laying underground wire in PVC pipe?

madtripper(5/6 Guelph)September 5, 2006

I want to lay some underground wire, and put it inside PVC piping. The lengths are quite long - up to 200 ft.

What is the best way to feed the wire through? Seems too long for a fish wire after gluing all the joints. Has anyone tried adding one section of PVC piping at a time and gluing as you go? Is there a problem with gluing the wire to the pipe?

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Get a roll of sewing thread and hook up a vacuum cleaner securely to the end of the 200' pipe. Feed the thread into the other end.

From there, pull another length of heavier string thru and then the wire.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 8:39PM
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Actually, I used 1" well pipe. It's seamless and available in 200' or more, continuous lengths.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 8:40PM
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machiem(Z8 WA)

The thread will work, but you need to give it something to get "sucked" through the pipe. I'd tie the string to a foam earplug or a ping pong ball or something similar and lightweight. You want the object slightly smaller than the pipe (or fittings whichever is smallest) so there will be maximum air resistance.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 10:51PM
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Pooh Bear

We layed it to our well house one section at a time.
That was 5 years ago. So far so good.
The well pump already had power.
We wanted a 110v outlet to run a heat lamp in the winter.

I ran three 12-2 w/ground wires thru 1.5 inch poly pipe (black poly-ethylene pipe)
for my workshop. 100 feet of pipe. 20 years ago.

Both of these methods are code violations.
Could void your house insurance should there ever be a problem.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 11:10PM
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dmullen(Southern CA)

I would use the gray PVC for electrical work. Sweeps are available in 90 degrees and 45 degrees and a fish tape will go through each of those. Gray will allow to to identify the electrical conduit easily in the future if you are near any white PVC water pipes.

You could glue the PVC together in sections a little shorter than your fishing tape and then glue those together as you fish the wire through. I have done that and gluing them is no problem even with the fish tape sticking out one end and a wire out of the other pipe.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 11:44PM
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For safety reasons, definitely use gray or gray painted PVC pipe. Gray denotes electrical and can later prevent shocks or worse from digging thru or sawing thru what is mistakenly thought to be a water pipe.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 3:43PM
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gar356(8 TX)

I will be laying 220V, 4 runs of #4 wire, thru 1.25" gray PVC for electricity to my garage. I have about 100 feet to lay. I plan on running the wire thru each section, 10 feet, at a time. After I have it all run. I'll take apart each section and glue them together.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 10:01PM
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Check the codes.
Here when a new electric or gas line is laid underground from a source to a home or from the home when dealing with out buildings and such. You must place the line in the bottom of the trench. Fill X number of inches or feet then lay a yellow "CAUTION" tape/ribbon above the full length of the pipe or electric line then finish filling the trench.

The yellow caution ribbon alerts anyone in the futher when digging to the danger of buried gas or electric lines.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 8:42AM
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I have run hundreds of feet of underground pvc in sections at a time with perfect results. Use the gray pipe ment for electric as previously explained. Use the purple primer first than slap on the glue next firmly engage and give it a half turn twist. The bigest mistake made when running underground is the use of the right wire. Do not use any wire with paper shielding. Either use individual wires or use underground wire.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 3:46PM
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canguy(British Columbia)

Do any of you have problems with rodents chewing through the pipe?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 4:50PM
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madtripper(5/6 Guelph)

I finally got to work on my underground electrical project. Thanks to everyone for your info. Here is what happend.

The vacuum did suck the string through, but I had problems getting the 'right' end on the string. Tried a lager ball of duct tape, a very small piece of duck tale, just some knots in the string. I think what worked best was a small paper clip. This process did not work as well as suggested in some posts. Several tries were required. It seemed as if it was important to feed the string real slow.

Once the string was through, pulling cable was quite a job. Not too bad for 120 ft, but the 150ft length was a problem. Kept breaking the string (very strong nylon designed for the job, given to me by an electrician). Finaly gave up and just cut the pipe and fed the wire through two pieces.

Gluing the conduit pieces together with wire already in the conduit works better than I expected. I have one long length left to do - over 200 ft and I plan to use this technique instead of the vacuum and string.

I was using 12-2 underground wire in 3/4 conduit. Sure glad I did not buy the 1/2" conduit.

I could have followed the string with larger string and then the wire, but I can't see connecting a larger string to 12-2 wire and having it still fit well in 3/4 conduit.

Did not try the shaving cream for lubrication.

Just thought these comments might be useful for others reading this post. Should be done the job tomorrow.

By the way - digging the trenches makes a huge mess. I told some visitors that I will use the trenches to sneak up on the deer that visit the hill behind the house.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 8:56PM
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I had buried my UF wires through a underground pipe length of 13 feet. I didn`t use any glue when connecting the pipe at their joints. I suspected inside the pipe, water might have fill-in the lower part of the pipe. So, Should i gonna use underground piping agian? Or should i divide the pipe into sections/segments so that water trapped inside could be leaked direct to the soil.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2007 at 12:21PM
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Why couldn't you put it all together alongside the trench then roll it in? Put a couple of inches of gravel in the bottom of the trench, then add a few inches above the pipe. Do to the Voltage drop over a 200 foot run you should be using at least # 10 wire. Install a panel in the shed and run # 12 from there to your light and or outlet.If there are any Motors involved you would have to figure out the draw they will have on the circuit when starting up. I know this advice is too late for your job but I couldn't resist

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 2:58PM
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I want to jump on this topic with an additional question please.

I need to run both computer and phone wires to my shop about 100 feet away from my house. How deep should I go? I live in central alabama.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 9:03PM
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masiman(z7 VA)

I think 6" is about standard.

I am not sure how far you can run either cat5 or phone lines without signal degradation. I would check on that to see what the specs are to ensure you get the quality you need.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 10:18AM
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IIRC, cat5 can be run 1500' without attenuation.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 6:39AM
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masiman(z7 VA)

I just looked it up, limit is 100 meters/325 feet. I did not look up the phone but I think they are only a 5V line, not sure how susceptible they are to interference and loss.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2008 at 11:03AM
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To connect a water well pump to an electrical source that is over 150' but less than 200' away, would #10/2 underground wire be heavy enough? What could occur if #12/2 is used? The pump is 230 volts and 1/2HP.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 2:39PM
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can i run 10-2 and 12-2 wire in the same conduit together it will be a 150' run

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 7:03PM
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Pepsi3656: Stick to one Thread at a Time Please ! K already gave you his very concise Info !

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 9:05PM
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I had to run about 140 feet of 10-3 through grey, 1.5 inch buried conduit. I tied 6 lb fishing line to a few foam packing peanuts. Sewing thread would be too weak for my situation. I placed the peanuts in front of one opening and used a wet vac at the other. I barely hit the on switch and the peanuts were inside the vac.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 11:18PM
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I am running power to an outdoor shop. Total run from 125 amp sub-panel in basement is 150'. I know I should not use NM romex, but other than UF, what is the code for the wire to use in underground PVC conduit? I have a roll of #8 THWN-2. Is this ok? Can I run a phone cable in the same conduit?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 1:29AM
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You are not permitted to run any other wires in the same conduit that contains class 1 conductors. Wires coming from a sub-panel are class 1. For the phone line, buy the cheapest roll of black water pipe. I'd use one inch ID because you never know when you might want to fish in another wire for an intercom or some other class 2 device.

The #8 is plenty heavy enough to deliver 40 amps to a sub panel but you should have 3 insulated conductors plus a bare copper ground wire. Why take just 115 volts out there? Take 230. It's the same amount of work and you double the available power.

If you buy a bigger compressor or a Mig welder, then you will kick your butt for not putting in 230 now.

If the roll is 2 conductor plus a ground, then you should have a black and white plus the copper ground. Just buy some black #8 single strand to give you the extra pole for the 230. Use the gray PVC and I'd suggest 1 1/4" ID for that run.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 8:39PM
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question I have a 10' run of white pvc in a slab inside a living room that I ran 12/2 romex wire thru for a cooktop hook up. Any issue with using white pvc to grey pvc?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 8:14PM
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I use white and gray PVC together running water to my garden and they glue together fine for 45 pounds of pressure. I don't think I would want 12/2 romex in white PVC supplying a cook top. What is the voltage and amp draw, do you have a ground and neutral?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 10:03AM
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