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10 Old Wiring Tricks Electricians Still Use Today

by Chris Lee | January 7th, 2016
Some of the best electricians are the ones that think outside of the wire to make magic happen. Much trial and error over generations has gone into these tricks, so we are sharing the knowledge gathered straight from the source. Now you can add these 10 old wiring tricks to your electrician's tool belt without messing up your hair. 1. "Use the end of a hanger to find a drilling location"
"Still measuring from the foundations to find the location to drill up a wall? Try this. Take an insulation hanger or a coat hanger. Snip off the end at a 45 degree angle. Insert it into your drill and make a small hole at a 45 degree angle on the floor next to the molding. Homeowners never notice the hole because it is so small."
-James M. Knecht on Electrician's Toolbox 2. "Use a tennis ball to pull cable"
"When pulling communications wire, tie jet-line to a tennis ball. Throw the ball to the wire's destination. Hook your wire to the string and pull."
-Anonymous on Electrician's Toolbox 3. "Use a hot air gun to aid in bending PVC conduit"
"A hot air gun comes in handy when you need quick bend for PVC conduit. Just heat the area until pliable and then make your bend. Larger conduits can bend by inserting the area of the conduit through a 3 or 4 inch PVC tee and the hot air gun in the remaining opening in the tee. Leave the conduit in the tee until it's bendable."
-James Dekanich on Electrician's Toolbox 4. "Making large holes without proper drill bits"
"When you need to make large holes for conduit and you don't have a large drill bit try this. Make your template where you want to drill and drill a series of holes around the exterior. Follow up with one center hole and be sure you're level. Finish with a piece of 1/2" rigid and a hammer to bang out the hole clean. Works every time!"
-Gardner R. Friscia on Electrician's Toolbox 5. "Use paper to hold a screw on a screwdriver"
"Using a piece of paper about 1/2" by 1/2" wrap the head of a screwdriver and slip it into the slot on the screw. This will work best when the slot is deep. You may have to bend paper once to tighten the slot. This also works for nut-drivers."
-Anthony Herron on Electrician's Toolbox 6. "Use a new light bulb to replace an old light bulb"
"First test to see if the circuit is dead. Clean the broken particles that remain in the socket with a screwdriver or pliers. Then insert the new light bulb into the socket twisting in reverse, as this will remove the broken end of the old light bulb (usually this is the hardest part to take out.) This should clean out all damaged parts leaving the socket ready for the new light bulb."
-C. Gilchrist on Electrician's Toolbox 7. "Keep wires dry using silicon"
"This idea is useful when you are running underground or working in damp locations. You can take a little silicon and squirt it in the wire nut and this will keep water and moisture out. When the silicon dries, it is air tight."
-Anonymous on Electrician's Toolbox 8. "Use cotton string to cut PVC"
"When cutting exposed PVC pipe conduit buried in a ditch you can use a cotton string instead of a hacksaw or a hand saw. Wrap the string (such as the kind contractors use for form lines) half-way around the conduit and "see-saw" the ends. The friction will cut the PVC cleanly as quickly as a hacksaw and does not require the space. Nylon string will not work because nylon and the PVC melt together."
-Anonymous on Electrician's Toolbox 9. "Anti-itch remedy for insulation"
"How often do you have to work in an attic or lay in ceiling that has insulation? Well, there is a remedy that will keep the itch a way. Take a bottle of baby powder or corn starch and apply it to your hands, arms, neck and a face (be careful not to get in your eyes). The powder protects your skin from the insulation and prevents the irritation and itching."
-Anonymous on Electrician's Toolbox 10. "Easy clean up"
"Buy a cheap 2" wide paintbrush and carry it in your tool pouch. It comes in real handy when cleaning dust and metal shavings out of panels and boxes."
-Anonymous on Electrician's Toolbox If you want to learn more neat tricks, check out Electrician's Toolbox. If you would like to try a free beta of our electrical estimating software please feel free to register: here.
Chris Lee
Chris Lee has an extensive background in preconstruction management as a former specialty contractor and business owner. As the Chief Estimator at Esticom, he’s helped thousands of specialty contractors digitize their preconstruction process to increase revenue and profitability while decreasing unnecessary overhead.

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