COMMUNITY FORUM

ccie

06:16PM | 11/20/01
Member Since: 11/19/01
3 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
Hi,

I recently purchased a new home that is being built. During the construction process, I would love to have it pre-wired for Category 5, RG-6 (DSS, Cable TV, etc.), and audio (surround sound/speakers). The builder does offer these pre-wire options, but the price tag is around $10,000, a pretty significant amount of money especially after buying a home.

My other option is to do the wiring myself, but I can only do so after the home is completed and handed over to me. The builder explicitly prohibits any work on the home by the buyer or any unauthorized third party contractors during the construction. Of course, I would need to cut away some drywall, etc. if I do the wiring afterwards, versus the builder's contractor does it before the drywall is even put on. So in short, pay the high price and get it cleanly pre-wired, or do it myself by ripping apart some parts of the home and save $8,000 after materials are subtracted.

My question is has anyone else had to make this same decision before, and what were the lessons/experiences. I am fairly technically competent and can do it myself, but at the expense of tearing apart a newly built home.

Thanks for any advice/input.

pops

10:18AM | 11/21/01
Member Since: 11/20/01
1 lifetime posts
My house was built last year. My builder didn't restrict me from working on my home so I installed cat5 and RG-6 throughout the house. Being able to work on the house after the electrician was done but the walls were not drywalled was wonderful.

If there is no way your builder will let you go in and at least stub in electrical boxes you might tell him you'll pay him to do it.

Also, if you have a 2 story house I recommend you also tell him you want a chase running from the basement to the attic so you can run your cables. This way all you'll need to do later on is drill down through the framing between the walls and drop the cable into the electrical box.

This will definately be cheaper than 10k. In all I would have spent about 1k for all the cable, jacks, and faceplates I used. BTW, I have nearly 8k feet of cable that I actually installed throughout the house for my voice, video and data lines.

-pops

piz_bruin

06:29AM | 11/26/01
Member Since: 08/02/01
18 lifetime posts
Hi,
I have done it both ways so I will give you my experience. I had my builder wire my new home for Cat-5e and RG6 with boxes in just about every location I might want to plug in a PC or other A/V unit. He charged me $550. ($275 for each), with the understanding that I will be putting on the jacks & plates myself. They did a nice job, exactly how I wanted it.

In my previous home I did all of the runs myself, both Cat-5 and RG6. It was not a fun job. I tried not to cut drywall except for the boxes which made it tricky. First floor runs were made up into the wall cavities from the basement. Second floor runs were made from the basement, up through conduit in the garage, into the attic, and then drops into the wall cavities from there.
It came out great, but it was a real pain in the butt.

$10k seems WAY overpriced. Maybe you should get a couple quotes from local electricians to do the job for you after the house is finished. This way you don't have to do it yourself, and I imagine you can get a better price.

HTH,
~Piz

tate16t

12:59PM | 01/06/02
Member Since: 06/14/01
57 lifetime posts
For the PC connections, look into wireless. It's a hell of lot cheaper and less work.

TT_dude

11:01AM | 03/01/02
Member Since: 02/28/02
3 lifetime posts

any good sites on how to run cable thru the house? Do you suggest using conduits or not??


Jay J

03:45AM | 03/03/02
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi TT_dude,

Consider spending SOME of the money you save on an AT Home Wiring Book. The keys to this job are the locations of the outlets, 'proximity' of the various wires to each other (vs. 'shielded' wiring), location of the panel (which I suggest you put on the 1st floor if you can), and using HIGH quality wiring. If you're running wiring, say, from the panel in the basement (if that's where your putting it) to the 2nd floor, or any floors above that INCLUDING the attic, I'd consider using conduit. AND, if you can, I'd install an EXTRA conduit in case, later on, you need to add either more wiring or a different kind of wiring. Use 2" conduit for HIGH voltage wiring and 1" conduit for all the others. I'm assuming you're doing this in a NEW home vs. an existing home. If you're doing the latter, adding conduit may be difficult.

Visit A-m-a-z-o-n.com, and such, for a good book or 2. My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J-Moderator

PS: God Bless America!

[This message has been edited by Jay J (edited March 04, 2002).]

jniz

01:21AM | 03/21/02
Member Since: 03/20/02
1 lifetime posts
Check out http://www.smarthome.com

They have a great selection of products, and combined conduits...

I ran the hybrid conduits myself, and it was much easier than runnign searate feeds.

Knorske

05:45PM | 05/05/02
Member Since: 05/04/02
4 lifetime posts
Any suggestions on book titles to look for and those to avoid?

Thanks.

Randy Colin

06:09PM | 05/12/02
Member Since: 04/14/01
43 lifetime posts
Knorske,I installed all of the structured wiring in my house myself and while it was hard work it was well worth it.My guess is your builder doesn,t want the work and gave you that cost estimate so you would forget about doing it.I have never heard of a builder telling a client that he can,t use third party contractors.That said the book I purchased is titled Structured Wiring Design Manual by Robert N. Bucceri.I bought at the www.HomeControls.con site.There are other books available at this site also.

guloguloguy

05:18PM | 02/17/03
Member Since: 02/16/03
2 lifetime posts
Hey, I'm currently having my little crackerbox totally remodeled (just over 800 sq. ft., single story, w/ full basement): I'm an electrician, but have opted to have the work sub-ed out thru the GC., ; However, I do want to build this house so that it has maximum flexibility- being outfitted so as to accomodate all forseeable types of home automation/ & network wiring. Otherwise , my little house won't be appealing to many people - it's so small. Now, I did manage to get in there while the entire interior was opened up (old drywall entirely removed) and I installed a ton of conduit going everywhere!)=(One conduit& J-box system for the 120 volt wiring; and another system of conduits an J-boxes for low voltage wiring) Basically, I (had)installed a new 200 amp service, with future plans to add network panels), and ran several large (1-1/4"EMT) chase conduits from the basement service to the main J-boxes in the attic, and from there ran many 1", and 3/4" and some 1/2" EMT conduits to boxes in the walls in each room, at about 3' above the floor, (instead of the usual 4') - then I will run a 2-channel, Plastic, surface raceway system around each room, thus allowing me to later add whatever wiring systems and upgrades as I desire! I chose a wiremold raceway, but panduit and others are suitable. This kept my wall insulation in nearly perfect condition throughout- (no thin or cold spots), and the surface raceway is at a height that works better to feed wiring to desks and tables, and countertops without having a lot of exposed wires draped around!!! The raceway will blend-in and appear to function as a chair-rail for most wall locations. Now I just need to figure out the best networking options to use. Then all I need to do is pull in the necessary wiring, as I can afford to do so, in the future. Thus , all my power receptacles, and wall light switches are located in the top half of the raceway- running at about 3 feet(a very comfortable height!) above the floor level, around each room! It's different! But is HIGHLY ADAPTABLE, and Cheaper, and less frustrating than trying to plan the exact location and possible future location for each box - for every type of application!! I feel absolutely convinced that there will be a lot of other people who will realize these same benefits- by using this method- It's a great way to lend a lot of flexibility to your wiring layout- now and in the future!!! Now, Go and do likewise!! Fear Not!
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