How To Run Speaker Wire Outside Underground Properly
As a music lover, having only an indoor home theatre system may restrict your music-listening experience in your room. If you do not want to miss out on your playlist while you are in the backyard, you will have to consider setting up an outdoor speaker system. An outdoor audio system comes with a lot of benefits including partying around with your friends while you enjoy some barbeque right in your house.
Setting up an outdoor audio system with wired speakers requires that you run some speaker wires underground in your backyard. You can run the speaker wires outside by digging a trench and passing the wires through a pipe that will be buried in the trench. You should bury the pipe at least 6 inches into the ground in order not to expose the pipe and wires to external activities that can damage them.
You should plan the layout of your audio system before you begin to dig up any trenches. This will save you some time and cost as well as eliminate unnecessary trenches in your backyard.
In this article, I’m going to take you through a step-by-step guide on how to run speaker wire outside, literally from A to Z, so that you will be able to enjoy your music outdoors as you have always craved. If you are ready, read on for these steps.
Factors to Consider Before Running Speaker Wires Outside Underground
Running speaker wires outside is quite an easy task. However, if the whole process is not carefully planned from the beginning to the end, you may run into some complications when you start work.
These complications include digging more trenches than necessary, using the wrong speaker wires, and damaging vital underground cables in the digging process.
In order to avoid these problems, you consider several factors before you attempt to run the underground speaker wires.
First of all, you need to know what kind of speaker system you want to install outdoors. You should determine what type of speaker wires that will be required for your system to work efficiently.
Next, you should determine how many speakers that will be involved in the setup and how long your speaker wires should be.
Nothing could be more embarrassing than you being unable to complete the audio outdoor system after going through the stress of digging your trenches because of a shortage of speaker wires.
You also need to consider if your speakers require you to run power cables in addition to the speaker wires. You need to pay particular attention to the installation process if you are going to run power cable wires for the speakers.
You should consider the type of conduit that you’ll want to pass the speaker wires through and also how deep the wires will be buried underground.
Lastly, you should consider burying the wires in such a way as to conceal them from the naked eye.
How Deep Should You Bury Speaker Wire?
One important factor to consider when running underground speaker wires outside is how deep you are going to bury the speaker wires.
You should take note that activities in your backyard such as lawn mowing may affect your buried speakers. So you would want to bury the wire deep enough into the ground to prevent damage from some of these activities.
How deep you should bury the speaker wires largely depends on whether or not there is a need for an extra power supply to the speakers.
The type of soil also comes into play at this point.
As a rule of thumb, burying the speaker wires at 6 inches below the ground should work fine.
However, it is even better and safer to bury the wires deeper than 6 inches.
If you are dealing with speakers that do not require an extra power supply, you can work around the 6 inches mark, otherwise dig deeper.
When it comes to the type of soil, it is quite easier to dig in sandy soil because the particles are quite loose.
This also poses a challenge to the safety of the underground wires since they can easily get exposed after covering them. To ensure maximum protection, you can deeper than 6 inches, to about 12 inches and then use a PVC pipe as your conduit.
If you have enough time on your hands, you can dig 18 inches deep into the ground before burying the wires. This is actually one of the safest bets you can employ.
What Conduit Should I Use for Underground Speaker Wire?
Usually, you will be running the speakers through a conduit material for maximum protection. Of course, you can just run the wires underground without a conduit, but that is not a safe practice and you should try as much as possible to always comply with safer practices.
If you are wondering what type of conduit to use for the underground speaker wires, I got some answers for you.
There are several conduit materials out there in the market that you use to protect your wires from cuts.
There are metallic and flexible conduits that you can choose from.
Although metallic conduits offer the best protection, using a metallic conduit for your home speaker wires is almost overkill.
However, nothing actually stops you from using a metallic conduit for your speaker wires if you have the time and money.
If you want to use flexible conduits, which is fairly economical in this case, you can use either metallic or non-metallic flexible conduits.
The non-metallic flexible conduits are less expensive and easier to use. If you want a metallic flexible conduit for your project, you can use an Aluminum conduit and you’ll be fine.
Can I Run Electrical Wire and Speaker Wire in the Same Conduit?
If your outdoor audio system includes some powerful speakers, you will have to run some electrical wires to power the speakers.
In such a case, you may be tempted to run both the speaker wires and electrical cables in the same conduit.
Although this is not entirely wrong, you may face some problems with interference later on.
You should therefore try as much as possible to separate electrical wires from the speakers and keep them some distance apart, preferably 6 inches apart.
If your electrical cables transmit quite a significant amount of power, there is the likelihood that it will interfere with signals in the speaker wire, therefore you can shield the speaker wires in order to prevent this problem.
How Do You Bury Speaker Wire Outside?
After identifying the speaker wires, conduit materials, and how deep you’ll bury your speakers, you can go ahead and begin to bury the wires outside.
Burying the speaker wires involves digging trenches and laying the cables.
Before you dig the trenches, however, you need to map out the layout of your wire system. You’ll need to determine the locations where you are going to place your speakers and the routes for your speaker wires.
Place your speaker wires on the ground and run along the path of your intended routes so that you can have a fair idea of how many wires you’ll need and how long the speaker wires will be.
Next, dig trenches along the path of the wires until the route is complete. You can use a shovel for digging. Although this can be quite tedious, you can save yourself some time and energy by watering the backyard a few hours before you begin digging.
If you are lucky enough to have some rainfall before the start of the digging, that will be your opportunity.
Once you are through with the trenches, place your PVC pipe in the trench and then run the speaker wire from one end of the conduit to the other end.
After laying the cables, make sure to test out the speakers to see if they are working.
If the speakers are working, you can go ahead and cover up the trenches with the dug-out soil to conceal the conduit and wire.
It is important to check if the speakers are working before you attempt to cover up the trenches. This is because if they are not working, you will have to re-dig the trench in order to have access to the speaker wires before you can fix them.
This is time-consuming and you should try to avoid that.
Outdoor speakers allow you to have fun and listen to your favorite music even while you are outside of your room. This can be a great choice for a family gathering or partying with friends.
To have your outdoor speakers up and running, you can run some underground speaker wires in your backyard and use the yard as your party grounds.
After reading this article on how to run the underground speaker wires outside, you should find it easier to turn your yard into
such as party grounds or simply just listen to your favorite music while you spend some time outside of your room.