Cost for whole house wiring (New Construction) and can I do it myself? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-20-2012, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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So like most people here, I'm a tech guy. I plan to do a good bit of home automation, focusing primarily on A/V and security

I'd like to prewire my entire house with CAT 6 to make sure that I don't have to go through the trouble of wiring with the walls up later.

The house is about 2500 sq ft finished, does anyone have a ballpark cost for what it would cost for someone to do it in my area (there is only one dealer, and I am going to get a quote but wanted to ask here first)

I don't plan to finish anything until afterwards, again this is walls down full house wiring.

Also, is this something you would advise me to do myself? With some planning is it that difficult to run the wire myself?
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-21-2012, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jms5180 View Post

So like most people here, I'm a tech guy. I plan to do a good bit of home automation, focusing primarily on A/V and security. I'd like to prewire my entire house with CAT 6 to make sure that I don't have to go through the trouble of wiring with the walls up later.

Are you just talking about adding additional cat6 on top of a basic wiring package, or are you doing "everything" low-voltage (cat6, alarm wire, coax)?
Quote:
The house is about 2500 sq ft finished, does anyone have a ballpark cost for what it would cost for someone to do it in my area (there is only one dealer, and I am going to get a quote but wanted to ask here first)

What's your area? Put your location in your user profile...
Quote:
Also, is this something you would advise me to do myself? With some planning is it that difficult to run the wire myself?

Have you done any wiring before? What's your experience level? Is the builder providing a basic pre-wire or are you starting from a blank slate?

There's three parts to this work:
1) The design - how much of what types of wire to which locations
2) The construction knowledge - how to run the wires properly, secure them, not screw up the framing/insulation, etc. or get in the way of the other trades.
3) The labor / time / materials / tools to actually do the physical work

If you don't have knowledge / experience on any of these, #1 is the one the forum can help with fairly easily. Telling a contractor you want X wires at Y locations is a good start.

If you've not done any of this before, I'd recommend you figure #1 out, and hire the physical work. Doing a *modest* amount of wiring (as we'd define that here) for a 2500sqft house for inexperienced folks is a ~3-5 day job.

Jeff

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post #3 of 8 Old 06-21-2012, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jms5180 View Post

Also, is this something you would advise me to do myself? With some planning is it that difficult to run the wire myself?

If the drywall isn't up, yeah, I would definitely recommend doing it yourself, its not that hard to do.
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-21-2012, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Are you just talking about adding additional cat6 on top of a basic wiring package, or are you doing "everything" low-voltage (cat6, alarm wire, coax)?
What's your area? Put your location in your user profile...
Have you done any wiring before? What's your experience level? Is the builder providing a basic pre-wire or are you starting from a blank slate?
There's three parts to this work:
1) The design - how much of what types of wire to which locations
2) The construction knowledge - how to run the wires properly, secure them, not screw up the framing/insulation, etc. or get in the way of the other trades.
3) The labor / time / materials / tools to actually do the physical work
If you don't have knowledge / experience on any of these, #1 is the one the forum can help with fairly easily. Telling a contractor you want X wires at Y locations is a good start.
If you've not done any of this before, I'd recommend you figure #1 out, and hire the physical work. Doing a *modest* amount of wiring (as we'd define that here) for a 2500sqft house for inexperienced folks is a ~3-5 day job.
Jeff

I'm talking about everything, not just additional cat6.

I am from Pittsburgh, PA. I added it to my profile

I have had to fish a few wires but actual in wall wire installs? none. Installed plenty of electronics, built several computers, hooked up plenty of home audio systems but nothing with actualy wiring

Builder is providing 7 coaxial plugs for cable.

I am confident I could learn 1.

I do not know how to run them properly or secure them

now that you know my location can I get a ballpark figure? Thanks!
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-21-2012, 11:45 PM
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The issue isn't running the wiring, its the design. What do you run, where do you run it. Which wall in which room.

To control "everything", that could mean:
- local devices (dvd players, TV, stereos)
- HVAC
- Security system (you can use the security system's motion sensors for occupancy based automation, such as turning off lights & equipment when vacant)
- motion sensors
- irrigation
- security cameras
- whole house audio
- local network jacks for wired stuff (ie, extenders aren't as reliable over WiFi)
- local telephone jacks
- speakers
- local heat sensors
- external thermostat (pretty useful, my system wakes me up with the weather outside my house)
- energy usage off your AC panel
- wallmounted touchscreens (unless you're just going to use a WiFi iPad type device)

If you don't know the answers, my recommendation as a DIY'er who did this solo and only have a small bit of experience would be to run
1) 4-6 CAT6 to every single room. (in case you want to control local devices, or send a/v through them, or networking, or ...)
2a) speaker cable to every room, but fished through a location at light-switch level in case you want to put in .
2b) In the same single-gang box that you do speaker cable, also run a CAT6/5e, potentially 2. One for signal, one for Power over Ethernet.
3) 1-2 CAT5 for every location you may have one of the above

As you can see, this could easily add up to 150+ runs of wire. I know my 1600 sqft house is over 100 runs, stopped counting. With that many runs of wire, you then have to deal with wire management.

To run a single run of wire is simple, mindless, and perhaps $50-$80. To run 150 is a volumetric problem. Its not just $80*150, wire mgmt will take a long time.

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post #6 of 8 Old 06-21-2012, 11:51 PM
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BTW if you can't sleep, here's a 128 page thread with part of my DIY journey. I used to have a website documenting it, but got sick of paying for it, plus once I finished my setup I had no desire to maintain the site.

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post #7 of 8 Old 06-22-2012, 08:55 AM
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(hehe, typed this yesterday, didn't click submit)

The cost will vary widely, depending on lots of factors, including the number of audio zones (don't forget MBa, guest BR, garage, patio/deck), distributed video (if any), intercoms, number of cameras, number of category cables to each location, location of central 'hub'/wiring closet, number of LAN drops, wiring for security (doors, windows, LV smokes, number of security keypads, motion detectors), number of 5.1/7.1 zones, number of thermostats, irrigation controller location, in-wall iPads/iTouches/touchscreen controllers...

You said everything.

If you really don't want to learn anything about how to design it, before it's installed, you could just ask some local installers. They're the only ones who can give you a price.

And their prices will vary depending on the level of the quality. An alarm company will be happy to prewire for you, but there is a better chance they will screw something up, compared with the 'custom LV installer/integrator'. Better chance that they'll design it wrong, or do it wrong.

You might want to consider a prewire design from Dennis Erskine's company, out of Atlanta. They design home theaters, as well as prewires. Search here on AVS, and google, for Dennis Erskine.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #8 of 8 Old 06-25-2012, 01:10 PM
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I can help you out as well I am in NJ we deal with hai, elk, control 4, savant etc and can come out but really I sugest finding a local installer that if there is an issue is there to help. First step though is decide on a control system and what you wnat it to do.

Jason
Note: Any posts are of my personal opinions and not to reflect upon any business.

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