Wiring Basics for a Smart Home

structured wiring for smart home technology

Wiring Basics for Existing Properties & New Construction

This guide provides information regarding basic cabling for a home under construction or for a retrofit as a prerequisite to installing home automation.

Correct wiring of a home, new or existing

Whether you’re developing a new home or preparing on automating your present one, installing suitable wiring is a vital first phase to setting up a home automation system and configuring the devices so they can easily all connect with each other seamlessly. If done properly, correct wiring can save money, time as well as frustration.

The kind of wiring needed for a home automation system is called Structured wiring. Structured wiring is a standard term which pertains to a whole-house network of audio, video, data, telephone, home automation elements or security signals. There are some advantages to structured wiring including the network speed, configurability, ability to repair and dependable signal quality.

Wiring Basics structured wiring for smart home technology

All new construction compared to retrofit.

How does wiring for an existing property differentiate from that of a home being constructed? Homes that are being constructed call for a different type of structured wiring than homes which have already been built. In new construction, plans can be produced ahead of time to ensure that wiring takes place before the wallboard is installed In existing homes, the installer doesn’t want to cut any more holes in the wall surfaces that are required. Planning to wire an existing home is equally important as planning to wire a new home.

The following tips apply to both a new home or an existing home. In case you’re a “do-it-yourselfer,” you may want to install the lines yourself. Otherwise, you can hire a professional, including your Control4 dealer, to take care of the wiring for you. At the very least, you’ll get a fundamental understanding of precisely what should be done:

Installation Tips.

  1. Take into consideration a 10-year plan.
    Will the wiring which you install at this time still work for you in 10 years? Try to consider the devices that you may want to add to your house through the years.
  2. Start with a floor plan. From the floor plan, figure out and pencil in exactly where your devices will be installed and what equipment you want in each room. As an example, you ought to install more devices and have extra power in the family room and the master bedroom so you can play music and watch videos. You may want more capability in the kitchen also so that you can control all devices from a central location.
  3. Mark your wiring and electrical outlets.
    On the layout, mark precisely where the wires will run and where the electrical wall outlets are in the rooms you will be automating.
    Which accessories will require an Ethernet cable, and which will need a coaxial cable?
    Which devices will be cordless?
    Where will those devices stay?
    You might have to ask your merchant to assist you to answer a few of these questions.
  4. Run speaker wires to each area that will receive music.
    Speaker wires should be a minimum of 16-gauge wire and no more than 300 feet in length. Be careful not to install the wires too close to electrical power wires to avoid electrical noise Coupling (interference).
  5. Run all wires consistently to every area in the house.
    At a minimum, the “structured” wiring includes two pairs of unshielded twisted pair CAT5 or CAT6 cables for Ethernet connections, and two coax cables. The coax cables supply downstream and upstream signals for cable television and satellite channels. The Ethernet cables support as much as 100 Mbps for your networking devices. As you work with the wires, be careful not to twist, dent or change the shape of the wire.

Retrofitting an Existing Home

You may wonder whether you can have a home automation system installed in an existing home without having tearing into walls. The answer is yes.

Follow these suggestions for existing homes:

  1. Ethernet and coaxial cable will need to be run to each suitable device. The Ethernet cable should be connected to devices that call for a network connection. For example, Control4 Home Controllers, Touch Screens, and Door Stations require an Ethernet connection. However, thermostats and lighting can make use of the existing.
    Wires of the thermostat and lighting models they are replacing. When it comes to the security system, you or your dealer may need to seek advice from the alarm company. Automated locks, motion sensors, and several other devices use a wireless network connection.
  2. The coax cable needs to be attached to a TV or other device that require this cable type. For audio speaker wiring, if running speaker wires throughout the house is not an alternative, wireless network speakers can be used. Also, if speakers will be installed in an area that doesn’t have an Ethernet connection, a wireless Control4 Speaker Point device can be utilized.

New Construction 

Follow these guidelines for new homes:

  1. The best place to begin wiring the house is in an equipment closet where a patch panel can be installed, and cables are terminated and organized nicely from that location.
  2. You may like to think about installing an equipment rack in the same place.
  3. Run wires straight up and down from the ceiling into an attic or crawl space. Secure them with J hooks and set them high so no one will stumble over them.
  4. All of the previous recommendations are applicable at this point as well.

These are general guidelines to help you with your structured wiring project. However, each structure is different and may require additional guidance. Luckily, your Home Automation dealer is an expert with structured wiring and is always available as a resource to assist.


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