Pre-wire can be pretty complicated. You need to figure out
in advance what capabilities you want your home to have, then
find a company that can handle it.
- Security system
- Smoke and heat detection
- Carbon monoxide detection
- Natural gas detection
- Water leak detection
- Video cameras
- Cable TV distribution
- Satelite TV distribution
- Video (DVD or VHS) distribution
- Audio distribution
- Media room audio/video
- Computer network
- Telephone system
For our home, we pre-wired for all of the above. That said,
we didn't install all the equipment for it. We simply wired
the home for future functionality. Let's take a look at each
Choose the location in your home where you want the control
boxes for your equipment. If it is going to be a closet, make
sure it is well ventilated and cooled.
You'll want 2-4 RG6 coaxial cables and at 2-4 CAT 5E cables
run to this location from an exterior wall. These cables will
carry satelite TV, cable TV, and telephone service to the control
Make sure the control center is large enough to hold whatever
equipment you want. My control center equipment includes:
- Raxxes rack mount system - A rack for holding the equipment.
- Four 24-port CAT5 patch panels - All of the CAT 5e cables
in your home connect to the back side of this panel. The front
side has RJ45 connectors so that the cables can be interconnected
using patch cords or jumper cables.
- Four 24-port ethernet switches - The patch cords mentioned
above are used to connect the patch panel to the ethernet
switch. An ethernet switch is used to make an ethernet network.
- Two 3-channel modulators - A modulator takes a video signal
and assigns it to a channel for distribution over your cable.
These modulators allow you to take the video signals from
control center's DVD player and satelite receiver and distribute
them throughout the home. We also have video cameras in our
game room, back yard, front porch, and daughter's room. The
modulators allow you to watch any of these signals on any
TV throughout the home.
- Four 8-way splitters - Used to send video to and from each room of
- Two bidirectional amplifier/splitters - These amplifiers
make sure that the video signal is strong enough in all the
rooms of the home. Every time you split a signal, you weaken
- RCA satelite receiver - We modulate one of our satelite
receivers and distribute it throughout the home. This allows
us to watch satelite in rooms that do not have their own receiver.
It also allows us to listen to satelite music thorughout the
- RCA satelite HDTV multi-switch - This device makes it possible
to send your satelite signal to four extra satelite receivers.
The base satelite can handle four receivers.
- Russound four source, six zone amplifed audio system - This
system is outstanding. You run an extra CAT5e cable to each
room near your light switch.
- Sony 300 disc DVD player - The DVD player can be used to
play DVDs or CDs. Since we modulate it, on any TV in the house
you can see which CD or DVD is playing. This means that you
don't have to be standing in from of the player to control
- Rack-mounted ESI telephone system - Our telephone system
operates over the ethernet network so that you can plug a
phone into any jack in the house.
Wiring for security usually includes the following:
- Glass breakage - These sensors are usually mounted on the
ceiling in a room. They detect the sound frequencies made
when glass is broken. You do not need one for each window;
they can cover a wall. You probably only need glass breakage
- Contacts on doors and windows - All functioning doors and
windows should have contacts. Many people also put them on
attic pull-down stairs. Garage door sensors can be used so
that at night when you are going to bed, you can tell if a
door is open before you arm the system.
- Motion detectors - Usaully place in hallways or at entry
- System control box - Make sure you get a quality system
control box and that it is compatible with most security monitoring
companies. You don't want to be tied down to the first company
- Keypads - I like to have a keypad on both sides of the garage
entry door so that I can enter the home through the garage
without setting off the alarm. Many people also put a keypad
in the master bedroom so that they can hear a disarming that
occurs in the middle of the night. I recommend keypads at
your front door, back porch door, and any other door you will
- Smoke and heat detection - Many people don't know that you
have to request monitored smoke and heat detectors. Otherwise,
you will only get the type that warn people in the home.
- Carbon monoxide detectors - Carbon Monoxide is an odorless
killer. I recommend a detector.
- Natural gas detectors - Especially useful for gas leaks
at night when you are asleep.
- Water detectors - Put these detectors underneath your whirlpool
tub, dishwasher, clothes washer, etc. to detect water leaks
when you are not home.
Communication outlets (drops)
The outlets in your home that have audio, video, network, or
phone connectors are called drops. The standard drop in our
home has two RG6 and two Category 5E cables, plus a wall plate
with jacks for video, ethernet, and telephone. Most of our rooms
have more than one drop because we were not sure exactly how
the rooms would be arranged.
Audio and video
Wiring your home for audio and video distribution during the
initial construction of your home is a good idea. I recommend
running two RG6 coaxial cables from the control center to every
room in your home. These two RG6 cables can be used for distributing
cable or satelite TV. You can also use one of the cables to
transmit video from a VCR or DVD player back to the control
center where it can be distributed throught the home.
Balthazar Custom Homes
If you are looking for a great custom home builder in Dallas,
check out John Balthazar of Balthazar Custom Homes. He is fair and
knowledgeable. His quality is first-rate. He uses great
You can contact John at 972-618-7653.
Come tell us about your experiences building or remodeling a home in our Discussion Forums.
This is also the best place to get your questions answered.
Are you having false alarms with your motion detectors during warmer months? Spiders like to make homes in smoke detectors. Their movement will set off the alarm. About once a quarter, use some compressed air and blow them suckers out of your motion detectors.