[This is the Special Report 29 in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. Our
electronic products download immediately to your computer upon
of the easiest things an owner can do to future-proof a home is to
pre-wire for sophisticated entertainment and computer needs. We show
you how to add a lot of value to your house for very little. Eight pages, revised
and updated with new reader tips, web links and comments.
- Smurf tubing
- CAT-5 vs. wireless
- Security, crosstalk, interference
- Coaxial, fiber optic
- Alarm, telephone, home theater
- Whole-house audio
- DIY costs, supplies, sources
Excerpt from Report:
"...Our First Effort
we had framed and dried in the Riverbottoms House, we had a visitor one
night, a friend named Kyle. He had a power drill in hand with
a new 1/2 inch bit. 'I'm going to show you how to pre-wire your house,'
We started with a 500 foot spool of 18 gauge alarm
wire I had purchased on Kyle's advice. This alarm wire is a very thin
strand of copper in a soft white insulated jacket that looks exactly
like spaghetti on a spool. Kyle asked me, 'Where's your home run
location?' 'What's that'? I said. 'That's a central place where you
will pull all your wires to where a control panel or punch block will
be installed.' 'Oh. I guess in the main floor utility closet.'
then took a single gang electric box, a blue plastic item costing about
20 cents, and nailed it to the side of a stud high in the wall of what
would become our family room. 'That's a motion detector,' he said.
Through the front of the blue box he pulled the strand of spaghetti
wire off the spool and passed it through to the back of the box. Then
he used his cordless drill to put a nice 1/2 inch hole in the stud and
pulled the wire through. He then drilled a hole in the next stud at
around the same height and in the middle. He pulled more wire through
it while the spool uncoiled itself by rolling crazily around the floor
of the family room.
He continued to drill holes in succeeding
studs, pulling wire through as he went, inexorably toward the utility
closet on the main floor. When he got to the closet, he used my drill
to put a one inch hole in the top plate of the framing and pulled the
wire down to near the floor of the closet. 'We'll have a control box
here for your alarm, about four feet from the floor. I want to leave
plenty of extra wire hanging down.' Then he produced some gummed labels
and a marker pen from his shirt pocket. He wrote on a label 'Motion
detector, family room' and secured it around the strand of wire so it
would stay and could be read easily. 'This is so you don't have to
guess what each wire is for.' Then he went back to the spool of wire on
the family room floor and rewound the loose wire until he was holding
the spool a foot from the blue box it fed through. He snipped off the
wire with a slick little pair of wire cutters and tied a knot in the
end. 'This is so it won't slip though the blue box,' he said..."
Sample Reader Tip Excerpts:
got Smurf tubing, this blue tubing that I can run wires through and
later if I want, I can thread new wires through without ripping up the
wall. I got it at the electrical wholesale place. Another tip, don't
run your Category 5 data wire or phone wire through the same holes in
the framing as the electrical wires. You may get interference that can
cut throughput or cause errors. Keep it as far away from the Romex as
Cameron & Keri G.
"If you need to
pull an electrical wire through an underground pipe, like when you are
installing lawn sprinkler controls, try this trick: Attach a couple of
crumply plastic bags to a long string and tie the string to the wire.
Use a shop vacuum at the other end of the pipe to suck the bags through
to you. Use other plastic bags around your nozzle so you get an
airtight fit on your end of the pipe. I've seen engineers pull cable
through more than 100 feet of pipe this way."
Jeff & Judy L.