What You Should Prewire When Building a Smart Home

What You Should Prewire When Building a Smart Home

Are you in the process of building a new home?  Are you thinking about incorporating smart home technology into your new living space?  With so many devices supporting wi-fi, are you wondering what to wire, or if you need to wire anything at all?

First, do you even need to wire at all?

With most smart home technology having built in support for wi-fi, do you still need to run wires for the all the technology in your home?

The short answer is: it depends.  But before we go any further, it is worth understanding how wi-fi works, and how its advantages and disadvantages will affect your desired outcome.  Wireless devices are obviously more convenient in retrofit homes, but if you are building a new construction, seriously consider the advantages of prewiring.

Wireless networking is an evolution of radio transmission technology.  Just like radio broadcasts, wi-fi signals get noisy the farther they are from the source.  Also, certain obstacles, especially those made of metal can impede the signal and severely reduce its strength.

This does not happen with wired connections that are properly installed.  Wired connections do not suffer signal degradation like wi-fi.  Their transmission speeds remain consistent.  Wired connections always have higher speed and reliability when compared to wi-fi.

Any modern commercial network will contain a mix of wired and wireless devices.  The same is true for a smart home network.  It all depends on the application, but the general rule of thumb is that wired devices will perform better than wireless devices, especially when it comes to signal quality.

So here are the top 8 things we recommend wiring in your future smart home:

1. Video

  • TVs – TVs need wires for 3 things: Video inputs, network, and control.  Some specifics can be researched in the blog post How To Prewire A Smart Home’ from TYM Homes.
  • Projectors – For projectors, we typically run Cat6 Ethernet, Fiber Optic cable, and electrical power in conduit to the projector.  Keep in mind, HDMI tends to go bad or obsolete over time. Conduit and the Cat6 Ethernet allow you to change or upgrade HDMI cables as needed.
  • Conduit – Although it is overkill to run conduit to every TV, focus on running conduit to the primary TVs.
  • Fiber – If your budget allows, run Fiber Optic to TVs, especially those without conduit.  Fiber Optic cable is great because it allows for high bandwidth and it is not susceptible to magnetic interferences.

2. Surround Sound

When you’re wiring for surround sound, remember to consider both Primary and Secondary Surround locations. These don’t have to be elaborate or expensive setups. It could be a simple powered soundbar and sub, or a simple 5.1 surround system.

  • Primary Surround – Run wires for the Home Theater, media room, or any other primary viewing room.
  • Secondary Surround – You can expand your primary surround sound to other areas of the house.  Sometimes referred to as Whole Home Audio, areas like your dining room, covered patio, game room, bonus room, or outside areas can also play the primary source all over the house, or different sources in each room.

3. Home Audio

Once you experience the benefits of Whole Home Audio, you’ll want more.  The audio source can be anything you might listen to on your phone, not just for music.  If you think you might want music in a room, prewire it for audio.  Places like bathrooms; covered decks; front porch; pool speakers are great areas for listening to music.  There are speakers for just about any application you can imagine, the shower, the pool, the cold… they are even hidden speakers, which blend in seamlessly with the rest of your decor.

Don’t forget your outdoor Landscape Speakers!  Places like the pool, fire pit, sporting areas and gardens are ideal locations for outdoor audio.  If you’re going to spend time outside, or entertain guests on a nice spring day, wire for outdoor areas for landscape speakers.

4. Cable, Satellite, & Internet

  • Point of Demarcation (also called the Demarc) – This is a location on the exterior of the home where Cable, Phone and Internet Service providers connect their services.
  • Satellite Prewire – A satellite prewire prevents the home from being ‘wrapped’ where the Satellite company staples wire around the side of your home.  Satellite prewires, are usually run to a location in the soffit nearest the Satellite location.
  • Satellite Internet – Similar to the Satellite prewire for TV, you can run wire to the attic or soffit if you plan to use Satellite Internet.
  • Satellite Heaters – If you live in a colder climate, you can run a low voltage wire to power a heater that can melt snow off the satellite.
  • Cell Booster – A cell booster is almost a no brainer in a new build, especially if it’s a larger build.  You’ll thank yourself when your cell phone actually has service in your brand new dream home.

If you’re planning to do the prewire work yourself, we recommend contacting your local service providers to verify their cable requirements for their applications. Service Providers can be very particular about the wire used for these applications.  Some will provide their own cable for you to pull, and some even have approved lists of cable.  Some service providers, like Pembroke Telephone Company, will even offer to prewire your new build for their services.  However, don’t expect them to wire for anything other than their current services.

5. Surveillance Cameras

Surveillance Cameras should be prewired.  A lot of clients ask about wireless cameras, but with few exceptions wireless cameras still need power.  If you’re going to run a cable for power anyway, it makes sense to also run Cat6 Ethernet, which will save you time and money.

6. Home Security

With Home Security systems, prewire the keypads for power.  This keeps the keypad installs clean and void of visible power adapters.  Beyond the keypads you can reliably cover smaller homes with wireless sensors.  Larger homes struggle with the wireless range, and benefit from hardwired sensors.  Likewise, if you’re using iron or metal doors and windows, those can cause interference with the wireless signals.  It is best to prewire areas constructed with metal.

7. Home Network & Wi-Fi

  • Hardwired Network – If a device has a permanent location, hardwire it to the network.  This would include the TV, streaming device, Surround Sound Receiver, Printer, Desktop Computer, etc.
  • Wireless Access Points (Hotspots or WAPs) – Other than mesh wi-fi systems, wireless hotspots require an Ethernet connection back to the main router or network switch.  To be safe, you may want to consider wiring up more locations than you think you will need.  This ensures that you will be able to expand or improve the system with future growth in mind.

8. Shades

Motorized shades may not be standard in every home, but they are a nice feature to have.  If motorized shades are something that you want to invest in, it makes sense to go ahead and prewire them.  Keep in mind, motorized shades do not have universal wiring standards. There are similarities, but manufacturers all have different requirements.  If you’re thinking about installing motorized shades, it’s best to select the brand before you wire.

Extras

The items listed here are optional and vary from home-to-home.

  • iPad Mounts – Charging stations for your iPads are very popular and will need to be prewired.
  • Touchscreens  Systems like Control4 have tablet style touchscreens that mount to the wall.  Prewire for these in common areas, and in home theater rooms, but honestly you can wire them anywhere you think you might want a touchscreen to control your smart home.
  • Intercom Systems – Believe it or not, intercom systems are making a comeback, especially in larger homes.
  • Voice Control – There are options for all the voice control solutions, Amazon Alexa, Josh.ai, Google, that allow you to mount a node to the wall, or ceiling for easy voice control.  If you’re thinking about using voice control in your smart home, it may be worth considering prewiring locations in your home for these devices.
  • Video Doorbells – When prewiring for the doorbell, run the electrical the same way it’s always done, then add a Cat6 Ethernet cable, and a 22/4 wire for good measure.  You may only need Ethernet or 22/4, but by running both you will be able to install any brand of Video Doorbell that you wish without complications later on.
  • Fireplace – If you have a smart fireplace, you can run a 22/4 wire from the fireplace switch to your Smart Home Controller.  This will allow you to control the Fireplace along with the rest of your smart home tech.

So What’s The Next Step?

If you are already experienced in low voltage wiring, and can’t wait to get your hands dirty, then get to work building your new smart home!  Buit if you are not sure where to start, or just want to hire a good professional installation service to perform the work, contact us and learn about the process.  The experienced install technicians at Allegiance Technology Solutions will help you build the smart home of your dreams.

5 Reasons You Need a Home Theater

5 Reasons You Need a Home Theater

Are you tired of having to go to a crowded movie theater? Or maybe think the prices for movie theater snacks are too high? Are you someone who loves to watch movies, but also loves being in the comfort of your own home? We offer the possibility of having a home theater installed in your home so that you can relax and enjoy the immersive and customizable cinematic space catered to your specific needs.

Five reasons why you should have a home theater:

  • Convenience – With a home theater system, you can watch movies or TV shows in the comfort of your own home, without having to leave your house or deal with the crowds at a movie theater.
  • Cost-effective – Going to the movies can be expensive, especially if you go frequently. With a movie theater at home, you can save money in the long run by not having to pay for movie tickets, parking, or those overpriced snacks.
  • Flexibility – You can watch what you want, when you want, without having to worry about showtimes or availability. You can also pause and rewind the movie as needed, which is not possible in a movie theater.
  • High-quality experience – With professionally installed audio and video components, you can enjoy stunning visuals, crisp audios, and unparalleled comfort, allowing you to escape into your favorite movies or shows, creating a more immersive and enjoyable viewing experience.
  • Entertainment for family and friends – A movie theater experience can provide entertainment for friends and family, allowing everyone to enjoy different activities, such as binge watching a show or playing games. It will allow everyone to fully savor in the world of cinema without ever having to leave your home.

If you are interested in creating your own personalized home theater system, please give us a call at 912-216-4050.  Our expert installation technicians will help you craft the ideal system for you and your family.

 

Tybee Island New Construction Audio Video Project

Tybee Island New Construction Audio Video Project

Tybee Island is a popular vacation destination located just off the coast of Georgia, known for its sandy beaches and laid-back atmosphere. Recently, we had the opportunity to work on a new construction audio video project on the island, and we are excited to share the details with you.


Pre-wiring for a home theater system is an important step in the construction process. It ensures that all of the necessary cables and wiring are in place, so that the system can be easily installed once the home is complete. In this case, we installed pre-wiring for a 5.4.1 system, which includes five surround sound speakers, a subwoofer, and a center channel speaker. This setup provides an immersive and lifelike audio experience, perfect for movie nights or music listening.

Walls in, now we are getting somewhere!

The project included pre-wiring for a 5.4.1 home theater system, as well as 10 rooms of distributed audio and 9 televisions. We used TruAudio B23 speakers and an AudioControlMaestro X9 processor, along with Pantages G4 and Avalon G4 power amps, to create a top-of-the-line audio and video setup.

Front of AV rack, preinstall

In addition to the home theater system, we also installed distributed audio in 10 rooms of the home. This allows the homeowner to play music throughout the house, creating a cohesive and enjoyable audio experience no matter where they are. We used high-quality TruAudio B23 speakers, which deliver excellent sound quality and can be easily controlled via a central system.

Finally, we installed nine televisions throughout the home, ensuring that the homeowner can enjoy their favorite shows and movies from any room. We used the AudioControl Maestro X9 processor to manage the audio and video signals, and Pantages G4 and Avalon G4 power amps to amplify the sound. This setup provides a seamless and reliable audio and video experience, no matter what you’re watching.


Overall, we’re thrilled with the outcome of this Tybee Island new construction audio video project. The homeowner can now enjoy top-quality audio and video in every room of their home, and we’re confident that they’ll get many years of enjoyment out of their new system. If you are building a new home or just in the market for a new audio and video setup, we highly recommend considering pre-wiring to decrease installation costs.  If you have any questions, you can contact our professionals at Allegiance Technology Solutions and we will help you get setup with the home theater of your dreams.