Originally Posted by Lark3po
You might consider pre-wiring for a camera system and home automation as well. Also, you might consider putting a 2" pipe going from the basement to the attic just in case you need to run a few more wires later down the road.
I'd install two 2" pipes for a wiring raceway. You'd be amazed at how much wiring you can install after the fact. I pretty much did the same thing when my house was under construction in '86. Since then I have replaced the coax runs twice and ethernet cable at least twice. Originally I installed RG-59 for cable TV, which was replaced with RG-6 when I got DirecTV. I eventually upgraded to solid copper core RG-6 with the anticipation of upgrading my DirecTV service to the current dish. That never happened as I went with FIOS instead. In any case, here's what I would recommend:
Determine a central location for a wiring closet. This will be your access point for TV, phone, and internet connections as well as whole house automation and A/V distribution. Make sure you can easily run wires from this location to any point in the house. If it's a two-story house, run the wiring up through the basement ceiling to the main floor. Run wires up to the attic and drop them down from above. Tip: if you plan to finish the basement, install a drop ceiling with acoustic tile. It makes access to wiring so much easier.
If you can access the walls before the drywall goes up, drill holes in the base plates in the main floor through to the basement and up through the ceiling plates into the attic on the 2nd floor between the studs where you intend to place the wall plate. If you have a floor plan of the house, note the location of each hole you drilled so you can locate them later. This allows you to run the wires up through the floor or down from the ceiling without having to guess whether or not you're between the right studs.
Run two CAT6 lines to each room using riser cable. Plenum cable is overkill for most home installations. If you're using punch block terminations, splurge and get a decent punch block tool. You'll thank me later.
Run two RG-6 coax cables to each room, preferably solid copper core and not copperclad steel. If you ever go with DirecTV this is a must. The LNBs won't switch properly due to the voltage drop caused by long runs of coperclad steel RG-6. Use compression connectors on all coax, not crimp connectors. I bought a bunch of them in bulk on ebay years ago. You can find compression tools on ebay fairly cheap.
Run a phone line to each room for a land line. This is not as critical with cordless phones, but phone cable is relatively cheap so why not do it?
Run audio speaker wires to each room if you think you're be setting up a central audio system that will distribute sound throughout the house. I prefer to use something other than 16-gauge zip cord as long speaker runs will create line loss. I'd personally use 12-gauge, but consider 14-gauge as an alternative.
Have the electrician run wires for ceiling fans in each room and tie them to wall switches. You can install dimmer controls and fan speed switches later.
Install low-voltage outlet boxes in each room (these are basically a plastic frame that clamps to the opening in the drywall and allows you to attach a coverplate). I'd go with dual boxes for future expansion. Use keystone wall plates and jacks so you can customize the outlets for each room as needed. Monoprice.com is a great place to shop for these.
For an alarm system, run 4-conductor AWG24 wire to each door and window and anyplace where you might install a motion sensor, glass breakage detector, etc. Run the wiring to a central location, preferably an upstairs closet. Run control wires from the main alarm panel to each entry door as well as the master bedroom where you intend to install a keypad for arming and disarming the system. Note that keypad controls will require multi-conductor wires so check what the requirements are for your system before installing them.
I hadn't considered home automation or camera systems, but if that floats your boat, run whatever wires you need to support them. If you need to run any wiring to the perimeter of your house, do it before the drywall and insulation go up because it's a real bitch to do it later. Sentry lights with motion sensors on the outside of your house might be something you'd like to install so check with your electrician about running these wires.
If you do the wiring yourself, check your local building codes and see if you need a permit to install the wiring. I did the wiring in my house and it failed the inspection because there was no permit or wiring plan for the additional wiring. I had to scramble around the day before settlement to get the permit and have the inspector sign off on it the day of settlement.
Note that if you create the wiring conduit between floors and run just some of the basic wiring between the main wiring closet and each room, you can postpone some of the wiring until after the house is built and your budget permits. The key is to create an easy access between each room and the wiring closet. Don't think you have to do everything while the house is under construction, especially if you're on a tight budget. Don't cheap out with inferior wiring. You'll only end up replacing it down the road, which will end up costing you more in the long run.
One more thing. If you're running wires between a basement and a 2nd floor, drop a sturdy line, like a nylon string, down through the raceway conduit and tie it off at each end, making sure the line is at least twice as long as the length of the raceway. Tie it off at each end to secure it. When you want to run a wire, pull it all the way through from the end you plan on inserting the cable. Tie the line securely to the wire and wrap some tape around the wire and the string so it won't slip off. Feed the tip of the wire into the conduit to get it started or have someone else do it for you. A helper here really makes the job easier. Go to the other end of the conduit and pull the wire through as far as you need to make the connection. If you're running it to a bedroom and have to drop it down through the ceiling, make sure you pull enough through to reach your destination. You can always pull the slack wire back through when you're done.
Happy wiring! Edited by captain_video - 2/27/13 at 5:29am