This project is continued from Part 4.
Having removed the old branch circuit wiring and electrical outlet, I’m ready to pull nylon fish tape from the kitchen sink cabinet through the basement crawlspace back to the circuit breaker panel. This is a 100 foot spool of 3/8 inch diameter fish tape.
Pull Fish Tape for the New Branch Circuit
Fish tape is a means to thread a slick, flexible and strong line behind walls, floors and ceilings along the path where the new electric cable will be installed. The is known as “fishing new cable”. Fish tape is available in nylon, fiberglass and flat steel spools, and as straight rods that screw together to suit the situation. The nylon fish tape is non-conductive and great for fishing along energized wires so there’s no risk of poking it in the wrong place and getting shocked. The stiffness of steel fish tape can be help for directing the tape in a particular direction as I’ll demonstrate shortly.
I dropped the SureFire flashlight attached to a lanyard so I wouldn’t lose it through the hole in the bottom of the kitchen cabinet and used the dentist mirror tool to search for the hold in the subfloor to the basement crawlspace. The two holes were offset by several inches and with some finesse, I was able to guide the nylon fish tape through the two holes:
To get started, I pushed about 20 feet of fish tape through the bottom of the kitchen cabinet:
Work off the ladder in the basement, I used a long fiberglass pole with an improved utility hook duct taped to the end to reach over and pull the fish tape. It was tricky, but I was able to guide the fish tape over the cross-runs of NM-B cables to keep the new branch circuit off the suspended drywall ceiling since I won’t be able to tack the new run of cable to the floor joist with electrical staples. The red square in the photo shows where the fish tape runs up through the subfloor to the kitchen cabinet.
I continued to pull the fish tape and guide it over the utilities out to the wall:
I pulled the fish tape between the 2×4 wall studs for the drop to the circuit breaker panel for the new branch circuit:
Pulling NM-B Electric Cable with Fish Tape
I figured based on rough measurements with a tape measure that I needed about 35 feet of electric cable plus some extra for waste when wiring the junction box, stripping wires, etc. I purchased a 50 foot roll of NM-B 12/2 cable at my local home improvement store.
I attached the NM-B cable to the eye of the fish tape by snipping off the black and white insulated wires, then twisting the ground wire around the eye:
The fish tape eye and ground wire are wrapped in a layer of duct tape to prevent snags on sharp edges when pulling the cable:
The 50 foot roll of NM-B 12/2 cable is laid on the floor and ready for pulling with fish tape to run the new branch circuit:
Pulling the new NM-B 12/2 cable was easy. A helper in the kitchen pulled while I fed the NM-B cable, being careful to prevent kinks and twists. The fish tape is noted by the red arrows:
The following photo is the new run of yellow NM-B 12/2 cable after pulling through the finished basement ceiling crawlspace. Note how I was careful to lay the cable over the cross-runs of white NM-B 14/2 cable to keep it off the suspended drywall ceiling. This is so the cable isn’t accidentally cut if I or someone else were to cut a hole in the ceiling to install a light or maintenance panel.
Had the crawlspace above the suspended drywall ceiling been accessible, I would have nailed wood guard strips across the floor joists to protect the cable, then stapled the cable to the joists between the guard strips. The best that I could when fishing cable in this inaccessible location was to route the cable as shown, which is allowed by the National Electrical Code.
The is the NM-B 12/2 cable as it goes up through the subfloor to the kitchen sink cabinet:
Success! NM-B 12/2 cable fished back to the kitchen sink cabinet:
Reroute the NM-B Cable to the Wall
I have a minor problem. The NM-B cable is in the wrong place in the middle of the cabinet bottom. Bare cable cannot be exposed per the Electrical Code rules and it would look stupid to have the cable penetration here.
The new junction box and receptacle will be mounted on the back wall of the cabinet. The NM cable needs to penetrate the cabinet floor directly below the junction box. I therefore drilled a 1 inch hole in the cabinet bottom almost directly above the hole in the subfloor with a wood boring drill bit to reroute the NM cable.
The NM-B 12/2 wire is attached to a spool flat steel fish tape and covered with a piece of duct tape to prevent snags. The steel fish tape is stiffer than nylon tape and curved in the direction needed to reach the hole in the center of the cabinet bottom.
I pulled the NM cable back down the center hole and up the new hole by the wall, being careful not to kink the NM cable as the loop pulled through the center hole:
This project is continued in Part 6.
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