Pulling wires and time planning

Regular readers may have noticed that there is a sequence in putting a building back together.

Before we closed up the walls and ceiling, we made sure to have all utilities in place. That includes plumbing, the on-demand hot water pump, ventilation ducts, low voltage conduits for network cables, and EMT conduit for electrical.

The EMT conduit alone won’t turn on our lights or power the fridge. We still needed to pull the electrical wires from the circuit breaker panel to all electrical boxes. Well, I was mostly just pulling while Percy, our electrician, was doing the pulling and the thinking.

There are options as to when to pull the wires. In this case (the 2nd floor), we opted to pull the wires after the drywall installation. On the 1st floor, we pulled the wires prior to closing up the walls.

Which timing makes more sense? That’s hard to answer as both options have their pros and cons.

The main advantage of pulling the wires before the drywall goes up is that you have visual access to the conduits and can easily figure out what is connected to what. There is no guesswork. The disadvantage comes in if you plan on using a rotozip to cut the openings into the drywall around the electrical boxes.


You have to carefully tug all wires away and to the side, otherwise they may get nicked by the rotozip bit.

That problem goes away when pulling the wires after the drywall installation. But, even if you are a mastermind, you probably won’t remember all the conduit runs and how they connect. And because there is no visual access to the conduits any longer, you’ll probably spend some time on pushing and pulling fish tape to see where it emerges.

There is, however, a workaround for that too. I took wall-to-ceiling-to-wall photo documentation of all the utilities in the walls before we started with the drywall. I kept those photos on hand on my laptop which reduced the guesswork and amount of fish tape exploration.

For more information on why we used EMT conduit, what electrical wires we used, and how many wire we can run through each conduit, visit the links below:

Related posts:

About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

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