Pre-Wire Best Practices

Pre –Wire Best Practices

1.         Before you leave for the job count how many drops of wire you need and try to take one box per drop on each possible trunk line to the panel. This speeds up installation. 

2.        When you get to the job site take a few minutes to identify the main path(s) and where each drop will join that main path. 

3.        Drill out any holes you need to along these paths. If you have two installers one can drill while the other sets boxes of wire. If you drill a hole where the edge of the hole is less then 1-1/4” from the edge of the framing member, you MUST nail plate. 

4.        If going through engineered joist with the pre-stamped holes, DO NOT break them out with a hammer. This can cause extreme damage to the integrity of the joist and the holed never line up anyway. 

5.        Set a box at each drop point (door, window, keypad, siren, card reader, door strike, REX ect….)

6.        Label your wires at 2 feet and 3 feet from the end on opposite sides of the wire if possible. This makes it easier to ID the wire later on and provides two labels in case one smears. 

7.        Starting at the furthest point from the panel, start pulling your wire to the main trunk path picking up any other wires along the way. Route your wires over, under and around obstacles but only install pull hoops or rings if you need to avoid burning other wires. This process is not always neat, but its fast. Neatness comes later. 

8.        As you pick up wires, tape them together. When you reach the panel, secure your wires to the floor or framing. Only leave enough wire at the panel to reach the floor, then double it.

9.        If you are entering a room and you cannot get a firm location for your panel, leave enough wire to reach any point in the room going both directions around the room then add the height of the room.

10.    Do not leave any more wire than required to assure you can reach a panel and trim. Leave all your wires at the same length. Do not leave a wire bundle with wires of various lengths.  

11.    At this point start securing your wires back to the boxes. Wires should be secured at least every 4 feet and more if they sag. At no point should a wire sag or lay outside the edge of the framing. If you can pull a wire bundle outside the framing edge, add more secure points. As other trades come through they may push your wires. Insulation can push a wire outside the edge of the framing surface which may become pinched during sheetrocking.

12.     Wire branches should be routed at 90 degrees and always parallel to the framing. 

13.    Once you have secured the wire to the boxes, pull enough wire to trim the intended device.

14.    If you have another trunk path to install to additional locations, move your boxes and repeat.

15.    If the panel or head end location is to be sheetrocked, install a mud ring at the point where the cable would enter a panel. 

16.    At this point, it is best to re-label the wires 4-6 inches from where they exit the wall. Label the cables horizontally writing from the wall to the end of the cable. Avoid writing vertically down the wire. This is harder to read and requires more cable space.

17.    Unless you are installing coax or cat-6, do not coil up your wire. This leaves a large bundle that the sheet rockers cannot get through the hole they cut in the sheetrock. Instead, pull your cable out to the floor and it over, going back and forth until you have a long whip. 

18.    Using scrape plastic, cut-up trash bag or other material, wrap the cable whip. This will keep the cable clean during texture spraying and painting.

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