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Old 05-15-2008, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Durham, NC
1,354 posts, read 3,956,992 times
Reputation: 727

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So I'm in the process of making all the design decisions on my new home.

Now we come to the pre-wiring stage - I read tons of stuff on here about people saying they wished they had pre-wired more, or that you should definitely get as much as you can imagine...and occasionally other opinions that they overdid it and don't use it.

Here are the options and my thoughts - please share your opinions/experiences.


-Cable outlets (3 standard)
When you get cable service from Time Warner, don't they install/include jack installation? Is there any reason why we should pay for 1 additional jack?? than this. We'd want an internet jack in the office.

-Phone jacks (3 standard)
Cordless phones and multi-cradle systems - no need for more

-Central Vacuum - $3000 - seems crazy

-Surround sound - $2000-$3000- Seems like you could get this installed after-market for well under this price? Prewiring to endcaps is $325 so I may just do that. The room it will be in has no attic.

-In-wall wiring for flat-screen TV - $500 - I know for a fact you can get someone to come in and mount the TV (not included in this price) and run wires through the wall for less than this.

-Security system - cant Brinks or ADP wire this for me as part of their included installation package?? Why would I need to pay for pre-wiring?
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Old 05-15-2008, 10:49 AM
 
Location: NH. NY. SC. next move, my ground condo
3,542 posts, read 9,013,612 times
Reputation: 4448
As far as cable, they don't install jacks. the just put a hole through your wall and put the cable through. i installed surface mount jacks for phone and cable. the kind that are flat on the wall. they look neater than what your cable/ phone installer will put in. i wouldn't install something you don't think you will ever use. prewiring for surround is nice , but it looks ugly to have jacks up near the ceiling if you don't use them. for that you can always get a cordless system. for the central vac, a freind of mine has it and it's fine if you just have one floor. he said it doen't work that great on the second floor. so they use a regular vaccum for the second floor. oh, and as far as the alarm system most of those are cordless. so that will save you some money to.
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:03 AM
 
3,020 posts, read 16,526,629 times
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The entire idea behind pre-wiring is it is far more easy, should get a better job and it should be cheaper.

Those cable / security / telephone, etc companies do not have all that good a reputation of doing a first class job. Staple that sucker where ever it might fit.

The better jobs, the house is all prewired, probably over done, then the various companies have a single hook up point at some place on the perimeter. In the better designs wires are brought to a sort of closet and there are jack plug / patch type panels, screw terminal strips, etc where lots of future stuff can be done just by rerouting or using already installed spare wires. The general idea is not having to define everything by function up front. Can go really wild if you get home automation.

Maybe you are just getting the standard rip off scenario. Ain't business great???? Sounds like you just have to play hardball. If you can't do it, guess I will have to get somebody who knows how to treat me right.

Still it does pay to have a lot of extra wiring installed if you can afford it. Especially stuff like for computers, telephones, stereo sound, TV, security, controls, etc.
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
6,772 posts, read 21,441,188 times
Reputation: 5287
Quote:
Originally Posted by sneezecake View Post
So I'm in the process of making all the design decisions on my new home.

Now we come to the pre-wiring stage - I read tons of stuff on here about people saying they wished they had pre-wired more, or that you should definitely get as much as you can imagine...and occasionally other opinions that they overdid it and don't use it.

Here are the options and my thoughts - please share your opinions/experiences.


-Cable outlets (3 standard)
When you get cable service from Time Warner, don't they install/include jack installation? Is there any reason why we should pay for 1 additional jack?? than this. We'd want an internet jack in the office.

-Phone jacks (3 standard)
Cordless phones and multi-cradle systems - no need for more

-Central Vacuum - $3000 - seems crazy

-Surround sound - $2000-$3000- Seems like you could get this installed after-market for well under this price? Prewiring to endcaps is $325 so I may just do that. The room it will be in has no attic.

-In-wall wiring for flat-screen TV - $500 - I know for a fact you can get someone to come in and mount the TV (not included in this price) and run wires through the wall for less than this.

-Security system - cant Brinks or ADP wire this for me as part of their included installation package?? Why would I need to pay for pre-wiring?
Cable: This is what I consider standard- All bdrms, family room, kitchen/breakfast.

Phone: I agree. With new phone technology there is only a need for one phone jack ( unless your going to go with a structured wire system). Besides, a lot of people are totally cell phone anyway.

Central Vac: Personally, I like it. If it's a two story hse- get two hoses and you won't have to drag the beast far. Besides, having a connection in the garage is the best thing since sliced bread.

Surround system: Just go with the pre-wire. But make sure the placement will work with the intended furniture placement. Most of us are not audiophiles and can't tell the difference between a $65.00 speaker and a $300.00 speaker.

Flat Screen TV: The major consideration here is placement. The other is blocking (the last thing you want to do is have to open up the wall and add blocking for the TV mount to mount too. The other consideration is a chase for cables (like in an over the f/pl type setup).

Security system: This is a definite. Get the pre-wire. You don't want to know what a house looks like in an after -the-fact type hardwire. And hardwire is what you want- they are more reliable than the wireless type.

Another thing to consider- if the house has a basement, have a chase installed from the attic to the basement. This will allow an easy install in the future for whatever reason. And if you want more info on a structured wire system- DM me.
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:25 AM
 
112 posts, read 544,467 times
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Depending on the layout of your house and how many levels it is, it might be very troublesome to wire it after it's been drywalled and painted. If it's a typical 3 story house with an attic, access to certain floors and rooms might require some invasive installation methods leaving you with holes and areas where you'll need to repair/repaint. You'll have to factor that into the cost of doing it after your home is completed by the builder. If you haven't had a chance to walk through a house that's only framed up and wired prior to the drywall stage, ask your builder to see one. You'll be amazed at how difficult it can be to run outlets and sensors to certain locations without some invasive installation techniques.

With each of the types of outlets you've mention, there's a benefit of doing them now vs later.

-Cable outlets - I'd do it now since a lot of times, your cable guy won't do a good job later. Instead of running wires through the walls or floors/ceiling, it might be fished under the carpet. Use your best judgment now and plan where you might want to place a TV. If you're planning on using a cable modem service for internet, make sure you have cable outlets in the correct rooms such as the home office or your other bedrooms.

-Phone jacks - Most popular phones today can be networked from a single base which will limit the need of multiple outlets. But with some of the newer homes, the phone jacks may serve a dual role that it can just as well be switched over to an internet connection via the house network from a central control box. Unless you want to run a wireless computer network in your house, you might consider pre-wiring it for an internet/phone network. Also, if you intend to have a fax machine in the office area, you'll need an outlet there as well.

-Central Vacuum - This option although nice, I would much rather do without. I would much rather stick to the traditional methods of vacuuming and sweeping. A vacuum is only a few hundred versus the $3K you could spend here.

-Surround sound - Since this might just be limited to a 1 room installation, it maybe done afterwards at a fraction of the cost. You'll really need to look at the layout of the home and see if the room is accessible from above or below and whether or not there's support beams behind your drywall. If it's just mostly vertical wall studs, the installation will be much cleaner without any major cutting.

-In-wall wiring - There's TVs out there that are wireless. Unless you had plans to mount the TV on top of a stone fireplace, it might not be worth paying the builder for this.

-Security system - This is something I would highly consider you paying the builder to install. There's lots of wires needed to cover all your doors, windows and area sensors that is normally included in a standard alarm. It's a very clean install done by your builder during the construction process however can be a mess if done afterwards. You might have an option for a wireless system but it will require you to replace batteries for all the sensors and will not be as seamless as a builder installed alarm system. It's pricey but one of the few things you can't really skimp on.

My best advice would be to ask the builder to walk through a house under construction that's wired for electricity and other options. Then take a look at a home further along in construction and see how it looks and decide if running certain wires later is even possible. The limitations might be access if it's blocked off by beams or multiple studs. Doing it later might seems to save you a few hundred bucks but how good will it look and how much repair is required? There's certain things in a home you can renovate later at a reasonable cost however structural items and electrical wiring might not be one of them.
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Old 05-15-2008, 12:17 PM
 
Location: WA
4,049 posts, read 13,193,073 times
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I have been through this with a number of homes and (even if I have no current plans for use) would insure I have lines for TV and telephone to every room they may be used.
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Old 05-15-2008, 08:32 PM
 
Location: Gainesville, VA
1,168 posts, read 3,670,166 times
Reputation: 575
I think you've missed one wiring thing... electric outlets. Seems builders dont put in enough or in the right places. Especially in the garage.
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Old 05-15-2008, 10:33 PM
 
Location: Durham, NC
1,354 posts, read 3,956,992 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HEATHER72 View Post
I think you've missed one wiring thing... electric outlets. Seems builders dont put in enough or in the right places. Especially in the garage.
You're right - this stuff is mostly the low-voltage options - high voltage we take care of Saturday - the only big decision I can think of (beyond having enough outlets) is whether to pay for the 220v in the garage...I'm not super handy so I think that may not be needed.
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:33 PM
 
3,020 posts, read 16,526,629 times
Reputation: 2431
Default Some good advice there......

That idea of having a wiring chase from the top to bottom is a very good one.

Your idea of wiring after the drywall is installed may be very flawed if certain conditions exist. For example, if you have interior walls on one level that are not directly over walls in a lower level, it can be a total bear trying to fish wires between levels, in some cases just about impossible without major cutting of holes. Trying to go thru external walls after they have been insulated is a big No-No.

Excellent idea of walk thru the house before the drywall is installed. Or better yet, an identical house in the just wired phase. You get a far better idea of what might be involved.

Yep, you can not have too many receptacles. Pay close attention to where lights are controlled. Good lighting and lots of it is always a huge plus. I would understand from the plans where all the power receptacles are, you want more in a computer area, can't have too many over counters. understand where 3 and 4 way light switches should be required. If you can't read the plans have them explain it all. They will try to mess you around and go cheap on the switches, not put 3 and 4 way where they should be.

Too many new houses are just barely passable when it comes to wiring. Want some spare slots in the breaker panel. But I don't think much of the idea of fishing wires after the fact. Better to lean on the contractor and get a decent price up front.

Wiring and lighting is one area to never skrimp on. Same with plumbing get it done right the first time. Hey, I might even get that 220 VAC in the garage. How you going to run the welder without it?

I don't like wireless anything. If I had the choice and could get it hard wired, sure would do so. Same with hard wired fire, smoke, CO alarms, doorbells, etc. Would not go with anything that requires batteries as its prime power source.
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Old 05-16-2008, 06:02 AM
 
Location: Gainesville, VA
1,168 posts, read 3,670,166 times
Reputation: 575
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic View Post
Pay close attention to where lights are controlled. Good lighting and lots of it is always a huge plus.
Oh yes... watch where wall switches are mounted too. We bought a spec home and they did some "weird things". We have a double sided fire place. The switch for it is on the end of the fireplace. The switch for the morning room lights is on one side of the fireplace. The switch for the light that shines onto the fireplace is on the otherside of the room on another wall. I keep thinking to myself, wouldn't it have been easier to have all the switches in one spot? These switches are within 8 feet of each other. Then they mounted the heating/ac control offcenter on a wall that would be perfect for a family portrait, but nope I got my heating/ac control on display!

I so recommend lighting in the shower and over the bathtub. We have this and love it. Also go with under cabinet lighting especially if you don't have an island to work on in the kitchen. Check out closet and pantry spaces too for lighting. We had a pantry in our last house that was built underneath the stairs. We asked them to put a light in. Best money we spent. I would have been miserable searching for food in the dark.
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