Every month, Jack Pullizzi picks the top four Ideas That Work submitted by you, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR readers. These ideas can't be found in any code or guidebook and are only learned or devised through years of experience and thinking, "There's got to be a better way to do this!" Please remember, the ideas presented in this article are for consideration only. Before using such ideas, make sure codes and safety standards have been fully adhered to. Now, without further ado, here are this issue's Ideas That Work!


The Donahue Loop
We often use the “Donahue Loop.” This is simply an extra loop of wire (usually Romex or armored cable) stapled to both studs or joists before it goes into the lighting outlet, recessed can, switch or outlet box. It allows us to move the box or fixture later to accommodate a change in location. The loop’s size (and thus the distance a box may be moved) is determined by a contractor’s history of moving devices. Obviously, this was named for a contractor who frequently had many changes on his jobs.

Peter Menczer
Cleveland

Fishing with your tent pole
While recently doing some old work wiring, I needed a more rigid snake for fishing across a ceiling. Only having a ⅛-in. fish tape, I went into my truck and got one of the poles from my small tent. It worked great! It was rigid enough to push long distances and is flexible like fiberglass rods that can be screwed together. It also folds and unfolds easily for storage.

Vincent Murdocca
IBEW Local No. 103
Wakefield, Mass.

Pulling knockouts
For hard-to-reach panels or box knockouts, use a drill and an icepick (punch or awl). Most knockouts are designed to be removed by knocking them from the outside in with a tool. However, I recently had little room to reach a knockout from the outside of a panel, so I drilled a small hole in the center of the knockout from the inside of the panel and then stuck my icepick in the hole and pried out the knockout from inside out. Caution, never work inside a live panel or box. Flip the main breaker, and work de-energized when possible.

John Hemmings
Charleston, W.VA.

Visualizing recessed cans
When installing old work recessed cans, I have found that one of the best tools is the template that comes with the can. I roll a piece of painter’s tape up and stick it to the back of the template. Once I find the center of where a can will go, I stick the template to that spot. This helps the customer see what the results of the job will look like, allows for easier repositioning of the lights in case there is a joist in the way, and it provides a pattern to cut around. Using the template has saved me time on the job and helped my customers feel comfortable with what the job will look like before I make that first cut.

Timothy McDonald
Cary, N.C.


IF YOU HAVE AN IDEA that has saved you time or money on the job, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR ­readers would like to hear about it. Be sure to include a good photo of your idea—hand sketches are often hard to interpret. Note that some similar ideas are submitted by more than one person. In these cases, the one that is more clearly written and includes a photo is given precedence. Send your letter and photo to Jack Pullizzi, Ideas Editor, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR, 3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 1100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5372, e-mail itw@necanet.org, or use the online submission tool at www.ecmag.com/ideasthatwork.

CASH AND TOOL PRIZES FOR WINNING IDEAS Each published author in Ideas That Work receives a $50 American Express gift card from ELECTRICAL ­CONTRACTOR. In addition, Southwire (www.southwiretools.com) will send the following set of electrician’s tools to each month’s first-place winner:

• Cable cutter
• Fish tape
• Long nose pliers
• Side cutting pliers
• Diagonal cutting pliers
• Pump pliers
• Screwdriver
• Wire stripper
• Crimpers
• Multimeter

DISCLAIMER: The ideas presented in this article are for consideration only. Before using such ideas, make sure codes and safety issues have been fully adhered to. ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR disclaims any liability from your use of these or any other ideas. ­ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR reserves the right to reprint the words herein at its discretion.

- See more at: http://www.ecmag.com/section/your-business/ideas-work-widening-small-hol...

IF YOU HAVE AN IDEA that has saved you time or money on the job, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR ­readers would like to hear about it. Be sure to include a good photo of your idea—hand sketches are often hard to interpret. Note that some similar ideas are submitted by more than one person. In these cases, the one that is more clearly written and includes a photo is given precedence. Send your letter and photo to Jack Pullizzi, Ideas Editor, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR, 3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 1100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5372, e-mail itw@necanet.org, or use the online submission tool at www.ecmag.com/ideasthatwork.

CASH AND TOOL PRIZES FOR WINNING IDEAS Each published author in Ideas That Work receives a $50 American Express gift card from ELECTRICAL ­CONTRACTOR. In addition, Southwire (www.southwiretools.com) will send the following set of electrician’s tools to each month’s first-place winner:

• Cable cutter
• Fish tape
• Long nose pliers
• Side cutting pliers
• Diagonal cutting pliers
• Pump pliers
• Screwdriver
• Wire stripper
• Crimpers
• Multimeter

DISCLAIMER: The ideas presented in this article are for consideration only. Before using such ideas, make sure codes and safety issues have been fully adhered to. ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR disclaims any liability from your use of these or any other ideas. ­ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR reserves the right to reprint the words herein at its discretion.

- See more at: http://www.ecmag.com/section/your-business/ideas-work-widening-small-hol...

IF YOU HAVE AN IDEA that has saved you time or money on the job, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR ­readers would like to hear about it. Be sure to include a good photo of your idea—hand sketches are often hard to interpret. Note that some similar ideas are submitted by more than one person. In these cases, the one that is more clearly written and includes a photo is given precedence. Send your letter and photo to Jack Pullizzi, Ideas Editor, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR, 3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 1100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5372, e-mail itw@necanet.org, or use the online submission tool at www.ecmag.com/ideasthatwork.

CASH AND TOOL PRIZES FOR WINNING IDEAS Each published author in Ideas That Work receives a $50 American Express gift card from ELECTRICAL ­CONTRACTOR. In addition, Southwire (www.southwiretools.com) will send the following set of electrician’s tools to each month’s first-place winner:

• Cable cutter
• Fish tape
• Long nose pliers
• Side cutting pliers
• Diagonal cutting pliers
• Pump pliers
• Screwdriver
• Wire stripper
• Crimpers
• Multimeter

DISCLAIMER: The ideas presented in this article are for consideration only. Before using such ideas, make sure codes and safety issues have been fully adhered to. ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR disclaims any liability from your use of these or any other ideas. ­ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR reserves the right to reprint the words herein at its discretion.