tracing phone wires through the walls

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Old 04-28-10, 05:00 AM
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tracing phone wires through the walls

I live in a townhouse, the previous owner/tenant ran phone wires throughout the house. Sometimes, multiple lines to one spot. I want to be able to trace these wires through the walls, without opening up the walls, to find where they go.

My plan, at least for one of these wires, is to cut the end, attached a Cat 5 cable, and pull it through instead, replacing the phone wire.

In short, how can I trace the phone wires through the walls without opening them up. I have no idea where they all lead or end.
 
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Old 04-28-10, 08:23 AM
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Are the wires there unusable? If they were installed at construction they may be stapled in place inside the wall so you won't be able to use them to pull new wire. Honestly if the wires aren't usable then I'd just run new wires. A lot quicker, a lot less wasted time and a lot less frustration.

There is equipment for tracing in the wall such as a tonner but it is expensive and I don't see that you would accomplish much of anything. You could try pulling on a wire and see if it moves. Then twist two of the wires together and check at each of the other locations of the wires for continuity. Then with a helper watching at the nearest other location that showed continuity pull the wires a bit to see if they move elswhere. At the location the helper is watching be sure to pull out any slack before starting.
 
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Old 04-28-10, 08:51 AM
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I would like to run new wire, Cat5. There are Cat 2 (or 3, forget). I have no idea where the wires actually go. Its quite the mess. Thats why I need to buy/rent/borrow a way to trace them through the walls.

I have no idea if ithe wire runs outside the house, up the inside, etc. It was done post building, and I did see some random wire going into the side of the house on the 2nd floor. But thats 1 wire.
 
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Old 04-28-10, 09:51 AM
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I stand by my original thought, you are just making extra work for yourself. Just run new cable. If you need suggestions on how to run concealed wiring we can help. Just tell us what you have. A crawlspace/basement or attic? One story, two story?

Why do you need cat 5? What is this being installed for.
 
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Old 04-28-10, 11:17 AM
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I am going to run a new cable. I just wanted to follow the path of the original.
I have an attic, and a 2 story townhouse.

There is an alcove in family room which houses the tv, and there is a phone jack back there, as well as coax, and power. I want to put 1 or 2 network jacks instead back there to hook up a media center, tivo, or other network device.

Let me add a bit more detail. Another reason I want to trace the wiring is that the previous person put in some crazy phone setups. One room has 2 or 3 phone jacks just hanging out of a closet (he ran it himself for a home business). I looked in the attic, and there is some phone wire running across part of the attic that is stretched pretty tight, and frankly, it doesn't look right, nor stable. So I want to clean it up.
 

Last edited by cyberbrix; 04-28-10 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 05-11-10, 09:31 PM
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Why do you need to find where they go? They go up to the attic...where else? Or basement I guess...
Just cut the stuff out you don't need, but don't remove pull lines where you'd like cat5.
 
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Old 05-12-10, 03:01 AM
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Because I don't have alot of flexible space. I don't have a basement, and I can't fully see where they're run. I'd like to follow the same path for Cat5.

Or I could just go with Powerline..thats looking like a better option.
 
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Old 05-23-10, 05:21 AM
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The chances of attaching a new wire to the end of an exiting wire and pulling it all through is 0%. The wires within the wall are probably secured to studding (you will never get past the fastener/staple/etc. , There are also bend which you will not even be able to pull the wire past. There may also be some insulation which do nothing to help pulling the wire.

If the exiting wiring is a problem, your best bet is to snip the exising wire so will not confuse anyone in the future and then run new wire.
 
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Old 05-23-10, 08:29 AM
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I went through the attic to identify how wires were run. I'm gonna test pulling this wire to see if it can be traced through.

It seems that the previous owner actually opened the walls and ran everything through them. So I'm not prepared to do that.

I don't have a basement, and the wire would have to be dropped 2 floors. I'll check out the powerline/MoCA solutions.
 
 

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