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Old 11-07-2011, 01:57 PM  
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Default Adding electrical line in garage

Hi there,

First post here. Relatively new DIYer so trying to learn a lot on many things.

I'm trying to run an electrical line to feed the outdoor motion sensing floodlight with a switch. Have a couple of questions whether existing line run is correct and also what the right way to run the new line would be.

Here are some pic's:

Pic #1: Existing line to floodlight

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1. To outside floodlight

2. Existing line stapled
Q: Is this the right way to run the line downward at this location?

3. The new line I am adding (behind the ceiling joist)

Pic #2: New line
When I run this new line behind the ceiling joist, it needs to make a turn here.

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1. New line (stapled behind ceiling joist).

Q. Is it ok to run the new line just below the joist in making this turn and then just run along the top edge of the top plate after the turn?


2. Q. Is it better to drill a whole thru' the ceiling joist at this spot, then try to staple the line on top of the top plate so that it's clear of the side of the top plate?

Pic #3: New line - electrical switch

Here the line is making another turn downward -- to the electrical switch.

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1. Q. I wonder if this is acceptable way when making the turn?
(I have not stapled the line yet)

Or should I drill a hole thru' the top plates to make the downward turn?

2. Other existing wires

The other wires are all stapled along the top plates now.

You can see how all the other existing lines run downward . They were like that when I moved into this house.

Q. Is this acceptable way of running the wires?

Q. If not, what'd be the right way of for all these other wires?

Another reason I am asking is that I am thinking about installing a ceiling and putting dry walls in the garage.

I wonder if all these wires would need to be fixed up (and which way) before I can install the dry walls and the ceiling.

Which would lead to a separate question of how to install dry wall in this garage.

Let me know if I need to post a separate thread on ceiling/drywall install questions... .

PS: This is a 2-car garage. There are only two 5" size ceiling joists 8 feet apart that run across the two garage walls.

Last edited by c4qeizlr; 11-07-2011 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:38 PM  
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The line needs more support. It is dangling too much. Needs to be supported every four feet minimum.

How many wires going through the top left hole in the open box? Looks like way too many and I don't see a cable clamp either. The whole system looks like it needs to be started over. What a mess.

Last edited by JoeD; 11-07-2011 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 11-07-2011, 08:26 PM  
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Thx for the response. I am only installing one new wire.

*It is dangling too much.*
Which picture are you referring to (I've numbered the pics now)? There are several segments of the line.

For the line segment in pic #1, it's the existing line,

which runs (dangling) from the ceiling joist -- straight to the garage door. Is that a bad practice? If so what'd be a better practice?

For the line segments in pic #2 (circles 1,2) and pic #3 (circle 1), that's the new line I'm adding,

and it's still somewhat dangling because I want to make sure the line is running along the right spots the right way -- before I staple it down.

BTW, is it ok to run the new wire just along the top edge of the top plates (as shown now in pic's #2 and #3)?

I talked to someone in HD and he says best is to run the new line right in the middle of the top surface of the top plate,

and then drill holes to go thru' when any piece of wood is in the way (unless the wood is real thin, then go over it instead) of the wire.

However, several ceiling beams end right on the top plate (e.g. circle 1 in pic #2).

So do I run the wire over each beam,


run the wire under each beam (what it shows now in pic #2),


drill a hole each time the line runs across a beam so the line would run thru' it--instead of across the beam?

What I'm trying to figure out is how to run the new wire the right way--nicely, before I staple it down.

Want to learn how to run the wire in a garage... . Appreciate inputs on best practice... .

How many wires going through the top left hole in the open box?
There are 3 wires going into that top left hole in that box. They go to the left switch in the box (the switch's been removed by me for now) which is one of the two 3-way switches by the two doors in the garage that control the light above the washer/dryer.

On the right side of the box there's another line feeding the wire for the garage door opener.

The other single switch below this dual-switch box is also another 3-way switch for the outdoor lamp.

And below that single switch box (not show in the pic) is a 240-volt outlet for the dryer.

Feel free to suggest how to start over if feel needed.

My first try is to get this one new line running right first... .


Last edited by c4qeizlr; 11-07-2011 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:54 PM  
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As so appropriately stated by JoeD, and with my emphasis--Yikes, what a mess!

Don't know where to begin, but one thing I see is a floppy run of Romex dangerously close to the garage door's torsion spring. Every time the door is raised or lowered, the spring moves, vibrates and partially rotates, just enough to possibly rub against and wear through the Romex's insulation, causing a short, and burning the place down. The least you can do would be to put that run in some steel or even plastic conduit.

Someone more qualified than I am may chime in soon, but at least remember the nailer plates before sheetrocking, or you're sure to nail/screw into some Romex while rocking, and cause shorting problems.
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Old 11-08-2011, 10:14 AM  
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I'm with the other guys, that whole mess needs to come out and be redone!
Wiring is never run over or under a floor joist, imposible to hang sheetrock or add a floor if you do as well as someone can step on it in the attic.
The outlet and the switch are at differant heights. I did not see a GFI anyplace, (needed in a garage kitchen, bathroom or basement)
If you drill a hole in the floor joist just drill it in the middle so no nailing plate is needed.
That hole in the header should have been drilled above it not through it and there should have been a siding block on the outside to run the wire into to mount the light, now there's no way to add sheetrock unless you pad out that whole wall.
There should have also been staples within 6" of every outlet and switch box.
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Old 11-14-2011, 01:04 PM  
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Default Just talked to an electrician...

His suggestions...

Instead of the wires stapled along the edge of the two 2x4 double top plates like they look now, we can

- first drill 7/8" size holes thru' the top plates at the needed spots and allow wires to run thru' the holes when they need to go vertically thru' the plates.

Above the double top plates, either

- run the wires along the small gaps between the rafter beams and the wood boards that support the shingles,

However if people install new roof, they might cut into the wires.

** Qt:
Should that be a concern, or roof installers should watch out for that?


- install runners (2x4's?) that run perpendicular to the ceiling joists (they sit over the top of the ceiling joists) along the whole length of the garage,
and run the wires along the edge of the runners.

A side question:
How would the runner end --

would it meet the drywall of the house, or it needs to go thru' the dry wall of the house and meet another piece of wood? Not sure how this spot needs to be done.


That hole in the header should have been drilled above it not through it
For the wire that currently goes thru' the header to the floodlight, he says there's a clearance of a few inches from the garage opener spring so it looks ok in terms of safety.

I was thinking if I were to run that wire to the outside over the header instead so would be better for the drywall install, it'd come out on the outside at a top spot above the stucco wall, and that spot is very narrow.

I would then need to run the wire down again at a slightly lower spot in order to install a box for the floodlight. The wire would be exposed and I'd need to put contuit around it?

And then, I'm not sure if I can hide the box for the floodlight -- the header is behind the stucco wall, would a pancake be thin enough so I would only need to the cut the stucco out and not cutting out the header?

Any other suggestions?

Last edited by c4qeizlr; 11-14-2011 at 03:22 PM.
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