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Wired Stuff and the Evolution of House Plans

Technology is much more efficient now than in the past, so when you are in the process of building a new home wiring technology becomes part of it. Today’s evolution of house plans and designs feature wireless, hidden centralized technology, much of which has been integrated and is self-regulating for ease, as well as energy efficiency.


It is hard to believe that the Bell Telephone Company was created in a little more than a century ago, in 1877, and more than 150,000 people in the U.S. owned telephones by 1886.


For several decades, homes were simply wired for AC electrical power lines, several phone lines, and cable TV. Along came the Internet, and then wireless technology. Today, times have changed, and today consumers are looking at smart homes that require electrical and security system contractors to install low voltage communication cabling that accompanies a wide range of smart home systems.


The power lines are the same, but all the new technology does has some unique and specific requirements that must also be met when building a new home. Known as prewiring – this refers to the installation of cables and wires that are during a new home's construction, and includes: the AC electrical wiring, plus low voltage, home systems cabling.


Although the industry is continually pushing for standardization, many wireless devices still use proprietary communication protocols. This makes it a big challenge as they are often incompatible with other manufacturer's products. This is the reason why most home systems products are designed for structured wiring. The good news is that prewiring is a permanent upgrade to a home, so remember that it will increase the home’s value if and when it is sold.


Home systems requiring prewiring include: entertainment and home theaters; communicating thermostats, door-phones and intercoms, entry systems, driveway vehicle detection, irrigation watering systems, motorized window treatments, PCs and internet networks, security and surveillance cameras, and telephones. A builder or contractor must install access ports for all of these systems and then decide on two designated locations for the centralized controls.


The prewiring of an average size home entails the running of miles of cables and usually requires several days for two installers to complete. The cost of low voltage prewiring varies, depending in some measure upon the number and length of cable pulls, as well as the number of terminations.


Following is an outline of the Prewire Planning Guide developed in accordance with the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) industry practices, identified in the Consumer Electronic Bus standard, which defines how information should travel throughout the home.


Ideally an electrical contractor should be instructed to insure that the line, neutral, and switch legs are available at all switch box locations. It is recommended that only deep switch boxes be used for all planned smart switch and receptacle locations. Also specify that a minimum of 12 receptacle outlets should be installed at the HCC and entertainment centers.


Always speak with your contractr after purchasing your house plan from The Plan Colleciton (www.theplancollection.com), about your desires for wiring. Compliance with the following guidelines will insure that the residence will be prewired for all future needs.

  1. Establish a home control center (HCC) in an area adjacent to the electrical service panel in the home’s, garage, service area or basement.
  2. A 4X6' backboard should be installed to secure the prewired cabling.
  3. Prepare for the installation of the audio and cable/satellite distribution, phones, PC/Internet network, security, and the X10 power line carrier systems signal conditioning equipment.
  4. Two cable runs of RG6 quad shield coaxial cable need to be "home run" from each applicable room or area back to the HCC, including RG6 cable for cable modems, that cable/satellite, DVD, and video cameras. NOTE: It is quad shielding on coaxial cable that insures a minimum loss of signal quality, even if the cables are routed with 90 degree bends.
  5. Two or more cable runs of Category 5E cable should be "home run" from each room planned with a phone, PC, system wall controllers, digital audio controls, thermostats, IR receivers, and cameras back to the HCC. Category 5 enhanced cable consists of 4 pair of twisted wires.
  6. The cable is immune to electronic noise and is tested and certified to communication speeds that exceed the speed of our home networks. Color coding the cable for each application will make cables ore identifiable in a bundle.
  7. Jacketed, high quality, 14 and 16 gauge stranded speaker wire should be prewired to each of the rooms and exterior areas of the home identified with speakers and analog volume controls, from the area identified for the home entertainment center.
  8. Category 5E cable must be prewired from a home's primary PC to the HCC for programming and control of a PC-based controller for the home. 
October 22, 2014

The basics about wiring a new house plan for a smart home

based on the evolution of house plans

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