Adding a Telephone 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.


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.


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.




Electrical Projects

Installing a Cable TV Jack


Installing Coaxial TV Cable


Installing a Programmable Thermostat


Replacing a Doorbell


Troubleshooting Your Thermostat


DIY Projects

Installing Split-Jamb Interior Doors

Split-jamb, pre-hung interior doors feature jambs that are literally split in half lengthwise. The trim casing is already attached to each edge of the jamb. That means you don't have to fumble around trying to make perfectly matched mitered corners – it's already done for you.


Installing a Cable TV Jack

You've probably seen cable-TV installations where the bare coaxial cable simply enters a room via a crude hole drilled through the floor or a baseboard (maybe you've seen them in your own house!). They're functional but not too decorative. For a more finished and permanent installation, do the job right and install a bona-fide wall jack.


Installing Coaxial TV Cable

It sure would be nice to have cable TV in that spare bedroom you've converted into an office. But before you pay the cable guy for coming to your house and
extending your cable run, see how you can spend an hour doing it yourself. With the money you'll save, it'll be like getting a month or two of free cable!


Installing a Programmable Thermostat

Forget the stock market. Few hour-long home-improvement projects will pay year-in, year-out cost-savings dividends like replacing your old thermostat with a new programmable - or "automatic setback" - model. Depending on the severity of the winters where you live, you could realize a savings of up to 35 percent on your yearly energy bills. Who wouldn't want to do that?


Installing a Ceiling Fan

A ceiling fan will do more than just give your air conditioner a break in the heat of summer - it'll also take a load off your furnace in winter by recirculating heated air that rises to the ceiling.


Installing a Dimmer Switch

A dimmer switch is one of life's little conveniences that, once installed, you wonder how you ever got along without! Any standard single-pole wall switch is a good candidate for replacement with a dimmer switch – as long as there's ample room in its electrical box and the light it's controlling is of the incandescent persuasion.


Installing a Three-Way Switch

Three-way switches can be a little confusing because, unlike a standard switch, they have three screw terminals and do not have ON-OFF markings. Three-way switches are always installed in pairs and are used to control a set of lights from two separate locations.


Installing Specialty Switches

If you thought dimmers were about as fancy as switches could get, think again. There's a whole world of specialty switches out there just waiting to make your life more convenient, and they're every bit as easy to install as an ordinary dimmer.


Installing Cement Backerboard

You may be tempted to rush ahead and get to the fun part - laying the tiles. But resist the urge. Unless you prepare the surface under the tiles properly, you'll end up having to retile a lot sooner than you want.


Installing Landscape Timber Edging

Landscape timbers are an excellent edging for a raised garden bed. While a single course of 4-by or 6-by timbers simply can be set into the ground, there isn't a lot more involved in assembling two courses and securing them to each other. Three courses of timbers stretches the term "edging" and starts to qualify as a retaining wall, which is subject to different procedures and code requirements.


Installing Plastic Edging

Because it's so flexible, plastic edging is the edging of choice for curving beds and borders. It's the most economical of the commercial edgings and the easiest to work with, too. But if you're looking for sharp, crisp corners, look elsewhere. Plastic edging can't handle it. And be sure to anchor the edging securely with stakes to keep it from popping out of the ground.


Do It Yourself Projects




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