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Question DetailsAsked on 10/26/2016

Can a phone jack or electrical outlet be turned into a cable outlet?

My home builder put in another outlet with the phone jack in my den, instead of the cable outlet with the phone jack. That was 6yrs ago and I only noticed it now, my husband was the one that did the inspection with them on the house when we bought it. I double checked my electrical plans and realized this error when I was trying to hook cable up to my tv.

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Bit late to force the builder to fix it - though give them a call (since you have the original plans) and they might have one of their people do it as a courtesy and to avoid bad-mounting of them.

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Would have to swap out the cover plate for a cable type (usually coaxial TV cable, but high-speed CAT5 or CAT6 computer-connection type cable in 'digitally wired" houses), and run the appropriate type of wiring to it either from the connection block or the cable box or by diverting another existing connection. Actually cheaper (and maybe required based on code-required number of outlets - commonly 1 per wall and not more than - oh what is it, 6 or 10 feet max from any place along wall to an outlet. Probably easiest to just add another outlet box for the cable run nearby - that way you have the outlet still to plug TV and accessories into. And depending on provider and whether you have a central cable box or not and how many TV's you already have on the system, might need another cable box too or pay additional charge for another TV connection.

nnnnnn Usually the new wire is run around the outside on existing houses - typically stapled along any horizontal trim within reach of the ground. That avoid having to tear into walls or ceilings to run the wiring.nnnnnn Many cable companies only allow 2 or maybe 3 connections on one cable service account - so you might have to "capture" a currently active cable and re-route it to the new location. Not tough to do yourself with standard coax cable using standard cable lengths with already made up ends - CAT5 and CAT6 takes special connectors and tool (kit about $30) to make up the connections. If running new coax cable you can run into length of run issues on large houses, a normal around 2000-2500SF house or less unless a real strung out single story hacienda or ranch normally not a problem. (Too long a run degrades signal quality). Outdoor runs require outdoor rated cable - can also have an Electricall contractor run it through the attic or basement or such for additional cost.nnnnnn Your cable company can also do this - typically about $50-75 charge to add another wired outlet, NOT counting any usage charges if going over the number of authorized connections - but if you can give up one of the others already in service, all is good. While an electrical or digital home wiring company can do the wiring no problem, you will at least need info from the cable company regarding type of cable required because a normal electrician does not have that info at hand necessarily for each type of cable service.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD




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