When the summertime comes, there is nothing better than a backyard BBQ filled with great music. If you are thinking about setting up speakers outside, you might be curious about how you’ll get the wires where they need to be. Fortunately, you can accomplish this task easily by yourself.
To run speaker wire from inside to outside, you’ll want to make the special care to mark and drill your holes in the right spot while also keeping speaker wire type in mind. After drilling the hole, run the wire through and make sure to use sealant. While simple, there are other things to consider.
Outdoor speaker systems are a true gem for a home. Often, you want to make your outside space as comfortable and entertaining as possible. While things like fire pits and pools make for great backyard additions, there is something special about having a full sound system outdoors. If you want to learn more about running speaker wires outdoors, read on!
The Importance of Running Speaker Wire Properly
When it comes to running speaker wires, there’s a right and a wrong way. If you want your outdoor speaker system to run for a long time, you obviously want the latter (more on the differences between speakers in our guide). But how can you run speaker wire properly? And why is it important to take the job seriously?
First, let’s take a look at what speaker wire actually is. Speaker wire usually consists of two identical electrical conductors insulated with either PVC, PE, or Teflon. The idea is that while both conductors are identical, they are marked to carry separate right and left signals from the receiver.
Speaker wire is essential for a wired speaker setup. Not only do they provide the audio, but also the power for passive speakers.
So why is it so important to run your wire correctly? Well, if you don’t, it could mean less than stellar audio, choppy sound, and much more. Additionally, running wires outside comes with its own set of challenges.
Some of the things you should consider before running speaker wires outside include things like rain, heat, and exposed wiring.
While you can get some fairly sturdy speaker wire, like this GearIT Outdoor Speaker Wire (on Amazon), even those will wear out over time. Temperature cycling, going from hot to cold, is another outdoor reality for speaker wire to contend with.
That’s why it’s essential to run your wire from the start properly. If you don’t, moisture and corrosion could get to your wires quicker. This can lead to your speakers not working at all.
Running Speaker Wires Through the Exterior Wall
Running speaker wire through an exterior wall isn’t incredibly challenging, but there are some things to keep in mind. While you might think all you need is a drill and some elbow grease before you start to drill, there are some steps to follow.
First, you’ll want to make sure you are using the right tool. Of course, a drill will be necessary, but you also want to make sure you choose the right drill bit. If it’s a two x four stud wall, you’ll need to find an installer bit that is at least 5” long. You might also consider using a bushing, like these (on Amazon).
Equipment like this can really help when it comes time to run the speaker wire. Now, let’s get to the meat of the process.
Steps to Install Speaker Wire Through an Exterior Wall
In most cases, you should employ some caulking to seal the hole. An outdoor sealant, like this DAP Dynaflex 230 (on Amazon), should do wonders.
Sealing your holes will help prevent heat loss and keep critters from getting into your home. Let’s jump right into the proper way to run speaker wire through an exterior wall:
- Mark the position of the hole on the interior side of the wall.
- Match the same position on the other side of the wall.
- Gently use your drill to make the first hole into the wall. Stop when you feel the other side of the wall.
- Place your bushing carefully in the inside hole.
- Now, move to the outer wall.
- When drilling the next hole, make sure you are careful. Too much pressure can cause cracking.
- Next, feed the wire through the newly drilled hole.
Tips for Running Speaker Wire Through Exterior Walls
The whole process of drilling holes should not be too much of a hassle. If you have some basic handyman skills, it should be a walk in the park. But before you start drilling, some things can help you make the most of the job. First, consider the mess.
When drilling any hole into a wall, there is going to be debris and dust. When drilling the interior hole, it’s important to clean up after yourself.
The best way to do this is to lay a simple drop cloth under the marked spot for the new speaker wire hole.
On the topic of cleanliness, you’ll want to make sure your wire pulls are clean and tidy. To accomplish this, all you need is a staple gun.
While some pull holes won’t need any staples, if you can, secure loose lines with staples to ensure the job is tidy and organized. Here are a few other tips to get the most out of your project:
- Use plenty of sealants — Err on the side of caution when it comes time to fill holes. Even small spaces and gaps can cause water or insects to get inside your home.
- Line up right the first time — Take some extra time to make sure your inside and outside holes are lined up. If you don’t, it could mean trouble when it comes time to run the speaker wire.
- Get some help — Since you’re going to be working on one side then the next, it can help to have an extra set of hands. This is especially the case when it comes time to pull the actual wire.
- Always leave room for slack — Speaker wire is cheap, so if you can, give yourself a few more inches to work with.
What Not to Do
Now that we have an idea of how to run speaker wire and some tips for the perfect job, what should you avoid?
Below you will find some common problems people face when running wires from outside to the inside. If you keep to these tips, you should have an easier time drilling holes and pulling speaker wires.
In addition to avoiding the use of indoor speakers outside (our guide), here are some other things you need to avoid when running speaker wire:
- Don’t run wires under windows — While this might seem like an easy fix; speaker wires can be damaged when being compressed by the window jam.
- Drill holes at least two feet off the ground — Before you drill your holes too low, think about some clearance space. If your access holes are too low, it could mean water and other things like bugs and critters have easy access to your home.
- Use the right type of wire — Not all speaker wires are created equal. Make sure you source the right type and the right gauge. If you don’t, it could mean your system will not perform as well.
- Think about placement — When using a stereo system, you need to worry about both left and right channels. The last thing you want is to have everything set up and finished and realize this mistake
- Watch for pipes and other obstructions — Make sure you aren’t drilling into things like picture frames, electrical wires, or water pipes.
Running speaker wire from the inside to the outside shouldn’t be too hard. While there are some special considerations to follow, with just some basic tools and a little patience, you can tackle the task quickly.
Make sure you are using the right speaker wire, and of course, don’t drill into any pipes. In no time, you’ll have your wires pulled and your new outdoor speakers set up!