Tools for pulling CAT6A cables through walls

Handruin

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#1
I'm buying a new house and I'm planning on cabling it with some CAT6A. Last time I did this I had someone else pull the cables through the walls so I wasn't exactly sure how they did this. I'm considering pulling the wires myself this time and wanted to prep with the right tools. Has anyone else pulled their own cables and if so, do you recommend any specific wire pulling tools?

Should I be looking at something like a Klein Tools 56001 Fish Tape, 50-Foot Steel and/or a Wire Noodler HD? Any other tips/tricks you might suggest? I realize it's different for every house but figured I'd ask and see what may have worked for others.
 

Stereodude

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#2
Do you mean a new construction house or a new to you house? If the former it's really easy if you do it before the drywall goes up and you need almost no tools other than a drill. The latter is more challenging.
 

Handruin

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#3
This is a new house to me, built in 1985. I'm assuming it will be more challenging.
 

jtr1962

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#4
I did something like this maybe 15 years ago when I ran ethernet cables from my bedroom to four other areas. What helped was routing them partway either through the attic or the basement. That meant I just had to either drill a hole in the basement ceiling where the cable would drop down from inside the wall, or drop the cable down from the attic into the wall. In all cases I made a hole in the wall where I would put the wall plate. It wasn't hard to find the cable when I either fished it up from the basement or down from the attic. I didn't use any special tools. The key is measuring accurately so you know where to insert the cable from the basement or attic. It still ended up being a physically difficult job, and I cut my hands up quite a bit. I'd previously ran armored electrical cables throughout the house, so I already was experienced doing this type of work.
 

sdbardwick

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#5
Biggest PITA is dealing with firebreaks if you have them - small 2x4s installed perpendicular to the vertical studs every so often. Segments the wall into small boxes and prevents them from acting like a chimney (or combustion air duct).
The pros I observed used 72" spring steel augers to make holes in the firebreaks without removing drywall.
 

Stereodude

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#6
This is a new house to me, built in 1985. I'm assuming it will be more challenging.
Do you have a basement and or attic to run the wiring mostly in? I bought a new construction house, but wasn't allowed to do my own wiring when the walls were open and wasn't about to pay them the kings ransom they wanted per CAT5 drops. I did it after closing on the house with my Dad with 500MHz CAT6. Of course the walls had drywall on them by then. :( The runs for the 1st floor move horizontally in the basement. The runs for the 2nd floor move horizontally on the attic. They only go into the walls straight vertically. So either drilling up from the basement into the wall cavity or down in to the wall cavity from above.

Be sure to seal around the wiring where it goes through the sill plate or header with a sealant rated for fireblocking to keep the wall airtight.
 

Handruin

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#7
Biggest PITA is dealing with firebreaks if you have them - small 2x4s installed perpendicular to the vertical studs every so often. Segments the wall into small boxes and prevents them from acting like a chimney (or combustion air duct).
The pros I observed used 72" spring steel augers to make holes in the firebreaks without removing drywall.
Thanks for the tip, I know exactly what you're describing. I watched some videos on running cables that had the horizontal 2x4 and they showed drilling through them to run cables.
 

Handruin

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#8
Do you have a basement and or attic to run the wiring mostly in? I bought a new construction house, but wasn't allowed to do my own wiring when the walls were open and wasn't about to pay them the kings ransom they wanted per CAT5 drops. I did it after closing on the house with my Dad with 500MHz CAT6. Of course the walls had drywall on them by then. :( The runs for the 1st floor move horizontally in the basement. The runs for the 2nd floor move horizontally on the attic. They only go into the walls straight vertically. So either drilling up from the basement into the wall cavity or down in to the wall cavity from above.

Be sure to seal around the wiring where it goes through the sill plate or header with a sealant rated for fireblocking to keep the wall airtight.
I have both a basement and an attic that I can use to run the cables. During my inspection I remember the inspector pointing out that I should insulate the path where the chimney runs from the furnace in the basement into the attic to stop air flow. I believe I may be able to use that gap as a way to run the majority of wires into the attic and then drop them down into the individual rooms.

I'll have to figure out how to push cables up from the basement into the first floor rooms. The basement has a dropped ceiling so maybe once I remove the panels and see what's above I'll have a better idea. I don't close on the house until March 4th so I still have time to plan some of this out. I already bought two Ubiquiti UAP Pro AC access points that I'm planning to use PoE to power them. Those may be a bit of a challenge to run the cables into the ceiling location.

Thanks for the tip on sealing up the holes after drilling. I could probably use the Great Stuff can spray foam. I know they sell it in a formula that is fire resistant.
 

Chewy509

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#9
Something worth checking, is your states regulations regarding internal cabling. (Is there a state/federal requirement for licensed/registered persons to do the work).

Also, having done lots of cabling in the past, whilst there is a sense of achievement in DIY, the WTF moments on trying to feed cabling makes you want to pay someone else to do it. (Even if you supply all parts/cable, just have an experienced cabler do the pulls will save headaches).

** I don't know what the regulations are like in your state, but here in Oz, all internal cabling, be it phone or data must be done by a registered and licensed cabler, and must meet australian standards (AS S009/2013) . This is done to ensure safety of the person doing the work (since they will come into contact with live AC power), and to ensure things like building codes are met. Not to mention house/contents insurance may not cover if a cause of a fire is deemed the result of poor cable installation.
 

Handruin

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#10
Thanks Chewy. I'll have to check to be sure what my town regulations are. I don't recall there being a need for a license for DIY because this is classified as low voltage electrical. Regardless I appreciate your concerns when running new wires near existing electrical work and I certainly need to be careful.

I did already reach out to a licensed Audio/Video company that offers this service and I'm waiting to hear back from them. I am willing to consider paying someone to pull the cables for numerous reasons. I'm fine with doing all the patch panel work and punchdowns. It's the cabling that is a huge PITA. I also want to run a few extra cables into my attic for some PoE cameras down the road.

I was considering going with a few spools of: Monoprice Cat6A Ethernet Bulk Cable - Solid, 550Mhz, UTP, CMR, Riser Rated, Pure Bare Copper Wire, 10G, 23AWG, No Logo, 1000ft. I see for a few more dollars they offer 650Mhz in the same config but I don't know if that would offer much improvement.
 

Stereodude

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#11
I expect you'll find the company wants a lot of money per run. Maybe if you don't have very many runs it's not so bad. I put in 22 after I closed on my house. They wanted $75 per run and they had the walls open a the time. I've subsequently added even more runs of CAT6 and RG-6 to a few additional places in the house. I will likely run some fiber in the next few months as well as a few more runs of RG-6 and CAT6 to facilitate some plans/ideas I have brewing.

I did have the advantage of having pictures of all the walls without the drywall so I knew what was in them before I drilled. Running wires into insulated walls sucks. I'd try to avoid that as much as possible. I didn't have any fireblocking horizontal 2x4's in the walls.

FWIW, you should be able to find the walls from the basement by the nails sticking through the plywood flooring on top of the joists. Other things going into the walls from below help can help as reference points also.

Running wires by the chimney, be careful of heat. It may not be an issue. I'm not sure what type of chimney you're dealing with, but around here a furnace just uses a metal pipe (if you don't have the high efficiency kind that use PVC to exhaust out the side of the house). I would think a metal chimney might get hot enough to melt the insulation on wiring.
 

Handruin

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#12
I'm about to buy the 1000' of CAT6A wire from Monoprice and I'm finding that it's cheaper to buy through Amazon for the exact same item. Amazon wants $180 for the 1000' spool and free prime shipping whereas Monoprice wants $154 + $40 ($194) for 3-5 day shipping. Both Amazon and Monoprice list it as the same part number...not sure why I'd bother ordering at Monoprice.
 

Stereodude

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#13
I'm about to buy the 1000' of CAT6A wire from Monoprice and I'm finding that it's cheaper to buy through Amazon for the exact same item. Amazon wants $180 for the 1000' spool and free prime shipping whereas Monoprice wants $154 + $40 ($194) for 3-5 day shipping. Both Amazon and Monoprice list it as the same part number...not sure why I'd bother ordering at Monoprice.
Can you use today's Monoprice 20% off coupon on it to get for less than the Amazon price?

I've found some stuff to be cheaper via eBay than direct from Monoprice. So your finding isn't totally out of line.
 

Handruin

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#15
I had already ordered them last night from Amazon. My buddy at work told me about this coupon today and I was bummed. The cables already shipped and will be here soon. Oh well...bad timing I guess.
 
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