Low Voltage Wiring – The Backbone of a Smart Home
Don’t Forget Low Voltage Needs in the Design Process
In the process of designing a new project, low voltage wiring planning often gets overlooked.
Often the problem is that low voltage requirements get lost in working through design issues with homeowners and builders. Often the thought is that it’s something that can be fixed later – but that may lead to unexpected compromises.
Today’s smart homes have many devices that will need to be enabled through low voltage wiring. Let’s explore the advantages of bringing in a local Steamboat Springs home systems expert – like us – early in your design process, to avoid problems later.
Consider All the Requirements
Your clients may have a long wish list of security and automation desires for their new home. Think about all the devices that may need to be integrated into their home systems:
- Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
- Water intrusion sensors
- Security cameras inside and out
- Wired network connections for high-performance computers and video distribution
- Multiple access points for seamless Wi-Fi networking
- Uncompromised placement for speakers for high-quality audio everywhere
- Lighting control systems
- Smart appliances
That’s a long list of things to integrate, and it goes well beyond the electrical plan.
You may need to consider conduit placement for all the wiring.
There may be problems with wireless access due to structural design choices that cause weakened signals. Addressing these issues early saves potential rework and expense later.
Present a Complete Cost Picture
The cost of low voltage wiring to enable all these home systems is rarely considered in construction bids.
Why not give your client a more comprehensive building estimate?
Consider bringing in an integrator early to help sort through all the infrastructure needs to support smart home technology. This can also include – among other things - power requirements for devices, which can be incorporated into the electrical plan.
Put Everything in the Right Place
Technology choices may affect room design, and that will affect wiring and termination decisions.
Homeowners will care about the placement of entertainment equipment – like a large flat screen or ultra short-throw projector – in a room. That will influence where low voltage and power connections are terminated. It may affect where wiring is added for in-wall speakers or connections for conventional speakers.
One example: where is the optimal placement – including height – for built-in speakers and subwoofers in a room? Does that subwoofer need power or is it a passive design? These details can be considered early on, avoiding the need for homeowners and installers to have to make suboptimal choices later, or incurring additional costs for rework.
Another example: Is a whole house surge suppression system being considered? It may make sense in Colorado, where summer lightning storms can wreak havoc with electronics. What are all the devices that may need protection? It’s just another aspect of planning the infrastructure the right way.