If you have decided to do some rewiring in your home, you may come to an area that requires you to install wires around the plumbing. If you are nervous about installing the electrical wires correctly around pipes containing water, use the following tips to ensure you do so safely.
Inspect The Pipes For Leaks Before Wiring
Before you starting removing or stringing the first wire, inspect the surrounding pipes for any leaks. Even the smallest drip could cause a fire if the water were to come into contact with an exposed wire. It could also pose an electrocution risk while you are installing the wires.
To check for leaks, use a towel to completely dry the outside of each pipe. Wait about five minutes, then run your hand slowly over the surface. If you feel any wet spots, you may have a leak that will need to be repaired before you proceed with your project.
You should also look for signs of hidden leaks in the walls adjacent to where the wires will be anchored. This includes discolored walls and wooden beams that constantly stay wet. If you are unable to find the leak, you may want to have a professional look at it before you start installing your electrical wires.
Hang The Wires Above The Pipes If Possible
After ensuring your pipes are not leaking, examine the area around the pipes to select the location for your electrical wires. If possible, anchor the wires above any pipes.
Even though you have no leaks when you install the wires, one could form in the future. If the wires are below the pipes when they begin to leak or burst, the water could short out the wiring system and the sparks could start a fire.
If you cannot avoid placing the wires below the pipes, make sure you wrap them with moisture-resistant insulation. You may also want to use outdoor wiring because they have a thicker coating that can withstand constant exposure to moisture.
As an extra precaution, you may want to wrap the pipes with precut foam insulation. While these do not stop leaks, they can trap condensation on the outside surfaces of the pipes, preventing the moisture from building up and running off onto the wires.
Anchor The Wires At Least Four Inches Away From The Pipes
When attaching the wires, make sure they are at least four inches away from the pipes. If one of the anchors come loose, this will give the wire enough leeway to fall without striking the pipes. This is especially important if you have iron or copper plumbing that could conduct electricity and increase the danger of a house fire.
To attach the wires to a stud or beam, use a wire anchor. The anchor itself is smooth plastic that will not cut into the coating. The anchor is held in place by two small nails on either side, making it a safe, secure option for ensuring the wires stay in place.
When distancing the anchors, place them every three inches. This distance is one inch shorter than the minimum space between the pipes and wires. This gives you added assurance that there is enough space if an anchor were to come out, leaving enough space between the wire and pipe.
By being careful and using the tips above, you should be able to avoid a hazardous situation while installing electrical wires around your pipes. However, if you are unsure you can safely do the work yourself, you may want to contact an electrician to discuss the possibility of them doing the job for you.
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