How to Wire a Telephone Jack in an Old House


A telephone jack is the wall outlet that you plug your telephone into to connect to a telephone line. Most old houses use telephone wires with a traditional color code that allows you to determine the correct wiring.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Wire strippers
  • Examine the type of telephone wiring in your house. An older house typically has one or two pairs of telephone wires, although some may have up to three pairs. Each pair of wires is a single telephone line, where one wire is the positive (tip) lead and the other is the negative (ring) lead.

  • Identify the telephone wires according to their color. Line one uses green wire for the tip and red wire for the ring, assuming your telephone wiring uses the traditional color code. Line two uses black wire for the tip and yellow for the ring. Line three uses orange wire for the tip and blue wire for the ring.

  • Determine the terminals you wish to connect the telephone line to. A telephone jack can have up to three pairs of terminals (one pair for each telephone line), but older telephones can connect to only one line. Trace the wires from the pins on the back of the telephone jack to the terminals to determine which two terminals connect to the two innermost pins on the telephone jack. Call the terminal that connects to the left innermost pin terminal A and the terminal that connects to the right innermost pin terminal B.

  • Choose the telephone line you wish to use, usually line one for an older house. Strip the insulation from the last 1/2 inch of both wires for that line. Wrap the tip wire around the terminal screw of terminal A and wrap the ring wire around the terminal screw of terminal B. Tighten the terminal screws to hold the wires in place.

  • Plug your telephone into the jack to check for a clear dial tone. Line up the holes in the telephone jack with the holes in the walls and fasten the jack to the wall with screws.

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