Wiring – Day 2+3, Plus Relocation

My work yesterday freed up some dependencies so I’m able to move on those while I also continue with my wiring project. 

First, though, one of the wiring subprojects is electrical.  I want to install a power outlet in the attic to feed the UV light in my HVAC system.  The UV light hasn’t worked as long as I’ve ever lived here, but that’s only part of the problem.  The previous homeowners had the light connected to the attic light socket, which turned off with the switch mounted near the access hole.  So if you wanted the UV light on, you had to leave the light switch on all the time and use the pull cord on the light socket.  And although I didn’t test it because that situation was dumb enough.I’m not sure if the pull cord controlled the outlets on the base anyway.

So, I mounted a new box on a rafter and ran some Romex wire down to the outlet that feeds my garage door opener.  Tomorrow AM when there’s light and coolness, I’ll cut the power and finish the wiring.

But, the relocation part.  Yes, the wiring project was motivated by my desire to move on the lanai window sill project.  So now I have a working network jack in the guest bedroom (the tester did its job perfectly).  So I have to move everything out of the lanai into other places temporarily and move my desk and computers to the guest bedroom.  So that’s going to be a blast.  In a way, it’s returning home, since the guest bedroom was my original office.

Back to the wiring.  Saturday morning I cut the breaker to the garage and wired up the new attic outlet.  I didn’t test it because the UV light doesn’t have a working bulb.  I will probably test it tomorrow if I choose to do some cable cleanup after today.

The next outlet in my list is the kitchen.  it replaces the phone line with a cat5 phone line cable and a network cable.  The test today is to see if I can pull cable back up into the attic using the existing cable.  Spoiler: no.

First, up in the attic to clear the insulation around the hole and get measurements.  pulling on the cable yields no movement.  Back down, I measure where the existing hole is.  It’s not even close to the outlet.  However, I got a new tool today to help me with cases like this.  It’s a massive magnet that will drag wires behind walls.  Let’s try it.

Back up in the attic, I drill a new large hole for my new wires.  I tie a pull string to a chain that was supplied with my new tool.  In theory, I drop the chain down, grab it with the magnet, and drag it to the outlet.  Easy.  But nothing is easy.  What I should have done as a first step is used the stud finder to see if there were any blocking studs.  And there were.  I could not drag the chain past the blocking stud.  I had no other choice.  I had the go into the wall.

Fortunately, there is a place I can cut that isn’t readily visible – inside the lighting soffit in the kitchen.  So, I cut a hole big enough for full access:



Inside, I spied the phone jack running over and down.  I reached in and pulled on it.  Still no budging.  It was stapled further down in the wall.  I had no choice but to run a new line.  In a rare bit of luck, there was no hole drilled down to where the outlet was.  It was just an open gap.  So I pulled the chain from my ingress hole, dragged it over to where the outlet needed and dropped it there.  In short order I had my chain coming out of the outlet.  I tied my cables to my pull string and fed them back into the outlet.


It wasn’t exactly easy to fish the two cables back up and I made the mistake of thinking I could pull the cables into the attic using the string.  That was a wasted trip up and back down.  The better thing to do was push the cable up into the attic from below.  Then it was a matter of terminating the ends and testing them (successfully!) and cleanup.

I make no apologies for choosing to do the easiest drops first.  It’s to build up some techniques and experience that maybe I can use on the harder drops.  and this run gives me a sinking feeling for the rest of my plan.  I didn’t want to have to get into cutting into walls, but look at me now.  The knowledge that the existing phone cables are stapled into place really changes the game plan.  One drop in the bedroom seems like it’s going to be near impossible since it is located under a plant shelf.  I can’t see how I can drop from above it.  But we’ll see what happens in future posts.