Custom Home

The Budget

Choosing a Builder

The Lot

Architectural Design

Windows and Doors

Interior Design



Air Conditioning





Brick and Stone


Sheetrock ®



Paint and Wall Coverings



Say What?


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.

Pre-wire includes:

  • 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 group.

Control center

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 center.

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 the home.
  • 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 it.
  • 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 home.
  • 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 the music.
  • 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.

Security system

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 downstairs.
  • 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 zones.
  • 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 you choose.
  • 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 use often.
  • 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 sub-contractors.

You can contact John at 972-618-7653.



False Alarms

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.


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