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Ideas That Work: Conduit Tips, Firestopping and More

By Nov 15, 2014
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Every month, we pick the top 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.

For a note on "game-changing ideas" from the Ideas That Work editor, Anton Mikec, click here.

Now, without further ado, here are this issue's Ideas That Work!


Quick, secure conduits
We discovered this time-saving prefab application when stubbing conduits through concrete pan decking. Take the size and number of the conduits needed (in our case, six 4-in. and two 2-in. conduits) and spot-weld them to Unistrut for support. Then, punch out a piece of sheet metal and slide it over the conduits. Cut a hole through the deck, drop your rack right into the hole, screw it down to the decking and seal the holes with spray foam to prevent the concrete from seeping out. This is faster than drilling holes for individual conduits and is able to prevent misalignment.
Brian Moore
Heber City, Utah

Firestop without the mess
After doing an extensive rehab job that required the relocation of a majority of the existing circuits, we ended up with quite a few open conduits that penetrated through walls and ceilings. These pipes needed to be firestopped. The idea we came up with was to use a hole saw with the pilot bit removed from the arbor and cut plugs out of a 3M caulk brick, approximately 2 in. thick. The plugs are cut slightly larger than the internal diameter of the pipe and then inserted into the open ends of the conduit. It’s a lot less messy than using the tubes of caulk, and if they need to be removed, you can pull them out using a screw.
William Marino
North Haven, Conn.

Junction box solution
When having to connect multiple conduit riser groups of different sizes and positions into a junction box, I use the following method for a fast and accurate job. Cut all conduits flush with one another to where the junction box will be located. Now, rest the box on the ends, and lightly spray paint around the conduit ends into the box. Now you have a perfect pattern showing where the conduit centers are transferred onto the box. Go ahead and make your cuts into the box for the conduits. Install your conduit connectors, and then you’re ready to slip the box onto the connectors for an easy fit.
Donald Kapit
Waterford, Mich.

Fishing in a downspout
When installing electric heat tapes in downspouts, use a red-and-white fishing bobber and attach a 4-pound test fishing line. Drop it into the downspout from the top, and the bobber should be just the right size to go through any bends and come out the bottom. Attach heat tape to the fishing line from the bobber and pull the heat tape into the downspout. The bobber is now easy to see.
Douglass Beers
Aliquippa, Pa.


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 [email protected], 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.

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