Imagine living in a house so smart that you can
- use your TV to keep a check on your sleeping baby,
- network your computers, printers and other devices to play multiuser games or print from anywhere in your home,
- play your favorite movie from the Apple TV located in the living room and watch it in the bedroom,
- connect your iPhone with the stereo and listen to its tunes wirelessly from anywhere in the house, and much more.
Sounds too good or unrealistic to be true? Well, not anymore. Until recently, most homes were wired with little more than the AC electrical powerlines, and a few TV cables and phone lines.
But times have changed. With the advent of home automation, home theater, security and other technologies and their increasing demand, we thought you might be interested in knowing what electronics you should be wiring for in your new home.
As you peruse this list, try to think about the electronics you may want to add in your home through the years, and discuss with your family.
- Home Theater
As per estimates by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), about 20 million American households own a complete home theater system. A home theater needs 3 basic kinds of equipment: video, audio, and control, and we’ll cover more on each in separate list items.
- Whole-house Audio
An audio system can be installed at the designated central location. At the basic level, this will have an amplifier, flush mounted In-Wall or In-Ceiling and exterior speakers as well with source selection and volume controls.
A system like this can also be upgraded even further by including room touchscreens or keypads for source selection and volume control. To prepare your house for this, make sure to run speaker wires to each room that will receive music.
The wires should be 16-guage minimum and should not be more than 300 feet in length. Be careful about running any low-voltage wiring too close to the power wires, as you run the risk of electrical noise coupling (interference).
- Wall Mount TVs
Consider what all will you be connecting with the TV. For instance, how will the TV receive signals – Via traditional antenna, cable, or satellite? Where will the equipment be located? Indside a cabinet? How will you control that equipment?
These factors will determine which cabling you need, and where it will need to be located.
- Home Computer Network
You should definitely take this part seriously if you manage your business from home. How might business growth determine your technology needs in the future?
Will there be a need to connect multiple computers? How many audio/video devices will be connected to the home network for streaming? Can wireless provide the necessary bandwidth for these? How many wireless access points will you need to cover the entire home?
- Home Automation & Control
If you want to connect and control thermostats, lighting and other appliances easily, smart wall switches and touchscreens can be installed to enable automatic and remote control of selected devices.
Not only that, the wall controllers and touchscreens will also allow you to trigger specific scenes as per your needs such as when you throw a party, go on vacation, get up in the morning, etc. Thermostats can be programmed to set temperatures based on time of day, or based on occupancy. The possibilities are endless.
- Home Security & Surveillance Cameras
Security cameras, alarm systems and smoke detectors which can be monitored from a central location are a mainstay in many new homes. Be sure to account for putting all camera recording devices online, so that cameras can be monitored remotely.
Hopefully, this guide helped you in understanding that if you’re building a new home that will include audio/video, security, and other electronics, now is the time to start planning the installation of proper wiring to support them.
Running high-grade wiring throughout the home during the building phase (while the walls are still accessible) can save you big bucks in the future. If you want to do this yourself, put together a floor plan, mark where the wires will run, where the wall outlets are, what devices you want in each room, and where your devices will be installed.