Cable & Boxes: How to Install Electrical Cable & Boxes

Tools For Electric Wires

In a typical wiring project, installing cable and boxes can take four or five times as long as making the wiring connections. It's important to plan cable runs and box placement carefully.

Projects in Cables & Boxes

Getting the right materials
All the materials you plan to install need the approval of your local building department. Local electrical codes determine the type of cable you need, as well as whether the boxes should be plastic or metal. Buy boxes that are as large as possible to make sure your boxes are large enough for the wires they hold.

Cable, boxes, receptacles, and switches are not expensive, and you can return them if you do not use them. So buy more than you think you need to save trips back to the home center. Purchase plenty of the little items needed for a project too -- straps or staples, nail guards, electrician's tape, and wire nuts of several sizes.

Plan your work
Be sure you understand exactly how each installation is to be wired. Consult the specific projects described in this book. Follow them from start to finish. Draw a plan and make a materials list. Have your local building department approve them. Buy all the materials you need and store them in an uncluttered space so you can easily get at what you need when you need it.

The order of work
Determine how to connect to power. When working in exposed framing (in a new addition or if the drywall or plaster has been removed), first install the boxes, then drill holes and run the cable.

If you are working in finished walls and ceilings, first cut holes for the boxes. Run the cable through a basement or attic or fish it through the walls. Then install the boxes.

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