Article
Getting wire from point A to point B can require some ingenuity. Fishing tape is one popular manual option, but it can be time-consuming and can put some strain on installers’ joints. Depending on site conditions, contractors also can turn to machine-powered options to make the job a little easier. Power fishing can be a labor-saving alternative for all or part of a wiring installation job.

How to Add Power to Your Wire-Fishing Efforts

Chuck Ross
Getting wire from point A to point B can require some ingenuity. Fishing tape is one popular manual option, but it can be time-consuming and can put some strain on installers’ joints. Depending on site conditions, contractors also can turn to machine-powered options to make the job a little easier. Power fishing can be a labor-saving alternative for all or part of a wiring installation job.

Power fishing basically adapts a standard shop vacuum/blower to aid wire and cable installation. By inserting the machine’s tube into one end of conduit and creating a seal around that connection, contractors can blow pulling string attached to some sort of pulling device (possibly as simple as a plastic shopping bag) through to the other end. Similarly, the attached string can be sucked through the conduit, by putting the machine at the opposite end and vacuuming it through its path.

While some contractors have developed their own approaches to power fishing, some manufacturers have stepped in with both vacuum/blowers and accessories designed to make the job easier. According to Adele Hendrix, product manager with Greenlee and Emerson, power fishing is well-suited to a few specific applications.

“Power fishing systems are the quickest way to fish, but they only work in a conduit run that is relatively airtight p because of this, power fishing is popular for underground runs and rigid conduit runs,” she says. “Sometimes when installing a new run that isn’t rigid or PVC, you can make it a little more airtight by sealing off couplings with tape. If the run is short enough and the conduit is small enough, the air loss will not be significant enough to stop the piston from traveling through the run.”
Photo courtesy of Greenlee
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