Just do it. Replace all the bad coaxial cable in your home.

I know a guy who keeps every wire that has ever come into the home. He’s one of those guys who bops from TV service to TV service every two years so he can keep the “teaser” rates going. I don’t judge, there are good things and bad things about that. It’s just what he does. He also has a big pile of coax cable that’s been painted over, tacked to walls, sat inside and outside. You never know, he says, you might need it.

And yes, you might need it. And then you might find out it’s no good.

The real truth about coax cable

Coaxial cable, just like everything, has a lifespan. The white dielectric foam can degrade, the center conductor can get kinked and nicked, the connector can start to oxidize. Plastics and rubber parts can begin to break down, especially if they’ve been painted over.

So look, keep old cables if you want. It’s good for the environment and it gives you some backups. But eventually, it’s time to think about some new cables, especially if some of the old ones were never up to par. If they’re really old and have crimped connectors, or if they seem thinner than the newer cables, they should probably be responsibly recycled. These older cables probably conform to the RG59 standard which makes them “ok” for TV but never for cable or satellite. If any of your cables are very thin, you know they won’t last long and it’s just time to let go. Those super thin cables seem like a good idea, until they die unexpectedly.

Let your friends at Solid Signal help

The best part of this, other than the special feeling you’ll get from knowing you’re getting ready for whatever consumer electronics emergency comes your way, is that Solid Signal can help. We sell professionally made lengths of RG6 cable made custom to order. This is the same professional quality material that satellite and cable installers use. Every single professional connection is hand tested. The price is only slightly more than buying the parts and making them yourself. If you have questions about our cables or anything else, you can always call first. We’ll take every pre-sales question you have. Call us during East Coast business hours at 888-233-7563.

I know you’re going to think I’m just acting like a shill, but do yourself a favor and don’t just get new cable at the home store. Chances are you won’t get cables with a solid copper center conductor. Solid copper not only lets the cable carry current (so it can power a satellite dish, antenna, amplifier or rotator) but it’s also more prone to survive minor damage than cable that’s only copper plated in the center.

As for that pile of cables…

So what should you do with that big pile of cables you have in the garage? Have some fun. Strip out the copper centers, you can recycle them for decent amounts of cash. The rest, that’s up to you.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.