May 30, 2009
| by Julie Jacobson
By now it may be a little obvious that you should prewire your home with lots of low-voltage cabling before the Sheetrock goes up.
In particular, experts recommend running Cat 5 (or better) cabling to each entertainment area in the house – and lots of it to A/V-intensive locales like the home’s media center.
Beyond the usual, where else should you run wiring before it’s too late.
Scott Fuelling of Memphis-based Phoenix Unequaled Home Entertainment recommends the following:
- We prewire for drapery control systems. Depending on the manufacturer you select, there are some specific wiring types needed. We typically pull a special wire for Lutron motorized shades. We also run a 14/4 (speaker wire) and a Cat-5e to provide flexibility if the manufacturer is unknown at the time of the prewire.
- Providing a quad RJ-45 Cat-5e jack for the master bed location allows for touchscreens, telephones, iPod docks and computers to be docked bedside. It’s also a great way to enable Bluetooth wireless headphones, allowing one person to watch and listen to the television without disturbing the other.
- We provide a Cat-5e at every exterior entry location to the home. This can be used for a standard doorbell as well as door intercom call boxes, custom sound system interfaces, telephone system call boxes or any other type of annunciation system desired by the homeowner.
- We typically “stub out” wiring in a weatherproof junction box allowing exterior speakers and control devices to be added to the landscaping as needed. Simply providing a 16/4 or 14/4 speaker wire along with several Cat-5e cables is useful in allowing additional exterior options in the future.
- In case there is a home entrance gate in your future, “stub out” an appropriate location with multiple Cat-5e, RG-6 coax and two alarm contact wires. This wiring provides the ability for a call box, gate status monitoring, gate motor operation/control and security cameras. Additional wiring can be included to allow a driveway vehicle detection probe to be connected to the system for automatic annunciation when a visitor arrives at your home.
Want more tips for prewiring? Look for the “Ultimate Prewire” feature in the September issue of Electronic House magazine.
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.