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Old 2012-02-15, 04:02 AM   #46
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Just curious how you get the coax out of the attic. As I'm helping my mother with an attic install and never done one before, any tips for not drilling holes all over the place or compromising insulation, etc? Can I MacGyver the access hatch?

Apartment dweller, so this is my first time heading into an attic.
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Old 2012-02-15, 06:52 AM   #47
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It really depends on the home, and where the cable needs to go in the home.

Typically you'd route the down-lead from an antenna to the point in the home where cable outlets terminate (assuming that you're using existing cable outlets in the home and don't have cable TV services).
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Old 2012-02-15, 09:21 AM   #48
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Quote:
Just curious how you get the coax out of the attic.
The best in a finished home is to run the cable down along side the home's vent stack. It's that 4" PVC piping that usually runs from basement through the attic to vent the unwanted sewage smells. The builder will usually cut a 6" hole in the floors to run the stack up, that 2" space is all that is needed to do the run.

So in the attic, run a snake down along side the stack, have someone at the other end fish the snake out. Then have the coax tied off to the snake and pull the cable up into the attic. Also include some string so you can do future pulls of other cable if required. The worst is when the stack doesn't run vertically from the basement to the attic. Then you have to bust a hole in the wall where you figure the stack should be and pull the cable from there. That's was the case in my home. But I've run speaker wire to all upstairs rooms, a CAT5e line, and 4x coax runs. Wish I ran more CAT5 and one more coax...oh well, not worth busting the wall open again.
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Old 2012-02-15, 09:38 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deheian
how you get the coax out of the attic
Very Good question. But also very difficult to answer - in general.

The proper, professional - running, routing, fishing, finishing and terminating of cabling though an already finished home/building is one of the most difficult things to do well.

Called: "Inside wiring"

Yes, the methods used vary alot based on the home's construction and where you want / need to run the cables - and how good a job you want to accomplish.

You may require some specialized tools and may need some experience and know some specialized "wire fishing" tricks to do it well.


Honestly ...
Generally, it's a dirty, difficult, tricky and very time consuming job to do well.

Probably one of the most difficult and frustrating things I've done in that field.

Much Patience is required.


That's why all the Telco's and Cable co's really try to avoid or simplify as much as possible any "INSIDE WIRING" that they may have to do.

The amount of Labour and cost involved - for the return they'll get - is high.
So they try to AVOID inside wiring like the plague - stating that it's the home owner's responsibility.

They'll terminate their services to a box outside the home, or just inside the home - and anything they do beyond that is either minimal - or they'll start to CHARGE you for it.


There is no easy answer or solution I can give just here on the FORUM.

The best advice I could give is to try and find a friend or neighbour who maybe is an electrician or telecom tech or experienced in running inside wiring ... to come have a look and give you some advice based on the specific home construction and situation - and what you wanna do.

Working in the ATTIC can be difficult and messy - possibly a little dangerous.

Drilling Holes (?)- I'm sorry, but you may have to do some of that. Drilling holes is almost always a requirement to run wires through a building.


You can surface mount cabling all over the place, to get it from room to room, and staple the cabling to the wood trim near the floor - and that works alot of the time - but that sometimes means running long cable runs all over the room, up and down and around door frames and inside closets etc. - and sometimes does not look so good.


Just a few quick thoughts:

I have run some wiring from the attic by:

1. Drilling immediately to the outside through a vertical attic wall, and then running outside the house down to the basement and in again to the wiring distribution point / board in the basement.

2. Drill downwards in the attic, right in the middle of an interior wall, and fish the cable down to a hole in the wall in the room below. But you have to find the right spot - locate and drill down through a top framing 2x4 usually. Then you need a hole in the drywall of the wall below to fish the cable down through. And usually then, you also want to finish it off with a box or a face plate and connector. And you may run into difficulties like obstructions between the framing studs - ex. Horizontal studs across the framing studs - sometimes called "fire stops" in older construction.

This involves moving the insulation and plastic etc. in the attic and working up there - which can be difficult.


3. In another house we found a passage all the way from the basement to the 2nd floor bedrooms and attic where the masonry / brick chimney ran - and were able to take advantage of that.

But fishing and pulling the cables in this case, beside the brick chimney, was not so easy ... but we did it - and it worked well in the end.


4. Working once with a guy, we ran a conduit tube in the corner of a back room from the basement to the ATTIC, and fished cables from top to bottom that way. Of course, we had to drill through the floor and the ceiling of the room to get the conduit tube from basement to attic.


Get someone - a friend / relative or neighbour - with experience and knowledge doing this - to help you and give you tips / advice.


... or else - call in a professional company to do it well - but that will COST $$$
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Old 2012-02-15, 10:34 AM   #50
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The other option is a cold air return. In many 2 story houses, the vent on the 2nd floor is near the ceiling, so you can drill a hole into the attic and fish a wire up. You can then fish the wire down into the basement, but you may have the same issue as the vent pipe if there are 90 degree bends.
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Old 2012-02-15, 12:30 PM   #51
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Well the good news is that the coax just needs to make it from the attic to a HDHomerun box that'll be powerline networked to a MythTV box downstairs so I guess if I just put the coax through a hole in the access hatch and then make sure that hole is insulated properly (if the hatch is insulated...again, haven't been up there yet) we should be ok.

Any tips on manoeuvring in attics so I don't fall through? Are kneepads necessary?

Thanks for all the great tips. And if I ever build a house from scratch I'm gonna make sure it's overwired for everything.
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Old 2012-02-15, 01:02 PM   #52
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If you keep the antenna close to the hatch, you might be able to do the work while standing on the ladder. To make my life easier, I build a sub-floor with 2x6 running across the trusses to lift it off the insulation and cross braces to prevent them from falling over and plywood on top (cut into 2 foot strips to fit through the hatch). Overkill I know, but makes working up there easier.
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Old 2012-02-18, 09:30 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dheian View Post
Just curious how you get the coax out of the attic.
Other people already gave general advise on that, so I wont repeat. Here is a few trick I used in my own home, so it may or may not apply.

1- Use ventilation dock. If you have forced air heating and cooling, you have big 4 to 8 inch conduit all around the house. you can try to fish around those, but most probably around the air return. Normally there are grills through which air return to the central blower. Those give you access to the inside of a wall without drilling anything.

2- Also recessed lighting will give you access to the ceiling without drilling. There is a way to remove those, fish the wire and replace them without damage. Ceiling speaker also work that way.

3- If you HAVE to drill, try going through closet. Having a wire tied to the base of a wall or in the corner of a room isn't so nice. Having a wire run a corner of a closet doesn't really disturb your clothing...

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Old 2012-02-18, 09:38 AM   #54
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Default attic catwalk

Quote:
Originally Posted by dheian View Post
Any tips on manoeuvring in attics so I don't fall through? Are kneepads necessary?
Build attic catwalk:



That picture isn't from my own attic, but it illustrates the concept very well. you build that as you need to go somewhere, using scrap wood you already have. I find very useful to have a air nailer for that job, but I guess it can be done with an electric screwdriver as well.

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Old 2012-02-18, 11:32 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dheian
Any tips on manoeuvring in attics so I don't fall through?
The catwalk picture above show a good permanent solution.
Pretty safe. That's a good idea.

Temporarily ....
You can take up some narrow long pieces of planks or plywood scraps and lay them down temporarily across the beams. Make sure they're thick enough and strong enough to support enough weight spanning between two beams. (the weight, for example, of a person standing right in the center of two beams.)

But be careful how you place down those pieces and how you walk on them.

If they "cantilever" past a beam, and you walk on the overhanging part .... down you do.

What I did in the Kingston house attic is similar to jflarin 's catwalk picture.
The 5/8 or 3/4 thick scraps of long narrow plywood pieces I used are SCREWED down to the attic floor beams so they can not move, shift, or tip over a cantilivered / overhanging part. The ends are overlayed one over the other in some places so they catch a beam for sure, end to end - so you're never really walking on an overhanging part.
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Old 2012-02-18, 11:46 AM   #56
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Default Breathing in the ATTIC - Dust and Insulation particles

Important.

This should have been mentioned earlier.

If you stir up dust or insulation particles in the attic, it's a good idea to wear a breathing mask designed to filter out that stuff.

Usually, with this sort of work, you're not disturbing the insulation or dust enough to cause a problem. ... But ...

But if you do have to move it and stir it up, and breath enough of it ... it's not so great - healthwise. (esp stuff like fine fibreglass particles / insulation )

You will notice it a little if you stir it up and breath it.

You may cough a bit, feel funny in the back of your throat, and blow out some dark and dirty stuff from your nose later.

If you notice these effects, consider stopping, coming down, and getting a breathing mask.

[ People who do insulation work in the attic know this well ]

[ If you really breath in enough of that stuff, it can get serious ... so don't take this advice lightly ... This is an EXTREME example ... but I saw a guy I know "hoarse" for a week, coughing, could not talk properly for a good time ... but then, he was working doing insulation work in attics and really stirring it up and breathing it heavy with no mask. I think he was off work for awhile, weeks, and probably on compensation leave ... that's serious - and could have done some damage in the lungs - not great. ]
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Old 2012-02-18, 12:02 PM   #57
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Default Lighting while working in the Attic

Lights and power outlets are usually not found in the attic either.

So you can SEE what you're doing up there.

I use a "trouble light" that has a long cord, plugged into a room outlet below, up thru the hatch and have a few hooks fixed into the top beams to hang it on, in a few key spots.

Flashlights and batteries work - but don't give much light, and the batteries tend to run out and get's expensive.

Extension cords needed for drills and power tools - obviously.

Careful working up there.

Good lighting is needed up there to see what you're doing where you're walking, what you're walking on, and so you don't get in an sort of accident or trouble.
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Old 2012-02-18, 10:42 PM   #58
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Head lamps are also good lighting option as it is always shining where you want it. Most now use LEDs which are great for flashlights/headlights as they, save on batteries, provide a nice, even, bright, white light and are less likely to burn out (especially when dropped).

Myself, I am lucky and have an electrical outlet in my attic.
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Old 2012-02-19, 06:18 AM   #59
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LEDs don't actually give off white light--impossible. Typically bluish green. But I do agree that working in dark areas is made much easier with the use of a headlight.
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Old 2012-02-19, 12:57 PM   #60
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Headlamps are great for focusing on the immediate detail you are working on, and halogen work lights really make it easy to see the whole area. Throw the headlamp onto one of those hard hat baseball caps you can get at Princess Auto and you won't squish your head with the headlamp strap.

Flashlights are a pain, need one hand... And I still have one lost in my attic somewhere under an r50 stack of insulation.

Simple painter dust masks are ok for breathing protection but I also like to wear eye protection, and the dust masks seem to send my breathing up into the safety glasses, so I usually put on a breathing mask. Especially if you are working in an older attic and you are not 100% sure you are not disturbing zonolite.
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