I can see why. I pulled one single wire (10/3) through 1.5" conduit. A
total of four bends, and a run of about 75'. I don't think there's any way
I could ever get the *tape* back through that conduit to pull a second, let
alone actually manage to force another wire into there.
I'm sure pros would fare better. I'm just saying I had no idea what an
all-consuming bitch it is to pull wire through conduit.
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
lot of factors working against you:
a) First and foremost, Romex cable is composed of *solid* wires. There just
isn't a lot of flexibility there. Especially in 10-gauge. It's much easier to
pull *stranded* wire.
b) Bundling wires together in a cable reduces flexibility still further. It's
much easier to pull four individual wires than one 4-wire cable -- even if you
wrap them together at the point where you attach the fish tape, and pull all
four at once, it's still easier than pulling a cable.
c) Cable sheathing isn't especially slippery either. THHN/THWN wire has a
hard, slick outer layer that makes it positively glide through a conduit.
d) Romex tends to twist up as it's paid out, which compounds the friction and
e) Were you using a wire-pulling lube on the cable?
f) How many pull boxes did you have in the middle of this 75-foot run? It's
probably overkill, but I usually install a pull box every two or three
sections of conduit. It makes life much easier.
Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
I'm cheating. I'm doing individual wires and assembling the conduit over
the wire and mounting it - slide on a section, bolt it down, etc. I'd hate
to charge by the hour to do it this way, but its easier on a guy with back
It's not really legal, but again, I doubt the wiring police will be knocking on
your door. In fact that is how FPL runs long service laterals here. I see it
all the time.
The code assumption is any raceway system is built such that the wires can be
pulled in and out at any time. That makes a lot of sense in a commercial
setting but the code is a "one size fits all" affair.
When I asked my boss how I should use 90-4 (the inspector discretion clause) he
said "just make it safe". Your method is safe IMHO.
Actually, then end result will physically be the same as if I had run the
conduit and pulled the wire through it. I just happen to have the luxury of
being able to put up one 10 foot section of conduit at a time because the
run is not that long (70 feet). I'll have pull boxes and two 90 degree
bends in the conduit. I just don't want to pull it because of my back.
I appreciate your practical comments.
You should be using individual wire, not romex. As a matter of fact, there
is something in the code that reduces the amount of wire that can be used if
it is romex, as I recall, but I don't remember exactly what it was.
Temperature rise, or something.
Cables pulled into conduit has to be computed as a conductor using the widest
dimension as the diameter.
If you twist the cable a few times the widest dimension IS the diameter.
12-2 Romex won't "fit" in 1/2" conduit because of this. If you have ever tried
to pull it through a few bends you would agree. Most inspectors will ignore
this for short sections of conduit used for supplimentry protection, like down
the wall of your garage or shop. 3 wire with ground is usually smaller than 2
wire in the computation since it is closer to round with a smaller diameter.
Exactly. Since your going to be 'up there' anyhow might as well do it now.
My shop has it's own 200 amp service so running power wasn't an issue.
But, all self respecting shops and garages have water, since I had to
trench for the water line I figured I would also run a conduit so I
could operate walk lights switched from both garage and house.
The conduit 'grew' to carrying 3 4 conductor phone lines ( (total 12
wires) just happens I had a spool of wire laying around,) a 4 conductor
16 ga intercom line, CAT-5 LAN, 'TV' cable/ coax, one normal power
circuit for motion lights and one 3 way circuit for the walk lights (all
Funny how these things escalate when one has the 'might as well do it
Far as I know there are two conditions for running power (115 volt) and
other wires through a conduit, 1) insulation must be rated 600 volts or
higher, and 2) the total fill must not exceed 40%.
Fact, fill should not exceed 40% in any conduit, IIRC.
About my memory, I freely admit it could be faulty. Check your codes.
Better yet call the inspector. I have found inspectors pretty cool
people, (then I'm a homeowner that believes in overbuild) I have yet to
meet an inspector that wasn't more than willing to tell all to someone
with half a clue that there are codes and what they are.
Some years ago, about 5, I upgraded the service and communications links to my
First rule for the power upgrade was to do the labor myself to save money, but
do it under
the direction of a licensed electrician. Let the electrician make the final
call for the inspection. You'll still save a lot of money, but you'll avoid
the inspector and possibily your insurance company.
For communications, I ran a separate 1" conduit and placed it 15" to 18" away
power conduit. (Local phone and cable company recomendation to avoid signal
and interferance.) Since I dug a two foot wide trench, I just put them on
Further, even though your using undergound conduit, use underground, waterproof
I used 12 pair, gel filled for phone/isdn/dsl and heavy ground rated cable for
cable service. Both cables were provided by the respective phone and cable
Both installers were grateful for me doing/helping with the installation. I
small reconnect fees.
I think I miscommunicated about where I am running this. None of its
underground. The original wiring to my 3 car garage went through the
ceiling of the first floor from the opposite side of the house (breaker
panel). There is no way to add wire through that ceiling, since its a 2
story house. So I'm bringing the wire from the breaker box (interior closet)
through an exterior wall and into a conduit that will run along the back
side of the house toward the garage.
One additional comment/recommendataion:
You mentioned using PVC conduit. A lot of PVC, given exposure to
sunlight, degrades over time. This is a potential problem 'several years
from now'. Also, if it's 'on the surface', it's exposed to all the other
"slings and arrows of outrageous fortune", as it were. The "do it right"
approach is _ridgid_ conduit, w/ waterproof fittings.
Thanks for the added note. I'm all for doing something that will outlast
me. There are some practical considerations that I did not add. The
conduit will be in the shade, anyway. My wife wants me to build a wood box
around it to "hide it". And last but not least - I don't have the tools to
thread conduit. Its one of those tools that I will never acquire.
A number of years ago the company I work for erected a small building
approximately 250' from the road. When the telephone line was run the local
phone company direct buried the phone wire. This spring a woodchuck ate through
their cable. Now it's going to cost them dearly to rebury the cable (it still
hasn't been done). Had they ran the wire in a conduit, it probably wouldn't
have been damaged, and it would be a lot less costly to pull in a new wire if it
Buffalo, NY - USA
(Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
Not really true.
Most phone companies, and CATV, for that matter, now use a machine
that slits the ground, places the cable, and folds the turf back in
place. It's fast, easy and inexpensive, compared to installing
conduit. The delay may involve an outside contractor's scheduling.
My father waited 6 months for a cable TV wire to get reburied.
Based on the total number of buried service installations that go in,
compared to those that go bad enough to be completely replaced, no
conduit is much cheaper. If it wasn't, they'd install the conduit,
just as they still do for large cables. Believe me, the phone company
_is_ doing it the cheapest way possible overall, based on averages.
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