How to Install Residential Telephone Lines

By Raul Avenir

Learn to install phone lines to increase your technical skills.
i wireless telephone image by timur1970 from

Residential phone lines are provided by the telephone company. The phone lines lead up to the Network Interface Device or NID. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to set up the telephone wiring inside the house. Telephone cables with four copper wires are typically used to distribute telephone power and signal inside the house. The cables are terminated by RJ-11 or RJ-14 jacks that can accommodate modular connectors from the telephone cord. Learn how a residential telephone wiring is done and increase your technical skills.

Go to the Network Interface Device or NID outside your house and disconnect power and signal from the telephone company line by unplugging the modular connector inside. Most NID boxes are found on a wall near where the telephone line runs into the house.

Find the opening or rubber grommet on the side or bottom of the NID, insert a telephone cable through, and pull the cable from inside the box. Strip off three to four inches of the cable's outer cover using a pair of diagonal pliers, and then strip off 3/4 inch from the insulation of each color-coded copper wire using a wire stripper.

Twist the terminal screws inside the jack counter-clockwise to loosen them using a screwdriver. Wrap each copper wire clockwise around its matching color-coded terminal screw as follows:

--green wire to green terminal (Line 1);

--red wire to red terminal (Line 1);

--black wire to green terminal (Line 2);

--yellow wire to red terminal (Line 2).

Twist the terminal screws clockwise to tighten them. Run the phone cable to the exact spot where you will place the telephone. Use a route along walls, around corners, or through ceilings that will be accessible and easy to wire, but do not place the telephone cable alongside power lines to avoid interference. Fasten the cable as you go along by using cable staples, but be careful not to puncture nor damage any part of the cable.

Hold the cable and pull it gently out of the wall. Leave an extra foot of cable from the wall, and then cut the cable using diagonal pliers. Get a surface mount RJ-14 telephone jack and remove or open its cover by unscrewing it or prying it open. Loosen the terminal screws inside.

Strip off 2 inches of the cable's outer sheath using a pair of diagonal pliers and wind the copper wire clockwise around its corresponding color-coded terminal screw on the jack. Tighten the terminal screws and attach the jack onto a wall using the mounting tape or screw that came with the jack.

Connect a phone into the newly installed jack and re-insert the modular plug into its jack in the NID outside your house. Listen for a dial tone and place a call to test the line.