3

We are in the wiring phase of our house and there is a wall that there is a high probability that at some point in the future we'd like to wall mount a TV on. With not knowing what TV that will be or when, we aren't sure where to locate the plug.

The wall is an interior wall on the first floor with living space above and concrete below. I will have conduit to that stud bay in the wall, so I could pull my own cable when the time comes, but ideally the electrical would already be there.

As I see it, I have three options:

  1. No electrical, pull cable through conduit and locate outlet at correct height when the time comes.
  2. Guess at the TV height and position the outlet there (5'?)
  3. Install a regular outlet near floor and use that as a junction to a new TV outlet above when mounting the TV.

I was hoping the electrician could just leave wire in the wall to get sheetrocked over with no box and leave it unconnected at the panel, but I'm not sure that's allowed. The wire would have to be stapled to the stud which would make it hard to use as well.

I'm leaning towards option 3 as the house construction and room location would make pulling a new wire a pain, even with the conduit.

Are there any better options for hiding future use electrical?

  • 1
    Is this an empty interior wall or an insulated exterior wall? – Tyson Oct 10 '18 at 12:18
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    I like 2 the best, followed by 3. 1 not so much. But here's #4: run empty conduit with covered j-boxes already installed at floor level and 5' and 6' levels (or more). If you make it all metal, your canny electrician could find them with a toner when it comes time to knock holes in the drywall. – Aloysius Defenestrate Oct 10 '18 at 12:18
  • Also want to know is it an interior wall, and is there attic access? If so leave insulation out of that bay. Your wall mount will probably be closer to ceiling than floor. Fishing it down from the top isn’t too hard. – freshop Oct 10 '18 at 14:48
  • Three is not bad, but may I suggest you install a pull string (better yet two) from where you are coming from to where you are going too. Just may sure it won't catch on any thing and leave it hanging loosely in the wall higher than where you might need it. When you say "electrician leave a wire" you may be referring to my suggestion, but to a DIY you may be thinking conductors. Which by the way is never a good idea, not without a termination point. – Retired Master Electrician Oct 10 '18 at 15:19
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    Sorry, could have done a better job in the question. It's an interior wall with a concrete slab below and living space above, so no access to the stud bay other than the 1" flexible conduit I'm installing. I have CAT6 running to the bay as well. – Redbaran Oct 10 '18 at 19:24
4

Leaving unconnected wire in the wall will not happen.

I think option 3 is the best: install an outlet in an appropriate stud bay at standard floor height. Then when you know where the TV will hang, you can just add another outlet above at the appropriate height, and wire it in to the outlet below.

Left-right placement doesn't matter too much, if that is a difficult decision now. Even if you get it wrong and you end up needing the outlet in a different stud bay, it's only a small drywall patch or two to work around that error.

2

First thing to consider is how much trouble you're really saving versus just doing this work from scratch when and if you go ahead with it. If you have an accessible basement or crawl space below where you can run wires, I'd just leave it until the time comes.

If it will be very difficult to run wires after the fact, rather than pre-wire and leave wires dangling - terrible idea in my opinion - run conduit stubs. Conduit stubs are basically just a way to pre-fish the pathway where it will be difficult or impossible to fish wires later.

Keep in mind you'll probably want two stubs per bay - one for power, one for signal (most likely HDMI). You probably don't have to hit every stud bay, every-other stud bay should be sufficient to ensure you can get power and signal behind the TV.

Flexible non-metallic conduit (FNMC) is easy to work with and adequate for this purpose. You can run NM cable (like Romex) in FNMC as a protective sleeve. If it's large enough, you can pull HDMI in FNMC. So one 3/4" stub and one 1" or 1-1/4" stub to make the fishing easy.

Life will be easier if you mark your stubs durably, and make a clear record which stub goes where. It would not hurt to pre-pull a string into them but that's not really necessary.

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