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For all the Resi guys who installs potlights in finished ceilings What are some ways I can go around doing it safely without making too many holes in the ceiling other than the cutout for the actual potlights. I'm trying to avoid cutting and drilling excessive holes as much as possible, and most importantly - not hitting pipes, or lives wires from using the flex bit to drill.
 

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Electrical contractor 37 years. Electrical inspector 2 years
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What I have been doing a lot lately is, locate the joists that I have to drill through Then I use a thin screw driver and only poke a small hole on both side of the joist to feel for wires. If I am suspicious of something I cut a larger hole and if need be then an even larger hole. It is easier to spackle a small hole than a notched beam. Sometimes I take a short piece of 1/8 inch snake through the small hole I cut and direct the flex bit down to the center of the joist.
 

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What my company does if the ceiling is textured we drill through the wall, then up the top plate into the joist space we need to be in. It’s cheaper to patch a couple holes than repair wires and pipes
 

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Sometimes you can pull the carpet back upstairs, Bore 4” holes in the subfloor between joists, then bore through joists, run wires, patch holes and have them get the carpet stretched back in place. Usually can get a good look down the joists cavity with an iPhone and a flash light.

Or….

They usually already have a center light fixture. I remove the center light. See if I can see down the joist space. Put some lights in that space and then skip a joist space, cut another recessed hole then bore holes to fish between the holes in the drywall. You’ll Wanna look outside and on the second floor and adjoining rooms to see how much of a risk of a gas line, plumbing line or an electrical line there is crossing through there and make sure the client knows you could hit something and it’s their liability if you do.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Master Electrician - Ontario
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There is no risk-free way to do this. I pretty much encourage the client just to drop the ceiling if I am unsure if what I want to can be done safely.

The client is often intimidated by the notion of dropping the ceiling or opening up large swaths of wall, but in the end they have to repair, prime and paint so the only real additional cost is a few sheets of drywall which is far less expensive then a plumber, gas guy or even me repairing some circuits I have drilled through.

Cheers
John
 

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Conservitum Americum
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I drilled blind once and hit a gas line. It was in a really stupid place but, stupid or not, it was still there. An emergency call to fix a gas line isn’t cheap.
I hit a water line on an outside wall above a second floor window.
 

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Conservitum Americum
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Sometimes you can pull the carpet back upstairs, Bore 4” holes in the subfloor between joists, then bore through joists, run wires, patch holes and have them get the carpet stretched back in place. Usually can get a good look down the joists cavity with an iPhone and a flash light.

Or….

They usually already have a center light fixture. I remove the center light. See if I can see down the joist space. Put some lights in that space and then skip a joist space, cut another recessed hole then bore holes to fish between the holes in the drywall. You’ll Wanna look outside and on the second floor and adjoining rooms to see how much of a risk of a gas line, plumbing line or an electrical line there is crossing through there and make sure the client knows you could hit something and it’s their liability if you do.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

$20
 
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Always worried about hitting a water line, sprinkler pipe, subfeed or csst gas line. Worked for a resi contractor for a year that would insist on drilling 3+ bays in a ceiling with a flex bit. Once you get past that second floor joist, you have zero control of where that bits aiming. The customer asking "Is the lump under the carpet in my master bedroom going to go away?" is not exactly a question you want to be asked. Would have been up **** creek if it was a hardwood floor upstairs.

Picture is one of that last times I flex bitted through a third joist. Ate over halfway through the 2nd story subfloor, hardwood floor in the upstairs greatroom on top.

A halfway decent method I found at least with TJI joist construction was to use a 1/4" right angle bit adapter and an extensive assortment of 1/4 locking bit extensions to run a 2" hole saw through each joist.

Start with drilling out the 4" can locations, look for any signs of staples or screws protruding on the side of the TJI, then drill the first hole, borescope to the next bay and look for the same. If all is clear stack extensions and hole saw through the next. Usually it ended up never being farther than 4 joists between cans so I only had to drill 2 joists each direction.

To drive the hole saw, I used a 1/4" hex to 3/8" socket adapter with a socket that fit the shank of the hole saw arbor and taped the hell out of it to hold it together.
 
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