Wiring to second floor

justducky22September 23, 2012

Hello everyone. I am hoping someone has some ideas here. We live in an old house with lathe & plaster walls. We need to get an electrical wire up to a second floor bedroom to add more outlets. We found an old direct tv wire (no longer in use) that runs along the outside of the house, it comes into the attic and goes down into the room then outside along the side of the house and down into the basement. Lucky for us the room that needs the outlets is the room that has access to the attic. My question is, is it possible to run the wire outside (replacing the old direct tv wire) or should we try and find an another route inside the house? Just seems to us that this would be the most direct route. We are trying to avoid holes in the plaster walls as they are not easy to repair....well not for us anyway! Thank you!!!

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Sure, it's possible to run it outside, but unlike a TV wire it'll need to be protected from the weather and physical damage, so you'll have to run in conduit and it'll be an eyesore.
In general, it's usually easiest to fish wires in an outside wall in old houses.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 9:39PM
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The house may be balloon framed and extremely easy to fish cables in the wall.
If you wish to use cable on the exterior, Type UF that is Sunlight resistant can be used with protection, usually a piece of EMT with suitable end fittings per code, for a height of 8 feet above the ground. Above that, no protection is required. Makes for a crappy-looking installation but is quick, cheap and meets code.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 10:10PM
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Thank you both. We are not really concerned about the looks as there are already a bunch of other wires rinning down the exterior in the same location so one more will not make a difference! We are going to try and find a way to fish them inside first as suggested but just wanted to make sure we had a back-up plan incase we ran into trouble (which is pretty normal with an old house!). Thank you again for the speedy responses!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 10:55AM
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Ron Natalie

Even with plaster and lath (lathe is a device for turning wood) it's probably not hard to run things interior. Small holes can be cut and repaired. Even if platform framed, you can drill the plates. If we're talking about a masonry exterior, there's often plenty of voids to pull through, other places that are handy are along the runs for chimneys, etc...where there are often gaps in the framing.

While others have pointed out the legality of pulling things on the exterior, it's a pretty hideous thing to do to an old house.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 11:58AM
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Find a wall on the first floor that has another wall above on the second floor.

Cut out the plaster in the stud bay and run your lines and miltuple conduits in the bay from basement to attic.

Repair the wall section as well as you wish.

Anything from drywall up to plaster on expanded metal lath (3 coat plaster) or gypsum lath (2 coat plaster).

If you need any other lines (phone, plumbing, cable TV, thermostat, etc.) this is your chance to run them.

You need to decide if you can tolerate a sub panel on the second floor somewhere.

You can then run four larger lines for the sub-panel directly or to the attic and then drop them back to the sub-panel (panels are not allowed in clothes closets).

Behind a door to a room is often a good hiding place.
When the door is open the panel is not visible.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 12:38PM
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Years ago I ran a power wire from the attic to the basement in my lath and plaster walled house, going through the small space beside the main plumbing stack. Don't know if any NEC rules were violated but it worked for me. Or maybe alongside the chimney, as ronnatalie suggested. All the best. Bernie

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:15PM
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