Running Cable and Data Lines

If you follow these general rules for running cable and data lines, you should avoid most problems with shorting, accidental grounding, and electrical interference in your new home. Cable and data lines are considered "low voltage".  Some of the most common low voltage wires are your coaxial cable and Ethernet cable.

The Solution

It is easier, quicker and more efficient to plan, place and test low voltage wire runs during rough-in--when the studs are in place but before the drywall is installed. Here are 7 tips:

1) Do not run telecommunications cabling in parallel with power wiring without adequate separation. Cross power lines at a 90-degree angle.

2) Do not share bore or drill holes through studs that contain power cables. Place outlet boxes for power and telecommunications on separate studs.

3) If conduit is installed, do not run power and telecommunications cable together. Only low-voltage monitor and control lines may share conduit with voice and data circuits.

4) To maintain polarity, be careful to match wire colors of tip and ring in pairs from the demarcation point to the outlets. Reversing polarity can cause problems with some information outlets.

5) Telecommunications outlets are usually placed at the same height as electrical outlets and should be located near them, subject to separation guidelines.

6) Use plastic staples or open rings to support cable, and leave the wire loose inside the staples. Driving in staples all the way may crimp wires and damage insulation and wiring, impairing the run's ability to transmit information.

7) Make a quick check for shorts, opens and grounds.

Great Video on Cable and Data Lines

If you run smurf tube instead of stapling wires to the hoists, you can pull new wire through later. The term smurf term is popular, but is simply corrugated PVC flexible tubing used to provide an easy method of upgrading structured wiring systems. The tube is rum from the distribution panel to each outlet during the pre-wiring construction phase.  Retrofit wiring can easily be pulled through the tubes without painstaking cable snaking.  This allows you to upgrade your system years from now when new technology is available. It can be purchased through Carlon.