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Aquatic said:
Pull a new cable (or 2 or 3). If you have a feed installed already, you should be able to trace it up through your attic or down below in the crawlspace. Start at the cable TV junction box (perhaps outside, mounted on the exterior side) and follow try to figure if it goes up or down from there.

Once you find it, you have several choices...if the existing run of RG6 is "loose" in the wall, then you can use that as a pull cord for more lengths, or you can drop/push a new string or cable length into the wall from the point the old wire goes in as well. I invested in a set of "green sticks"...fiberglass rods that screw together n(Think camping tent supports) to aid in fishing wires. Those things are FAB, I highly recommend them if you're going to be pulling more than one wire in the life of your house.

All "easy" bets are off if your existing cable is coming out of the brick wall or something like that... Then there's lots more questions to be asked and things to check out.

Good luck
I too use the sticks (I use a different brand mine are yellow :) to fish wires and I just wanted to give a little advice to folks using them for the first time.

First, when connecting the sticks together use a tool (pliers etc) to tighten them. I've seen quite a few ends get broken because they worked their way loose while fishing wires.

Second, when using the sticks run the sticks through the walls *FIRST* then attach the cable to the sticks and pull the cable through. Do *NOT* push the cable through with the sticks this is much much harder.

Third, when attaching the cable to the end of the sticks I have found the best way is to tape the end of the stick to the end of the cable using electrical tape or duct tape. In my experience the connectors that the sticks come with are much more likely to become disconnected while fishing the wires through the walls than the tape is. Just don't be stingy with the tape.

Finally if you are running more than one cable through the wall I recommend running a a pull string first and then using the string to pull the cables through one at a time. Just make sure your string is twice as long as the cable run so that you can pull it back once you are done. Also the nice thing about using a string is that you can leave it in the wall so that you can run additional lines at a later date. It is easier for me to run the lines one at a time when working with video cable. The cable is so stiff that sometimes you will get stuck when running more than one at a time. Also running one line at a time means that you do NOT have to pre-cut the cable which can save many feet of cable -- or insure that you do not run out of cable :). I've run out and wasted more feet of cable than I care to admit :).

Oh yeah one last thing. Fish the cable through the wall unterminated. Do not attach the F-connector before you run the cable -- doing so is a recipe for disaster for a newbie. The connector makes the cable significantly larger sometimes so much larger that it won't fit where the sticks and or the cable alone will. I admit I do it sometimes but not often and only when their is no other choice.

Well I hope this helps!

Good Luck,

· Registered
8 Posts
RayJ said:
Gary, that was a great help.

One more question...

Since I have a single length of RG6 already in the wall, should I use it to pull a string? It seems all the talk about the sticks assumes I am starting from scratch.

And by the way, I have a concrete slab (no crawlspace) and this is on the first floor with no access to the space between the floors. In other words, I'm flying relatively blind.

I completely agree with JW. He has the right idea. Closets are an awesome place to cut holes!!! I have cut holes in all of my closets on the ground level at one time or another.

I also agree that using the existing cable to pull a string is risky at best. It is likely that the hole(s) that the wire passes through are only large enough for one cable. And like JW said going around bends with RG6 can be difficult in ideal situations -- much more so when you are doing it blind.

To expand on what he is saying if you try to go from one floor to another you will have to drill through the two by x that runs parallel to your slab. So unless you can find a closet etc. near by that can be a daunting proposition. Meaning that you have to do a near perfect job of plastering the hole you cut in the family room if you want to stay married :). However if you are comfortable plastering have at it.

Just cut a hole in the ceiling above the existing wire large enough to get your drill into drill down through the two by x (drilling as close to the center as possible so as to not weaken the two by x esp true if this is a load bearing wall). Of course this will only work if you have a lowered ceiling adjacent to the wall contain the original cable. If the ceiling is full height you will have to do this from near the floor in a room above. Then drill through the top of the next wall from the attic and use the poles to fish the wire through.

I too have a house that is built slab on grade so I am familiar with you problem. However I am surprised that you have no access to the area in between the floors and or the attic.

Where is your hot water heater? It must be on the ground level right? Assuming that you have a natural gas hot water heater and or a gas furnace you will usually have an exhaust pipe going all the way to the roof. This exhaust pipe will usually give you:
1) Relatively easy access to the attic/roof. In my house I ran the rg6 right next to the exhaust pipe.
2) Some kind of access to the space between floors.

Finally desperate times can call for desperate measures. I don't recommend the following approach but if you are dead set on doing the cable install yourself and you have a heat pump and electric hot water heater there is another solution.

Namely your central heating/cooling ducts. I have on a few occasions run wires through the ducts of a house. Here's what to do.

Locate a duct that goes straight down from the top floor to the correct wall in the room on the bottom floor where you want to run the cable. Drill a hole from the attic that will align with the duct. Remove the grate from the duct on the upper floor. Drill a hole up from the duct towards the attic. Remove the grate from the duct on the bottom floor. drill a hole sideways (towards a stud where you want to mount the electrical box that will contain the cable. Make sure you drill a relatively large hole through the ducts. Cover the exposed edges of the duct with a grommet or electrical tape or duct tape (this is imperative so that you do not accidentally cut the cable!!!) and run your cable. After the cable is run seal the holes in the ducts with duct tape or the perfect sized grommet or a larger grommet and 100 % silicone caulk. Or something like that.

Again I do not recommend this course of action. Be very careful you can damage your central heating fan etc. if a piece of the duct gets sucked into something etc.

Also do this at your own risk do not come back to me pi#@#$ off because you damaged your duct work and or heater. You have been warned!

Having said all that I learned about this method from my Uncle (about 20 years ago) when I helped him and my cousin do this. I have done it in my fathers house. And I did it in 1 of my customers houses (with speaker wire though way back when I sold stereo equipment).

Finally I again agree with JW the simplest solution is probably to run the wire around the outside of the house into the room in question.

I would not do this in my own home because I hate seeing cable run under the carpet around the ceiling, around the baseboard etc -- it drives me nuts!! However, if I did this stuff for a living (installing cable in residences as opposed to installing cable in commercial buildings which is no longer part of my current job :). I would use this approach almost exclusively. It is much faster (no plastering needs to be done afterward), easier, and it is harder to make a disastrous mistake (like stepping the wrong place in your attic and putting a 4 foot long hole in your ceiling -- yes I've done this :). It might mean that you need a few specialized tools that you don't have however. For example if your house is solid masonry you will need a hammer drill and a long masonry bit. Either way you will most likely need a long drill bit to get through the house. These are not cheap. Until I find a friend with the right drill bit (still waiting btw) to go with my hammer drill to go through my solid masonry house I ran the cable through the attic vent on the side of my house.

Basically you have to balance the cost of tool purchase (and or rental) and time -vs- the cost of having a professional electrician come out and run the cable for you.

Well there are the options as I see them.

Hope this helps and good luck!

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