Pro Tips: Protect Yourself Now and Later

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Published On
Nov 15, 2019

First Place

A little dab’ll do

When using plastic anchors in cinderblock, concrete or tile walls, I apply an instant-grab glue to ensure the anchor does not pull out. An electrician knows that the plastic anchors pull out over time.

--Jim Marshall
Accokeek, Md.

Bristles of a Wire Bristle protection

Have you ever reached into your toolbox or bag and gotten poked by the bristles of a wire brush designed to go on a cordless drill? Simply store your wire brush inside a roll of duct tape and no longer get poked! It also saves space.

--Matthew  Burton
Comer, GA.


FACP troughFire alarm.

When installing a fire alarm system, I put a trough above the fire alarm control panel (FACP). From there I can pipe up into the ceiling behind the wall. This 12-in.-deep trough is half in and half out of the wall. There are two riser pipes behind the wall. This example is in a GMP clean room at a pharmaceutical facility. I can come down to my notification appliance circuit panels and FACP and also come out for as many modules as necessary. And there’s room for growth, considering that change orders or authority having jurisdiction mandates often come in at the last moment. It also eliminates nippling between panels.

As seen in the picture, I prefer to run the 120V power wiring behind the wall and to directly above where the panels will be before the Sheetrock is installed. This means my power wiring raceways don’t interfere with my low-voltage raceways. This I do partly because the fire alarm panels are very specific as to which knockouts can be used for power, Class 2, etc.

So when all is said and done, the panels are correctly, neatly and aesthetically installed.

--Peter White
East Brunswick, N.J.

Share ideas that have saved you time or money on the job with readers of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. Your fellow electrical professionals would like to hear about them. Be sure to include a good photo of your idea if you can; hand-drawn sketches may be hard to interpret. Note that some similar ideas are sometimes submitted by more than one person. In these cases, the one that is more clearly written and includes a photo is given precedence. 

Each published author in Pro Tips receives a $50 Lowe’s gift card. In addition, the first-place winner will receive a $100 Lowe’s gift card. 

Use the online submission tool at to send your tip and photo, or email it to or send a letter and photo to Pro Tips Editor, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR, 3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 1100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5372.

DISCLAIMER: The ideas presented in this article are for consideration only. Neither ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR nor Lowe’s, Inc. assumes any liability from your use of these or any other ideas. 

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