Bob Knight once said, “I don’t believe in luck, I believe in preparation.” My guess is that he was talking about basketball, but he could also have been talking about pre-wiring your home. By pre-wiring, we mean all those low-power cables that are going to control light, shades, audio, video, security and other home automation systems.
If you get the prewire wrong, it can be both frustrating and expensive. Frustrating because you will find there are elements of home technology that may not be possible in your home and expensive because, well, fixing a bad prewire means taking down walls.
In this blog, we thought we would review the 14 things to think about when discussing pre-wiring a home with your builder, or, even better, a Technology Integrator like Bravas. Think of this as a check list you should go through with whomever is doing the work.
- Wiring Backbone: The wiring backbone is the infrastructure from which all additional electronics will be integrated and consists of high-quality cable run throughout the house to serve each subsystem. All wiring should be color-coded, bundled, zip-tied, toned and labeled. The prewire includes all cabling for TV Locations, Speaker Locations, Telephone and Data Outlets, Thermostat Control, Pool/Spa Control, Automated Shades & Drapes, WiFi Access Points, and Security Cameras and Security System components.
- Lighting Control: Bravas can design a complete, hardwired, Lighting Control System with custom engraved, LED backlit keypads. The Lighting Control System will be programmed with customized scenes and timers based your input and requirements in the Finish and Customization stage.
- Automated Shade and Drape Prewire: Windows and doors should be wired for control of automated shades and drapes.
- House Music and Speaker Prewire: Multiple audio zone locations can be wired into the home using 16-gauge speaker wire. Family Room, Private Cinema or Media rooms can be wired for surround sound. Additionally, each room wired with a TV location will be wired to enable sound from the TV to be backhauled to the equipment closet and played through the in-ceiling speakers via the house music amplifier.
- Television Prewire: Each Television location will be wired with multiple wires that allow for maximum flexibility. This allows for direct Cable TV/Satellite Distribution, Distributed Video over Cat6, control, audio, data network and a spare wire in each location for future use. Back Boxes installed at TV locations will include IP controlled outlets for equipment installed behind these TVs. This assures low profile mounting in addition to monitoring the equipment and ability to re-boot without dismounting the TV.
- Data Network and Phones Prewire: Ethernet network and phone jacks using Cat6 wire should be provided for the locations on the plans as well as for enterprise level Wireless Access Points. A wireless network will allow for seamless roaming from one location to another using the fastest wireless technology available today.
- Touch Panel Prewire: Category 6 network wires will be run to all locations to support the proposed and future in-wall Touch Panels.
- Landscaping and Pool Audio Prewire: 14 Gauge Audio wire will be run from the equipment room to separate outdoor locations to support landscape speaker systems outdoors and at any Pool or Dock area.
- Security Camera Prewire: Cat 6 wire should be run to exterior locations capable of supporting the latest high definition IP based security cameras. This includes the front doorbell camera location.
- Pool & Spa Control Prewire: Control of the pool and spa will be integrated into the Touch Panels and apps allowing control of Pumps, Lights, Heater and any other accessories that would like to be controlled.
- Air Conditioning System Prewire: Thermostats should be centrally located in the equipment closet. We can provide wiring from the equipment closet to strategically placed, inconspicuous, temperature sensors to efficiently and effectively balance room temperatures. Also, any wine room will be prewired for a sensor to monitor the temperature status.
- Total Home Security System: Bravas uses the advanced capabilities of many different security devices including hardwired motion sensors, door and window contacts, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, indoor and outdoor alarm sirens and entry/exit keypads. The system also includes battery backup, cellular monitoring, and Ethernet integration for remote control and integration. All doors and windows will be individually wired to make it easy to identify open doors or windows.
- Optional Central Vacuum System: The Central Vacuum System makes cleaning easy and quiet and consists of a high-power vacuum canister with vacuum ports conveniently located throughout the home; premier accessory cleaning kits, and Vacuum Pan in the kitchen. Additional hose kits and accessories are available.
- Equipment Room Infrastructure: The equipment room will be equipped with In-Wall Wire Enclosures for Phone, Data, Security, and Cable/Satellite cross-connects as well as potentially adding a terrestrial AM/FM antenna wire to attic if required. Each enclosure will be outfitted with proper terminal blocks, splitters, etc. for making connection to the core services. Jumpers will be installed between the in-wall enclosures and the equipment rack for final connection. There will be (72” Tall) Equipment Rack, equipped with a 2200VA Uninterruptible Power Supply, power distribution and cable management. Adequate cooling and ventilation must be supplied to this room.
This may seem like a lot, and many homeowners, faced with a list like this, will say “Hey, I don’t need all of that.” Yet it’s surprising how many of these technologies are found in every large luxury home. Good advice is to wire for them now, even if you don’t install them at the start. Adding them later can be expensive, messy and very disruptive.