How to hook up telephone wire

Written by steven innis
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How to hook up telephone wire
You can easily hook up telephone wires. (wireless telephone image by timur1970 from

Hooking up telephone wires can be done by anyone who does even minor household repairs. While you cannot hook up the phone lines to the telephone company line coming from the pole without highly specialised equipment, you can hook up your own phone extensions in your home or business. And it can prove economical to hook up your own extension phones.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Sharp knife or razor blade
  • Electrical tape
  • Small flat-blade screwdriver
  • Small single line phone connector box
  • Single line phone cord, 1 foot length
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • 2 screws, 1 1/2-inch
  • Telephone wall plate with hole in the middle

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  1. 1

    Locate where a working phone plugs into the wall and, using the screwdriver, remove the two screws that secure the wall plate and then remove the two screws that keep the wire connector box in place. You will see a large bundle of wires. Observe and note the colour of the wire and the colour of the stripes on the two wires connected to the wire connector box, and note where they are connected to the box. These are the only two wires you need. Replace the screws and reattach the connector box and wall coverplate.

    How to hook up telephone wire
    Find the two active wires. (telephone cable 2 image by Vonora from
  2. 2

    Locate the wall coverplate in the room where you are wiring the new phone. Remove the coverplate and locate the same two wires you identified. Separate the wires from the large bundle by gently tugging and unwinding them. Being careful not to cut the wires, strip 1/8 inch off the insulation of each of the two wires so you can connect another wire to the bare areas.

  3. 3

    Using the foot long length of phone cord, strip 1/2 inch of the insulation off two of the individual wires in the cord. Using one end of the stripped phone cord, attach one wire each to the wire that you barred in the wall bundle by twisting the wire end around the barred section. Wrap these two connections with electrical tape so there are no exposed wires.

  4. 4

    Now you are ready to connect the other end of the phone cord to the connector block. Connect the two stripped wires from the loose end of the phone cord to the connector block being sure to connect them as you had earlier observed. Your new phone wire is ready for use.

  5. 5

    Using the screws, attach the connector box securely to the wall. The box will fit inside the hole that the original coverplate had hidden. Once you have secured the connector box, install the new coverplate with the little screw provided in the package. This new plate will cover the connector box and have a hole in it to allow you to plug in your phone. Plug the wall cord from your new phone into the connector box and you are done.

    How to hook up telephone wire
    Congratulations! (older white telephone image by Janet Wall from

Tips and warnings

  • Completing your shopping before you start makes the job easy.
  • Make sure the connections that you make are solid by twisting the bare wire ends before you attach them to the wires in the wall.
  • Tape the connections extra well so that the exposed wires won't come loose and won't touch other wires.
  • The phone wires carry no danger of electrification. You cannot get a shock.
  • Do not cut the wall wires. Doing so will keep your phones from working. If you do cut them, you need to reconnect them by twisting them together and insulating them properly with electrical tape.
  • Make certain you find only the phone wires as pictured above, they are very skinny wires with colour coding on them.
  • Do not cut electrical wires.

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