Why Caring for Cables Pays Back

Why Caring for Cables Pays Back
29 November 2023
Why Caring for Cables Pays Back

This blog provides expert tips on how to care for your cables. It’s a comprehensive guide that provides practical advice on how to extend the lifespan of your cables and prevent operational issues with easy-to-follow care solutions that includes handy hints for proper storage, handling, and maintenance.

Potential Costs of Neglecting Cables

Cables can easily fall into the ‘fit & forget’ category, but the importance of proper cable care can’t be underestimated. Maintaining and protecting them should be a priority within any project to preserve the safety, integrity, and performance of the devices they connect to. Ignore this, and you’re heading for a swarm of potential challenges that can strike at any time:

Technical Considerations When Choosing Speaker Cables

The challenge of transmitting audio is that you have to get multiple octaves of frequencies to the same destination, at the same time, and at the right level. Hence, there are several technical aspects to contemplate when choosing speaker cables:

On-going repairs – Poor maintenance inevitably comes back to bite you. Neglect a car and it soon lets you know that it’s not happy. Cables are no different. Ignorance often results in a catalogue of problems that range from intermittent outages to complete failures that mean you’re constantly waiting to firefight. From productivity to labour, this all comes at a price too. 

Costly replacements – Look after cables and they’ll pay you back – quite literally. Otherwise, you could get caught up in a never-ending cycle of fail-replace-fail, which inevitably hits the pocket in terms of new cables and the labour required to fit them.

Loss of productivity and revenue – Downtime costs money. With vital equipment out of action disruption can be widespread, and at the heart of it is someone’s reputation. When things grind to a halt it doesn’t go unnoticed, especially when it starts costing money due to output coming to a standstill.

Safety risks - Damaged cables present a significant hazard to those working and living around them. From trips and falls to electrocution and fire, nobody wants to increase the chances of a risk to life. 

Damage to devices – Poorly maintained cables can result in the substandard performance of connected devices. In more extreme cases it can cause surges, with the outcome being permanent damage. From printers and TV’s, to home cinema screens and servers there’s a pricey replacement cost – and who wants to pay twice?!


How to care for cables

The correct choice of cable for an installed application should always be the first consideration. Installing product unsuitable for the installation area will be the start of a painful relationship with the connected equipment and its reliability. Proper care and maintenance improves the performance and longevity of cables. Observe these simple cable management tips to ensure durability, efficiency, and safety throughout your business.

Store right - Properly coiled cables kept in the right storage environment, i.e. in cool, dry locations away from sunlight, is the ideal solution. Storing them in colder locations can cause them to become rigid and thus difficult to install, so they should be acclimatised to reach a warmer temperature wherever possible when they’re removed from cold storage.

Handle carefully - Whether it’s launching them off the back of a delivery trailer, or dropping them between floors on a building site, we’ve seen it all. Cables are robust, but they’re not bomb-proof! Yes, metal-based cables are sturdier than glass fibre cables for example of course, but why take the risk? Handle all cables with due care and you’ll be safe in the knowledge that what you’re installing is intact. 

Install with care - During installation, cables have to be routed through a wide variety of different obstacles. From holes in walls to pass-throughs in servers, avoid the obvious hazards to cable integrity by smoothing rough edges, using grommets - and employing conduit to provide corrosion and chemical protection where applicable.

Avoid extremes - In all cases, it’s best practice wherever practically possible to install cables where it’s dry and not subject to extreme temperatures – especially where they fluctuate dramatically. Where this is unavoidable, be sure to use specialist products that are designed specifically for such applications like marine, chemical, duct, arctic grade, and fire-resistant cables.

Check regularly - Ignorance is no defence. You need to inspect your cables as part of an on-going cable maintenance plan. Look for the obvious visual cues such as fraying, knots and damage to the outer sheath. Electrical testing is certainly advised too, which will detect any deficiencies within cables that can’t be seen externally.

Keep within limits - Use the correct cable length in every application. The more surplus cable you have, the higher the damage risk.

Don’t overtighten cable ties - Strangulation can affect the performance of delicate cables such as ethernet and other data cables, and it can also lead to safety risks due to bundled cables potentially getting too hot. It can also impede signals, hampering performance. Velcro type material (hook and eye) options are best for network and AV products for instance.

Don’t overfill fixtures - Overfilling management equipment such as cable trays can result in cable damage – excessive weight on high-performance products can cause insulation damage, resulting in unacceptable impedance, attenuation and crosstalk, and increased safety risk from potential fire.

Don’t overbend - Without exception every cable has a minimum bend radius. Overbend and the signal decays – especially in network cables where productivity is then lost. 

How to clean cables

Clean at regular intervals - The regular cleaning of cables serves two purposes. Firstly, it ensures that cables aren’t subject to a build-up of contaminants, which can cause them to degrade prematurely. Secondly, it ensures that cables get a close inspection where signs of damage can be spotted early and dealt with.

Use suitable cleaning products - You might not be aware, but there are dedicated cable cleaning products on the market that you can buy. Many are solvent-based liquids and are highly effective at removing dirt and contaminants including grease and oils. These solutions also provide the basis for cable cleaning wipes, which come in handy dispensers and are easy to carry from cable to cable.

Avoid common cleaning mistakes - Avoid abrasive cloths and aggressive cleaning liquids as they can cause material surfaces to degrade. Specialist fluids and wipes as outlined above are the best option.

Employ safe cleaning practices - Always remember to follow appropriate health & safety guidelines when using cleaning products. Without exception they should all come with very clear instructions for use. 

In Conclusion

Neglecting cables is the certain route to undermining safety, integrity and performance. 

Cables are the connectivity backbone of countless systems, and yet they’re often fitted and forgotten about. However, the importance of proper care & maintenance for cables can’t be underestimated. It optimises both their working life and effectiveness, ensuring that devices and appliances continue to operate without interruption. Ignore this and you’re inviting potential problems that could snowball quickly and even lead to complete failure. It all comes at a price too, including your reputation if you’re the person responsible for cable care. 

Now might just be the right time to move cable management up your priority list.

Need technical help & advice to choose the right cable option for your project? Talk to the Webro Team for expert advice on 0115 9724483 or sales@webro.com 

Powered by Amasty Magento 2 Blog Extension
Copyright © Webro. All rights reserved.