Help! Contractor/wiring issue.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by greg baker, Mar 15, 2003.

  1. greg baker

    greg baker Stunt Coordinator

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    I am building a house and my contractor would not let me use a AV contractor that I know to run the wiring. I had to pay for their electrician to do it. I have two concerns now that it has been run. First it appears to be the regular clear 16 guage speaker wire as opposed to the gray or white wire that I have have seen for in-wall installations. second, he ran a standard 16 guage twisted pair for my sub wire. How do I make that work? Should I be as concerned as I am over this? Any advice would be appreciated.

    Greg
     
  2. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Screenwriter

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    Your contractor would not "let" you use your own AV contractor? Whose house is this? If you must use their electrician tell the electrician what YOU want him to do. Better still have your A/V contractor do the work or have the A/V contractor tell the electrician exactly what to do.

    This is YOUR house. YOU are paying for it and YOU will live in it. Don't put up with ANYTHING you aren't comfortable with.
     
  3. Marc H

    Marc H Second Unit

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    The clear speaker wire may not pass the building code in your area. In my area, they have to be either UL or CSA approved now.
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    In many cases the builders have liability issues so they only want their own people doing ANY work.

    Greg: Go yell at the builder. He has done several things WRONG:

    - Likely the ordinary speaker wire is not fire-rated and could act like a "fuse" in case of a fire. (or so some insurance companies claim and then try to weezle out of paying for fire damage). Make them re-install with 12/14 ga UL/CSA Plenum wire like Marc suggested.

    - When they run the wires between the studs, make them zig-zag the wires with insulated staples pounded in half way. Should you need slack years later you tug on the wire to pop the first staple: 12" more wire is available. Tug again for more.

    - Make them run the wires to plastic electrical outlet box's. But DONT cut the wires. Have them pull 10-20 feet extra into the room at each end to reach your equipment or speakers. Use cheap blank wall-plate covers and drill holes for the wires to give you an un-broken path from amp to speakers. Later you can cut the wires off and install outlet covers with binding posts if you really want. Pulling the extra wire now gives you options for later.

    - You need to make sure they run 3 runs of speaker wire to the rears (not just two). That rear-center speaker is becoming more and more common. You might also have them run wires to the sides of the room for a 7.1 system. It's cheap/easy to do before the sheatrock goes up.

    - For a deluxe install, they should run 3-conductor video cable, an SVideo cable and 2 Composite video cables up from behind your equipment to a spot in the ceiling at the back of the room. They should install AC power up there as well. All this is for a potential front-projector system.

    - The subwoofer signals need COAX, yes ordiary RG6 CATV coax works fine, but it needs the coaxial construction to protect the line-level signals. Have it run to a corner with the 2 longest, un-broken walls. Note: Most people put their sub up front in the corner. So you may not even need in-wall coax for the sub, but look at the room layout and decide.

    - You might also want them to install a telephone outlet behind your equipment. Many CATV and DSS systems want a telephone hookup so they can charge you for Pay-per-view events. Even if you never buy these, you have to have one hooked up.

    None of this is hard, but it does take a few more $$ for the in-wall rated speaker wires and the extra runs.
     
  5. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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    There is nothing I can say that Bob hasnt except that if your contractor gives you any guff for what you want, remember, you ARE the customer. Just ask him to PUT IT IN WRITING to guarantee his work and that all work done for your HT is up to code or as you see fit, or both.
     
  6. greg baker

    greg baker Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for all of the advice. I just saw it yesterday and I am planning to speak to them tomorrow. They are hesitant to let other contractors come in because of liability issues. To this point they have been very accomodating so I would think that this would not be a problem.

    Greg
     
  7. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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    A General Contractor may not know the correct wiring for all the present technology and is relying on his sub. Who may or may not know either. My wife and I built a couple of years ago and we had to educate the builder and his electricians as to the proper wiring for the modern smart home. Don't accept this wiring. Get it done right.
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    next time feed them donuts on a regular basis [​IMG] i agree with using the correct wire for the job and really, if what you say is correct, i'm a bit surprised the contractor didn't know. wouldn't surprise me though if the electrician never ran it and instead one of his general helpers did the work himself. these are great times to plan for such things as networking, running cable lines to the various rooms, etc. also, while you're doing this, it'd be a wonderful time to add a whole house surge protector in order to protect all the lines (cable, electrical, phone) that'll be going in. best of luck on your home [​IMG]
     
  9. JasonMA

    JasonMA Stunt Coordinator

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    I recently purchased 12 gauge speaker wire from Home Depot to run through my attic for my surround speakers. It's the clear kind that they sell for 35 cents a foot. I'm running the wire myself, and I asked the guy who cut it if it's ok to run this through an attic and he said it would be fine. Was he correct? Will this wire be a fire hazard at all? My attic gets very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter, as most attics do.
     
  10. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    see if it's CL2/3...if so you're fine
     
  11. greg baker

    greg baker Stunt Coordinator

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    I spoke to my neighbor who is an AV contrator and he said that since it is low voltage wiring it is within code. That is the argument that I am expecting to hear from my contractor any minute. If they wont do anything. I am going to go out there with the wire myself and run it. I could fight with them for a week about this, but they start the drywall on Thursday and it would then get messy.

    Greg
     
  12. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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