Wiring Your House for Today’s Electronics

Home WiringPlanning ahead is always the smart way to go when building a new house or remodeling your home, but it can be hard to foresee how your life will change and what you’ll need with these changes. It is even harder to foresee how technology may evolve and what you should do in planning for these future changes.
Wiring your house for today’s electronics while building or renovating, your house is easier and more cost effective than having to do so down the line. If you are planning or even wishing to one day have a home theater, install a high-capacity, high-grade wiring and cable during construction, while the walls are accessible.
For voice and data it is recommended to install category 5 twisted pair cable or better, and for video RG6 quad shielded coaxial cable. While more expensive, these cables handle high speeds better with less interference.
Consider installing an integrated home network. It will consolidate all wiring for power, cable or satellite TV, telephone, computer, etc. Instead of having separate wires going through the walls, an integrated home network places everything in a central hub. Wires are run from this central hub to each room, and modular outlets provide access to the different services.
Depending on your budget, you may decide to wire only the living room / family room/ future home theater location with higher quality cables, or the entire house. If you wire (or rewire if this is a remodel) the entire home, integrate your home’s system. Network all computers in the home to play multiuser games or all computers to send to a single printer. Watch the movie playing on the family room’s DVD from any TV in the house. Listen to music playing in the living room in any room or outdoors.
If the budget is tight but you hope to rewire the rest of the house in the future, consider using plastic conduits in the new walls to simplify the rewiring process later.
To help you plan your home’s rewiring and communicate with the contractor, here are some terms you should know.
POTS stand for “Plain Old Telephone Service” and refers to the old-style, four-wire, “bell wire” in a plastic sheath that carries your voice, but is not sufficient for the high-speed data transmission associated with the Internet and home computer networks.
Category 5 vs. Category 1 wires. Category 5 is high-quality wire for voice and data transmission. It carries data at 100 megabits per second. Category 1 telephone wire is for POTS only and carries signals at less than 4 megabits per second.
RG6 vs. RG59 coaxial cable. While RG59 cable is most commonly used in homes, RG6 is an enhanced coaxial TV-video cable and is shielded than the RG59 cable. Signal loss is more minimal in RG6 than RG59 (5.9 decibels per 100 feet signal loss in RG6, versus 7.1 decibels per 100 feet for RG59).
F connectors are screw-type connectors that are used to attach video cable (either RG59 or RG6) to televisions, VCRs, DVD players, or other video devices.
Before you do anything, identify what you want and/or need. Ask the contractor what is available today, and what may be of interest to you. Consider things like
– Do I want a home theater now or in the future?
– Do I want whole house audio?
– Will I network multiple computers?
– What type of security, lighting control or home automation systems may I consider if any?
– How will the future of technology affect what I am doing now?
Once you know what you may want, reach out to a professional and finalize your home wiring plans.