall with no insulation hopefully?
I've taken a 4ft level and put it above the center of the box inside to the ceiling. Where the ceiling meets the wall directly above (or a couple of inches away make like a 1/16 hole in the ceiling. Push a coat hanger through so you can see it from the attic.
Go up in the attic and drill hole through plates. Drop string down with screw/washer/something. Unless if gets misdirected by hitting wires or something it has to be lined up with the box when it comes down.
I usually just hook it with something when I see the string but that magnet idea I might try next time.
Just put a dab of painters caulk in the 1/16" hole. No one will even see it. If it's popcorn/textured ceiling, you won't even find it.
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One low-voltage wire installer I saw used the thin beaded chain dropped from the top & magnets attached to a fish or stick at bottom access hole to catch chain when fishing down long open vertical cavities, then pulled string from them, then the wire. He also had the sectional fibreglass rods describe earlier, however they were much thinner than many sold in big box stores & electrical supplies; he got them from an alarm equipment supplier. They were about 8 or 10' long I think, the thicker one (still thinner than the ones I've seen in H Depot) was about $20 (in 2001), & the thin one about $45. Either could be bent in a fairly tight radius (12" for the one I saw him use) for feeding from tight spaces such as from within a closet, & would slide easily between v barrier & backside of drywall through insulated walls without destroying insulation as previous poster noted with regular fish tape & hook.
Peter

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Most of the posts are on fishing, so I'll leave all that good advice in place. I will place a strong "Yes" vote for Option 2, prying off the old box and putting in an "old work" box. I have done it a number of times, mostly for the reason you state, being able to get your hands in the cavity. Old work boxes work exactly as advertised, with one caveat. Your switch plate over the box has to be large enough to cover the tabs of the old work box on the outside (room-side) of the box. many of the switch plates are small, and a little bit of the blue tab still sticks out. Another issue is that the tabs stick out about 1/8" from the drywall, so the switch plates that to me have worked best are those slightly larger metal plates that have a roundover on the ends. Those cover both the tab length and thickness.
Greg

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