What is a prewire and why do you need one for your Hamptons Smart Home?
The term prewire or pre-wire refers to the wiring of your home while it is in the construction stage. This is usually done when the frame, roof and outside walls of your home are in place. At this stage you can easily run wires between floors and walls, especially before the sheet rock goes up. You can start planning prewire from the architectural drawings by marking where your smart home devices will go, as well as television and speaker locations. Each of these components will need one or sometimes a few different wires and it is much less expensive to wire them now than later. You can also run PVC pipe, sometimes called "smurf tubing" from the basement to the attic for future wire runs which we will cover in our prewiring outline below. JNS will need to do a walk through after we receive the plans but before the actual prewire. As you may know, or as you will find out, there will be a lot of changes during your new home build journey.
Warning: NSH has experienced many instances when builders or contractors left the prewire in the hands of an electrician or relative, don't do this. Consulting an expert will save you money, headaches and relationships.
PRE-PLANNING YOUR PREWIRE
WHO WILL BE LIVING IN THE HOME?
The best pre-wire plan to accomplish your smart home and entertainment goals begins with an audit of who will be living in the home. Unfortunately your infant or 3yr old will not stay that that age forever and will be complaining soon enough about slow WiFi for their video games. Teenagers will hopefully' move out on their own so that room may become an office or home theater. If you are taking care of elderly parents you have to consider their special needs as well. THe amount of people in the home is important as well because of bandwidth demands. A family of three is much more lenient on a home network than say a family of five with a couple of hardcore gamers' and Netflix fanatics.
WIRE FOR THE FUTURE
If you think about the common home today that was built between the 1940's and 1980's the devices that needed a pre-wire were a telephone and cable box, (besides your traditional electricity). Today the amount of connected devices are immense, cell phones, tablets, light bulbs, door bells, shades, TV remotes, the list is endless. It is also impossible to predict what home technology will be here in 3 years much less 20 but fiber is a pretty safe bet for now. JNS Audio VIdeo of Bergen County NJ can not predict the future but we are technologists and have the experience to help your home become future ready!
WHY WIRE WHEN YOU CAN WiFi?
WiFi is amazing technology but it is not an unlimited resource. The more devices you connect to WiFi the less stable it becomes until something crashes or dies, ask any gamer, bad WiFi can get you killed! Any connected device that can be hard wired should be hard wired, especially streaming video and gaming systems. 4K content takes up massive bandwidth and if a few people are streaming it at the same time you will notice lag.
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PREWIRING GUIDE FOR SMART HOMES
TV Back Box
Everyone today loves the look of a flat screen flat against the wall. This is not easy when yo consider relocating the power outlet behind the TV not to mention all the other wires, surge protector and possible cable box. When JNS plans your prewire we suggest a back box behind the TV. This makes it extremely easy to secure wires, components and assures your TV installation is as close to the wall as possible. Learn more about our TV installations here.
WIRING FOR SOUND
Having whole house audio or multi-room music starts with a proper speaker prewire especially on the first floor if there is a second floor. Once your home is built there will be zero access to run a wire up the wall and across the ceiling without major renovations. We suggest at-least pre-wiring the kitchen, bathroom and any other rooms people will gather in. Music moves us and even music at low levels creates a nicer ambiance for any occasion. In-ceiling, in-wall and invisible speakers disperse sound a lot better than a speaker on the counter and eliminates clutter. Does anyone ever have enough counter space?
YOUR HOME NETWORK IS CRITICAL
Today a home network is your lifeline to the outside world, it enables you to watch TV, listen to music, get the weather and even more importantly connect with friends and love ones. We take networking very serious because we know how exactly how it feels when it fails us as technologists. JNS will prewire for a home network with multiple layers of security and a solid connection anywhere around your home.
WAP Wireless Access Point
Sometimes it is difficult to get WiFi in a basement or a specific area in the home. In our design we make sure the entire home is has a secure WiFi network umbrella enveloping your entire home. Wireless access points also need a hard wire which supplie data and power. They can be placed indoors or out so you never have to worry about dropping a call in and around your home.
Cable boxes - media players - Apple TV - and many other devices that stream video really need a hard wire network connection. You may not be putting a TV in a certain space for a few years, but you will sure be glad there is a wire for it when the time comes. If your not exactly sure where the TV will be installed you can run the prewire into a local closet. It will be easy to conceal the wire from there under carpeting or base boards.
Home Theater Receiver
Pre-wiring for your home theater receiver is a task all in its own. Speaker wires, video signal wires, network cable and other signal wires need to be planned well ahead. We always recommend wiring for a 9.2 speaker system so you leave room to grow over the years. Dolby Atmos is still in its infancy and as we spend more time at home its probably better to prepared for easy upgrades.
There are plenty of outdoor cameras that connect via WiFi but pre-wiring for security cameras will save WiFi bandwidth for devices that do not have a direct copper wire connection. There are two typical wires used for cameras, cat6 / cat7 or coaxial with a twisted pair. Cameras that use POE (Power Over Ethernet) need a cat 6 / Cat 7 that will provide power, video and adio if available. The coaxial and twisted pair wire are used for powering the camera and video signal.
Window Sensors, Door Sensors, Water Sensors and other security sensors all play a critical part in your home security system and these should be pre-wired when building your home. The more wireless devices you have the more susceptible you are to hackers.
Smart Home Keypads
Lighitng dimmers and switches are pre-wired by your electrician but smart home keypads / touch screens may need a Cat 6 / Cat 7 connection as well as 110v. We can help you understand the role of smart home keypads and touchscreens so you know where they should be located for optimal use.
You may have heard the buzz words, smart fridge, smart over or smart washer and dryer but they have not hit main stream yet. We recommend running a Cat 6 / Cat 7 cable to each appliance, its inexpensive enough now while your pre-wiring your home but once the kitchen or Landry room is complete it will be pretty costly to add those connections via copper wire.
Motorized shades are one of the most missed or underrated devices on the pre-wire schedule. Smart shades can be either 110v or low voltage but a majority of today's popular motorized shades are pre-wired with a cat 6 / cat 7 cable and a low voltage power wire. Even if you are not immediately looking for motorized window coverings its best to run the wire for future use because battery shades over time cost a lot more.
Have you ever walked out of your home in the morning and realized the holiday lights were left on all night? Simple AV can pre-wire for your holiday lights and put them on an automated schedule to turn on 30 minutes after sunset and turn off at midnight. This is done with Lutron lighting and can save you a lot of time, money and frustration.
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