Running wire, Insulation concern??

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by nik k, Aug 21, 2003.

  1. nik k

    nik k Agent

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    I will be running wire in me ceiling to my rear speakers(4). When i got up into the attic to survey the situation i discovered the insulation i have is a sort of spary, fluff, insulation (Supercube II Blowing Insulation). It has a depth of 12-13". I cant even see my ceiling beams. What i wnat to know is what precautions should i take in order to protect myself (lungs and skin) and will the type of insulation dictate the type and size of speaker wire i will be able to run, and run safely?? I have a bunch of 18G speaker wire from Ace Hardware Store, could i run this for the rears? Please anyone have inforamtion and advice??
    nik
     
  2. Erik Farstad

    Erik Farstad Supporting Actor

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    Nik, I'd go buy yourself some 14 or 12 gauge "in-wall" speaker cable from Home Depot...insulation will have no effect on the speaker wire per se, but you'll want to use the in-wall variety to satisfy local electrical code not to mention decrease fire hazards (in-wall wire does not burn as easily as non in-wall wire). Then just wear a long sleeve shirt and get a good mask to cover your mouth and nose, not to mention some eye goggles...that stuff is nasty if it gets in your eyes....and lastly where some gloves too! [​IMG]

    E
     
  3. nik k

    nik k Agent

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    Eric, thanks for the reply. Looks like ill be heading to Home Depot and get the "in wall" wire. Does it come in a roll? and fairly priced compared to if i went to a A/V store? Code was an issue i was concerned with too. I want to do it right and safe.

    nik
     
  4. Erik Farstad

    Erik Farstad Supporting Actor

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    Nik, you can buy it per foot, so if you wanted a role...knock yourself out! [​IMG] I'd say you'll get a better price there...than an A/V store which may mark it up more. Have fun!

    E
     
  5. Mathew Shelby

    Mathew Shelby Second Unit

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    When I was up in my attic, I just kicked it aside as I moved from beam to beam. Be careful, you don't want to fall through and bring a couple bottles of water up there with you as well. The Home Depot speaker wire works great and is pretty cheap. Do you have a fish tape? They also sell it at Home Depot/Lowes as well. My only piece of advice is not to use a cordless drill when drilling your holes in the studs in the attic. Each time I had to wait til my battery charged before I could continue.
     
  6. nik k

    nik k Agent

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    Mathew, that leads to a good question. I know where i am going to mount the speakers and where i think want the wire to come out of but how do i know where to drill? I read in the FAQ's that you drill, get mad, drill again, get mad, and drill yet again until you find the right spot. If i am in the attic, and keep in mind i have an A frame 2001 house, the wall i want to mount the speakers to is a perimeter wall. Would this mean i would have to drop the wire down from the ceiling to the speaker? Its a tight area but am not sure if i can get the the wall itself. If so, should i find the studs or beams drill beside them up into the ceiling, use a wire or some sort to stick up into the hole so i can locate the hole in the attic and run the speaker wire down? If i can reach the wall, i do have fish tape, would i do the same?? This is getting funner and funner [​IMG] In the end it should make for a clean install. Wait i just realized i may be able to hang the side rear surround speaker from a ceiling beam since my rear wall extends into the dinning area. I only have one right angle rear wall side to work with. If my girlfriend doesnt like this ill just keep them all on the rear wall. They are NSP1's if anyone is curious. I am not sure if the mount can hold them in an upside down configuration. Sorry about the tangent but thought it might affect where i will bring the wire in from. Thanks again
    nik
     
  7. Josh~H

    Josh~H Stunt Coordinator

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    Nik -

    I don't know much about the "blown in" type of insulation. Isn't that more foam-like than fiberglass-like? Well, just in case it's the fiberglass variety, I'll echo the comments that you've heard before: protect your lungs with a quality respirator device, wear clothing that covers all your skin (otherwise you're in for some big-time itchiness), wear good eye protection (I'd use swimming goggles), try not to disturb the insulation too much (reduce airborne particles), and mind your body temperature/hydration level.

    The good news is that occasional exposure to fiberglass insulation almost certainly poses no longterm health risks. Don't be overly concerned -- but just use due caution and limit your exposure.

    Now, I have a related piece of advice: make sure you actually get UW CL2 or CL3 when you get your wire at the Home Depot. I went there not fully informed about in-wall wiring. I had heard of it, but wasn't sure what to look for. After asking FOUR workers in the electrical department if they could help me find appropriate in-wall speaker wire, they convinced me there was no such thing. Consequently I bought and installed REGULAR 14-gauge wire behind my walls and ceiling. For piece of mind, and to eliminate concerns about insurance and local electrical codes, I'm going to have to spend more money to get the right wire, rip out the old wire, and install the right stuff. And as we all know, running wire can sometimes be a real PITA. Note to self: "Measure twice, cut once." [​IMG]
     
  8. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Nik,

    Whether you drop the wires in-wall or directly out of the ceiling, you will need to find the right location once you get in the attic. Here’s an easy way to do this.

    Get a wire coat hanger (in white) that you don’t mind destroying, and cut the hook off if it below the twisted part (i.e., it will require two cuts). Then use a pair of pliers and straighten it. If you have a pair of heavy-duty wire cutters, cut one end at an angle, so that it’s pointed.

    At the location you want the wire to drop, drill a small hole in the ceiling, an inch or so away from the wall. Use a bit that is smaller in diameter than the coat hanger. Then push the pointed end of the coat hanger through the hole, up into the attic as far as you can get it to go. The smaller diameter hole you drilled will allow the coat hanger to stay stuck in the sheetrock and not fall back out.

    Now go up to the attic. When you get to the general area where the drop is supposed to be, you will be able to see your coat hanger, poking up through the ceiling and the insulation, too. At this point you’ll be glad you used a white one – much easier to spot in a dark attic.

    If you’re going to drop in-wall, you can drill into the center of the 2x4” header board right next to the coat hanger. If not, you can enlarge the hole the coat hanger was in and drop your wire out of the ceiling.

    Hope this helps.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  9. Gary Silverman

    Gary Silverman Stunt Coordinator

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    Sometimes I feel like I'm following Wayne around this web site. Wayne, I'm not a stalker!
    Nik, Wayne's advice is good, but if you don't want to drill holes in your ceilings, you can usually find some thing to reference your location in the attic. If you have any recessed lights, a/c vents in the area of your desired speaker location, you can measure off of those to find the wall. In most homes, the wall studs go up before the sheetrock, so you can see the top plate of the wall from the attic. Get in the area where you estimate the wall is, move the insulation out of the way, and voila!Then you can drill down through the top plate and be inside the wall. Make sure that you don't mistake furring strips for the top plate, if your house has them.
     
  10. nik k

    nik k Agent

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    Thanks Wayne, Gary, and everyone for the tips. I have everything now and am ready to go. Seeing that i am new to this and trying to a good job what kinds of holes, plates, boxes or whatever have you used at the level of the A/V equipment? This is where the wires will come out of the wall to the receiver. I found at home depot a wall box (sorry about the terminology if i'm using them incorrectly) that when you screw the side screws in a flap moves over and secures it to the sheet rock. This means or i think it does that i will not have to nail the box into a stud. With a hole cut to the diameter of the box im not sure how i would access the stud anyway. Is this the right thinking? Then i could use a wall plate to finish off and make the wires nice and neat.
    nik
     
  11. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Gary,

    That knock on your door is the Constable with a restraining order. [​IMG]


    Nik,

    The box you’re talking about is called an “old work box,” meaning it is for after-the-fact retrofits – exactly what you want. You are correct in that it secures to the sheet rock and does not need to be nailed to a stud.

    As for what to do behind the equipment, there are a few options. Some people like to put in wall-mounted RCA and banana plugs, etc. Personally, I think this is silly: one because they are expensive and two, because since it’s all behind the equipment no one is going to see it anyway. I prefer to leave enough wire length to connect everything directly to the appropriate equipment. I don’t even have a cover on my box because it’s behind the entertainment center. If you prefer some kind of cover, you can get one with a small hole in the center (typically used with rotary dimmers) and drill the hole out to she size you need to pass your cables through. This is probably the best route to take at the rear speaker locations, since often you can see where the wire comes out of the wall.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  12. Josh~H

    Josh~H Stunt Coordinator

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    To deal with the hole in the wall for the surround speaker wire, I used a product called a "feed through bushing for coaxial cable." I found it at the Home Depot...they came in pairs for a dollar or two. Here's how it looks on my rear-center speakers where the wire comes out from the wall: Feed-through bushing

    For the cluster of wires that came out of the drywall behind my receiver, I cut a 2" diameter hole and put a "furniture hole cover" that I also found at THD. I think it was around $4, and looks very clean and elegant. Sorry I don't have a picture of that one.

    Edited: Here's a thread where I originally discussed these items. It includes part numbers.
     
  13. David Preston

    David Preston Supporting Actor

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    I just got done running mine through the attic to my rears. I had them ran to stands at first so I was half way there. I prefer to do this at night because it's way cooler in the attic at night. I barely broke a sweat. I didn't wear long sleeves. I regret that. It's all done now and looks much better.
     
  14. Gary Silverman

    Gary Silverman Stunt Coordinator

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    Instead of using a box, I like to use a bracket like this:low voltage bracket
    That way, you don't have to bring the wiring through a hole in the box, and it allows easy access into the wall for any future wiring. It can be finished off with a plate that has a hole in it or a plate with terminations.
     
  15. nik k

    nik k Agent

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    Thank you again everyone. I am now all set to complete this project. Not only have i learned a lot about running wire, more useful information about my house, built more confident doing projects on my house, but to top it off my GF really likes the idea and is getting involved too. Time to have some fun in the attic [​IMG]

    nik
     
  16. Jack_TN

    Jack_TN Stunt Coordinator

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    If you prefer to get wall plates with connectors already mounted on them, accessories4less has some nice ones made by AR with 5-way binding posts which don't cost too much. I think Radio Shack has similar ones too. Good luck.

    Jack
     

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