Wiring Closet


Active Member
I was hijacking another thread, so I decided to start a new one here. What else should I consider wiring to my wiring closet? I've got remote panels for the HA and security, some home entertainment wiring, and today found out about doorbells. What else could I consider? How does one go about wiring these to a wiring closet? What benefit does it give by doing such? Some of the things I've been thinking aobut, but have no idea as to how I would actually do it are:
Garage door opener?
Hot water heater?

So, what else have you connected to your HA system? How is it done? Why did you do it?
That could be a very long answer! Short answer is you can automate almost anything you want to. Break it into small chunks so you are not overwhelmed. For prewire, check out this thread, or some of the threads by ph0n33z who is going through the pains now.
As steve mentioned, there is a super duper fantastic thread/how-to available here. The best thing since sliced bread if I say so myself :D

For most everything, you need to figure out what works best for you AND the people installing the system. For example;

HVAC - No! Have the HVAC people install the system as if there was no HA in the house (okay, make sure it will be compatable with your HA system). Just run cat-5 from each thermostat location to your wiring room. Once the system is up and running, then swap out the thermostats and connect them to the system. Alternatively, give the stats to the HVAC people and let them install them. Once everything is working, then you can connect the wires to the HA system.

Garage door opener - eh, yeh. Whatever works. I've got an expansion enclosure for the alarm in garage, so I just needed to get the wires from the garage door to the enclosure.

Etc. etc. etc.
Looking back, I need to explain my HVAC answer a little further.

There is no need to run all the HVAC wires through the wiring closet. You just need to run additional (to the wires run by the HVAC people) wires from the stats to the wiring closet.

As for integration, the best way is to give the installers the stats, and let them install them. That way you (and they) know that they are done correctly, and that the system works with them installed. Once everything is working correctly, then hook up the communications wire, and you are good to go.

One problem with replacing the stats yourself is if there is a problem with the HVAC system, the first thing the repair guy is going to do is look at the new stats, and say "Aha, there's your problem. You messed the system up with this crazy stat you hooked up." Anything that is "unfamiliar" is automatically blaimed. I've had one HVAC company actually claimed that replacing the stats voided the warrenty (admittedly, part of the problem was the homeowner was a jerk, so the repair people were cutting stiff with him. It was the first sub-freezing day of the winter, and the homeowner thought that he should be the first house serviced, even if 20 other people called in ahead of him).
I sat through an HVAC session at EHX given by Todd from dipartner.com and he essentially says the same thing. Working with HVAC guys is hard and there is always alot of blame back and forth. He also recommends for the HVAC guys to install everything and you just do the control later. The problem is a lot of times convincing the HVAC guys to use a stat they are not familiar with. Usually they can be sweet talked but sometimes you may be on your own if they refuse to use your stuff - it all depends on the HVAC contractor.
"Wiring My Home", by Thomas Bradford

(subtitled, "How to Drive Your Wife Insane")

My wiring project started out with simply wanting to add a phone jack to my teenage son's bedroom. That's all I wanted to do. When I looked at options it became clear that the best way to do it would be to wire home run style instead of daisy chaining. So, while I was running the wire from the telco box to what woudl become the wiring closet and rerouting the existing phone wiring to conform to the design it occurred to me that I had 2 more kids and a big playroom without phone jacks so I wound up doing home runs to every bedroom and playroom upstairs.

After I did that I thought .. I've already got phone lines and know the routes to get wires to all the rooms without demolishing the walls - may as well put a cable jack in each room. So, RG6 to every room and a video distribution hub in the closet.

At this point I realize an enclosure would be nice, so I bought a small 11" job from Part's Express"

While I was pulling the RG6 I figured might as well do cat 5 runs to every room. Now we need a cat5 distribution hub...

(Oops.. my enclosure is full - gotta get a bigger one....)

While I was doing the cat 5 run I thought about music - so I put ceiling speakers and a volume control in every room and tied it into our home entertainment system.

After I got all that done I decided to tie my cameras into the video distribution hub and then I hooked the dvd up the video hub too so now everyone in the house can watch the same dvd on channel 94 and listen to it from their tv or ceiling speakers, whichever they prefer.

Of course, what's a big house without an intercom system.. So, I bought a Greyfox cat5 based intercom and put units in all the bedrooms, kitchen, garage, shed and the door unit by the front door.

What a lot of work! I should get 50 lashes for not being foresighted enough to d o all this at one time but to tell you the truth doing all this stuff and actually getting it to work is the most fun I've had in many a year. I still ask a lot of elementary questions (especially for you guys) but the stuff I've learned about wiring and just about my house in general really gives m e a good feeling.

Could not have went very far without help from people here and other forums. You can learn a boatload just from reading message threads and using the search function.


p.s. I left out the part about wall plates... I first bought wall plates that just had a phone jack. Then, when I ran the cable I replaced those with wall plates that had a phone/cable jack. Then, I replaced those with wall plates that I could put all 3 (cat5, catv, rj11) jacks in. Anyone want to buy some wall plates?