Since the first issue of Electronic House back in the early 1980s, we’ve harped on the importance of prewiring. With the right low-voltage wiring in all the right places, your home will be ready for any cool electronics or home systems you want installed—now or in the future. It’s always good to be prepared, right?
How Much Does It Cost? Prewiring a home for a 6-zone music system costs between $700 and $1,000. Prices go up from there, depending on the number of systems you want: lighting, security, home theater, motorized shades, data, phones and home automation.
How Long Does It Take to Install? A basic distributed music system takes just a day or two to prewire; prepare for up to several weeks if you want other systems.
Why Do I Need It? By prewiring your house, you can keep many electronic components hidden away in an equipment closet or elsewhere. Proper prewiring also enables you to add new equipment to your system without having to fish cabling through the walls.
Best Time to Prewire? You’ll save time and money by prewiring your home during construction or renovation. Fishing wire through walls and floors that are already finished can cost twice as much (or more) as it would to have the wiring installed while the walls are open and exposed.
While prewiring may be an easy concept to grasp, determining the best locations for that wire can be confusing. Should you focus solely on obvious areas like the family room, home office and kitchen, or are there some spaces you’re forgetting about?
We queried dozens of custom electronics (CE) pros to find out which areas tend to be overlooked in prewiring plans—and how to give those spaces the solid cabling backbone they deserve. Click here for the top seven spaces that should never be forgotten, what wiring to include.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.