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How To (& Tips) Run Ethernet Cable From Crawl Space to Second Floor Attic

How To (& Tips) Run Ethernet Cable From Crawl Space to Second Floor Attic

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Old 01-12-14, 08:39 AM
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How To (& Tips) Run Ethernet Cable From Crawl Space to Second Floor Attic

Hello, with the increased Netflix, Hulu, YouTube streaming my household of 5 is seeing my wireless network is getting taxed. I would like to run some ethernet lines to each of the rooms to help with things.

I live in Oregon and my house was built in 2000 . I have access to the crawlspace and the attic. My heat system is forced hot air with the furnace in the garage.

My plan is to have 5 or six lines total with 4 being on the second floor. I would like to have the ethernet lines come out next to the Coax lines in the rooms. Best out of the way place for the modem, router and all ethernet connections is in a downstairs closet which pretty much shares a wall with the furnace and air returns (I think.) My thought is to run the upstair wires out of the closet into the crawlspace then to the attic where I will run each wire to the individual room.

I learned about something called a "Future Tube" that is built into a house for future cable runs, but I don't know if I have one. I kind of doubt it though, but plan on poking around the attic and see if I can find one-Any idea on how to find it?

A couple of questions before I start-

What is the easiest and best way to make the run from the crawl space to the attic? How difficult would it be to get the wires from the attic down the wall into the room? What kind of pitfalls should I look out for? Half the upstairs runs would be on outside walls. Will I run into fire blocks?

I have done some things around the house, but for some reason running wires from the bottom to top of the house seems hard because I don't know how to get the wires run.


Thanks!
DAVE
 
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Old 01-12-14, 09:21 AM
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Fishing wires can be very challenging. I happen to have a plumbing chase from my basement to the second sloor which made it easier, but certainly not painless. I doubt someone put a conduit between the crawl and your attic. You can take a look around, but it is unlikely.

I would try to find an interior wall that can take you all the way to the attic. Maybe inside a closet. It depends on what your floor plans look like. Whatever the run, install conduit that you can run the wires through. That way if you have to add or change anything, it will make that easier. I used some flexible plastic conduit for my house. Another idea is to run the wiring on the outside of the house to the attic.

I'm not too hot on fishing wires in outside walls because of the insulation. It is going to make it harder to do, and you will probably damage it in the process. Even though it is more expensive, install cat 6 cable. This will ensure good performance for a gigabit network.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 09:35 AM
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A "future tube" is really a specialized thing. Most home builders would not put one in automatically.
The homeowner would request it or the electrician would suggest it.

Like droo mentioned..... plumbing chases are the ideal way to go. Unless the house uses balloon construction.... there is likely no clear shot up an outside wall.

Look for a chimney or a vent stack.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 09:47 AM
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With a house that new all the penetrations through the floor will be fire stopped. O
Der homes had larger holes around plumbing and ductwork that made fishing between floors easier.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 09:53 AM
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Thanks all. I am thinking maybe chasing the furnace chimney pipe into the garage then into the closet or crawlspace might work best? I can also try running up next to the air return from the attic to the garage then into that closet. It sure would be nice to be able to run some conduit down there. I assume the firestops would be between the attic and second floor ceiling and at the second floor floor/first floor ceiling?

DAVE
 
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Old 01-12-14, 09:55 AM
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You could use the inside corner of a closet drill a hole through the floor into the crawl space and into the ceiling big enough for the PVC pipe you will use to fish the cables through with some future space figured in,clip the pipe to the wall and you have basically created your own "Future Tube"
Have Fun!

Geo
 
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Old 01-12-14, 09:58 AM
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A tip:
Don't assume you absolutely have to get in behind a wall. If you can get close to where you want a jack to be, you can run behind baseboards, or carefully tuck the cable under thresholds and baseboards.
I had the same problem when I discovered no jacks on the 2nd floor of my place. Ran the lines up the cold air return which happened to end up in the middle of the 2nd floor. Tucked everything from there and ran into surface mount jacks. Can't see any cable aside from the 1 1/2'' at the jacks and they all get the 25mbps download speed I'm paying for.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 10:00 AM
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Newer homes do not use fire blocking.

Search platform framing to see what the framing looks like under the drywall.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr.Awesome View Post
Ran the lines up the cold air return which happened to end up in the middle of the 2nd floor.
^^This is a code violation unless you used plenum cable.

If you can't find a suitable penetration point at the flue pipe (a heavy fishing sinker and a roll of kite string will be helpful here ), there are drill bits that are designed for wall fishing. Basically the bit is 5' long (and then you buy extensions) and it has a hole in the end.. You drill up from the basement or down from the attic. It will go through the firestops in the stud cavities. You add the extension(s) as needed to get to the top/bottom plate. When you get all the way through, you attach the cable or a fish line to the hole in the bit and pull it back through.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 12:36 PM
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Thank you again..I am getting closer! My house is a platform constructed house, so that should help a lot, I think. Looking at the HVAC/Furnace flue pipe, I am thinking it would be a pretty straight forward run down through the attic to second floor wall into the garage space. Then it is a straight shot into the closet. That is probably the easiest run. I hope there is space for some big enough conduit. Any concerns running next to the flue?

DAVE
 
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Old 01-12-14, 12:43 PM
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Is the flue metal or masonry?
 
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Old 01-12-14, 12:54 PM
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Metal...serves both the furnace and hot water heater. Here is a pick of where it is. Above the ceiling is a space that I assume goes all the way to the attic. I am planning on checking that out this evening or tomorrow.

 
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Old 01-12-14, 01:23 PM
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That's at least double-walled, so you shouldn't have any heat issues.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 01:25 PM
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^^This is a code violation unless you used plenum cable.
Good to point out.
Mine was leftover from a job at work.
Depot probably doesn't carry the cable you would need. You likely need to go to an electrical wholesaler.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 01:37 PM
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Check Hd online. They offer cat 6 plenum but in 1,000'.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 02:40 PM
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Yeah HD has it in the store by me (it was a 500' box IIRC), but it's outrageously marked up. It can be had cheaper from several online sources.

It is worth noting that standard/riser Cat5e/6 can be run ACROSS an air return cavity - as in, in one stud and out the other at the same height, but it can not be run for any length ALONG the cavity. Thats when plenum is required.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 04:21 PM
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Thanks for ALL the advice. I fell much more confident about doing this. I am going exploring in the attic to see what I can see. My plan is to try and fish the wires in the wall to the far side of the air return to the closet. If that cannot be done I will have it come out in the garage and run conduit over to the wall, down and through the wall.

Ill post updates as it goes along.

Thanks again!
DAVE
 
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Old 01-12-14, 07:34 PM
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If you have the coax in the rooms already, have you given MoCa a thought?
 
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Old 01-12-14, 10:30 PM
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I have looked into MOCA...it seems kind of expensive, but compared to the work involved in this it might not be actually that bad. I have also looked at network over power line.

I went up on the attic this evening and think I found where I would need to punch through. Got me thinking though that I will have to punch through again on the bottom, which poses a problem. It would be easier to drill through the ceiling of the garage though into that space then again from the attic.....

DAVE
 
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