Everything you Need to Know About Fishing Wires Through Walls Tools

One of the basic skills of DIY electrical is knowing how to make connections inside switch, light and outlet boxes. But being able to “fish” wire, as the pros call it, through your walls lets you add new switches, lights and outlets exactly where you want them.

Route Cable Behind Baseboard

A large ship in a body of water

Remove the baseboard and cut a long, narrow hole in its place. Then drill holes in the studs for your wire to pass through. This works best with wide base trim but can be done with narrow base trim as well. Be sure to keep the holes in the studs at least 1-1/4-in. away from the stud edges to avoid the need for protective metal plates.

Make a Bevel Cut

A man sitting on a bench in a park

If you have to cut an access hole, make the cut at an angle. Then when it’s time to patch it, spread joint compound around the hole and press the cutout back in. The mud will hold the plug in place. There’s no need for screws or backing, and the plug won’t fall through the hole.

Make a Chase With Trim

Run conduit or BX cable (armored cable) along the top corner of a wall and cover it with crown molding. You can cut small holes in the wall or ceiling where the wiring needs to exit the room.

Don’t Fish Power Cords

Cords that power appliances, TVs and power strips cannot be placed inside a wall. The National Electrical Code says these cords cannot replace permanent wiring. To avoid seeing these power cords, you can fish cable to add a new outlet nearby.

Give Communication Cable Enough Space

Communication cable like coax or Cat 6 should be kept away from cables that carry high voltage to outlets and lights. Pros recommend keeping them 12 to 16 inches away. If you must cross these cables, do so at a 90 degree angle.

Find the Easiest Route

The easiest route is not always the most direct. Take advantage of unfinished spaces like basements and attics to run wire from one end of the house to the other. You might use an extra 50 feet of wire, but it will save you lots of time.

Use a Lot of Cable

Pushing far more cable than you need into the walls or ceilings is helpful for a few reasons. First, it makes the job of hooking the cable you’re fishing much easier. It also eliminates lots of tugging, which can damage fragile Cat 6 cables.

Hide Wires With Raceway

Running wire on the wall surface with raceway is a great way to get power right where you want it without fishing wires through walls. You can hide the raceway behind furniture and paint it to match the wall. Build the raceway from an existing electrical box with snap-together components and hide the wire inside the channel.

Run Conduit in Closets or Cabinets

Conduit or armored cable is another great option for surface wiring, and it’s about half the cost of raceway. You wouldn’t want to run it over your walls like you would raceway, but it won’t be visible in a dark closet or along the backs of cabinets.

Splice Like a Pro

Sometimes you have to pull hard to get a cable through a wall, so make sure the cable is securely tied to your pulling tool, whether it’s a fish tape or a coat hanger.

Follow these steps if you desire to fish wires through a wall.

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