Can someone explain this?

joann23456January 31, 2011

We just bought a new flat-screen television and mounted it on the wall. Like everyone else, we'd like to hide the wires in the wall. There will be some cabinetry under the television to hold cable box, etc., and we'd like the wires to come out of the wall behind that.

I've already contacted my electrician to do the work, so you don't have to yell at me about this.:) And I know that what I'm about to describe isn't code. But please explain this to me:

Instead of paying hundreds to the electrician, why can't I just saw a small hole behind the television and another behind the cabinet and run all the wires through. It's an interior wall, there's no insulation. The wires would only be behind the wall for three feet.

As a friend of mine says, "The wires don't overheat and cause a fire when they're sitting outside the wall, so why would they do that inside the wall?"

So, does anyone know the answer?

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Ron Natalie

I'm not sure what the issue is. You can certainly run a piece of conduit, flexible or whatever, from the TV down to the cabinet. You could put jacks behind the TV and cable them down to jacks behind the cabinet. Frankly, I'm not sure what the issue is. I've got both in construction.

The power you'll want to install a receptacle behind the TV.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 4:07PM
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joann23456

Sorry, I wasn't clear. I do know that you can run the low-voltage wires through the wall, and that you're supposed to get in-wall rated cables to do it. I was just curious about why it would be dangerous to run the actual power wire through the wall, with both ends outside the wall. I won't do it, but I don't really see where the danger is, though that may well be because I don't know much about electricity.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 4:29PM
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kurto

I think you are suggesting to run the power cable down through the wall, and plug it in once it has emerged elsewhere from the wall. There are several reasons I can think of why you wouldn't want to do this: 1) You may not be able to resell your home without correcting such an obvious code violation 2) Even in an internal wall there could be insulation which could cause the wires to overheat and cause a fire 3) You (or a visitor to your home) wouldn't know where to unplug the device in case of emergency.

Please note that these rules only apply to the electrical power for the TV. You can run the cable tv (or HDMI) wire pretty much however you like in most residences. It carries very little current and doesn't present a fire or electrical hazard.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 4:33PM
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ontariojer

"As a friend of mine says, "The wires don't overheat and cause a fire when they're sitting outside the wall, so why would they do that inside the wall?""

That's exactly the problem. The cord is not designed to be inside a wall where the heat is contained. Also, if there was a problem with the cord quality control and it did break down from heat or for other reasons it could cause a fire INSIDE your walls where you couldn't see it or do anything about it. Hey, it's your house, take a gamble if you want. But if you can spend the bucks on a fancy new tv, maybe you can afford to install it properly. Like I tell my customers- if you're going to do something, you might as well do it right.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 10:00PM
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joann23456

As I said, I've already called my electrician. I was just wondering.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 11:22PM
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azlighting

They make a kit called an "electrical relocation kit" for around $50 from Home Depot. Pretty easy to install, and WAY cheaper than an electrician. It's basically an extension cord.

The NEC does not allow power cords inside of walls due to the chance of them overheating and starting a fire. Rmember, NEC is the MINIMUM safety requirement guideline for the NFPA.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 12:42AM
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weedmeister

BTW: just because it is an interior wall does not mean there is not some obstruction in it. Code in many areas requires a fire stop inside a hollow wall, usually a 2x4 from one stud to the other about halfway up the wall.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 5:22AM
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Billl

"As a friend of mine says, "The wires don't overheat and cause a fire when they're sitting outside the wall, so why would they do that inside the wall?" "

Think of it this way. You are standing outside on a sunny, 70 degree day. It is really nice because you get a little sun and a nice breeze to keep you cool. Now, imagine sitting down inside a car parked in the same spot. You still get the sun warming you up, but the air around you doesn't move. The temperature will quickly rise to uncomfortable levels.

The same principle applies to a wire inside a wall vs outside.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:49AM
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ontariojer

"As I said, I've already called my electrician. I was just wondering.
"

Do you feel this was explained to your satisfaction?

Kudos to the car on a sunny day example- I like it!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 9:14AM
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joann23456

Yes, I understand, though the risk still seems very low to me. Azlighting, I found the electrical relocation kit - that seems very doable, and I may go that route. Weedmeister, I do know that there are fireblocks in my wall, but I can put the outlet below the level of the fireblock and still have it hidden by the television.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:21PM
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