Archive for Monday, September 17, 2012


Fix-It Chick: Use a fish tape to ease pulling electrical wire

September 17, 2012


Running electrical wire through conduit is tricky business. An extra set of hands, wire pulling lubricant and a good quality fish tape will make the job easier.

Step 1: Turn off the power supply to any existing wires inside the conduit being used. Use a screwdriver to loosen elbow access panels along the run.

Step 2: Check the fish tape for kinks or worn areas. Tighten any loose screws on the fish tape case.

Step 3: From the end where the wires will be pulled to, hold the fish tape reel handle with one hand and manually feed the fish tape into the conduit.

Use wire pulling lubricant on the fish tape to facilitate the process. Do not use dish soap or petroleum-based products as lubrication — the oil will deteriorate the protective wire insulation.

Step 4: Do not force the fish tape through the conduit. If it becomes stuck, pull the tape back several inches and try again.

Utilize any elbow access panels along the way to guide the fish tape through the conduit.

Step 5: If the fish tape becomes stuck near the end of the run, use a second fish tape or stiff wire to hook the tape from the bottom and pull it through.

Step 6: Strip three inches of insulation off of the wire ends to be pulled. Hook one wire through the fish tape eye and twist the wire onto itself to secure it. Hook a second wire through the fish tape eye in the opposite direction and twist the wire onto itself to secure it. Cut any remaining wires to be pulled back flush with the insulation to reduce bulkiness.

Step 7: Once the wires have been securely attached to the fish tape eye, wrap the entire assembly with electrical tape. Keep the overall size of the assembly to a minimum to facilitate pulling.

Step 8: Coat the wire assembly with wire pulling lubricant.

Step 9: Slowly pull the fish tape from the top, pulling out a three foot section at a time. Reel the fish tape back into the case before pulling the next three foot section. While the tape is being pulled from the top, have a second person guiding the wire up into the conduit. Lubricate each section of wire before feeding it into the conduit. Progress slowly to avoid kinks and nicks in the wire.

— Linda Cottin can be reached at


matahari 5 years, 7 months ago

would someone please tell me what a fishtape is?

FlintlockRifle 5 years, 7 months ago

Steel flat wire in a reel, with an "eye" at the end you push through the conduit, come in different lengths

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