Installing Phone Lines


Delivering telephone service to the house is the telephone company's business. For a fee, the telephone company also runs lines and adds jacks inside, but you'll save money -- and get exactly what you want -- doing it yourself.

Telephone wiring is straightforward, but running cable so it is hidden takes time and effort. Before running and stapling cable, plan the entire run. Extra effort may save trouble and eliminate an eyesore.

For instance, running cable through a wall may mean you do not have to run it around a door. For easy and secure connections, buy telephone cable that has solid-core 24-gauge wire. Cheaper cables have stranded wires that are difficult to handle.


About 3 hours to tap into a junction box, run cable, and install a jack

Screwdriver, drill, strippers, lineman's pliers, round-topped stapler, flat pry bar, stud finder, voltage detector, drywall saw

Stripping and connecting telephone cable, running cable

Find the best route for the phone wires; if possible, avoid having to go around a doorway.

Telephone cable or Category 5 cable, phone jacks, round-topped staples or plastic-coated staples

Step 1

To add an extension line, loosen the screw and remove the cover from an existing phone jack. Using strippers, remove about 2 inches of sheathing from the new cable using the tool's "10" slot.

Step 2

Strip about 1/2 inch from each wire using the 22/20 slot on the strippers. Loosen each terminal screw, remove the wire attached to it, and twist it together with the new wire of the same color.

Step 3

Loop each pair of wires clockwise around the terminal of the corresponding color. Tighten the screws and push the cable into the hole provided. You may have to snap out a breakout tab.

Step 4

Cable can run under wall-to-wall carpeting. Use lineman's pliers to pull back a short section at a time and run the cable between the tack strip and the molding.

Step 5

To run cable through a wall, drill a hole through both sides of the wall using an extended 1/4-inch drill bit. Use a stud finder to avoid running into a framing member. Before drilling use a voltage detector to check walls for electrical cable.

Step 6

Poke a long drinking straw through the hole and fish it around until it pushes through the hole in the wall on the other side. Feed the cable through the straw. Remove the straw from the other side of the wall.

Step 7

If there is no carpeting to hide the line, staple it to the top of the base molding. Use round-topped staples or staples made specially for phone line.

Step 8

Attach a new jack to the base molding by drilling pilot holes and driving screws. To attach to a drywall or plaster wall, drill holes, insert plastic anchors, and drive screws into the anchors. Connect wires and attach the cover.

What If... You want a jack for a wall-mounted phone? Step 1

Use a stud finder to make sure the opening doesn't overlap a stud. Cut a hole into the drywall with a drywall saw. With plaster walls cut with a utility knife first, then use a jigsaw. Slip a low-voltage (LV) ring into the hole and tighten the screws to secure the ring to the drywall or plaster.

What If... You want a jack for a wall-mounted phone? Step 2

Attach a weight, such as a nut, to a string and guide it down the hole until it hits bottom. Leave plenty of extra string at the top.

What If... You want a jack for a wall-mounted phone? Step 3

Drill a 1/2-inch hole into the wall near the floor directly below the opening you cut for the wall jack. Insert a bent piece of wire, snag the string (jiggle the string to help snag it), and pull a loop through the hole. Attach the phone cable to the string with tape and pull it up through the hole.

What If... You want a jack for a wall-mounted phone? Step 4

Strip and connect wires to the terminals of a wall jack. Mount the jack to the LV ring and install the cover plate.

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