Ideas That Work: Getting Precise and Using Foil

By Anton Mikec | Sep 15, 2017
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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.

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

Jet line ‘ruler’

This works best in an unobstructed setting such as a factory or box store with ample floor space to spool out conductors. Mark your starting location on the floor with a piece of electrical tape. Move the wire caddy to just ahead of this mark, and push your fish tape into the conduit as normal to the end of the run. Tie some jet line to the fish tape, pull it back through to the starting point and cut it. Pull the jet line out of the conduit, and stretch it from the starting location (electrical tape marker) to the end of the run along the floor. Now you have a perfect “ruler” for runs of wire, so you can spool off the precise length of conductors along the floor and pull them into the conduit as usual.

John Hemmings
Charleston, W.V.

Under pressure

Running long runs of conduit and threading a pull line through as each section is added often is a hassle. An easy solution is to assemble the entire run and crush a piece of aluminum foil into a small cylinder. Tie a piece of mason’s string to it, and place the cylinder inside one end of the conduit start. Using an air compressor and a blower nozzle, place the nozzle into the conduit following the cylinder. Once the full pressure (80 psi or more) is applied, it will force the foil and attached string to travel through to the other end of the conduit. This has worked on runs as long as 450 feet. Make sure your mason’s string is longer than the run, and secure the loose end before applying pressure!

Charles Skurkis
Harrisburg, Pa.

Idea Igniter

Installing Lighting Fixtures

Give us some of your best tricks for the installation of new lighting fixtures. The challenges when installing fixtures have not changed; we are almost always working from an elevated platform with the risk of falling or dropping equipment. Fixtures are heavy and cumbersome when working overhead. Also, the fixtures are expensive to replace, so protecting them is always important. With new technology, the wiring and layout have significantly changed, as well.

Anton and Jesse Mikec

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 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


Each published author in Ideas That Work receives a $50 American Express gift card from ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. In addition, each month’s FIRST PLACE winner will receive a $100 gift certificate from Zoro, to be used at

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.

About The Author

Anton Mikec is the Ideas That Work editor for Electrical Contractor magazine. Contact him at [email protected].

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