Waste wire

Unveiling the Waste Wire Method: Custom Building Wiring 101

Foreword by Ian Thompson, Editor

Waste Wire, how can this be good practice? How many builds, residential and commercial, look as good as CJ’s wiring? Well, in my experience, not many. So it’s time to untangle the controversial topic of “wasted” wiring on custom house builds. Join your host Matt Risinger with CJ Nielsen as they expose why leaving strategic lengths of excess wire is actually a useful practice for future-proofing flexibility.

It may not be the most cost-efficient, but it really will save some major headaches when it’s time to add a few new electrical items to your circuits.

In Matt’s video, see why smart sparkies gladly add extra cable runs during rough-in/first fix to enable effortless layout modifications down the road. No more tearing out walls.

Discover the efficiency of cable stackers over fiddly staples. While an upfront tool investment, CJ reveals how these blazing-fast stacking methods save huge labour costs on sprawling custom wire pulls.

Gain pro tips on creating protective wire loops and using colored tape with updated labeling. It’s wire management 101 for safely enabling adaptability without damaging conductors during remodels.

Be wowed by line lasers that virtually eliminate layout guesswork on long runs. Despite the spirited debate, CJ proves the pinpoint accuracy and time savings can’t be beaten with traditional methods.

Join Matt and CJ for a candid look at their justified strategy behind deliberate wire “waste” on upscale projects.

Over to you, Matt – let’s get wired!

Unveiling the Waste Wire Wisdom: Elevate Your Custom Home Wiring Game

Video Transcript

What’s up guys? I’m Matt Reisinger and I’m CJ with CNC Electric. We are visiting one of CJ’s jobs in California. He wired this house and we got four controversial ways that CJ and his crew wire that I wonder if you agree with or absolutely hate. Let’s get going.

Foreign number one: CJ, I notice that you’ve got this really pretty extra weave of wire going into this three or four gang here, and then also you’ve got this same amount of, it’s seemingly extra wire on the job. What’s going on here?

So it looks like a waste, uh, and we’d been called out a couple times saying, “Hey you guys really waste wire,” but the justification here is mainly working on custom homes. Things are moving and so it only takes a couple boxes to move and you take it all the way apart to where you realize like, “I don’t want to do this again,” because once this is stripped and made up, you’re not moving it easily.

So what we do is we only enter one side of a box so that we could go up or down, left or right. In this case, this is a little cluttered just because we got back-to-back switches and this is where they’re going to live. But no matter what, you can see right here, I could definitely go up or down, left or right in case, you know, framing changes, they need to add something, or we’ve even had windows go in, and, you know, we got to move things and there’s a method to this extra amount of wire hanging out too, right? Same reason, same reason.

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You know, it’s really hard to run a cable from point A to point B and go, “Hey this is the perfect length.” It always ends up short, so rule of thumb we’re adding a couple extra feet, um, and you know, in this house I think we got maybe 200 to 250 boxes, so if you add it up, you know, we’re wasting a couple feet on each box, you multiply it by the boxes, what are we talking? A roll of wire by the job, yeah. And it’s, it’s a little bit of cost that we’re willing to spend knowing that, you know, we have flexibility in our install. Controversial but awfully smart.

CJ, normally I see these wires stapled. What is this cool plastic thing you’re using? So these are cable stackers, um, it’s really nice because you can fit multiple cables. There’s a rating for them around how many wires you can fit, but I mean think about how many staples we would have put in these, yeah. It’s a, it’s a little more efficient.

So a little controversial though because these cost what, 50 cents, a dollar each, something like that, you know, they range depending on, you know, we try to buy them in bulk. So yeah, definitely more expensive than a staple, but you know, in the green scheme of things, it’s a, it’s a labor saver, um, it’s a convenience thing. You know, we got a lot of wires running in multiple directions.

This bay would end up full of staples and not to mention, I think one of my favorite things is again, we’re working on custom homes, things change, yeah, these you can unclip instead of yanking staples out. And then the third reason that I really like them is that it’s a lot less, um, there’s a lot less potential for you to damage a wire with a hammer or, you know, drive a staple through.

You’ve always heard those services where someone whacked the cable really hard on accident, didn’t know, you cut a wire and, you know, you don’t find out until after drywall. Much safer in the long run. And Sam, the project manager on this job, mentioned to me too, Matt, if you ever needed to move that outlet in the future on a remodel, you could use a fine tool, let’s say cut that nail there and there, the box is free, yank the box out from the front of the drywall, the wired still be left, 100, shove your hand in, push these off the cable.

I’ll do it on this one just so everyone knows what I’m talking about. These are able to be let free from the back rather than how would you get a staple out if it was in the wall right? There’s some old school tricks, screwdriver and this and again, you’re opening yourself up to damage. And so that’s a great reason and that’s why we leave that loop again.

We can go up or down or over if a door jamb changes. That’s a common one right, a door gets a little wider and you got to scoot the box over. If you didn’t have those, you know, you’re talking a couple hours in labor just to open that up and and pull staples. So another, another good reason. Controversial but really smart.

All right CJ, one thing I noticed through this house that you and your guys wired is this red tape with the Sharpie logo or the Sharpie marks showing what’s happening, why that on the tape and not just on the studs?

Yeah, I feel like I said it once and I’ll say it again, we work on custom homes and things change. And so for us we use it for, if this does change, we don’t have a bunch of Sharpie wall marks on the wall crossed out. We just rip it off, tape up a new one. We use it for delineating what, what switch is what and we actually do a box walk prior to.

And so what we’ll do is we’ll actually box out where they say it’s going to go, we’ll walk with the homeowner or the builder and they’re easy to, to read, yeah. You can see you actually marked on their, “Spotlight, family room, spotlights, island pendants.”

We’ll label, we’ll label. If there was a future light location here and we don’t know the back box, we’ll lay it out with stucco tape. We know there’s a red mark there. We know we got to get a wire there and then we can specify the box later. Super smart and then when that changes or you do something different, just rip and again, I like to use the stucco tape. It seems to hold up really well. We’ve come back after, you know, months of it being hung up and if a rough end gets delayed and it’s still sticking, it’s pretty great. Super smart.

Okay CJ, possibly the most controversial of the tips is this one right here, setting up a Blazer and drilling with a laser. Talk to me about that. Sounds like a big waste of time. I’ve heard a lot of that.

You know, we’ve been doing it for years and years. A lot of guys do it, a common method for drilling out a wall is put it on your hip, put it on your knee, the drill and just you know, use that as a guide and you end up with wonky holes. It makes it hard for pulling. It doesn’t look very good.

So what we do is take 20 seconds, we have a line laser, screw it to the wall. We get our elevation, it also gives us a really good visual, you know, once that, once that laser beams up it’ll show oh, we want to avoid that, let’s raise it up. So we’ll get our drill line hopefully it’s consistent through the whole job and blast away with the drill.

Super smart. And then the whole room, just in one location too. Uh, I want to brag on you for a second, you told me a story earlier today when I was hanging out, new builder, he hadn’t worked for before, crusty old guy on the job site was the builder, his inspector came in. This is the first time that CJ and his career had worked with him.

The inspector, electrical inspector, walked in, could immediately pick out that it was a CNC job because the lines were perfectly straight throughout the house, the wires look neat. This laser level making everything look pretty through the whole job. And his electrical inspector said, “Oh is this a CNC electric job? I’m seeing on the permit.

Oh yeah, you’re good. This is an awesome job. There’s hardly anything I need to look at here.” And so this old school builder, who had never worked with the CJ and his crew before, immediately had this, “Oh man,” how about that? The electrical inspector knew this electrician knew they’d do good work and care about their work.

And ultimately I think that’s the reason that I really like these four tips and CJ is that this is going to set your electrician, you, as a builder apart from other jobs. Your clients are going to come in and see that straight neat wire, the organization and the thought behind this. CJ, amazing work, my friend. If you guys don’t know CJ, he’s shooting videos on his job sites that are publishing over on thebuildshow.com on a weekly basis.

He’s an electrician here in the California area, but of course you can, if you have the web, you can access his videos, thebuildshow.com. Go follow him on Instagram as well. And if you’re not currently a subscriber, hit that subscribe button below. We’ve got new content here every Tuesday and every Friday. Follow us both on Instagram or Tik Tok, otherwise we’ll see you next time.

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