Just wondering what sort of "gotchas" others have run into. Here's the
Single-story home, built in 1956. Attic is easily accessible, although full
of pink insulation. There's already switch at the room's doorway which
controls an outlet. I plan on setting up the outlet to be constantly on, and
using the switch to control the ceiling fixture. What I'm wondering is, how
likely is it that between the switch box and the attic, the only obstruction
I need to drill through (to drop the wire) will be at the attic level, as
opposed to unseen wood that's JUST far away enough from the attic beams that
a drill bit won't reach.
And: Running the wire across to the ceiling box, I'm guessing that code (and
common sense) would dictate attaching to the side of the beam, not the top.
Yes, no, maybe?
Older homes rarely have fire blocking installed. Saying that you should be
able to locater the wire comming up from the switch, ( most wireing is
through the attic ) and using jack chain drop down to the switch box.
Now comes the fun part. 1956 you probably have steel boxes. Open up an new
knock out (ko) and then all you have to do is hit the hole. Might be a good
idea to install the romex connector before you drop the wire down. A helper
with a bright flash light helps. If you can not see light from above then
your in the wrong spot or there is something in the way, (framing,
insulation, god only knows). You may have to drill another hole for the new
wire. I recommend an 3/4" auger bit for this. Yea 3/4" in over kill but you
can see down the cavitity, at least I can.
Is the outlet half switched or all switched? If it is all switched just
change the make up so that it is hot all of the time. (just the hot wire
everything else is ok) If it is half switched then your going to have 4
wires going to the outlet, hot,switched hot, neutral and ground.
tie the hots together for on all of the time.
There are long speciality bits, (4-6 feet long) for remodel work. I have
never purchased one as they are pricy. These speciallity bits come with an
hole in the end. Drill down and then attach the wire to the hole in the bit
and pull up.
I just cut in 2 recessed cans in the hall arches in my home. After I get
done with the painting which is next they will look like they have been
there from the beginning.
Well, one reason for asking the question was to weigh the cost of buying
more tools, compared to having an electrician do the work. I just called 3
electricians. Holy smokes! They all said that if the jobs were nothing
unusual, I could expect to pay $200-$300 per room.
I'm gonna find a source for the real long drill bits tonight, just in case.
I doubt they cost $200.00, or $600 if I'm thinking of all three rooms. :-)
It's those damned breather masks that are expensive, and the beer for after
the job's done.
... and I've seen people pay good money for work that I sure wouldn't be
... and while they do have an assortment of tricks & experience snaking
wires behind walls, they have limitations too. You might wind up doing
a little plaster / drywall repair no matter what. (Or you might luck
You might consider one of those Time-Life DIY books on home electrical
to get a better idea of how to get the job done. They're great books,
well thought out, and could easily pay for itself.
That's a good point. Some years back, an electrician installed a GFI in my
bathroom, and managed to destroy about 2" of plaster all around the existing
box. Now...I changed 18 outlets in other rooms, and figured out how to etch
the plaster first so it came out in nice, clean slices. This electrician was
about 70 years old. My first etching took an hour (meditation, thinking, 2
cups of coffee, etc), but the rest took about 3 minutes each. How come this
ancient electrician didn't know this trick?
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.