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Running speaker wire through raised hearth

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Paul Janssen, Oct 25, 2006.

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  1. Paul Janssen

    Paul Janssen New Member

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    Hi,

    I have a woodburning fireplace in my Carmichael, California home. It is located in the family room which was an extension built in the early 1970's (I believe 1972 or 1973). The foundation is slab, and the fireplace is made (or at least covered entirely) with "recycled" bricks. The outside hearth is raised, about 15 inches or so from the floor, and extends out the front of the fire place about 18 inches. It is 9 feet wide. I am currently running speaker wires and other A/V wires around the hearth on the floor, which doesn't look good. I can't go over the mantel since there really is no mantel -- the bricks run straight up to the ceiling. I would like to go through the (outside) hearth (far away from the fire) by drilling a hole on the left side near the floor, and on the right side near the floor. That way I can run the wires through the hearth from left to right as opposed to around it on the floor. The question is, what's inside the raised hearth? Is it hollow? Is it built up from cinder blocks? Did they fill it with concrete or rubble? I drilled a small test hole on one side in the grout, and felt something harder behind the brick, about an inch or so, and then, hollow. When I put a stick in the hole, however, it gets stuck a little further in. In case it helps, when I looked inside the fire box, the inside hearth sits lower than the outside hearth, by exactly the thickness of one brick.

    Before I drill deeper holes or a hole on each side to see if I can shine a light through, I figured I'd better ask the experts... Thank you.

    -- Paul J. :)

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  2. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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    Bristol, Connecticut
    Do you have access to route thru the ceiling? The slab foundation kinda stinks as you could have gone down and thru your basement.
  3. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    CAn you run it around the back of the hearth by the wall?
  4. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    15" high sounds like the center is setup on cement blocks. Hard to tell as each mason does things different many will pour using stone and broken
    brick pirces. I have seen some just fill it with sand that was times in the past. You can bet one thing to be true it is probably not hollow
  5. Paul Janssen

    Paul Janssen New Member

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    Hi,

    Thanks to all of you for your replies. Going through the attic would be extremely difficult, and going behind the back of the hearth would mean going outside the house, which theoretically would be possible but I am not thrilled by the idea of poking holes in my outside walls.

    If it is not hollow (thanks Lord of Fire for your feedback) I may have to settle for running the wires across the front of the hearth after all, maybe under the carpet if I can pry it up in one piece (it is glued down as opposed to nailed to a rail etc.).

    If anyone else would like to share ideas or give feedback about what else could be inside this hearth I would appreciate it.

    Thanks -- Paul
  6. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    middleborough, ma.
    Think wireless speakers
    You can buy a kit that transmits the signal from the receiver to the speakers
    http://www.speakerworks.net/wireless_transmitters.html

    More expensive, sure but it is a clean install

    I put my entertainment system in the closet in our office when I installed the wood stove and used the Radio Shack transmitter for the remotes.
    Had no issues with the wires, just ran them through the basement.

    The DVD wire is a 5 prong that locally they wanted almost $150 to make it, then I found these guys
    www.cablesforless.com

    I have purchased from them and recommend them for audio/video wires.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It shouldn't be too hard to match the existing installed brick if it's random recycled. Hard to say without seeing it, post a picture if possible. Maybe a course of top bricks can be removed, a chase chiseled in and then the bricks remortared in or replaced?

    Sight unseen, it sounds like you need to do some deeper exploring. Pick a site that is easiest to repair and close to the final desire locale. Chisel away the outer brick. Explore. If you find rubble, that might not be too bad. But you'll have to mine out a tunnel without it collapsing. If poured, sounds like a concrete drill job. You can hire this out, but it will be somewhat messy. Perhaps you could diamond saw a channel, insert a pipe chase, and then mortar it in, if you could live with the look? I suppose once could add a brick veneer over the chase on the repaired trench to make is look decent.

    It'll be easier to guess with a few pictures from the sides and top.
  8. Homefire

    Homefire New Member

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    275
    Buy some self stick flat conduit, you can paint that stuff any color you like . If your good you can blend it with the wall.
    I agree with BBLU87 go woreless it is cheap cheap cheap nowadays and if your get the right setup you can
    control it with the pc or mac.
  9. Paul Janssen

    Paul Janssen New Member

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    OK, I broke down and bought a 12" masonary drill bit to deepen the original hole I drilled in the side of the outside raised hearth and to add some additional exploratory holes in inconspicuous places. Generally, after drilling through the grout of the decorative outer wall I hit something harder, then it is hollow, then another harder section follows, but then I hit something very hard, like concrete. In some cases after going through the second "harder section" there are a few inches of less hard material (could be brick again), but then always I hit the (presumed) concrete. I can only conclude they built inner walls from cinder blocks and then filled up the box with concrete, perhaps mixed with scrap bricks etc. I think I have become some kind of fireplace geologist at this time :)

    In any case, thanks for all of your suggestions. It is too late to look at wireless since I already got the speakers. I think I'll just be going around the hearth with the cables (quite a few of them) and see if I can get my wife to ignore them :)

    -- Paul
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