Installing Audio and Video Cables Behind Walls
Time Required: 2-4 hours
Few things in your home are mores unsightly than an entertainment center with tangled wires dangling down the wall. The most common cable management systems conceal wires behind molded plastic raceways that run along the walls and baseboard. While these can clean up things immensely, there are other slightly more involved but still easy to install systems that allow the cables to be run behind walls.
The kit used in this guide is the CE TECH cord and cable kit. You can find a number of other cable management systems here. The kit can be installed in either an “air free” or “standard” configuration. The air free method uses a plastic channel within the wall as a raceway for your cables to travel along. It also makes the addition and removal of cables easier but limits you to 4-5 cables. The standard method install omits the raceway and lets the cables be installed freely within the wall. This style makes adding and removing cables more troublesome but allows you to install far more as there is no space constraint.
Tip: When installing any cable management systems always read and follow the manufacturer specific install instructions.
- Use the stud finder to locate the studs in the desired install area near the TV.
- Mark the stud locations for reference using the painters tape and/or pencil.
- When you find and mark your install location, transfer that mark up the wall to a point where it will be concealed by the television. These marks will be the centers of the faceplates.
- The raceway supports a maximum install distance of 60 inches between the center points of the top and bottom faceplates, so measure carefully when creating your marks.
Tip: A 2 ½-inch minimum clearance is needed from any stud for a smooth install. Also, since this kit uses an NM cord, make sure there is a power outlet nearby.
Install the raceway tubes into the coupler, seating both sides in as far as possible.
- Take special care to note that the overall tube length is actually 3 inches shorter than the install distance. This is because of the additional length added by the top and bottom faceplate housings.
- Cut to fit.
Tip: When cutting the tubes, measure and cut by the amount you need to remove vs the amount you intend to keep.
- The kit includes a holesaw in the box. Assemble and load it into your drill.
- Before drilling, use the painter’s tape to secure the trashbag to the bottom of the wall to catch any drywall dust.
- Align the guide bit of the holesaw with your center mark and cut out the hole.
- Remove the drywall plug from the saw and cut the second hole.
- Carefully fold and remove the trashbag from the work area.
- Check to make sure there are no wires behind the wall.
Seat one end of the raceway tube into the tube port of one of the low voltage boxes.
Straighten and then secure the NM cord (power cord) to the backside of the raceway tube using the included rubber bands.
- Push the fish stick up and through the bottom hole until it emerges from the top hole.
- If there is insulation in the way, a yardstick can be used to help clear it from the path of the fish stick.
- Push the fish stick up through the tube and out of the top low voltage box.
- Extend the fish stick so that it protrudes out of both the top and bottom holes and you can tape it to the wall temporarily.
- Carefully push the top low voltage box into the wall cavity just enough that you can easily access the tube from the bottom hole.
- Attach the bottom low voltage box to the tube and pull the top low voltage box back into place.
- Remove the fish stick.
- Insert the top power receptacle box into place.
- At the bottom, pull the NM inlet cord through the inlet box, making sure not to strain or stress the cord.
- Assemble the box insert onto the end of the cord and snap into place inside the inlet receptacle bottom box.
- Place the lower power inlet box into place in the wall and after checking their alignment, evenly tighten the mounting screws.
- Moving back to the top box, check alignment and tighten the mounting screws as well.
- Push the desired connection cables in through the top low voltage box and out of the lower low voltage box.
- Once all cables are through, attach the faceplates by pulling the cables through the rubber membrane and snapping the faceplates into place.
- Place your TV back onto the wall and plug the TV power cord into the top receptacle box.
- Plug the included power supply cord into the inlet box and the nearby wall receptacle.
- Connect your other cables as needed.