The coaxial cable for cable tv that goes to my second floor tvs needs
to be replaced. The coax cable somehow runs up onto my roof, through
the attic, and then connects to a splitter in the attic. The cable is
hidden in some places and runs through small holes. The cable company
told me it would cost me a lot if they replaced it. After the lousy
service I've had from them in the past and the fact that they step on
the ducts running through the attic, I'd actually prefer to replace
this cable myself.
How difficult would it be for me to replace this cable? It looks
fairly easy except for in the few places it's hidden along with the
fact that I don't know how to get it through some of the holes. I
figure they must use some special device for running it through the
holes in the walls. I think I can get my father to help with this
project. I'd just like to know how hard it would be and what kind of
tools I'd need. I also don't want to remove the existing cable until I
can get the new one in. I don't know if two coax cables will fit
through the holes. Any thoughts?
My only concern with that is if for some reason there's a problem
installing the new cable and we take out the old one, I won't be able
to watch tv.
So how would I use the old one to pull the new one through? Would I
connect the two with a coupler (or joiner - whatever they're called)
and then just gently pull the cable through?
The cable guy came out a few weeks ago to fix an unrelated problem and
he checked the signal and said the signal was low on the cable that
goes onto the roof. He said it needs to be replaced asap. He was
really concerned about, I don't know why exactly. There's no problem
with the picture though. That particular cable is 20 years old and
part of it is exposed on the roof. So it gets baked in the hot summer
sun. Then most of the rest of it goes through the hot attic. The
picture is actually a bit worse in the summer because of that.
If people are compulsive like I am, they made the hole only big enough
for the wire, and not the connector on the end. In that case, you can
buy a bag of 10 connectors for 1.59 and a pliers-like tool, the
cheaper version, for $6 I think it is, and put your own end on after
the wire has gone through the hole. There are also ends which don't
require a tool -- they screw on -- but I have never gotten one of them
to work. I screw it on and later it comes off.
If the cable is stapled in place, where you can't see the staples,
that will be a big problem. When I put cable in my house, the walls
were already there, so I put no staples inside walls (since that would
be next to impossible). Unless you've had the attic finished since
you got cable, you probably have no staples that you can't get to and
remove. But check out the entire cable path again, with staples in
Yes, two are less than a dollar and might be useful later, although
that might give some problem turning corners.
I have wires going down the inside of walls, which have to make a bend
to come out of the wall, and that was a little tricky, but largely
because I'm compulsive and I refused to enlarge the hole in the wall.
Instead I spend ten minute before I hooked the wire with a coat
hanger. But i'm happy. In another case, the wires just go through
the ceiling into the close and drop down to the closet floor. Taht's
not tricky at all and would be easy to replace if I ever do. **
I was going to suggest soldering the middle wire, but you'd have to do
a good job, or it will come apart when you're half way through.
ASAP! This is not like a car's brakes, which if you don't maintain
them you might crash. Your tv signal will just stay like it is, or
maybe get very slowly worse. Why did he say ASAP?
There is no problem with the picture!! What about the sound? (Usually
the sound works even when the picture doesn't).
If it has picture and sound, WHAT is the problem? No 3-D?
I've had cable in my attic for 27 years. Works fine. Cheap stuff too
iirc, but certainly second-hand, that I got out of dumpster somewhere.
It looked pretty nice but I don't know how old it was when I got it.
How many tvs do you run from the cable? YOu have a splitter in the
attic iirc, so is it only two?
The last time I had trouble was a couple years ago at the splitter in
my bedroom closet. I fiddled with the end on the end and unscrewed it
from the splitter and screwed it back, and set it so there was nothing
pressing from the side,and it's been working fine. Before doing that,
the tv picture at the end of the cable had suddently gotten not good..
**One mistake I made is just not putting enough wires in. Now if I
used a drill to enlarge the hole with wires already in the hole, I
woudl chew up the wires there, and what I wish I had put in was either
pairs of speaker wires so I could run remote speakers from teh
computer, or a cable from the computer to the central tv location, so
I could watch on-line tv on a real tv, not sitting in a desk chair.
I've gotten past these problems, but if you do take out wires and run
new ones, you should think hard about anything you'll want to do in
addtion, and enlarge holes if necessary, since you'll already be
there. Of course I coudl just drill a second hole in the closet
ceiling, But it's harder inside walls, especially since there is a
fire stop, a horizonatl 2x4 half-way up the wall. (I have a six-foot
flexible drill bit that I can use to go through those**, but you could
just pull your second wire with your first.) **But I'm too tired to
do all this a second time, especially alone. If I had help to wiggle
the wire from the attic which I hooked it with the coat-hanger, that
would be easier, or if I were still 36 instead of 64, that would be
easier, or if I lost some weight, that would be easier. I'm glad they
make wireless speakers (I bought two pair and put one in the bathroom,
one my bedroom, one the kitchen and one the basement. I could move
one outside too for a while but haven't done that. )
** It may be that the cable is an older RG-59U, and not adequate for
transmitting a decent picture today. If there is no clear path to run a new
cable it could be a difficult job, even for an experienced person. It's
doubtful that you can just connect a new cable to the existing one and pull
it, as there are usually some staples involved
Also, it sounds like the part of the cable that has been identified
bad runs across the outside of the roof, then goes inside the attic
to a splitter. I'd replace that part of the run first and see how it
works then. It's possible that this exposed cable is the main
problem. It's also probably the longest run too, so losses there
will add up more than shorter runs to rooms from the attic.
For doing the rest, if you have attic access above INTERIOR
walls, it's generally not too difficult. Outside walls with
insulation are a problem. An alternative with some rooms
could be to place a new cable outlet in a spot with an
interior wall. I'm sure if you google for "running TV coax
cable, etc you will find tips, videos, etc.
lets say you try to replace it yourself and you fail:( Use old cable
to pull new cable! screw together using coax connector double male.
Then duct tape both cables together so they cant seperate.
If you fail run cable thru windows to upstairs till you get a pro to
finish / fix job.
I would investigate running the cable a different way! like out of
basement up side of wall.
The appropiate question for the cable guy isnt how much to replace
Its how much to run a new line to the same area:)?
On Thu, 14 Apr 2011 05:26:39 -0700 (PDT), " email@example.com"
A few questions - how old is the house?
Was the cable installed from new?
If older house and cable added later, the chance of hidden staples is
pretty slim. When I pull TV or Phone cable unto an existing wall I
don't open the wall to staple the cable.
I just replaced my run from the basement to the top ploor in about 15
minutes a few months back when the cable guy identified the old style
cable as the problem - we just pulled the 100% sheilded stuff down
the wall with the new stuff. Works a lot easier pulling down than up (
the cable guy learned a new and valuable trick that day!!!)
Use the old cable to pull the new cable. Remove the connectors from
the ends to be joined, strip back about an inch of the outer
materials, and hook the center wires to each other securely, solder
them together and then duct tape the two cables together, but try not
to increse the diameter of the cable so it won't snag when the new
cable goes thru the holes you described. Having someone at the
feeding end to supply/push the new cable into wherever it goes will
make the pulling end job much easier, I assume you know how to
attach new connectors to the new cable. If you don't, find a ham
radio operator or some neighbor who does, otherwise you have wasted
your time and $$, as bad connections to the coaxial cable can totally
kill any improvements that the new cable might provide.
I would look for a way to simplify the run. Sounds like it's in-the-
house, then out-of-the-house, then over-the-roof, then back-in-the-
house, then into-the-attic, to some cockamaime splitter, then on to
God knows where...
First rule of snaking cable, do not pull on the connector. You should
be snaking bare cable, and adding the connector afterward.
You will need a cable snake, available at any big box home store,
hardware, and Harbor Freight.
You may have to widen the holes if you want to have both cables
available simultaneously. There are ways to cover up the holes
tastefully after you're done.
The job will involve a lot of poking, prodding, pulling, twisting,
jerking, sweating, cussing, and swearing. Good luck.
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