Currently I have, courtesy of the last owner, 3 wires running to the "socket" behind my TV. It's a coax and 2 audio cables (image below), and they go to the fuse box/meter box in the hallway. . I'm not sure how they run, but at least: in the wall they go up, through the ceiling (probably some turns there), and then back down into said box. The yellow PVC tube they run trough is about 1.5cm in diameter (also see below).

Now I don't need an audio cable there at the moment, but I DO need network. I have a "wire pulling spring" (not sure that's the correct term). I figured my options are:

  1. Attach the spring to one or all wires, pull everything out, pull everything I need back with the spring
  2. Attach new wire to audio wires and pull the audio out and the network in with one action
  3. Attach the spring to the audio wire, pull the spring in and the audio out in one go, then pull the network in with the wire pulling spring.

Option 2 and 3 mean that if I do get stuck, I won't be in a worse situation: the coax is still there. On the other hand, I imagine failure is easier if you don't pull out all the wires.

My question is of course: is there a dead-give-away best method, or are there options/considerations I didn't account for that might provide a 4th way or at least pick a certain winner of these three?

(As an added bonus I wouldn't mind some help or links to the best way to attach springs/wires to other wires for these purposes, but that's kinda a seperate thing.)

audio and coax

wires coming out in meter box

  • If the conduit (the yellow tube) is continuous from one point to the other, then in the worst case, you could run a fish tape (not expensive, and very handy to have) from one end to the other (with or without a wire in the conduit), and attach wire to the end of the fish, and pull it back. Commented Jan 27, 2013 at 17:11
  • Would that be better then using the wire pull spring? I'm not sure what the english term is, but it looks like this: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dragfj%C3%A4der,_spets.jpg and obibouwmarkt.nl/media/catalog/product/cache/3/image/…
    – Nanne
    Commented Jan 27, 2013 at 17:23
  • The spring would probably work okay as well, but I've found that a more rigid fish tape (steel wire) doesn't tend to get caught up as much, especially if there are many turns, or wires already in the pipe. Go for it, though, and see if it's easy enough. Looks like there'll be plenty of room if you pull out one of the audio wires. Commented Jan 27, 2013 at 17:30

5 Answers 5


I would approach it first by trying to pull the network cable through with one of the audio wires. Strip the covering from about 6 inches/10cm of the network cable and separate the conductors in the audio cable about the same distance. Put the two cables end-to-end with the stripped parts overlapping and fold half of each cable back around the other and use electrical table to tape down flat to the original cable (folding the full cable may make your joint thicker and more likely to catch on the other wires in the conduit). Tape the remaining conductors down flat to the opposite cable (I adjust how I do this for the flattest seam with the specific cable being pulled). Now, see if you call pull that one cable through. If not, you may need to pull all three out, in which case I would pull a "pull string" rather than a fish tape -- electricians use a synthetic string that is lightweight but slippery -- and then pull the wires you do want back through.

If you have access to the attic, you should check to see if the conduit is continuous or if you will need to make one pull into the attic and a separate one back down.

Depending on the length of the run, you may also want to look into wire lube that eases the effort to pull them through the conduit.

  • That's sounds like a plan, though I don't think the attick comes in to this. The meter box is in the hall, on the same level as the point where the wires go. Up one wall, trough the ceiling (possibly a box/joint there) and down the other wall.
    – Nanne
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 9:54
  • I got it to work in the end, described what I did for posterity, but seeing I broke wires and all, I think this might be the better answer, so accepted this :)
    – Nanne
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 21:08

I have checked @tomG 's answer as accepted, as that seems the best advice. I will tell what I actually did, and how it worked out.

  1. I connected the network to the audio wire, and pulled it about halfway trough. Then the audio cable broke.
  2. Instead of removing everything and switch a fish tape, I pulled (and pushed!) a pulling wire with the remaining audio cable, leaving the coax in place (needed holding down though :) )
  3. Pulled the network with the wire.

And done. I should've probably removed all the cables, but this seemed to work and felt like less risk of damaging the coax. In the end I might have broken the second audio wire as well, and the coax doesn't connect as nice to the pulling wire, so that might have been an issue :)


There's a really simple solution for this since you have conduit.

  1. Pull all of the existing wires out.
  2. Get out your shop vac, and use it to apply suction to one end of the conduit.
  3. Tie a small piece of paper (say, half the size of the conduit) to a piece of string, and feed it into the other end of the conduit.
  4. Use this string as a pull string to pull back in the cables that you want.

The last time I did this, I pulled a string through 75' of conduit in about 15 seconds.

  • 2
    But how would this be easier then one of the 3 options I provided? There are allready wires in there, so the least I can do is pull something (wire, spring, string) trough the conduit WITH the existing wires?
    – Nanne
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 7:49

When I moved into my house a few years back I used one of the existing coax runs to pull cat5 behind my tv. I just stripped the insulation from both cables, twisted the copper together, and then taped them so they wouldn't snag. It pulled through fairly easily.

  • I doubt I get GB speeds if I strip the insulation? Doesn't that affect the wireing?
    – Nanne
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 7:50
  • You'll be cutting off the join after it's pulled, so there's no worries there. Just remember to pull enough excess so you can trim it back to "new" cable. Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 15:24
  • yeah, I pulled through enough extra that I could clip off my blob of mangled copper and electrical tape. :)
    – Josh Bush
    Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 4:31

Best part of your situation: You have an unneeded/undesired cable in place and a new cable you want in that position.

As mentioned by Josh and Tom, your best and easiest solution is to attach the new cable to one end of the old speaker wire and pull it right through.

I would add that you should also attach a pull string with the new network cable so you can pull both on the same action unless space is extremely tight. Then you'll have your new cord plus a pull string that will serve you for any future changes (or if you just want to put that speaker wire back).

Be sure to tie a washer (nylon/plastic is best) that is larger than the conduit to both ends of the pull string to prevent pulling it out before you're good any ready. In my 10 years installing communication equipment (mostly in old or ancient Gov't buildings) nothing makes you happier than to open a panel or junction box and see a pull string dangling there. They'll save you (or the next guy) a ton of work in the future, or should I say, it could have saved you all this work

  • I'm not sure that would fit though :(. I have 1.5 cm, and good CAT cable (6/7) is up to 7 mm -> with the coax it might be a tight fit allready, I'm not sure an extra would fit?
    – Nanne
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 9:58

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