29 Apr Smart Home Wiring: Don’t Forget These 7 Things When Building A New Home
Are you building a new home or planning a major house renovation? In this post I’m going to discuss 7 things you should consider pre-wiring during construction. Of course, I may be a little biased, but I can tell you from countless client interactions, many folks regret not planning ahead for basic technologies in their new home. Often clients want the moon and the stars when they are in the project design phase, but as the budget grows and their builder adds more and more upgrades, many people cut back on technology……only to be majorly disappointed down the road.
I understand budget constraints, and I know that everyone doesn’t need all the cutting edge technology in the world, but below are areas in which I believe you should consider adding some basic home technologies, either now or down the road. If you just run the wires during construction, then later on you can come back to add home automation and A/V items as the need arises or as your budget is increased.
Run Wires Now!
Don’t Forget These Technology Items When Building a New Home:
Wiring For WIFI & Internet
True, many of today’s newer home technology devices are wireless, but don’t let that fool you! Everything still needs power and a wifi signal! I have written about this in the past, but it’s good to go over it again. Running some Cat6 wires during construction for wireless access points (WAPS) will not only help you get full coverage of your home, but will also ensure you have adequate wifi signal strength throughout the home. This will give you plenty of horsepower to stream audio & video to multiple devices, have the ability to add numerous wireless devices such as hubs, lights, music streamers, and be able to run tablets, phones and any number of wifi-hungry components.
Looking over this list, I have to say, speakers are one that seems to be a no-brainer. After all, this is how most home A/V and automation conversations start… “I want to listen to music in every room and even by the pool.” Speaker wiring is the cheapest thing to run and, in my opinion, gives the most enjoyment after installation. You can wire every room in the house for pennies now compared to later, if you ever decide to add in-ceiling speakers post-construction. My advice is to just run all the wires now and leave them hidden behind sheetrock until you’re ready. You’ll thank us later when you’re rocking out to music by the pool!
I can’t tell you how many electrical walkthroughs I’ve been on when the homeowner says, “I’m just going to stream my TV shows, I don’t need a wall plate.” If you plan on streaming movies and TV, or will have a few TV’s streaming content at the same time, you most definitely want the TV location wired with Cat6 cable ahead of time. First, if you ever want to stream 4k content, wifi is not the way to go, either now or in the foreseeable future. Similar to the wifi WAPS above, planning out your network, device requirements, and locations will save you lots of frustration down the line from buffering or poor picture quality. It will cost less to wire for all of yor TV locations now, than to take your entire family out to eat for dinner! Wouldn’t you rather spend that money wisely now?
If you take our networking advice, hardwire TV’s and plan out awesome coverage for wifi, you’re probably wondering why I’m even mentioning data ports / internet jacks? Well, if you plan on having a printer that everyone will use in the house or a similar device, a hardwired jack in the office, extra bedroom, or another place will just be an additional level of convenience you didn’t know you could live without. Having a few data ports around also helps down the road if you ever decide to add a old school phone line.
Blinds and shades are always an afterthought when building a home, especially when it comes to motorized blinds. Who thinks too much about window treatments until later on in the project?? But if you think that you might like the safety and convenience of motorized shades, now is the time to run wires. Today, battery operated motorized blinds can last up to a year or more and these types are perfect for some of the more common areas of the home. You may not really decide that you want them until a few years from now, but given the opportunity, it just makes sense to wire for them ahead of time. You may not need them at every location, but if you have a high set of windows in a great room or an entire wall of glass, motorized blinds will definitely make your life easier.
No conversation about pre-wiring your new home would complete without talking about wiring for an automation platform and some sort of future proofing. Home Automation, Smart Home, the Home of the Future (whatever you want to call it) needs a few wires behind the walls to operate and work multiple devices throughout the house. One great thing is that if you have awesome wifi, many things can communicate wirelessly to the “brain” or processor controlling everything. If you’re going to do some lighting control, we will connect to the main processor. Want to control your irrigation clock? Let’s run a quick Cat6 wire. Need a connection to your cameras? Running wires now will be very helpful.
I should have put cameras as item number one, because thinking ahead for surveillance and security is so vital. Don’t be fooled by all the ads in Southern Living or on TV that imply you can just throw up some stick-em cameras to keep your house safe. It’s just not true. Like all home technology devices, everything has a trade off. While you can have a wireless camera, it needs power and of course a wifi signal. The better way to add cameras to your home are with ones that are POE – power over ethernet. These use regular Cat5 or Cat6 cabling to power and send/receive the signal. They can be run well over 300 feet away. Just like your TV’s, a hardwired camera is more reliable, quicker responding, and has more features.
Let Us Help You Make The Right Choice!
Depending on your needs, and if this is your second home or your primary residence, there are a few more things to consider, but I hope these main areas have got you thinking about what’s important to you. Just like everything else revolving around home construction, it’s so much cheaper to do it now rather than later! The vast majority of my clients are for new construction or retrofits, so I’m drawing on first hand knowledge here. If I didn’t touch on an area, or you would like to know more about what your should do, feel free to send me an email.