All cables should be secured with cable staples, clips or wire ties. Any staple used must be a type which prevents the cable from being pinched or otherwise deformed. Below are some of the most common acceptable cable securing methods.
Image 10a and 10b illustrate the damage a metal staple can do to cable. The staples pinched the coax which can lead to reduced picture quality.
Image 10a also shows a sharp bend in this cable that can lead to lower signal quality. Cable should never be pinched, kinked or have sharp bends.
All cables should be secured at least every 24 inches to prevent movement and potential damage.
All cables MUST be installed with a drip loop before attaching to any device or entering your home. Image 11a shows the cable rising above the hole and going down to the hole. Water can follow the cable into the hole. Image 11b shows switches mounted incorrectly. Ground blocks and switches should always be mounted with the terminals positioned horizontal, never vertical.
A drip loop is formed when the cable flows down from any connection or point of entry into a structure. With out a drip loop, water will travel down the cable and can enter the premise or coax connection. Image 12 shows proper drip loops at the ground block and at the point of entry.
When the cable is rising to the point of entry, there is no need to put an actual loop in the cable before the cable goes through the hole as seen in Image 13a. Image 13b shows a cable with a proper drip loop. No actual loop of cable is present, but no water can follow the cable into the hole. If a wall plate is installed on the inside wall, a 1 foot section of coax can be feed into the wall cavity to allow for removal and maintenance of the wall plate. If there is no wall cavity then a short service loop of cable is required on the outside. The loop should be neat and secured with a screw clip for easy future removal. Service loops should never painted where they can dry and stick to the siding. Should a technician need to work on the system and use the service loops of cable, prying the cable off of the siding leaves an ugly sight.
Image 13c shows a cable entry that has two things wrong. First, the cable flows down into the hole and second, the installer used a bushing to seal the hole. Cable bushings (sometimes called cable grommet) do not provide a water tight seal. They are intended for indoor use only as an alternative to a wall plate. In Image 13c water flowed down the cable though the bushing and caused water damage to the sheet rock. More on Cable Bushings.
Bushings do have useful purpose for outdoor applications when routing cable through metal siding. The sharp metal can cut the cable. Inserting a bushing protects the cable. Images 13d,e and f show the proper installation and use of a bushing on metal siding. Sealant is used to prevent water intrusion and to hold the bushing in place. This sealant will dry clear.
The cable installation should be neat and tidy. While there is no code for neat and tidy, it is only right that your cables be installed neatly. The drip loop in Image 13 may "technically" be a drip loop, but shows poor craftsmanship and should not be accepted. Image 13 also shows cables routed far apart and uneven.
Image 14 is just plain ugly.
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