I have a 1" conduit made from green PVC. It runs from the roof, down 2 floors to the main breaker. I THINK there are 4 90 degree turns along the path using the wide curved elbows. There are 3 wires - 2 8awg and 1 bare ground wire. I need to add 2 more, so I want to pull these out and run them all in together. The problem is I can't even pull them out.

I removed the flex conduit at the top and tried to stick a guide down to see how far it would go. Only about a foot, which is where I think the first turn is. The guide came back wet. I tried to put wire lube down from the top and even tried to blow it in. It was worth a shot. But this ended up blowing water back out.

Im guessing all that water got in there from the rain, but it's strange that it didn't leak out into the main breaker box. That's kind of a good thing but makes me wonder if the conduit just got blocked completely with concrete somewhere along the way.

Are there any special tools or tricks I can use for this? A cable puller that can grip and pull the wires better? A snake that can go down and loosen up anything that might have corroded over time? Is it possible the water somehow got the wires stuck to the PVC and they just need some wiggling?

This is where the wires come into the main breaker. It's in the back hole.

enter image description here

This is the roof. I removed that metal elbow and conduit (replaced them too) which seems like the only thing keeping rain out. And not well.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Too much running in that conduit. It's jammed up at the corners.
    – gnicko
    Jan 19, 2023 at 23:37
  • 1
    Eep. I don’t like the way the cables enter the breaker box. Looks like they are right up against the sharp edge of the hole.
    – DoxyLover
    Jan 19, 2023 at 23:50
  • @gnicko there are only 2 cables. The one you're looking at is different. Follow the two cables and ground. They go to a conduit behind the one with a lot of cables.
    – DAB
    Jan 20, 2023 at 1:23
  • The yellow & black cables all appear to be Ethernet
    – FreeMan
    Jan 20, 2023 at 13:58
  • The entry to the box is not using a proper fitting to enter the box, from what I see. Jamming the end of a conduit into the box and calling it a day is not "in a workmanlike manner" nor following the maker's instructions. Is this inside a concrete wall, since you mention "if the conduit just got blocked completely with concrete?"
    – Ecnerwal
    Jan 20, 2023 at 14:53

2 Answers 2


The real nightmare there is that short radius conduit elbow in the picture. You're never going to be able to drag wires around that. And it was illegal to use it there IMO, since its not at the end of the run. The only way you'll get wires to go around that is if you disconnect the conduit and have someone feed it in that end while you pull on the other, literally simultaneously. What a terrible choice of elbow.

A better choice would be an EMT/Rigid Pull Elbow, or an LB type conduit body. You can't pull around those either, but they have a little hatch cover you can remove, and you can pull the wire out there to get some slack, and then you're looking straight down the pipe so there is zero resistance there. This qualifies as an access point, which means it doesn't count as one of the four allowed bends.

enter image description here

This is a Pull Elbow. See how it's better?

Since you say you just replaced it, I advise replacing it again with either a Pull Elbow or an LB.

  • That one is not an issue. I can remove the metal flex conduit and the other end of the cable isn't too far from there.
    – DAB
    Jan 21, 2023 at 2:17
  • @DAB that doesn't help you pull. You're not allowed to disassemble the conduit for pulling like you've been doing. That's how you damage wires. You need a pulling point there. Jan 21, 2023 at 8:22
  • The metal elbow isn't screwed in if that's what you're trying to say. The conduit is green PVC. This was just placed on top to keep the water out. I know - that's terrible design and i'll find a better way to seal it once the new cables are in. plenty of water has gotten in. not sure if that's what made it stick. but point is It's removed and i can pull the cable straight up, but it doesn't budge.
    – DAB
    Jan 23, 2023 at 20:23
  • @DAB that should be installed properly, then, so it doesn't leak. The fact that it's assembled badly isn't allowed as an access method. If there's PVC pipe coming up, just glue on a male threaded fitting and then spin on a female-threaded pull elbow. Jan 24, 2023 at 5:50
  • Yeah, ok whatever, that is the least of my concerns. I'm trying to get the cables out. I'll worry about that when I get the new cables in there and put it back together.
    – DAB
    Jan 25, 2023 at 17:39

Disconnect the wires from the roof and pull them out from that short elbow. Take the wires in the main panel and wrap them around a 2 foot 2x4 and pull. This should give you the leverage to get around those 4 90 degree bends without damaging the isulation. Don't use anything metal.

  • 2
    that or they'll snap.
    – Jasen
    Jan 20, 2023 at 9:40
  • @Jasen I doubt two #8 AWG will snap unless they have somehow corroded.
    – JACK
    Jan 20, 2023 at 14:10
  • Given the visible corrosion near the roof conduit joint...it's possible that the conductors are indeed compromised. Jan 20, 2023 at 16:19
  • @JACK I don't think they're stronger than the 2x4
    – Jasen
    Jan 20, 2023 at 20:21
  • There is some corrosion on the outside of the cables but it seems to just be some rust that came off the old metal conduit. I might try that with a 2x4. Someone recommended a "come along" or something with leverage but i am worried about snapping if i pull too hard.
    – DAB
    Jan 21, 2023 at 2:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.