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New Construction - Please check my plan


New Member
Hi all,
I've been researching low voltage cabling for a few months, and I think I finally have a plan and I'm ready to order materials. Could you please check out my plan and let me know where I can improve?
I'm building a 3,800 sq.ft one-story home with a 450 sq. ft media room above the attached garage. I have hired an electrician to do the electrical wiring, and my husband and I plan to do the low voltage. Once I started researching my plan (and cabling runs) got larger and larger, so I want to make sure that I've covered the most important things. 
I have a storage room near the middle of the house where I plan to put up a plywood board to mount all equipment. All cable will be home run from this panel. 
Here's the plan:
RG6QS - 2 runs to each TV location (media room will have 4)
Cat 6, UTP, solid - 3 runs to TV locations (Media room will have 4), 1 run to each touchscreen location (located in most rooms), 1 run to Security Keypad (not in all rooms), 2 runs behind each bed (near nightstands), 1 run behind each major appliance in kitchen, 2 runs behind washer/dryer in utility room
22/4 Security wire - 1 run to each motion detector, 1 run to each window for future automated blinds, 1 run to each operating window for contact sensor, 1 run to each exterior door for sensor
Speaker wire, 14/4 or 16/4 (depending on length of run) - 2 ceiling mounted speakers in each bedroom (5 in master), 1 run to each volume control, 7 ceiling mounted speakers in living room, ceiling mounted speakers in hallways, powder rooms, front patio, back patio, 7? wall/ceiling mounted speakers in media room (need more work on this)
18/2 zip - 1 run to each window for future automated blinds, 1 run to each touchscreen location
18/4 Firewire - 1 run to each smoke detector, 1 run to each CO detector(not in all rooms), 1 run to each Security keypad
Shielded Mic wire - 1 run to each Security Keypad
I have calculated each run using a ruler and my house plan (and added an additional 20 ft to each run), but plan to double check the measurements after the electrician finishes. 
I have calculated 4500 ft of Cat6, 1500 ft of Coax, 4000 ft of speaker wire, 3000 ft of zip, 4000 ft of security wire, 1000 ft of mic wire and 1000 ft of firewire.
I am having the electrician install multiple dedicated 20A circuits to the network panel (maybe 3?).
Other items to purchase:
nail plates to protect cables
velcro to bundle cables 
punch down tool
smurf tubing to run empty conduit to each TV location
RJ45 keystones for terminating cat6
Plastic cable clips for mounting /supporting cable to studs
crimp tool
speaker connectors for terminating speaker wires
coax plugs
ceiling brackets for speakers 
LV gang boxes or mud rings
Hardware for network closet:  (This will come later. I am mostly concerned with pre-wiring now).
Patch panel
12V distribution box
stereo distribution
I will have a computer running Homeseer HS3Pro.
Am I missing anything big? Do I sound like I know what I'm doing? ;-)
I might add security camera locations and pre-wire for landscape lights (not sure how to do that yet).
Thanks for any help / advice you can provide.


Senior Member
Don't have much time now, but briefly:

1. Speaker cable runs to VC and then to local speakers.
2. Zip cable is not in-wall rated. Use 18/2 CL2 or CL3.
3. Smurf tab is blue. I would use orange flexible PVC conduit.
4. You probably don't need 18/2 to tablet locations.
5. Speak with the shade installer before running cables. Many different ways to cable for shades.
6. If you are running cables yourself, good shopping list. Let the pro electrician supply most items, like nail plates. He knows what he prefers.
7. Something you may not know - single speakers in small rooms (dual voice coil speakers) are fed by 4 conductor cable.
8. You'll probably need a couple wireless access points (wired with cat6) for wifi.
9. Tablets and alarm keypads are wall mounted at thermostat height (~60"), VCs at switch height.
10. Leave you tablet cables buried behind drywall until you install them, if there might be any delay or hesitation about installing them. Same for any other cables. That's quite a prewire list. GL!


Senior Member
Don't buy items for trim out yet, e.g. Velcro, plates, connectors, crimp tools.

Don't use junction boxes for LV, use LV rings.

Use TV boxes (combined LV and line voltage) behind TVs. Easier. Arlington has some good options.
Neurorad said:
Don't have much time now, but briefly:

2. Zip cable is not in-wall rated. Use 18/2 CL2 or CL3.
3. Smurf tab is blue. I would use orange flexible PVC conduit.
4. You probably don't need 18/2 to tablet locations.
9. Tablets and alarm keypads are wall mounted at thermostat height (~60"), VCs at switch height.
2.Not true. You can buy almost any cable construction in a rated format. The main reason why zippered cable isn't popular for in-wall is there is no physical buffer between the conductors and items that could potentally cause damage during installation or over time. It exists, but the recommendation is to typically buy a OAJ constructed cable.
3. Flex PVC conduit can exist in any color; generally does not apply to it's UL listing, but usually it's usage. We just installed a few thousand feet of red flex PVC that was plenum rated....and that was only because the spec wanted red.
4. I'd pull the 18/2. You never know what the charging options may or may not be.
9. Usually T-stats and similar are 54" C AFF. Light switches are 48" C AFF. Height is personally preference usually.
I would NOT pigeonhole your fire alarm topology by running multiple 18/4 cables to each location. It's going to add to the complexity and if you have an issue, further complicate items. Daisy chain is always preferred.
Usual allowance for waste is about 15-20%. A rough in, especially with LV should always have more cable left at the head end and at least a foot or more at the device end. Most DIY problems arise when people are too cable conscious vs. planning the runs and "right and tight" appropriately. I've run into many rough ins where the person ran wires as the crow flew and had pulled short. Not a desirable outcome.
JoshFerg said:
Run Cat6 for your cameras. If you want a PTZ (pan tilt zoom) model also run a 16/2 for power.
Can't say I'd truly agree. If you're running cat X at this point, given the fact that it's almost impossible to find analog cameras still (stocked items) I'd go with the PTZ running POE or POE+ and call it a day. Quality units like Axis even include the midspan.