Since I did not have the
seeing my home being built, I could
not specify the preinstallation of structured wiring. If you read many
of the home automation magazines that are out there today, you would
that they suggest no intelligent home should be without one. This is
you have TV and computer network cabling installed 'home run' style to
every room in the house. I would tend to agree only because I found
I needed to install conduit and cabling to accomplish my home
My first installation occurred during the Central
project. In that case I was of course installing PVC
for the vacuum line. I then later installed Cat 5 (computer) cabling
the Phone System project
and then RG6 (TV)
for the Whole House Video
fact that it was a retrofit, I was able to completely hide the tubes
cables inside walls and closets so that none showed, leading to a very
professional appearance. This was possible on one end of the home by
the chase for the furnace flue, and on the other end by using my
The chase was a box that led from the basement to the attic and
about two feet by two feet wide. It had of course fire blocks built
it which blocked air from going from one floor to the next, so these
to be drilled thru with a 2.5 inch hole saw. I then ran two vacuum
thru the holes of the chase, sealing the gap with caulking. One pipe
for the vacuum system and the other served as a conduit for cabling. I
finished the installation of the vacuum system first, noting and
about how I would install the TV and computer cables. Since I was
only two vacuum outlets per floor, but many more outlets per floor for
the electrical connections, the latter was a bigger challenge.
Electrical connections from the second floor are routed as follows.
A hole is drilled from the attic into the stud space above the new
I then saw out a hole into the drywall and insert a new outlet box. The
type of box is called 'old
box', and allows you to slide the box
in and swing two tabs to secure the box in the drywall. Wire is then
from the new box into the stud space, and then into the attic where it
is led down into conduit to the basement. Here it is then run into the
Connections from the first floor are possible because my finished
has a suspended ceiling. I drill a hole from the basement below into
stud space of the future box, and route the cabling down into the
and wiring closet.
Connections from the basement are most simple since I can remove a
ceiling panel and get access to the stud space of the basement wall.
Once at the wiring closet (see above), the wiring
in the appropriate type of block. For TV, I have a bank of splitters
on a plywood plank. I can then patch the right combination as needed.
Cat 5 is terminated into a 66 style block with RJ11 connectors if it is
used for phone, and a panel of RJ45 style patch panel if used for
The phone connections are then patched into my 'phone hub' or phone
and the computer connections go into a normal computer network switch.
One challenge was finding
way to terminate the cabling
in the lived in areas. I found a system that uses blank wall
with square holes into which you can snap inserts to mix and match the
type of connectors you need. I don't know the name of this technology
individual manufacturers have their own names. Examples are 'Quickport'
(Leviton), 'TechWire' and 'Keystone'.