Half of American households have cut the cord on their landline telephone service, and streaming Internet TV is chipping away at the business of cable and satellite companies. If you’re part of the “cut the cord” movement, you may be left with unsightly wires stuck to the side of your house. Here’s how to clean up after cutting the cord.
Consider removal carefully
To provide cable and landline service, companies install cables that snake to your house from nearby poles or up from the ground, connecting to boxes attached to your home’s exterior. Once you’ve cut the cord, those cables are unnecessary. Or you may live in an area that’s been wired with high speed fiber optic cable, leaving unnecessary cables in place. You may also have an old satellite dish on the roof you no longer use and want removed.
These wires and devices add unnecessary clutter to your home’s exterior, so it’s understandable that you want to get rid of them. But before you do, consider the following:
- How long do you intend to stay in the house? You might not plan to use cable TV or a landline telephone again, but what about a potential buyer in the future? You might be removing something they want.
- Companies like AT&T, Spectrum and Comcast provide Internet, landline telephone and cable television service. Even if you use only the provider’s Internet service, you’ll need to keep their wires and equipment.
- Power wire warning
Cutting the Cord Safely
Once you’ve committed to cleaning up the mess left from cutting the cord, you need to decide which wires to cut and which to leave alone. It is crucial that you know the difference between low-voltage cable and telephone wires and the electrical line that supplies the house. To avoid life-threatening confusion, It is vital that you contact the power company or a licensed electrician to have them visit to show you which wires are safe to remove.
There is a physical point dividing the wires and boxes that are property of the old provider and those that are yours to dispose of as you please. Generally, wiring and boxes attached to your house are safe to remove, but the point at which wires attach to a pole or utility box from the ground is off limits.
Options for removal
An electrician may be willing to remove the landline and cable wires for you for a nominal cost. If you’d prefer not to go this route, contact the original providers of the cable and telephone services to request that they send someone out to take them away. If there’s no response, use the information from the electrician on what is safe to remove, and clip the phone and cable wires and remove the boxes from the side of the house. If the wires came from a pole, coil them and staple them to the pole. If they come up from the ground, tuck the cut ends underground at the foundation.
Removal will leave holes in your home’s exterior where the cables entered. Caulk these and touch up with paint.
Cutting the Cord on Satellite dishes
An old satellite dish is an eyesore. It’s best to have a roofing company or dish operator remove the equipment. If you can safely reach the dish and want to remove it yourself, clip the cable from the dish. The dish structure is attached to a footplate which in turn is attached to the roof. You can remove these either separately or together. To avoid roof damage, be careful as you pry the footplate from the shingle beneath it. Put one hand on the shingle and slowly rock or pry the footplate loose to prevent tearing or pulling the shingle loose. Afterwards, use roofing tar to fill the holes left behind.