Did you know that the wire and cable manufacturing sector in the U.S. is a whopping $18-billion industry?
That’s right! After all, it’s thanks to these that people can watch their favorite TV shows and stay connected. It’s these wires and cables that make it possible for 90% of Americans to use the Internet.
That said, you may be thinking that only pros can hook up these cables and wires. While most installations are best left to experts, there are some cases wherein you can do it on your own.
One of these is a coaxial cable installation. Perhaps you’re installing new security cameras or simply rewiring your Internet connection. Either way, you can opt to DIY the set-up and hook-up of the coax cables.
Ready to learn how to connect coaxial cables like a pro? Then be sure to keep reading!
1. Choose the Right Coaxial Cable
The RG-6 cable is the industry standard for cable, satellite, and Internet connections. The “RG” stands for Radio Guide/Grade.
Note that there’s also an RG-59 cable, which is often used for wiring TVs, radios, and security cameras. There are also various types of RG-6 cables, with the “black” being the most commonly used. Which cable you should use depends on what you’re hooking up.
For instance, the RG-6 “Quad-Shielded” type offers better protection against interference. You should use this if you’re near a building where there’s a lot of signal, like TV/radio stations or airports. This is also the best coaxial cable to use for homes near fire stations or police departments.
You can also get standard RG-6 cables in white to make the outdoor installation less obvious. If you want the cable to have a built-in ground, get the RG-6 coaxial cable with ground.
2. Keep the Cable Rolled on a Spool
Once you know which type of coax cable to use, buy it in a spool and get a conduit, too. Then, before you begin the installation, slide the conduit through the middle of the spool. Find a place where you can rest the conduit (like a ladder), with the spool vertically-hung.
This helps keep the cable straight and prevent kinking as you pull one end to unravel it from the spool.
3. Invest in Good Compression Connectors
Ditch the push-on or screw-on connectors and get a compression connector instead. These can handle higher frequencies and adhere better to cables.
Be sure that the compression connector can handle your devices’ frequency though. That’s because some connectors can only work for security cams and not Hi-Def TVs. If you’re unsure, go for a connector with the highest rating you can find.
4. Bond the Coaxial Cable
Next, bond the coaxial cable to the grounding system of your home. This helps prevent electrical hazards such as in the case of a lightning strike.
To do this, install a grounding block and run the coaxial cable through it. Connect a wire from the block to an inter-system bonding bridge. This “bridge” has another wire that connects to your home’s grounding rod.
If this is beyond your skills, it’s best to hire an electrician for the job. Don’t skip this step as it can lead to improper grounding of cables which can cause house fires. Keep in mind that electrical malfunctions accounted for 6.5% of the 371,500 house fires in 2017.
5. Make a Cable “Drip Loop”
Rainwater can enter your home if a coax cable outside runs downward straight into your home. Not only can this damage your electronics — it can also cause fires.
To prevent this, you need to first get cable fittings like loop crimps or loop sleeves. Make sure you secure these on an area of the exterior wall that’s lower than the feed-through bushing. Loop the coax cable through these fittings and secure the cable in place with clamps.
Don’t forget to caulk the exterior side of the bushing before you push the cable into your home. This helps seal gaps where water may still enter.
6. Run the Coax Cable through a Low-Voltage Box
If you fish a coax cable through a regular electrical box, you run the risk of damaging it. It’s easier and safer to fish the cable through a low-voltage coaxial cable box.
7. Connect the Interior End of the Cable to Your Device
At this point, you’re ready to connect the coaxial cable to your device! Don’t use only your fingers to tighten the cable connection — use a wrench to complete the job. This keeps the cable in place so you can worry less about cable movement that can mess with your signal.
Save Money With This DIY Coaxial Cable Installation Guide
There you have it, the simple steps to carry out your own coaxial cable installation. Follow everything in this guide to a T, and you can save money by not having to pay pros to install it for you. Just remember to gear up with personal protective equipment to avoid accidents!
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