From the Forum – Simple cable wiring

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Simple cable wiring:

“I recently bought an apartment in DC. The cable wire within my walls went bad somehow and I need to get a new one run. I don’t want to use the current wiring because it’s in a poor location and runs through many walls. The building line outside my door works just fine. I just need to push it through the wall above my door, down, and out the other side. Can I do this myself or do I need a contractor to come in? I don’t have experience doing anything like this. I got a quote for $440 by an electrician (no patching or painting) which seems a bit much for such a simple job. Any recommendations?”

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11 Comment

  • You can do it yourself. Running cable is about the easiest thing you can do. It’s not going to look very good running on the outside of the walls, but you can do it.

  • DYI. It’s not that hard, unless the “in wall” runs are difficult. Buy the special tool you need to strip coax before crimping on the terminator. Do it right and put a box on the end rather than just having a cable lying loose and seal up the outside hole with electrical “duct seal compound” putty (aka “Monkey Sh#$” — really!). Home depot sells a block.

    If it’s complicated in the wall try to use the existing cable or buy a cable snake.

    • Yes, definitely get the special stripping/crimping tool. I once had to take apart a ceiling to get to a splice that failed. Lesson learned: a $40 specialized tool you use once costs a lot less than opening up the ceiling, re-splicing, and then patching the hole. 😛

    • Yes, I also recommend the special crimping tool. You can get it at Radio Shack, and it cuts the coax properly and crimps the connector to it. Much, much easier than doing it with a knife.

      And make sure you run RG6 cable instead of the cheaper, thinner RG59. It’s a must for modern-day digital cable and Internet.

  • This is going to sound all old-school, but go to the library and get some home improvement books. I think I got started out on the “Black and Decker” series or something. They have good illustrations and walk you through all the basics concepts of electrical, plumbing, carpentry, etc. Once you learn a few basics you can do most stuff.

  • This *should* be easy but it’s not clear what you mean by running the cable from outside your apartment to inside. If it’s a condo the association should tell you or you can copy what’s on the other units. Once inside, tack the cable around the door trim and floor kicks. Don’t bother running it through the walls, that’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax– especially if you’re going horizontally and would need to find your way through studs. Good luck!

    • Oh, and $440 is insane. Don’t use an electrical service or whatever for this. if you don’t want to do it yourself find a handyman recommendation and get it done for $50.

  • austindc

    You can do it yourself. I did. It is really easy, plus you’ll feel cool when you do it yourself. The folks at your hardware store can set you up with the tools and tell you what to do, but if they can’t just check out some you tube videos. Also, if you don’t want to go through your walls, you can get these plastic strips that run along your baseboard or wall and can enclose a wire.

  • Your cable company will do this for free. Call them up and schedule an appointment to re-wire your service. They have a vested interest in you continuing to subscribe to cable and will make sure your service works. Problem solved.

    • Depends on the company. We had both Comcast and DirecTV tell us they would not wire the inside of the house from the outside… it had to be cable-ready inside. Dish Network was the only one willing to do it but at least they did it for free. But yeah, this is totally a DIY job… I have the coax crimping/stripping tool collecting dust if you’re interested in borrowing it.

  • The easiest thing to do would be to directly replace the old cable by joining a new cable to it and pulling it (gingerly) through. This may be tough it the run has a lot of bends. If you don’t want to use the current end point, maybe you can find a more convenient spot that the cable currently runs through and put a new outlet there.

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