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seroth 01-16-2008 08:59 PM

Wiring Ethernet and Speakers in my home question
I am a newbie to the whole homeowner world and as my first project I would like wire my home for ethernet and wall speakers. My question is what is the type, brand, etc. of Ethernet Cat 5e cable and speaker wire should I use to run in the walls and through my attic so as to not start a fire or any cable damage during the Florida summers.

goose134 01-16-2008 09:37 PM

Guys who pull this type of cabling every day will have their own preferences. That said, Cat5e cable performance should be similar brand to brand. You don't need to spend the money on plenum cable (unless you have a plenum ceiling). You should be able to wire it with either LAN cable or failing that, riser cable. As for speakers, I'd say 14 but no bigger than 12.

handyman78 01-16-2008 10:36 PM

You might also want to consider flexible conduit for low voltage wiring (aka structured wiring) in the event you want or need to upgrade cabling in the future. If your walls are open this could be an option. Who knows what the future holds- you may want to remove the cat5e and place fiber optic in its place. I wish I had done that in my addition rather than have rg6 cable and network cabling fixed in the walls.

seroth 01-17-2008 05:15 AM

So are you saying that just a normal box of cat 5e cable will do for running around the roof? I just worry that with the summer heat here in florida it may burn and cause a fire. My attic has open ducts to let air in and out I am not sure what plenum this is very new to me. Also what kind of anchors should I use to hold down the cables in the attic and walls?

Piedmont 01-17-2008 08:18 AM

Cat5's maximum operating temp is 150F if the jacket is made of PVC. Some of the offshore cheap stuff has a lower operating temps.

If your Cat5 or speaker cable will be running next to electrical wires, it can pick up interference and you should use ones with the "shielded" qualifier for those places. Shielded means the wires have an aluminum foil barrier under the jacket. The Plenum qualification the jacket is made of a material that has low smoke & flame characteristics... Plenum is expensive.

seroth 01-17-2008 06:20 PM

I bought CAT5E Plenum Cable, 24AWG, UTP, 4 Pairs, Solid, 1000 ft. which is 350 MHz. So that should do the trick. Thank you for all your help. I did some research on the plenum cables and I found on wikipedia there was an issue with the cable being toxic. Here is the excerpt

"In 2006, significant concern developed over the potential toxicity of FEP and related fluorochemicals including the process aid perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) or C8 such that California has proposed some of these materials as potential human carcinogens. The NFPA Technical Committee on Air Conditioning, in response to public comment, has referred the issue of toxicity of cabling materials to the NFPA Committee on Toxicity for review before 2008.
In 2007, a development program specifically targeting the production of a non-halogen plenum cable compound was announced to specifically address lingering toxicity concerns presented by halogenated compounds for use in European and other global markets."

If anyone knows anything about this or if this is just blind smoke please let me know.


Bondo 01-17-2008 07:15 PM


Ayuh,....... Coming from California,... Who Knows....

I can't remember the last time I had Cat5 Cable for Lunch,.......

O'course,..... It might give your Mice Cancer though........

goose134 01-17-2008 08:11 PM

I had heard that Dow chemical themselves were stirring a bit of this up in order to get their next alternative to plenum cabling a leg up. I'm not sure that there is a latent carcinigenic effect on cable sitting around, or if it is a temperature related item. I tend to think that it is minimal at best and certainly mitigated by the fact that it is in your attic. I agree that some conduit drops (flexible or otherwise) will be helpful for future pulls. The next thing is just around the corner. As Dow chemical will be more than happy to sell you.:laughing:

AllanJ 01-17-2008 08:22 PM

Romex type cable makes good in-wall speaker wire, although it is stiff and not good looking if you let it come out of the wall to connect to free standing speakers.

Recently I wired up a room for use as a home theater and used Romex for speaker wires terminating at binding posts on outlet box covers. More flexible better looking lengths of speaker wire then used for the exposed part of the run.

Because of the numerous permutations for room to room cables, some experts suggest instead running speaker cables from each room all to a central location (hub and spoke method) where jumpers are used to get any desired room to room connections. Run a larger quantity of cables between the central location and any other room where audio equipment itself may be installed. This way the room can both supply audio to different rooms and receive audio from a different room at the same time (if desired).

J. V. 01-18-2008 11:09 AM

Have no concern of fire with networking cables. You would have a better chance at starting a fire with matches underwater. Don't be slack on your speaker wire. Use the largest logical you can afford. You never know what type or kind of speaker will be connected. And yes, keep signaling cables seperate from power cables. I am not in total agreement with shielded cable though. I have witnessed shielded cable picking up more noise than std cable jackets.

seroth 01-18-2008 03:19 PM

I took a look at the Romex wire and it seems really high priced. Is there a less expensive product on the market that is equivalent?

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