How to Wire a "Smart" Home

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Wiring your house into a "smart" home gives you the convenience of controlling all its electronic services from a central control center. How does it work? All the wiring in the house connects to your distribution center. The main distribution control panel has a microprocessor that communicates with the rest of the home. A smart home allows you to control the security, audio and video, and electrical appliances from a central location. The structural wiring of a smart home increases the value and flexibility of your home.

Things You'll Need

  • High-performance fiber-optic cables
  • Distribution panel
  • Multimedia outlets
  • Decide on a location for your distribution panel. This could be the basement, storage room, attic, or a closet area. It does not have to be in a central location unless you are wiring a very large building. The distribution panel controls all home services, delivering their signals throughout the house. You can find control panels online from Smarthome.com and other retailers.

  • Draw a map of all outlet locations. All outlets must lead back to the main distribution panel.

  • Install additional control panels in several locations. You can program each wall panel to control one of your services, such as entertainment or lighting, with a single button. These are nice for setting up customized settings on your appliances. For instance, you can set up your lighting to a particular brightness and populate the setting throughout the house with the push of a button. This is not a necessary step, but gives you added convenience and automation for your smart home. It gives you multiple locations to control your settings so that you do not have to go to your control room for every change.

  • Connect the entire wiring system to the distribution control panel with multimedia outlets. Every outlet must handle the demands of your various electronic services. They should provide enough power for phones, televisions, stereos, security systems, and anything else you install. Consult your outlets map to find the best path from each outlet to the control panel.

  • Run a three-wire connection to each wall switch. This means you must include a neutral wire going to each switch in addition to the "hot" and load wires. Install high-performance cables, such as fiber-optic cables. Your cables must meet the demands of your audio, video, security, and lighting needs.

  • Install a heavy-duty surge protector that works for all electronic services in the house. Invest in a quality surge protector because it is your insurance for all your electrical appliances in the house. It is not necessary to get multiple surge protectors to protect your various services. Shop for "whole-house" surge protectors. They usually cost around $200.

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References

  • Photo Credit electrical panel wiring image by Jake Hellbach from Fotolia.com
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