Whether you’re installing a home theater with surround speakers or running a wired audio system in an existing home, you might need to run speaker wire across the room.
Fortunately, there are several ways to run speaker wire in the wall without pulling your hair out. Let’s take a look at a few of them!
1. Fish Tape or Electrical Snake
Using fish tape or an electrical snake to run speaker wire through walls is an easy and effective way to hide wiring behind finished walls, ceilings, and floors. The tape is similar to a fishing reel spooled with semi-rigid “tape.”
Some electricians use two fish tapes, from opposite ends of the wall, to catch and carry a single wire through a wall. This works particularly well if the speaker cables need to travel from one side of a wall to the other.
The wires are inserted through the opening and secured with electrical tape. Then the wire is pulled through the wall and out the other end of the wall.
When running wires through walls, it is important to consider the thickness and type of wire. Flat wires are generally easier to pull than round. This is because the round profile can snag and get in the way of pulling.
2. Drilling a Hole
If you want to run speaker wires through your walls, one option is to drill a hole. This is a common DIY task and is relatively simple if you follow a few basic safety precautions.
First, you need to choose the right bit. This is especially important if you are drilling into hard-to-drill materials like tile, glass, or ceramic.
Next, make sure you pick a good location to drill the hole. This should be away from any live electrical wiring and be at least 1 foot above it.
You’ll also need to use a drill guide for accurate hole placement. This is available at hardware stores and building supply centers and makes it easier to keep the bit centered in the hole.
Ideally, you want the hole to be no bigger than 40% of the stud’s width. This means a 28mm hole for a standard 2′′ x 4′′ stud, or a 36mm hole for a 90mm stud.
3. Fishing the Cable
When wiring your home, being able to “fish” the wire, as the pros call it, lets you place switches, lights and outlets exactly where you want them, without having to step over extension cords or drape wire across your walls.
One way to do this is to use a cable fishing tool like the 24″ Flex-Fish Flexible Wire Fishing Tool and 10″ Chain, which is available for less than $2 at home centers. This flexible wire fishing accessory bends and holds its shape, making it perfect for threading cables and wiring behind finished walls, ceilings and floors.
Another option is to use a stud finder. This handy tool identifies studs in plaster, wood and steel walls that you might not see with the naked eye. Once you have found a stud, fish the wire along it.
4. Follow Up
The speaker wire is a crucial part of a high-end home theater system. It carries audio from the amplifier to speakers, and can also power passive speakers.
The best way to run the wire is between the studs. This route will avoid interference from other wiring and pipes, plus you can easily switch the wires around if necessary.
To find the best location for your wire, map out a path with a studfinder. This will help you avoid getting into a stud bay where it’s difficult to get out, and will allow you to see what else you might have to remove before cutting the hole.
Once you’ve found a safe and convenient path for your wire, it’s time to cut the drywall. This is the most challenging step of the process, but it doesn’t have to be a disaster.
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