1. Guest,
    If you need help getting to know Xenforo, please see our guide here. If you have feedback or questions, please post those here.
    Dismiss Notice

What is the Danger?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by David Preston, May 9, 2003.

  1. David Preston

    David Preston Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Messages:
    698
    Likes Received:
    0
    What is the danger of having speaker wire ran in the wall if it is not the proper kind? What is the proper kind? Is it a fire hazard? Thanks
     
  2. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 1997
    Messages:
    19,144
    Likes Received:
    242
    Real Name:
    Cees Alons
    Voltages on speaker wires are very low. There's virtually no fire hazard. If the wires may get cut easily and shortcut, you may damage your amplifier (receiver), but generally they are protected to that (although I would never want to put that to a test unnecessarily).

    Best wire is the same type of wire you use as powerwires. Use 12-14 gauge (depending on the distance) or thicker.

    Mark it clearly: never to mistake power wiring for speaker wiring or vice versa.

    Good luck,


    Cees
     
  3. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 1999
    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you have a fire and you have wire in your wall that is not properly rated your insurance company *could* deny your claim. Spend a few bucks more and get the proper wire for the application. [​IMG]
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,183
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's a bit of a 'Myth' as I dont know of a case where an insurance company actually did this, but the basic argument is something like:

     
  5. JayDaniel

    JayDaniel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2002
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    0
    I look at it like this - spend the few extra cents/foot it costs to buy in-wall rated wire. I bought mine at Home Depot, and it was maybe 10 cents more per foot. That's only $10 extra for 100 feet of wire. This should be a non-issue. UL deems it important enough to rate it as such, so why not follow their expert advice?

    Do I really think there's much of a risk for fire from using normal speaker wire? No. But is the peace of mind worth $10 extra bucks? Yes. And what is the extra few $$ in comparison to what you've spent already on your entire system?

    Just my 2 cents (or is it 10 cents?) worth.
     
  6. JamesHl

    JamesHl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2003
    Messages:
    813
    Likes Received:
    0
    Is it not like electrical wiring where you have to follow local building codes? It's probably nothing to worry about, but at the low cost of a few dollars more, you might as well.
     
  7. David Preston

    David Preston Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Messages:
    698
    Likes Received:
    0
    Looks like I'll be making a trip to home depot. Why did I have to wait till summer to ask this. Now I'm gonna have to go up in the attic and rerun this wire. I'll probably wait till night time and use lights its to hot in the day time. Thanks everybody.
     
  8. David Preston

    David Preston Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Messages:
    698
    Likes Received:
    0
    Will this stuff work ok? I wonder if they have a shorter roll I don't need 500'. Reason I ask is it says intercom,security. This should be ok right?

    per roll

    500' 14-2 In-Wall Speaker Cable


    Features:

    Power limited control circuits

    Wiring of the following systems: intercom, security, audio, background music

    Suggested voltage rating: 300 volts


    More Information
     
  9. David Preston

    David Preston Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Messages:
    698
    Likes Received:
    0
    Its me again. I also found IXOS 14GA 4 conductor in wall 100ft at accessories for less for $35.00. They also had IXOS 14GA 2 conductor for $25.00. Which one should I get 2 or 4 conductor. What is the difference in the wire. Would it be better to go to Home Depot?
     
  10. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,183
    Likes Received:
    0
    You really want the thicker wire for longer runs.

    Get the 4 conductor wire and combine 2 of the wires at each end to give you an effective thicker wire.

    Advice: zig-zag the wire between the studs and use Insulated staples to secure them, BUT only nail in the staples about half way. Years from now if you need a bit more wire you give a tug to pop the first staple. Instant slack.

    Do not run in parallel with power wires. Keep the wires apart if possible and if you have to cross some power wires, try to do it at a 90 degree angle.

    Make sure to run at least 3 sets of wires for that rear-center speaker. Since I advised you to run 4-conductor cable, this means 2 runs of wire. Trust me: you wont regret the potential that the spare wire represents.
     
  11. RayJK

    RayJK Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2002
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have to disagree with Bob, bigger is not always needed. If you are going to run less then 100'(for each speaker, not total) or have less then 1,800 watts of power then 14 gage will work and still have lots of ability left to handle more power. To give you an idea, the wire that is supplying electricity your receiver/amp is most likely 14/2 romex.

    Doubling 14 gage gives you an 11 gage equivalent, enough to handle about 3KW.

    All you need is the 14 gage 2 conductor wire for each speaker. If you have 2 speakers that are somewhat close to each other get the 4 conductor wire and split it at the end. You'll only have to pull one wire then.
     
  12. David Preston

    David Preston Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Messages:
    698
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks again I think I'll go with access for less wire.
     
  13. John Walker

    John Walker Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2003
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am in the same boat. Although I am installing in common walls in my townhouse.

    Based on what I've read and the electrical engineers at work (who deal with everything from fiberoptic cable, video, communication, audio, to 600VDC 5000amp circuits (I have a sample of 1000MCM wire which is about 1.75" of stranded copper and can't be bent using your knee!)) the fire rating is a liablity issue. It is most important in public buidlings but you should still use it in your home. The cost premium is too little to argue.

    For home theater 14 gauge is adaquate, especially for surrounds. If you have high end mains that you use for critical audiophile listening you should consider larger gauge for these runs.

    (I just returned from a new HT shop where they spent a fortune on listening rooms to demonstrate $20K systems. I looked behind some components and they were hooked up with 16 gauge (fire rated) speaker wire! I told the guy it doesn't convince me to by 10 gauge plus wire.)

    John
     
  14. Mike_Sidden

    Mike_Sidden Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2003
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey David,

    It’s all pretty confusing, huh? I don’t know if your question was answered in one of the previous post, but “conductor” simply means wire. In other words, “4 conductor” means 4 wires or two pair. I had a really heavy 4(wire) conductor 10gage braided copper wire that I used for my rear Polk Audio’s and only ran one wire. I split it behind the receiver and in the back to each of the rears. It was easy because the wires were different colors, but most speaker wire is not. I agree that the 14/2(14gage - 2 wire) option should be sufficient, but the thing that we haven’t mentioned so far is whether or not your interconnects will support a 14ga wire. Some connectors only support smaller wire, 16 to 18ga; especially the pin types that work with the spring loaded clips on the back of the receiver and speakers. If your receiver has binding post, I’d recommend gold plated banana connectors. Monster Cable, or course, sells the best in my opinion. Acoustic Research also sells a very good gold plated banana connector. Some would suggest the “shovel” type connector, but I think it’s a matter of preference. If your receiver does have the spring loaded jacks, I’d definitely recommend the gold plated pin type connectors. Some have grooves on them to help the spring loaded clip hold better. Again, AR sells these and I think you can also get them at Radio Shack. ANY type of connector would be better than just pushing a bundle of speaker wire into a clip or post. By the way, since you’ll be replacing the speaker wire anyway, use the old wire as a pull string if possible. It’ll help save some time and keep you out of that HOT AS* attic. This is, or course, all just my opinion.[​IMG]

    GOOD LUCK! [​IMG]
     
  15. Mike_Sidden

    Mike_Sidden Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2003
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    I forgot to mention, Bob had some very good suggestions before.

    Quote:
    Do not run in parallel with power wires. Keep the wires apart if possible and if you have to cross some power wires, try to do it at a 90 degree angle.

    This is very true. Power wires generate a lot of noise. I found this out using my cat5 signal generator and amplifier one day trying to find a data cable. We had a data line lying on top of a power line and, MAN!, the noise coming across the amplifier was eye opening. Ever since then, I’ve made sure to NOT cross audio or video cable with power cables. I even run them separately down the back of my ET center. Power to the Monster conditioner and A/V to the receiver.

    Quote:
    You really want the thicker wire for longer runs.

    He actually makes another good point here. The key word is “long”. Those guys at the high-end HT center were probably only going no more that 50-75 feet to the separates for the setup that used the 16GA wire. We pull speaker wire were I work and some times it has to go over three hundred feet. We use 4/10GA wire that is plenum rated. (Plenum is a fire rating on cable that has a non-see through coating with writing on it. Cable that has a coating that allows you to see the actual wire is most likely not Plenum rated). If we used anything smaller, we’d lose a lot of signal quality and power.

    For home use, I've never been told that you have to have fire rated speaker wire installed. I do know that you have to have phone, power, and alarm system wires stapled down for proper code. If I were you, I'd just call my home owners insurance company or maybe try to find it in the small print of my policy to make sure. It is also not that big of a stretch to spend the extra $10-20 dollars for peace of mind either.

    Again, it's up to you.

    Mike
     
  16. David Preston

    David Preston Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Messages:
    698
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well weather was perfect today(for installing wire in the attic). It rained and it was cool up there. I just went to Home Depot and got 14Ga 2 conductor I got 100 feet for two 50' runs to rears. It looks kinda thin but it said 14ga on the spool. It was 22cents per foot. Does that sound about right? I would have got it from parts express but shipping was to high. Plus I would have to wait for it. I wanted it done asap. I wanted 12ga but all they had was 14ga. Thanks everybody I feel a little safer now.
     
  17. David Preston

    David Preston Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Messages:
    698
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ohh yeah I called Lowes(Home Depot rival)and talked to the electrical guy. He said that he has never heard of in wall speaker wire and laughed. He said he has done electrical work for 15 years and never heard of it. Who told you that you had to use that kind of wire. I said my friends at a home theater site. I was fed up with his lack of knowledge and cut him off and hung up. Not that I'm knowledge in this area but the people on here know best when it comes to HT. You guys are the best.
     
  18. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 1999
    Messages:
    4,207
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you want to stir it up call the fire dept. and tell them what the guy at Lowe's told you.

    Glenn
     
  19. David Preston

    David Preston Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Messages:
    698
    Likes Received:
    0
    I wonder what they would do. He would probably change his story real fast. Ohh yeah in wall speaker wire I know exactly what your talking about.
     
  20. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 1999
    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    0
    David,

    Electricians are the absolute LAST people you want to consult about running speaker wire in walls, proper speaker placement, what wire to run for projectors, etc., etc., etc. It's sort of like talking to a Yugo mechanic about a tuneup for a Mercedes.
     

Share This Page