The Best Cable Management Rules to End Cable Clutter
Always Measure First
Every home and office is different from the next, so if you're thinking of using length-oriented products like surface raceway, wire loom, wire duct, or conduit to manage cable, be sure to measure carefully before each cable management project you undertake. Proper measurement saves time and frustration: it ensures that you'll have plenty of product on hand to protect each cable run, so you won't need to halt mid-project to wait for more to arrive.
Never Exceed Fill Capacity
Whether you're dealing with wire loom, cable trays or heavy-duty cord protectors, one of the cardinal rules of installation is to never overstuff a cable management device with cables. By exceeding fill capacity, you run the risk of crush-related attenuation, insulation damage, crosstalk, and even - in the case of power cables - overheating and fire. Professional installations using duct, conduit or cable trays should consult TIA/EIA, NEC and/or manufacturers' guidelines for product-specific fill capacity specs. If you opt to harness home theater or workstation cords with split wire loom or braided sleeving, the rules are less exacting: just gather together the cables you'll be containing, measure the diameter of the bundle, and select a product whose diameter is slightly greater than that.
Keep Cords Away from Children and Pets
Kids and cables are best kept apart, and pets and cords just don't mix. Whether you're a parent or a pet owner, cable management - for you - doesn't only involve untangling and organizing... it also means lifting cords up and out of reach to prevent electrocution and strangulation hazards. Self-stick cord clips are a cheap and effective solution for routing loose cables up and around doorframes or affixing them to furniture. For window treatment cords that dangle too low to the ground, try the Cable Turtle, a style-conscious little number that lets you coil up extra length until it's out of range for kids and pets alike.
Do Not Over-Tighten Cable Ties
When using cable ties, it's important to snuggly fasten them around cables without going too far and over-tightening them. Cable ties are probably the longest standing, easiest-to-use and least-expensive form of cable management, but they can easily cross the line between organized cords and squished cables. Too-tight cable ties can damage cable insulation and inhibit proper signal transmission, but there are a few products out there that can prevent you from going overboard. Mille-Ties are a uniquely designed, ultra-flexible breed of cable tie, which automatically stop themselves from ratcheting tighter once they've reached their ideal tension. Cable tie tensioning and cutoff tools can also be a big help; these gun-shaped devices quickly tighten standard cable ties to a safe tension, and then automatically trim off the ends.
Eliminate Tripping Hazards
They may not seem too threatening, but floor-level cables have a way of snagging the feet of unsuspecting pedestrians. Nix the risk cable-related trip-and-fall accidents with cord covers, which can be found in styles that work for any setting. Our Floor Cord Cover Kit is a terrific all-inclusive solution for covering cables in low-traffic areas, while Rubber Ducts offer traction and protection in situations with moderate-volume pedestrian traffic. Wish you could make your cords cling to carpet? SafCord Cord Covers secure cords to loop-style, commercial and Berber carpets without messy adhesive, and offer the ultimate in low-profile safety.
Do Not Exceed the Bend Radius
"Bend radius" is the degree to which a cable can bend before it begins to lose signal. When it comes to managing copper and fiber optic network cables, one of the most important factors is to ensure that a safe bend radius is maintained, so that the network can perform at the highest level possible. Products like the Neat Patch horizontally mount onto the rear of server racks to route patch cables and manage excess length, all while maintaining a healthy bend radius.
Prevent Gadgets from Cluttering Surfaces While They Charge
Cell phones, iPods, PDAs and portable video games have a way of taking over kitchen counters, dresser tops and tables when charging time rolls around. Reclaim the space that's rightfully yours with the charger-corralling PowerStation, a handy organizational device that serves as a dedicated re-powering dock for up to 3 gadgets at a time. The PowerStation combines a hidden power strip with plenty of interior space for concealing excess charger cord length.
Do Not Settle for Tangled Earbud Cords
You'd think that a compact little MP3 player would make for a nice, tidy way to take your music with you, but tidy goes right out the window as soon as loose earbud cords start tying themselves in knots. Enter the earPod, an equally compact plastic case that lets you wind cords around the outside and store earpieces in the protected inner chamber. Whether you toss it into your purse, briefcase, backpack or pocket, your earbuds will re-emerge neat and organized every time.
Label Your Cables
It doesn't matter if you're a professional network installer or an amateur home theater buff - cable organization just isn't complete if cables aren't properly labeled. Labeling helps to isolate cables for less-frustrating troubleshooting and maintenance, and takes the confusion out of reconnecting cables to the proper ports. CableOrganizer.com carries an incredible variety of label printers, from light-duty models for labeling cords around the house to professional-grade units that can tackle hundreds of network patch cords without breaking a sweat.
Use Grommets to Protect Cable Pass-Throughs
Sometimes, the easiest way to get cables where they have to go is to cut access holes in a desktop, cabinet, or server enclosure to run them through. Whether the holes are made in wood, plastic or metal, the edges are oftentimes rough, and can pose an abrasion threat to cable insulation. Grommets pop into pass-through openings to neatly buffer the edges, create a gentler path for cables, and leave your desk or cabinet with a clean and polished appearance.