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Installing Cable Wire

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Cable is almost essential for any home--it has become the primary method of receiving both TV and Internet service. If you want easy access to cable from anywhere in your home, you'll need to make sure it is properly wired.


Planning how and where you're going to run cable wires will help you keep everything neat and organized.

Pre-wiring is always the best method for running wires. This means running the wires through the walls and installing the cable-outlet boxes as part of construction prior to putting up walls in your home.

If you're running the wires post-construction, you'll have to cut holes in the walls to install the cable-outlet boxes, and running the wires will be a lot trickier. Follow some of these general tips to help make the project easier:
  • Decide where you want your outlet boxes to be--if you're pre-wiring, you may want to put at least one outlet in every room for some flexibility in the future. If you aren't pre-wiring, you may want to limit your outlets to the rooms you know will need them.

  • Figure out where you want to place the TV or modem in each room, and place the outlet boxes accordingly.

  • Plan the wiring route for each outlet box.. Ideally, you should run each length of cable directly from the point of origin (where the cable enters your home from outside) to the outlet, rather than placing multiple cable splitters throughout your home. This method, known as the "home run method," helps when it comes to troubleshooting and ensures the least amount of signal degradation for each run of cable.

  • Run all wires through the joists of your basement ceiling or through the attic, with the former being the ideal.

Running Wires

Before you can actually run all the wires, you'll need to install the outlet boxes and drill holes along the wiring routes. Each outlet box will need to be screwed into place on the side of a stud. For aesthetic purposes, you'll want to place them at the same height as your electrical outlets.
  • Drill a hole directly below each outlet box into the basement ceiling, making sure it's large enough to accommodate the size of your cable.

  • Drill holes through the ceiling joists along the routes for each run of cable. Half-inch holes are fine for a couple of wires, but for more wires cut the hole to 3/4 an inch or larger.

  • It may be tempting to cut corners by running your cables through the same holes as electrical wire, but this should never be done. If the wires get mixed up at any point, it could be very dangerous, and the electrical wire can actually affect the signal running through the cable wires.

  • To avoid inaccurate measurements of cable runs, it's best to place the reel of cable at the point of origin and simply pull a length of cable through to each outlet box.

  • Make sure you don't bend the wire too tightly or crush it when securing it, as this can degrade the signal. Leaving a little slack is okay, and make sure you leave a few extra inches of cable curled up in each outlet box.

  • Once the cable is in place, secure it with wire staples.
Finally, after you've put up your walls, you can connect each cable to an outlet cover, and your cable should be ready to use!

Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on January 7, 2013

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