Pulling wire is a big part of being an electrician. So much so that it may seem like a pretty basic process in your day. But you also know that if you don’t take the proper steps during the pull, it can mean lost time, lost patience, and in some cases, wire that needs to be replaced due to damage from the failed pull.
One thing to remember before you get started is making sure you have the proper tools. It’s easy to get ready for a job and in the rush of it all forget some of the needed tools in the shop. As you prep for the pull, make a checklist of the tools that you’ll need and then double check the list
before you leave to head to the job. This simple step can save hours of time and headache.
A New Kind Of Pulling Wire
One new tool you may not know about is the Klein SRS56037 which uses a magnet and a cable and enables you to pull wire behind walls by yourself saving on labor and headaches.
Tips For Pulling Wire
So let’s touch on some of the most important things that you need to remember when you are getting ready for a wire pull, big or small:
1- Get started by doing a pull evaluation and proof the conduit
2- Clean the entry and exit of the conduit
3- Provide proper lubrication
Step 1: Do A Pull Evaluation
When you have a long pull with larger wires you will want to consider doing an intense, detailed pull evaluation. They aren’t limited to just the large pulls though. Some of the smaller pulls involving more intricate and delicate cabling will also need to be looked over very carefully.
Because continuity of a cable is so important, you want to make sure that you won’t be putting too much tension on the conductors. Make sure you have proper clearances, and think ahead, looking for areas where your wire may get jammed up.
Many times a pulling situation is a simple and obvious “yes” or “no”. You’re doing it or you’re not. But if you have found yourself in a marginal situation, it never hurts to stop and take a minute to review and make sure that all systems are go. This will save time, money and headaches.
You don’t need to only worry about tension on the conductors. You need to make sure that you are aware of and don’t exceed the maximum allowable pulling tensions on the tools and devices such as motor driven pullers, and your pulling socks.
To proofing the conduit simply means that you’re making sure the conduit is free of any sort of obstruction that could damage conductors, or potentially make a pull difficult or impossible.
One of the best ways to do this is to simply pull a rope through the conduit. You can attach a variety of items to the rope like a rubber duct swab, a pulling mouse, or even a plastic bag to make sure the conduit is clean and free of debris.
Taking the few extra minutes to make sure the conduit is clean can again save time and money, giving you confidence that the conduit is clean from potentially dangerous debris.
Step 2: Clean Or “Ream” The Entry And Exit Of The Conduit
Entry and exit points of the conduit can be sharp, or jagged especially if the conduit had to be cut to length. But there are plenty of instances where they can come from the factory in that condition.
This is hazardous to the conductors that are being pulled through the the conduit system because it can cut the protective insulation and expose the conductive metal inside.
Make sure that conduit ends are properly reamed, and that there are no sharp edges or burrs that can cut through the insulation the of the conductors. Also make sure that the wire is properly protected from the edges of boxes or enclosures that are being pulled through.
Step 3: Use Proper Lubrication
If you do need to use it, be sure to choose the correct type. Different types of wire have different types of jackets, made of different types of materials. You need to make sure that the lube being used won’t have any negative or deleterious effects on the cable insulation or jacket materials.
Remembering these things, or even creating a wire pulling checklist will no doubt save you time and money in the future.