Cold weather wiring

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iaov

Senior Member
Location
Rhinelander WI
I'm wiring a new house up here in Northern Wisconsin. It won't have heat for a couple more weeks. We are experiencing high temps in the teens for the foreseeable future. Yes, I realize we are morons for living in this ice box. My question though is does anyone have experience pulling Romex in this cold of weather, and did it cause any problems. The insulation seems to be awfully stiff. Thanx, George
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
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Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Retired Electrical Contractor
iaov said:
My question though is does anyone have experience pulling Romex in this cold of weather, and did it cause any problems. The insulation seems to be awfully stiff. Thanx, George
I live in NC and the temps sometimes gets into the teens and I have always kept the wire in a heated place the night before so it was more pliable. Propane heater on the job helps also.

When cold NM is hard to strip and gets very stiff-- I don't envy you a bit.:grin:
 
As I mostly work on the South Shore of Lake Superior, I have spent many days wiring in the cold. Romex is certainly less pliable but it's not too bad to work with. (It's 4/0 aluminum that's a pain in the neck). The main thing I've noticed is that it definitely takes more time than it normally does, for just about everything. Have some kind of heater so you you can at least warm your hands up, or get some of those hand warmers that you stick inside your gloves.

A homeowner once told me his electrician wouldn't pull Romex below freezing temps because it gets brittle and breaks. I thought this was a bunch of baloney. Has anyone had this happen?
 

Dennis Alwon

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electriciangirl said:
A homeowner once told me his electrician wouldn't pull Romex below freezing temps because it gets brittle and breaks. I thought this was a bunch of baloney. Has anyone had this happen?
Never with Nm cable but I did have it happen with Cat 3 cable many years ago-- I think it was cat 3 but can't remember--it was telephone cable anyway.
 

iwire

Moderator
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Location
Massachusetts
If you went searching wire manufacturers web sites I bet you could find the lowest temp they recommend for installing their products.

I have never worried about it with NM but if your pulling four 600 coppers you want the insulation to stay intact.
 

brantmacga

Señor Member
Location
Georgia
Occupation
Electrical Monke
i carry a supposed-to-be-kerosene-but-paint-thinner-fueled heater with me. after firing it up, i'll set the wire about 10 feet or so away from it (you'll have to judge for yourself) and let it warm. it makes a little difference versus pulling it freezing cold. yes that 4/0 SER it tough in the winter. even in the summer i'll let it set out in the sun for a couple of hours before trying to handle it.
 
The only problem I ever had pulling wire in the cold was one particularly nasty witer in Soutern New England. We were pulling 4/0 SER from the exterior main to the interior panel. When we tried to wrestle the cable in to the 2x6 wall (making a 90 from the back of the cabinet and running up the wall) the outer jacket split open on us in 2 diffenet places about 8" in each place.

Now I can't remeber if we scrapped the entire piece of cable and waited for a warmer day to repull it or just got some gray tape from the van and wrapped the cable. Hmmmmm
 

don_resqcapt19

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Location
Illinois
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retired electrician
It is not recommended that you handle or install cables or conductors with PVC jackets or insulation when the temperature is below 14?F.
Don
 
typically +15?F is the lowest i can handle the wires unheated anything colder either heat up the wires or get that area heated up.

i did read the wire manufacter i know one company i think i read this correctly the Simpull type wire they dont encoruged to pull the wire colder than 15?F

Merci, Marc
 

Dennis Alwon

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Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Retired Electrical Contractor
frenchelectrican said:
typically +15?F is the lowest i can handle the wires unheated anything colder either heat up the wires or get that area heated up.

i did read the wire manufacter i know one company i think i read this correctly the Simpull type wire they dont encoruged to pull the wire colder than 15?F

Merci, Marc
Below 20 is the threshold of pain for me, not the wire.
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
Was working with Sim-Pull 600 kcmil conductors today in about 30 degree weather. We pulled 10' of cable off of the reel and 5' of the outer jacket cracked and popped right off on to the floor. That stuff is horrible in the cold.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
It may have been baloney, but one of my ex-employees kept saying the molded-in wire clamps in 2+ gang Carlon boxes jsut broke off when he tried to push NM into them in the cold.

Interestingly, he also snipped the prongs short on plastic pop-in NM buttons when he had to push more than one NM into one. He didn't exactly have the greatest upper-body strength.

I guess I'm a gorilla, but I can hold my 36v DeWalt straight out in one hand and drill framing with a 1" auger. I can drill 8 or 9 joists from a single ladder position with an 18"-long auger.
 

JohnJ0906

Senior Member
Location
Baltimore, MD
LarryFine said:
It may have been baloney, but one of my ex-employees kept saying the molded-in wire clamps in 2+ gang Carlon boxes jsut broke off when he tried to push NM into them in the cold.
Not baloney. I don't have problems with pulling the wire, it's cutting in the boxes (breaking clamps, stiff romex jackets) that is a problem.
 

peter d

Senior Member
Location
New England
LarryFine said:
I guess I'm a gorilla, but I can hold my 36v DeWalt straight out in one hand and drill framing with a 1" auger. I can drill 8 or 9 joists from a single ladder position with an 18"-long auger.
The Guvernator would be proud!
 
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