Wire a Telephone Jack

You can install that telephone jack in the spare bedroom, or the living room that you have wanted but couldn’t afford to have the phone company come out and install it for you. It is not hard. You will need a few basic tools and equipment.

A pair of needle-nose pliers, a wire stripper, a screwdriver (Phillips and flat) a small saw or sharp utility knife, telephone wire (available from most electronics supply stores), electrical tape, a coat hanger that has been straightened out, and a wall plate are all you will need.

Decide where you are going to hide your wire, either behind the wall or under the baseboard. Behind the baseboard is probably the easiest way to run the wire, in which case you will need a hammer and finishing nails. Find the closest phone jack that is working.

Remove the wall plate and tape about a foot of excess wire to the back of it. You will be coming back to hook the wires up later after you run the wire. Now run a loose length of wire along the general path the wiring will be taking. Look for problem areas along the way. Don’t cut the wire yet.

Go back to the beginning and remove any baseboard along the path the wire will take. Carefully push the coat hanger down behind the wall plate you removed to the floor. Carefully attach the loose end to the end of the hanger and pull the wire back through the wall. Retape the wire to the wall plate remembering to leave about a foot of excess.

Push the wire under the edge of the wall and reattach the baseboard until you get to the place where you want the new jack to go. Cut a hole large enough for the back of the wall plate to fit in, but leaving enough excess to attach it to the wall. Push your coat hanger through the wall again and attach a loop of wire using electrical tape. Pull the loop up through the wall and leave it hanging.

Now go outside to your phone junction box and unplug the phone, this is for your safety, while the small amount of current in a telephone wire should not hurt you, it can be unpleasant. Newer phone junction boxes can be unplugged like a telephone, older ones may require you to unscrew and loosen wires. If you have to loosen wires then make a note of where each colored wire goes, usually red on the r, green on the g, etc. , but make a note if they are different.

The wall plate that you removed will have two or 4 wires wired in, match the colors on the new wire, and loosen and slide in a 1 inch section of stripped wire. After installing all four colors, reattach the wall plate.

Now to the new wall plate, cut your loop leaving enough slack to work with easily. Pull the excess out. Cut and strip the wire leaving about 1 inch of bare wire. Attach to the new wall plate, matching red to r, green to g, etc.

Test your line by plugging in the phone at the junction box, and plugging in a phone, call out, and have your call returned. If all works as it should, then attach the wall plate to the wall and enjoy.

If something goes wrong, here are a few ideas:

Check your connections if you don’t get a dial tone, sometimes a loose wire can cause real problems. If the phone doesn’t ring, you may have too many phones on the circuit and will have to turn the ringers off one by one until the phones that are still on the ring. If calls don’t go out, then check your connection.

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