areas must be patched once the wiring is installed. The
second way is to remove a small portion of the finished
area (only enough to give access to voids in walls,
ceilings, etc.) and then fish the wires in. The removed
portions of the finished area are then replaced after the
wiring is complete.
Where outlet boxes are used, they should be
designed for installation in the type of finish in the
area. Means of securing the boxes to some structural
m e m b e r - l i k e m o u n t i n g e a r s o r h o l d i n g
devices-should be given consideration.
Another method of providing outlets in a finished
area is to remove the existing baseboard and run the
conductors in the usual groove between the flooring
and the wall and then replace the baseboard. This
method requires less work (cutting and patching) than
most other methods when disturbing a finished area.
There is also a type of metal baseboard on the market
that may be installed along the floor line and used as a
raceway. Most types are provided with two
compartments for wires: one for power and one for
low-voltage wiring. Using this metal baseboard
provides a simple means of routing wires for
security/fire-alarm systems with very little cutting or
patching. In most cases, wires can be fished from the
baseboard up to outlets on the wall, especially if the
outlets are less than 3 feet (0.9 m) above the floor.
However, if this is not practical, matching surface
molding can be installed to blend in very nicely with
When a lot of cutting and patching is required in a
finished area, many installers will have a carpenter do
the work. The carpenter may know some tricks that
will help the alarm-system installers get the system in
with the least amount of difficulty. Also, any cutting or
patching will be done in a professional manner.
Before doing any actual cutting on an existing
building to install security/fire-alarm components, the
installer should carefully examine the building
structure to ascertain that the wires may be routed to
the contacts and other outlets in a relatively easy way.
It is possible that a proposed outlet location, for
example, could be moved only a foot or two to take
advantage of an existing chase. Perhaps a smoke
detector or similar component was originally located
in a ceiling with insulation, which would make the
fishing of cables very difficult. If the detector could be
located on a ceiling containing no insulation, the job
would be greatly simplified.
When cutting holes in ceilings for outlets, you
should spread a drop cloth or paper underneath to catch
all dust and dirt. Sometimes an old umbrella can be
opened and hung upside down under the spot in the
ceiling where the hole is being made to catch the debris
and keep it off the rugs and furniture.
Holes for wires and components can be cut through
plaster with a chisel, through wood with a keyhole saw
after first drilling two or four pilot holes, and in brick or
other masonry with a masonry chisel or rotary
hammer. To locate the exact spot to cut these openings,
first cut a small hole in the center of the spot where the
larger one will be made. This hole may then be used to
locate the area between studs or--in the case of very old
buildings--the cracks between the plaster laths. It is
then possible to shift the mark for the outlet openings
so that all obstacles can be avoided and the outlet box
or component can be properly anchored.
There are a number of ways to pull and fish wires
into walls and openings in finished buildings and, with
a little ingenuity and careful thought, workers should
be able to solve almost any problem of this kind that
they may encounter.
When you are pulling wires into spaces between
the joists in walls, a flashlight placed in the outlet box
hole is often a great help when feeding the wires in or
catching them as they are pushed near the opening.
Under no circumstances should a candle or other open
flame be used for this purpose. If one must see farther
up or down the inside of a partition, a flashlight and a
mirror used in combination, as shown in figure 8-5, is a
great help. Many installers like to make their own
mirror by gluing a small 2- by 3-inch (5- by 8-cm)
compact mirror on a handle, resembling a wooden
tongue depressor. Any type of small flashlight may be
Figure 8-5.A flashlight and mirror used in combination are
useful for viewing conditions inside of partitions.