The Importance of Good Prewiring
An average home theater costs between $2,000 and $30,000. This price can increase between labor and the quality of machinery and systems, especially in smart homes. But all this money is for naught if you hire a company that improperly installs the prewiring. A lack of prewiring or subpar wiring restricts your home design options and future changes. A high-quality home theater system begins with good prewiring that addresses your current and future needs.
What Does Prewiring Mean?
Prewiring is outfitting your home for technology during the construction phase. During this time, your media and technology crew installs wiring for current and future appliances.
Although you may not use all the wiring immediately, good prewiring anticipates future changes in technology.
To accommodate these changes, electricians install high and low-voltage wires, Smurf tubes, and high-quality adapters to meet the residents’ ever-changing needs.
Prewiring is for all electrical needs, like audio and visual media. Whether or not you plan on using expensive technology in your home or office, establishing the necessary prewiring saves on expensive construction down the road. In other words, if you install the prewire ahead of time, you can easily change your technological needs and avoid extra construction costs to install a new wire.
Prewiring is the best way to outfit your home for possible technological changes. It makes your life easier and lets you use whatever technology you want.
What Are the Different Types of Prewiring?
As with most things, the better the quality, the better the product, so the same goes for prewiring. The quality of the wire is essential for good prewiring and successful audio and visual systems. If you use the wrong or cheap wiring, you risk blowing circuits and losing audio and visual quality–good prewiring is crucial for excellent quality.
Affordable Cable vs. Expensive Cable
There are two types of cables in the grand scheme of things: affordable and expensive. There are pros and cons within each group based on a person’s budget and the quality they can afford.
Using affordable prewiring is an excellent way to get all the necessary wiring, even if you don’t think you will use it. Additionally, if you have the prewiring ready and installed when the time comes for you to sell your home, the prewiring adds value to the house.
However, the lower quality wiring you use, the shorter lifespan, and the higher the chance of damage and repair. It’s also vital to know that some appliances won’t operate on some lower-end wiring.
Expensive wiring is a luxury. Although it’s unnecessary for most appliances, expensive wiring improves the user experience and lasts longer.
You can expect better audio and visual quality for more extended periods with expensive wiring. Additionally, if you opt to keep the wiring in the walls and never use them, they are available for the next homeowners.
However, with a more expensive wire, you’re spending more money.
Standard Cables in Smart Homes and Tech-Outfitted Offices
Whether you’re working on optimizing your smart home for technology or outfitting for office space to include the latest tech devices, there are some standard cables you’ll find helpful.
Category 6 Cable
Frequently referred to as Cat 6, electricians prefer these cables for ethernet connections.
Cat 6 wires are backward compatible with several lower levels of ethernet wiring, like Cat 5e, Cat 5, and Cat 3. Backward compatible means they work with devices and appliances outfitted for older wiring models.
The Cat 6 cable is superior to previous bandwidth, speed, and crosstalk models.
Cat 6 cables can handle speeds up to 1000 Mpbs, more than you need for most internet connections.
But with more bandwidth, the wire can operate at higher frequencies up to 250 MHz. With more bandwidth, you can download more data in a shorter amount of time.
Speed is directly proportional to bandwidth–The more bandwidth, the faster the speed. With a 250MHz download speed, your devices transfer data faster than before and help you accomplish more tasks in a shorter amount of time.
Crosstalk references the noise from the wires. Noisy wires mean the audio or visual quality is not as good. Cat 6 cables hardly emit any noise and produce a higher quality experience–faster transmission rates and fewer data errors between the twisted wiring and the nylon spline.
High-voltage wiring is not the same level of voltage for other electrical needs. Whereas high-voltage rates are around 1000 volts, high housing voltage is between 100-250 volts.
These cables are for the primary electrical services in your home. You do not use high-voltage cables for smart home appliances.
On the other hand, low-voltage wiring is for smart home appliances. Low-voltage cables can be 12, 24, or 48 volts, making them safe for internet usage.
When installing low-voltage cables, keeping them away from other higher voltages is essential. If you keep high and low-voltages next to each, you risk high-voltage energy jumping to the low-voltage cable, which can cause an electrical fire and shock.
Smurf tubes are electrical nonmetallic tubing perfect for encasing a fiber optic cable. These tubes come in various colors and protect your home from hot wires.
Smurf tube is perfect for encasing low-voltage wires.
How Do I Prewire My Home?
Unless you’re a certified electrician with audio and visual sound system experience, you want to hire a company to do the work for you. And even then, it’s in your best interest not to use a traditional electrician. Prewiring a home is different than running a home’s typical electrical cables.
If you want to install smart home appliances, it would be best to use a company like Ace Integrated Technologies. We have years of experience installing smart homes and media theaters, so you can rest assured that your cables are where they need to be and are a safe distance from other lines to prevent electrical fires and shock.
One of the most helpful ways to get the prewiring started is to know where you want certain appliances. It would help if you considered surveillance cameras, a security system, smart lighting, video cable, video distribution, and network devices.
Knowing where you want specific devices in your home helps the technology company plan the layout, supplies, and construction. You can automate your home for audio, video, lighting, shading, climate control, energy, and power management with the right system and team.
Prewiring Best Practice
When looking to prewire your home, you should keep a few things in mind to get the most out of your money.
- Install for every possible scenario for the present and future–even if you never use some of the prewires for your appliances, another homeowner might use them, increasing your home’s value.
- Although it comes down to what you can afford, high-quality material is a wise investment given how challenging it is to repair and replace dead wires years down the road.
- Protect your wires–using Smurf tubes and other protective casings for your cables is the best way to keep your wires separated and protect your home from electrical fires.
- Limit exposure to heat and elements–although copper wires can handle temperatures much hotter than what happens in your attic, the plastic coatings may not have the same durability.
When you implement these best practices, you save yourself time and money down the road. These tips are also a great way to determine which media company to use–do they use these best practices, or are they looking to cut corners to save money and time?
Hardwire vs. wireless
When integrating prewiring into your home, you should consider which devices you want to be hardwired and wireless. Each option has pros and cons, so it’s essential to determine which devices are better suited for wiring.
In most cases, portable devices have wireless technology, so you can move them around the house and use them in various locations.
Most portable devices are made for wireless connection and have low-voltage cables connected to their base (if they have one).
Although wireless is excellent for many devices, it’s not the best option for all appliances. Mounted and large devices do better with a hardwire connection. Given the necessary power to operate some devices, attaching an internet connection through a Cat 6 or HMDI cable is best.
Between the two options, hardwire is better. Why? Because ethernet connection and electricity stream through the wire at a constant rate, the connected device doesn’t lose connection or power as quickly. If you want to use devices that require continual internet connection, like desktops, wall TVs, or touchscreen boards, a hardwired ethernet and electrical connection are the best options.
Before construction crews begin installing sheetrock and insulation in your new home or business, hire a technology company to prewire your home. Prewiring is a great way to improve your audiovisual systems and increase your home’s value. Additionally, prewiring for systems you don’t currently have leaves you with options many years down the road and can help improve your home and business.
If you’re interested in prewiring your home or office with the best-automated integration systems available, use Ace Integrated Technology. Our top-of-the-line quality work improves your lifestyle and makes your home more enjoyable. Contact us today to get started on changing the way your home operates.