How To Pull New Electrical Wires Through The Walls Of An Old House

Old homes often have a charm that is missing in many of today's newer houses, but they also may have hidden dangers not found in a new house. One of those dangers is the old wiring in the walls. Old copper wiring used to be wrapped in cloth over rubber insulation and was strung throughout the house. The cloth and rubber insulation can deteriorate to the point of exposing the wires and creating a hazard. A major project will be to upgrade the wiring to eliminate any dangers from the old wiring. Here is how you can run new wires through your house to replace the old ones.

Items Needed for Re-wiring Job:

  • New wire
  • 8 foot long piece of lath

Safety First

Make sure the electricity is turned off at the fuse box to the old wiring being replaced.

Need for a New Channel

Wiring in old homes is typically held in place using porcelain posts and staples that prevent you from simply tying the new wire to the old wire and sliding the new wire up through the wall as you pull the old wire out. The old wires also are typically snaked around bends and up through the plaster in walls in old houses. The new wire you're trying to pull though can get snagged on the bends and plaster and stop your progress. To by-pass this problem, you will need to create new channels in the walls to slide your new wires through.

Creating New Channel

An effective method to create new channels in walls is to use a piece of lath about 8 feet long.  Create an opening in the wall that you can shove the lath down inside the wall to the floor below the one you are on. Shove the lath down inside the hole to break open a path in the plaster that will be big enough to slide the wire through it.

Pull Wire Up

Connect the new wire to the lath. A good way to connect the wire to the lath is to drill two holes at one end of the lath. Remove the covering of the new wire to expose the positive and negative wires. Push the positive wire through one of the holes and the negative wire through the other hole. Twist the positive and negative wires together so the main wire won't slip off the lath while you're pulling it up through the walls. Pull the lath back up through, grab the new wire, and you're done.

Replacing old wires can take a lot of work. If you have reservations about doing this work yourself, call a licensed electrical contractor, such as Copperhead Electric, to come do it for you.


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