How much time to run wiring?


Senior Member
I've now run ~7runs of sensor wire, 4 runs of speaker wire. I'm finding that it takes me about 1hr to do the actual run, anywhere from 1-2 hours to hook up to the Elk (or amp) and mount the device [ie sensor, speaker, etc]. This isn't just a strip&plug in, but rather screw it in such that it looks clean. This is only me, so I have to go back and forth from attic->room->crawlspace, back to attic, etc.

That's 2-3 hours/item. I can see keeping this to 2 once I get better at it, but I don't see how I could move faster doing it myself.

Is this what others are finding?

I ask b/c I've got another 30 sensors and 12 speakers to install, plus i'm moving some equipment around. I didn't realize just the install would take >100 manhours. Alas, I wish I could find a cheap way to hire assistance that i'd trust.
I spoke to someone who used to install for one of the big alarm companies. He said the rule of thumb was an hour a sensor on average. I did not go into details on the parameters though.

When I started doing mine it took a few hours, but the time started to drop after I did a few. Over a hundred hours eh? Good thing this is your hobby ;)

If it is any consolation I must have 40 hours in just on my recent garage project of fixing the wiring I had someone else do (and I still have much to do). This did include running some new sensors, but the wiring was done 'outside the wall' and I am trying to fix that (so ripped off sheetrock, reran, ran conduit to the attic, etc).

There is always wireless...

Just think of how cool it will be when it is done...
I am IVB, wiring maniac! My update, in case anybody cares.

After taking 1 hr just for the runs for each of the first 2, I did the next 4 in 2 hours. This was primarily due to two main factors:
1) I learned how my attic was physically constructed, where the existing wiring was that I had to work around [it's hidden under the blown-in insulation], and the most efficient path for the run.
2) Learning what equipment I need to have handy to run cable in the attic vs the crawlspace vs the 1st floor void that I use to go between the two. (Elk boards are in crawlspace, wiring runs through attic and down to that location). I know this sounds stupid, but I had to go up & down the ladder all the time for the first 2 cuz I kept realizing I didn't have the right tools within reach.

There is a downside to this story: I got so cocky (shocker) that I totally messed up the next 2 runs. I spent 45mins to run both of them, and another 45 minutes fixing my mess.

Finally, by the 9th and final run of the day yesterday, I was so tired that I was moving at 1/4 speed, so that took me 1 hour. I wasn't going to do it, but it enabled me to declare 5 rooms done. I've got 4 rooms/9-ish runs left to go for phase 1, plus phase 2 adds 12 window sensors which is another 12 runs, so I won't be bored anytime soon.

Of course, I haven't actually done anything with the wiring - right now i've got these 2' lengths of wire just sticking out of my ceiling and hanging into the Elk Cabinet. I can do a few of these every night while the wife watches one of her infinite reality show recordings on SageTV, but that's easy to do.
On a related question (to this thread), how much time should I expect to wire a new construction house? (per run, for example).
I estimate I have about 30 sensors (door, window, motion, smoke).
I have about 14 drops (dual RG6 and Cat5)
I have about 8 speaker runs.
I have about 10 misc Cat5 runs.

Also, do you recommend the combo cables for the dual runs or is it just as easy to run single wires?

One more thing, what are the tircks to securing all the wire when you do a run? What clips/fasteners, etc... are recomended? And good books or online guides?


Not sure if you were asking me, but i'll defer to someone else on the new home construction stuff. I would hope it's less than the 1.5 hours/run that I'm encountering in retrofit construction. Plus, I like combo cables cuz it's less work for me, but i'm not sure that's the "right" answer.

On the tricks side, I try and forget how nice BraveSirRobbin's stuff looks as mine is a horror. Well, perhaps not that bad, but the more seasoned folks here are downright gifted when it comes to making things look clean.