We have 8' of 120v 14/2 household wire which runs horizontally from one
live kitchen outlet to a secondary outlet. It was installed by the original
house owner, properly connected to the plug inside the first box, going up
about 8" inside the wall, and entering the kitchen cupboard through a small
hole. It runs along the cupboard interior, has securing insulated staples,
but has no protection for the plastic covered wire. The wire then goes back
behind the wall through another hole, to the second box and outlet.
Recently a rodent gnawed through the first hole and bared both live wires,
so I'm replacing the wire. There's no possibility of fishing the wire
horizontally; I've tried.
I want to do the job safely, prevent another rodent from chewing the wire,
and to code. My plan is to use metallic raceway to protect the wire inside
the cupboard, with raceway elbows so I can cover the wire right up to both
outlets. After buying the materials, it seem like a lot more work than I
thought, and I've never cut or fitted raceway before. Any suggestions for
cutting, measuring and fitting would be appreciated.
Also, would it be easier to fish the wire from the outlet, make a small cut
in the drywall when the wire hits each stud, cut a groove for the wire,
etc.? And of course I'll cover each groove with a protective metal plate
fish horizontally, there are these 3 foot long special bits, with a
small hole to attach the wire to, makes it easy when pulling bit back
out wire comes with it.
you can buy extensions for the 3 foot bits too. I once went nearly 9
feet thru a tough area.
much better job looks pro, value added when you sell the house
It might. It's easy to miss something in a big store. I think it was
next to the voltmeters. But I don't know where the voltmeters are.
It was clear that they were drills they didn't have in stock, so you
may have to order it.
You can get them somewhere. They're used by burglar alarm installers,
phone installers, and electricians.
HD's website last I looked was terrible. They won't tell you what
they sell, only what the store near you sells. (and it wasn't very
good at that.) Even if there are 10 stores one could drive to, they
only give the one near you. If you enter another zip code, they give
the store in that zipcode, but I don't know what the other zipcodes
Why can't they do like Radio Shack does and give you every product
they sell, even if NO store stocks it.
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let
me know if you have posted also.
Is it code to use an unprotected/uncovered steel cable inside the back wall
of the cupboard? This is my main concern.
If so, it's my ideal solution: fast, easy, safe. RBM's suggestion to use
"12-2 with ground MC cable" seems good.
We plan to renovate the cupboards in the future, and will do a proper wire
through-the-studs job then. Now, even using a flex drill bit would be very
difficult, since my only accesses are the two outlet openings.
It now may be relevant to mention a few other things I noticed:
- the main outlet, located on the right-hand side of the cupboard, has two,
separated, screw terminals on the right of the outlet, and two joined screw
terminals on the left. The outlet is marked "AL-CU", and "Side wire back."
The aluminium feed (the blue fibre-covered cable is marked "nmn - 7 - 12/3 -
Aluminium") has three wires, white, red, and black, plus ground. I wrote
down where each wire was connected:
On the right side of the outlet- to top, black AL and black CU; to bottom,
red AL only.
On the left side- to top, white CU, to bottom, white AL and white CU.
Ground to the box
Since I'm dealing with AL & CU wire, I've used Noalux compound as directed
on all wires and terminals.
- each plug (upper and lower) from the main outlet is on a separate
circuit, each having a 15A fuse.
- the secondary outlet, located on the left-hand side of the cupboard, has
connected screw terminals on both sides.
Wiring is simpler: black CU on the top right side, and white CU on the
bottom left. Ground to the box.
Thank you all for your help, and for providing an excellent solution.
How are you connecting 2 black wires to one terminal? You don't want
them under one screw. Using backstab connections are not recomended by
anyone and would have to be the copper wire. With 2 wires they would
commonly be connected by wire-nutting the wires together along with a
pigtail that connects to the outlet. With aluminum recommended practice
is to apply antioxide paste and then abrade the wire to remove the oxide
for wire-nuts and screw terminals. More info, if you are interested, in
IIRC aluminum rated receptacles are currently marked CO/ALR. Yours may
be the 'old technology' which was installed about 1965 to 1972. If the
screws are steel (check with magnet) replace it. Might want to check if
other outlets are aluminum and steel screws - bad combination.
As you may know, aluminum wire can be problematic. Info on fixes is at:
The two black wires were connected under one screw, as installed by the
previous house owner. And I've never liked or trusted backstabs.
Thanks for the suggestion! I've used your method with the pigtail, and
Noalux (an antioxide paste), so that there are now 3 black wires in the wire
nut, with only one going to the screw terminal. Having a deep box helps give
space, with all the wires.
I've used a wire nut made of ceramic with moulded threads for the inside
copper connector (with a screw to secure the 3 twisted wires), and no
internal metal coil, since they seem more secure. I hope this is ok. If not,
I'll redo, using a metal coil type nut.
House was built in 1970 in Canada, but the screws of neither outlet are
steel - no response to a magnet. I will check other outlets. Thanks for the
I know aluminum wire has problems, but your link gives details and excellent
Seemingly "simple" electrical work can often be very involved, and thus can
have potentially dangerous consequences, I'm now learning.
If you're gonna be mudding and painting anyway, why not just do it right?
Cut a six inch strip of drywall from stud to stud, as many stud cavities as
needed to get between the outlets, and run the wire through drilled holes
(NOT notches), like the Electrical Gods intended. Taping and mudding one
long patch panel will produce better looking results that an series of
holes, be easier, and take less time. If this entire run is backsplash area
between counter and upper cabinets, you could just panel the whole thing
over with something. It'd be a lot easier to make good suggestions if we
could see the work site- can you post pictures somewhere?
Mainly that, but they also weaken the stud more than a hole does, even with
a screwed-on nail plate. Not a real big deal like it is when people
(plumbers, usually) notch a joist or beam, but still something to be
avoided. Probably wouldn't be a problem on a simple partition wall, but
kitchen cabinet walls are usually load bearing, and every little bit you
take away, takes away some of the load capacity. I doubt it would ever make
the house collapse or anything, but it could make it easier for the wall to
bow under heavy loads, especially if several in a row were notched.
Standard disclaimer- I'm no engineer, just parroting what my father beat
into me all those years of working construction as a kid. I'm sure the
Actual Experts will be along shortly to correct me.
Use of added-in and exposed steel sheathed cable in a kitchen is not a very
good idea and probably violates codes. The hazard is that it is difficult to
ensure positive ground bonding of the sheath. Any leakage could energize the
sheath. I think non-metallic cable, protected by non-metallic conduit or
raceway of some sort where exposed in the cabinet, would be code compliant
and much preferable.
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