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Running Speaker Wire in wall

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I plan to add some outdoor speakers and a pair of speakers in the master bedroom. The audio source will be a dual zone receiver in the family room. Sounds easy enough, right?

The house is a 2 story and I would like to mount the outdoor speakers under the soffit. Also, the family room has a cathedral ceiling (a full 2 floors). Lastly, the wall behind the receiver is an outside wall which I assume is insulated.

So, the goal is to take the speaker wires straight up the 2 story wall to the attic and route them from there. I am just unsure how difficult it will be to get the wires through the wall. Should I hire someone to run the wires or do it myself? I was in the attic over the weekend, but could not see down inside the walls due to the framing on top.
post #2 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by letzleta View Post

I plan to add some outdoor speakers and a pair of speakers in the master bedroom. The audio source will be a dual zone receiver in the family room. Sounds easy enough, right?

The house is a 2 story and I would like to mount the outdoor speakers under the soffit. Also, the family room has a cathedral ceiling (a full 2 floors). Lastly, the wall behind the receiver is an outside wall which I assume is insulated.

So, the goal is to take the speaker wires straight up the 2 story wall to the attic and route them from there. I am just unsure how difficult it will be to get the wires through the wall. Should I hire someone to run the wires or do it myself? I was in the attic over the weekend, but could not see down inside the walls due to the framing on top.

Since this is low voltage wiring, there is not a big safety exposure. You may want o consider running the wires in Wiremold, rather than trying to fish wire though a wall, with all the problems and complexity that goes with that.
post #3 of 17
not to sound like a government inspector, but there is a requirement in the National Electric Code (NEC) that wiring run within wall cavities meet CL2 or CL3 requirements for low smoke insulation materials. It's a safety issue, and since getting wire with those ratings if fairly easy, no reason not to use it.
Edited by m_vanmeter - 6/11/12 at 3:55pm
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice, I will be sure to get CL2 or CL3 speaker wire.

Anyone have experience fishing wire up/down a 2 story wall?
post #5 of 17
Yes, I do. There are a couple methods, first you will need to drill a hole in the attic on the frame (obviously). Then there are a couple methods for fishing, either fishing tape, fishing rods or the classic really heavy bolt tied to some poly line and just drop it straight down the wall. You will need some poly line for fishing with the rod or the heavy bolt method. It's sweaty, dirty work, but if $$$ is a concern it's a LOT cheaper to do it yourself.

Drilling a hole in the header is probably the hardest part, you just need to hope there isn't another horizontal framing board halfway down the wall preventing the drop. If there is, then it's bye-bye drywall. smile.gif
post #6 of 17
If the house is built the way most are today using platform framing, it isn't going to be easy whether you do it yourself or you hire someone. You will have insulation in the exterior wall. To get from the attic to the first floor, you will have to go through the top plate of the second floor wall, a fire stop about half way down, the bottom plate, the top plate of the first floor wall, and possibly another fire stop depending on where you want the cables to come out of the wall. If that is what you have, it will probably require opening the wall.

An alternative is go straight through the wall and run conduit on the outside.

If you have an old house with balloon framing, no insulation and no fire stops, it is a snap.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
The house was built in 1998. I am nearly certain there is insulation in the wall, because I pulled a faceplate off and it looked like there was insulation surrounding the outlet box. I have attempted to use a stud finder to help me deterimine if there is a horizontal framing board half way down the wall, but the stud finder is not even finding the vertical studs (which are obviously there), so I do not have any idea what lurks behind the drywall.

I do have fishing tape to help me fish the wire, so I may just get in the attic and attempt to fish the tape down the wall.
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by letzleta View Post

The house was built in 1998. I am nearly certain there is insulation in the wall, because I pulled a faceplate off and it looked like there was insulation surrounding the outlet box. I have attempted to use a stud finder to help me deterimine if there is a horizontal framing board half way down the wall, but the stud finder is not even finding the vertical studs (which are obviously there), so I do not have any idea what lurks behind the drywall.
I do have fishing tape to help me fish the wire, so I may just get in the attic and attempt to fish the tape down the wall.

Good idea as far as it goes. I wouldn't be surprised if the top of the wall is sealed off with a 2 x 4 or 2 x 6, and that you'll have to drill a hole though it in order to get the fish tape in there.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
You are correct, it definitely is sealed off with a 2x6. I did get up there to take a look, which is what prompted me to post this thread.
Edited by letzleta - 6/11/12 at 8:43am
post #10 of 17
Any update?
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Not yet, been busy lately and this weeks forecast is for temps hovering around 100, so I will not be venturing into the attic! Hopefully things will cool off for the weekend and I can get up there (my wife is not a fan of the ladder sitting in our bedroom) smile.gif
post #12 of 17
where do you live?

BTW be careful drilling holes. you never know if there is high voltage( normal copper wiring ) running near your top plates
post #13 of 17
Getting it down from the attic is a simple matter of drilling into the header. But getting it from the second floor wall to the first floor wall is where I'm pretty sure you'll need to cut open the drywall to drill a hole in the sill. Do others agree, or am I missing something? Also, fishing through insulation is a PITA. Be sure to tape the wire to the fish very securely.
post #14 of 17
Can u use the cold air return. If there is air conditioning than they have to pull that hot air down stairs. Once in the wall you can run it up into the attic and down any wall on the second floor you want, drop a bolt tired to a string and see iff you can hear it hit the return in the basement. Go through the side of the joist in the basement, not a drill hole through the duct work. Something about that seems too easy, chime in boys hahaha
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well, I ended up going out the side of the house and up to the attic under the siding. The wire is not visible anywhere and no drywall work necessary.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by letzleta View Post

Well, I ended up going out the side of the house and up to the attic under the siding. The wire is not visible anywhere and no drywall work necessary.

If you still have all of your fingers, your sanity, and a good relationship with your family: Well done! ;-)
post #17 of 17

Smart guy, waited until winter to get in that attic!


Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt



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