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House Wiring

Are you still a non-believer in technology? I doubt it since you are reading this article! But there are folks like that out there. In fact, I talked to one yesterday. He thinks the Internet is a hoax of sorts and that there is going to be huge consolidation of this media form. He compared it to the early days of the railroad industry here in the United States. His points were well made, I must admit.

Evidently, there were lots of little railroads and lots of investor speculation in railroads over 125 to 150 years ago. Well, there was a big shake out and lots of railroads got gobbled up, and he said that investors lost lots of money. Well, we surely have consolidation happening now, but I feel that we are just beginning to scratch the surface. Investors lose money everyday. You just need to do your homework so you are one of the winners, not the losers!

Just What is Possible?

Installing structured wiring allows you to do all sorts of things. I found a list of possibilities at a very cool website - imagine being able to do the following:

  • Distance learning
  • Do-it-yourself instruction
  • Video-on-demand
  • Interactive video games
  • Intelligent lighting systems
  • Security alert
  • Remote dial-in
  • Simultaneous Web surfing
  • High-speed Internet access
  • Home office
  • Interactive audio
  • Digital TV
  • Heating/cooling control
  • Remote metering
  • Child monitoring
  • Electronic shopping
  • Networked PCs
  • Electronic banking

These are just a few things you can do when you have great wiring in your home. Imagine what we will be able to do ten years from now!

The key to automation is the wiring that connects sensors and operating devices to those things that control them. Groups have been working for years to develop a standard for wiring and it is now available. Because technology changes rapidly, I expect the standard to change as well.

Wiring Tips

Home automation wiring is low voltage. This means that the actual wire is smaller and this means it is more tender than the regular high voltage wire your electrician installs. Home automation wiring needs to be installed carefully. It also needs to be installed at the right time.

If you are building a new home, the plumbing, heating and cooling, and the high voltage wiring should be totally complete before the low voltage wiring is installed. The home automation technicians know the damage that a plumber's torch can do to their cables! What's more, you should not install low voltage automation cable through the same holes that high voltage wires pass through. It is always best to drill new holes as far away from the high voltage wires as is practical.

The Future

Who knows what type of wiring we may use in the future? All I know is that if we are still using wire, some strategically placed empty conduits are going to be appreciated by a technician trying to connect that yet-to-be-invented thing-a-ma-bob that you just brought home from the electronics store.

Multiple conduits are a must. You need conduits that connect different open areas of the house to one another. If your house is on a slab, then have multiple conduits poking up into the attic area from different rooms and of course the main distribution area near your electric panel.

If you have a basement or crawl space, be sure to install 3 two inch conduits between the basement and the attic. Use common sense. Imagine trying to get a wire from the distribution area to all walls and all points. Connect the house!

Do NOT install hard 90 degree angles like those plumbers use. You must use sweep 90 degree bends or better yet, two 45 degree sweeps to turn a corner. You must also limit the amount of bends in the conduit. If at all possible, try to install straight runs with no bends. I was lucky to do this in my own home. I have a straight conduit that goes from my basement up through two stories and into the attic. Just one? Thirteen years ago, I thought one would be plenty. See what I mean by the future?

Be sure to cap the conduits with a simple plastic cap or some electrical tape. This will keep insects and cold air from dropping down into your house.

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