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#1 xclusive

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 01:12 PM

Hello, long time lurker 1st time posting. We are about to build a house and I'm looking into prewiring an alarm or not. For a basic install they are charging $500 for 2 door contacts (front/back), 2 keypads, one motion detector and a 20in can. This is it and doen't include anything on the 2nd floor. Was wondering does this seem like a fair price or should I keep my money and just use it on retrofitting and diy once I have moved in.

Thanks,

#2 xclusive

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 01:21 PM

Also wanted to add since this is my first time building some of the simple things I feel like they are way overcharging for or maybe they are good prices and I have sticker shock. Just for example:

Structured wiring panel $790 (includes 10 run & 28in panel)
*each addtl run is $120
*or if 2 wires from same plaet $160
3 types of conduit run (orange flex tube 1.5in with pull string)
*straight up a wall 1floor $60
*a curved run (say from a fireplace to wiring closet) $160
*a run of 200ft or more $240
Prewire for whole house audio
*each room is $340 (includes cat5/16/4 to box & 16/2 to speakers in ceilings)
Surround sound (5 speakers prewire) $450
Wired smoke detectors $125ea

These were just a few prices to name, needless to say after the intial price of house, then adding upgrades, there isn't alot to spend on this. Any suggestions on whats needed upfront so that I can do this later would be greatly appreciated.

thanks

#3 sanders2222

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 02:40 PM

It is what it is. Unless your a DIY guy, you're stuck with paying someone to do this stuff. It used to be you could mutiply the materials times two and you have the cost of labor. Don't know if that still holds up. Locksmiths in NYC are charging people over $600 just to open their homes when they lock themselves out!

Ask your contractor if you can save by doing anything yourself or furnishing materials. A structural wiring enclosure (with cover) should run around $100 http://www.automated...ures/CV-C-0150E

#4 Mr Spock

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 03:11 PM

Where are you located? I'm also wondering how much my very long list of prewire will cost me. I'm hoping to keep it under $10k. My builder will not let me do any of the wiring before sale.

#5 Sandpiper

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 05:20 PM

Hello, long time lurker 1st time posting. We are about to build a house and I'm looking into prewiring an alarm or not. For a basic install they are charging $500 for 2 door contacts (front/back), 2 keypads, one motion detector and a 20in can. This is it and doen't include anything on the 2nd floor. Was wondering does this seem like a fair price or should I keep my money and just use it on retrofitting and diy once I have moved in.

Thanks,

You are not going to find a deal much cheaper than that unless you sign a 3 year contract. If you wait and DIY you will pay that and more, unless you know how to drill and hardwire it. But if you knew how to do that, you'd do it now when it is much easier. My advice, as a previous installer, is to take the deal. A hardwired system is much better, in my opinion, than a wireless. Second floor is normally not done, but if you want it expect to pay. Perhaps a single motion on the second floor will be adequate.

#6 Steve

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 08:29 PM

You absolutely have to prewire at least the first floor of a 2 story house. It's impossible to wire after the fact without creating drywall issues that need repair etc. The only way to make it cheaper up front would be to at least run conduit now and you put the wire later. But you have to get something up in that ceiling now while you can. Do you have to use the builder (assume so) otherwise maybe you could have your own sub come in and do it for less? Cans, terminations, etc you can do anytime but you have to get stuff up in the areas that will be impossible to get to later.

#7 xclusive

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 08:03 AM

Ok the builder will not allow anyone to prewire their house so I am going to get the structured wiring panel (10 free, well I should say included runs) & I am going to do the prewire for alarm (2 door contacts, 1 motion sensor and 2 keypads). Strucutred wiring panel was $790 and alarm prewire they came down to $440. I guess since they have an exclusive in with the builder they really don't have to budge on any prices knowing they are the only ones who can get the wiring in before drywall. I did ask about window contacts, etc. Their response was they dont even offer prewiring for windows because all the jobs they do are new construction and they don't run the risk of voiding any warranties. Thanks for everyone responses, we are suppose to break ground in next 2 weeks or so. Still havent decided on HAI or ELK which I'll do more research on and I will do updates and create blog in that section as well.

Thanks,

#8 xclusive

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 01:04 PM

I had another question on upgrading my panels? Here is what builder is offering and upgrade on prices

Security:

14’’ to 20’’ = $100
14’’ to 28’’ = $180

Structured Wiring:

20’’ to 28’’ = $80
20’’ to 42’’ = $260

Also I am getting 2 keypads prewired. What is the best location for these? I was going to put one at the garage/mudroom entrance and the other one would go in the master bedroom or at the front door entrance (which would be rarely used)?

Thanks

#9 JimS

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 01:59 PM

Does going with their alarm prewire mean you are locked into a contract for the security monitoring? They make alot of their money on the monthly charge and you can get a lot cheaper monitoring if you diy. But I am guessing not because of the panels you mentioned.

It really depends on how handy you are and how much you are willing to do yourself (and how much of a mess the spouse is willing to live with while you do it!). For some people cutting and patching some drywall is no big deal. If you have to go back into the walls later to add to the preinstall you might as well diy. There are some access cover plates that just snap into about a foot square hole in the drywall if the cover is acceptable - I realize many will not think it is - but they may remove the need to patch drywall.

If you prewire or diy, either way I recommend going in and taking pictures of all the framing so if you do have to add something you will know where things are in the walls/floors.

Maybe just do conduit runs to several locations where it will be easier to access and limit fishing to the last bit of the runs. Wiring closet to attic, wiring closet to garage, etc. Conduit could go to closets where access panel would be somewhat hidden.

I see little reason to pay them for the overpriced wiring panel. That's easy to put in later, especially if the wiring or conduits end there.

Is there a basement and is it to be unfinished? If so, it makes wiring the first floor much easier. Basement with drop ceiling is easier than drywall ceiling (stating the obvious I guess).

Your choice of keypad locations seems good to me.

I was the general contractor on my house build so I got to do whatever I wanted before the drywall went up. But I realize not many are in that situation. I also ended up adding a few things later - you hardly every get everything the first time.

#10 Lou Apo

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:07 PM

You might talk to your builder. It sounds as though you are in a situation where perhaps it is a quazi-custom home that you really aren't paying for until after it is built. Perhaps with a few extra "down payment" dollars you can convince them to let you go in and just pull wires/conduits around the house and leave them coiled up in the wall space for later.

But as stated, be sure to take lots of pictures. I suggest taking a million of them, and then going back and taking a million more. I thought I took enough, but I keep finding myself wishing I had more.

#11 fwd03

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 01:36 AM

When our house build, we asked builder run cat5 cable to every window and door; all those wires went to one place for us to install alarm system later. That is much cheaper. If you ask builder to install alarm system, they must hire alarm professional. That price could not be much cheaper. But if you just ask builder to run some cat5 cables for you, they don't have to hire any alarm processionals. As long as the wire runs to the place you can do it later, that is very important. Our builder drilled holes on each window frame and door frame, they glued the cable lead to the hole.

We also asked builder to run 2 cat5 cables to every room where they normally put phone wires. Another cable is a coax cable to the attic for TV antenna. And another cat5 cable to attic for siren and other control.

Edited by fwd03, 24 January 2012 - 01:38 AM.


#12 Mr Spock

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 11:35 PM

When our house build, we asked builder run cat5 cable to every window and door; all those wires went to one place for us to install alarm system later. That is much cheaper. If you ask builder to install alarm system, they must hire alarm professional. That price could not be much cheaper. But if you just ask builder to run some cat5 cables for you, they don't have to hire any alarm processionals. As long as the wire runs to the place you can do it later, that is very important. Our builder drilled holes on each window frame and door frame, they glued the cable lead to the hole.

We also asked builder to run 2 cat5 cables to every room where they normally put phone wires. Another cable is a coax cable to the attic for TV antenna. And another cat5 cable to attic for siren and other control.


Not every builder works that way. Yours is very flexible. Mine so far has stated all prewiring must be done by their one chosen company.

#13 pete_c

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 08:34 AM

Prior to construction both in the MW and FL I asked about doing the prewire. In the MW I did find and started to build with a contractor that was going to let me do the pre-wire. 4 months into the build of our home; builder messed up so bad that we "cancelled" our contract. We got our deposit back and moved to a home which was a year old nearby.

In FL the contractor agreed to let me to the pre-wire and I cut a deal on doing the alarm pre-wire. It worked out.

If you can; figure out the best locations for a wire chase or multiple chases for wiring after completion. In the MW I built a chase from the basement to the attic after I moved in to the two story. The attic was large enough such that it was easy to drop wires into every one of the bedrooms/bathrooms. The basement is unfinished such that its been easy to wire the main floor of the house from the basement.

My view is that its your money and your house; you are the contractors customer. If that contractor isn't willing to cut a deal; find one that is more flexible. Especially in today's economy.


That said I would try to cut a deal with the contractor and subcontract the LV wiring to a 3rd party company.

#14 xclusive

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 08:52 AM

I did try to play hardball and walk but the builder was insistent on using their own company for LV wiring for insurance purposes (and for the markup as well in my opinion). Guess its good to have exclusivity to a property before the walls go up so you can pretty much charge what you want. Well I decided to do the structured wiring panel and I did go ahead with the pre-wirng for the alarm. Good thing is we are not tired into a contract with that company once we move in. We have company here that monitors for $9.95 month. We are on a slab so that complicates things a bit but I have found a common wall that I can run flex tubing from the closet where both panels will be to the 2nd floor and attic. Now I'm working on my wiring plan. I did speak with GC who stated in so many words that they can't let me wire my own house but did advise that there is a lag time of about week from when electirical gets approved til insulation and drywall go up! I didn't ask anymore questions and just left it at that! :)

Thanks to everyone for the response as I have read over the how to wire wiki's millions of times but I'm sure I will still need help and have questions once I get started.

Thanks,

#15 Lou Apo

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 08:55 AM

I don't know what your exact situation is. If this is truly a custom home, your builder has no authority to stop you from doing the LV wire yourself. Unless of course the contract contains some language that clearly blocks you. The best time to have dealt with this would have been before the contract was signed, but at this point you should pull that contract and see what is written in it.




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