I am remodeling an old house and in some of the rooms on the baseboard are
very old phone jacks. However in the living room and family rooms, they
installed two jacks, like below:
I am trying to figure out why. I do not have the phone line turned on yet,
since the house will be worked on for the next six months and not inhabited,
I don't see the need to pay for a land line for six months. But I would
like to move the jacks into the wall which is not a big deal just need to
get a small box and some drywall patching is all that is necessary.
However, I wonder if these two jacks mean there are two separate lines. Is
there a way to tell?
Open them up. See if they are simply series wired or separate. The
spade lugs from the modular jack - if they are all going to the same
cable pairs it's wired for a single line.
But as long as it's multi pair cable it can be two lines.
BTW - tell us the avocado carpet is going away . . .
I would take the covers off and see how the wires are connected. Maybe
you can see that the big white wire goes from one box to the next, and
that the connections to the two boxes are in parallel. Or maybe
you'll see red and green to one, and black and yellow to the other, or
some such. That would probably mean two lines.
Right now they have single boxes with two jacks, but I don't know if
they had that when the style here was the most popular. (Although I
think maybe you can still get these.)
Here or in cases where all the wires are in the walls, you can also
use an ohmmeter(sp?) to see what the resistance is between the L1 of
one box and the L1 of the other, the L2's, the L1/L2 and L2/L1, and
any other combination. I suggest more than the minimum measurements
because people can come up with wierd ways to wire things. (I do,
although there is always a good reason. :) )
And finally, I'd find where all the phone lines are connected and see
how it is done and where the wires go from there. My house has never
had more than one line, and the connection place has 4 "clip-strips"
that are used and each wire atttached is attached to all four. So I
know nothing fancy is going on.
Let me add an 11th- if you will be opening and patching walls anyway, and
the house is empty, this is the best chance you will ever have to upgrade
the phone wires to cat 5e or cat6, and a home-run or star topology, vs. the
point-to-point or tree style it probably has now. From your photo, I'd
almost bet 2nd jack is on 2nd pair of RGYB old-style premises wire.
Business/kids/fax line, a non-ma-bell DSL hookup, or something.
I have a related question: wondering how the wires should be handled
if one simply wants to remove a phone jack from the center of a wall
and drywall over the opening? Does one need to do anything special or
can they be dropped in behind the drywall.
Yes it helps thanks!
Unfortunately it seems these wirings were added later and it sort of tucked
itself under door trims, under carpets etc...and now I need to find ways to
figure out which I need and which I don't. I guess it is difficult to
figure that out without actually having a service and see.
There are a mixture of older and newer jacks around and I can't find any
pattern or any indication on any plans.
Thanks what you said makes sense. To forget about those old phone wires and
do new ones all over. And yes I will be opening walls, replacing floorings,
replacing baseboards and adding doors etc... anyways.
However I also would like to consider a few things as well...
(1) Do I really need cat5e or cat6 wiring for all rooms with wireless phones
and internet nowadays. Should I really have one set of wiring done to a den
or where my desktop computer will be and where my master phone, printer, fax
etc... will be and just let wireless do the rest or is there inherent value
for have an outlet in every bedroom?
(2) On the contrary, the coax cable is in the same shape. I see cable
coming into the house. where the splitter runs along the outside of the
house under the soffit with splitters that are half way corroded and no coax
outlet in every room. So I think I need to lump the coax cable problem
with this into one bigger problem. I do like to have the option of having a
TV in different rooms and kitchen etc...
So now I am talking myself into running both coax and Cat6 to all rooms. Am
I making sense? What else should I do that may be helpful?
Thanks for all the help again!
Cat 5 is not necessary for phones. If you are getting DSL for
Internet then you only need Cat 5 for that one location. The phone
company will install that.
If you have a network, you will be using wiring from the router
location to each computer and not to the phone service. This wire
should be Cat 5 or you could use wireless.
Likewise, if you are getting cable Internet, the extra computers will
need to be wired to the cable router location.
I would just wait on phone service.
Well, you could take a battery and, perhaps with a couple wires with
alligator clips on each end (sold in a 10-pack at Radio Shack, among
other places) and hook the battery up to a pair of phone wires, then
use a meter to find out what jacks go with what pairs.
But I don't see any special need or rush to do that, when you have so
many other things to do, and you can also wait until the phone service
If the phones, all or most jacks, were working when the other guy
moved out, they'll still work for you.
I have a friend who works on his car quite a bit, and eventually I
found out that most of what he does is, when he buys a new used car is
to change all the hoses and belts. I otoh have only changed 3 or 4
hoses or belts in the last 30 years, because the ones that are there
seem to last 50 or 100 thousand miles until I get another car.
If I were a contractor coming in to work on your house, I'd want to
get it all done right before I left. But you live there and you don't
charge travel time. So, especially considering all the projects you
have going now, I don't see any problem just redoing the parts you
find ugly, and replacing other stuff as needed.
Phone lines were one of the reasons I got the original blueprints for
my house, but they weren't listed iirc. The first owner had put
another layer of sheetrock over most of the bedroom walls, including
covering the phone jack.
They aren't, although they are functionally identical. When used as a demarc,
the device was appropriately labeled as such.
These jacks, while not common, weren't all that rare. The spring-loaded,
swing-down cover provides excellent strain-relief for the cord.
Given the age of those jacks, I'll bet there were TWO lines working at that
Entombing a splice or working dead-end inside a wall is the LAST thing you
want to do. Access for future needs or trouble isolation is always advisable.
If you must "bury" the wires, ensure that all connections are good, tight and
permanent. Clear/cap any/all dead-end wire. Protect the wire and splices
from potential damage from future intrusion into the wall space.
The house I bought had 3 phone jacks within a few inches of each
other. They were all connected to the same line.
The house was built sometime around 1970, but these jacks were added
later. Apparently, one and then the other 2 even later.
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