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Building a new home - what shoud I include?

1387 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  robertmee
Hello, All

We are getting ready to build a new home. Naturally, I'd like to be able to include a lot of home automation, but I won't be able to afford it for a couple of years.

This house is going to be a passive solar house w/Insulated Concrete Forms Exterior walls & basement, Autoclaved Aerated Concrete for the Roof & interior walls, with geothermal radiant heat & cooling.

Energy consumption is a concern of mine, I'll probably eventually go off the grid. What I want to know is, what types of fiber / wiring should I include in the building phase of the home? What types of automation infrastructure should I include now, to avoid additional expense later?
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3 words. Wire Is Cheap.

And 3 more words. Conduit is Cheap.

Based on the limited knowledge I have of your situation, whatever you do, put in as much wiring as you can afford, and then add 3 more. The more you furture proof the better.

If you are pulling the wire yourself, shop around. And 1 wire I found that works great is from Windy City Wire. www.windycitywire.com Good pricing and the kicker, the wire is already marked for you. All you have to do is circle the room number, jack number, cable run, etc.. It saves a ton of time during trim out and final.

Pull at least

3 CAT5e or CAT6 to 2 locations in every room. Even if they are just buried in the wall for future use. Regardless if you plan on having A/V in that room or not. You will be amazed at how smart you will seem, even to yourself, 5 years from now.

6 Quad shield RG6 to each and every room. 2 locations if possible. 3 in heavily planned A/V locations.

16/4 speaker wire to every room and

16/4 into every ceiling. (backup in case 1 pair goes bad)

Try and use at least 2" conduit to allow for pulling additional wiring and even HDMI cables to shorter runs if possible.

And add conduit from the basement to all floors on both sides of the house. Even conduit into the concrete floors or crawl space, or floor joists. Just make sure there is a route up and down and side to side for anything you forget today, or comes along tomorrow.

And make sure you have dedicated circuits for your A/V, or even a seperate small breaker box for the circuits.

And 1 final note. Map everything you have pulled. Funny how our memory goes as we get older. You know it's funny how our memory goes as we get older.
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When you run your wires in a room for audio (speakers), first run the wires to a location on the wall (for volume control) and then loop it back up to the speaker locations. That way, you can install a system that needs a volume control inline (head-end -> volume control -> speakers) or a distribution amp that goes directly to the speakers (head-end -> speakers).

If you want to add touchpanels in the future (AMX/Crestron) run from the head-end to each touchpanel location a CAT5/CAT6, quad shield RG6 and a 4 conductor run (18/2, 16/2).

I would also run a CAT5 to each thermostat in case you want to control those at at later time.

If you want cameras, a CAT5 and a quad shield RG6 to each location.

If you want to have lighting control, perhaps a CAT5 to each switch location (don't put it in the high-voltage box, but leave it behind).

wire for drive way sensor, mail box sensor :) and sprinklers

rain and wind sensor

that's all I can think of right now....
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Just to expound on jkv's list, run a cat5 everywhere you can imagine possible control or integration in the future. Cat5 is versatile as it can support IP devices, act as a serial cable, as well as provide a 8 wire multiconductor cable for other uses. As an example I ran Cat5 to my water heater (water sensor or smart IP heater), garage door openers (open them during a fire), Refrigerator (smart IP), Doorbell (whole house muting or other automated event), Doors (Door phone/intercom), Security cameras, between alarm panel and home automation panel (pickup all the door/window/motion sensors using serial control), HVAC unit (for serial control) and the list goes on......
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