Home Improvement How-To's: Add a Phone Extension

Pity the poor phone line. Few things have had to pick up the slack to take us into the information age like telecommunications. So it's not unusual to find answering machines, fax machines, and computer modems sharing space with telephones on our ever-stretched phone lines. No wonder we need new extensions just about everywhere. Fortunately, the four- or eight-conductor bell wire you'll run to get them is a breeze to work with.



Start in the morning, and you'll be talking on your new phone extension in the afternoon.


Needle-nose pliers
Combination tool


Bell wire
Cable staples
Phone-jack plates
Masking tape

Step 1
Locate a telephone junction box in your basement or other utility area. Remove the junction-box cover. Use cable staples to anchor one end of the cable to a framing member near the junction box, leaving 6 inches to 8 inches of excess cable.

Step 2
Run the cable from the junction box to the new telephone outlet location. Keep the cable at least 6 inches away from any electrical wiring to avoid signal interference. If you're fortunate enough to be working on new construction, mark the floor so the cable will be easy to locate later (as shown).

At each cable end, remove about 2 inches of the outer sheathing. Then strip about 3/4 inch of insulation from each wire using a combination tool.

Connect the wires to similarly colored terminals in the new phone-outlet jack. If there are extra wires, just tape them to the back of the jack. Fit the telephone jack over the wall cutout, and screw it to the wallboard.

At the telephone junction box, connect the cable wires to the color-coded screw terminals. If there are extra wires, wrap them with tape and tuck them inside the junction box. Reattach the junction-box cover.