Make Your Smart Home Future-Proof
Integrate Low-Voltage Planning Early in Your Next Project
In the excitement of a new home project, whether it’s a new build or a remodel, low-voltage wiring is one of those things that may get overlooked. Designers, builders, and homeowners may get wrapped up in the many other details of a project. Low-voltage wiring is much easier and less expensive to install before drywall is installed, and even if changes are required in that stage, it is relatively simple to do. If the requirements are not well thought out and planned early on, wiring can still be changed – but the project’s costs may increase, and some functionality may be compromised.
Why is low-voltage wiring important? Today’s smart homes have many devices that will need to be enabled through low-voltage wiring. In fact, with today’s LED lighting technology, low-voltage wiring may be more extensive than electrical wiring in some cases! As experts in all residential audio-video and smart home technology, Lelch Audio-Video is the low-voltage contractor you’ll want to bring in early in your next Lakeville MN project.
Let’s explore why low-voltage planning is so important.
Consider All the Requirements
If the homeowner is remodeling their current property or looking to build new, they likely have a laundry list of security and automation features that they would like to add. And if they don’t want to do them all right now, they don’t want to be limited in the future as new devices emerge or their needs change. Among the many features they might consider:
- Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
- Water intrusion sensors
- Security cameras inside and out
- Wired network connections for high-performance computers and video distribution
- Multiple access points for seamless Wi-Fi networking
- Uncompromised placement for speakers for high-quality audio everywhere
- Lighting control systems
- Smart appliances
This is a long list of items to integrate, and the planning for these may go well beyond the standard electrical plan.
Conduits may need to be considered for proper routing of all this wiring, particularly if working through slab foundation. While wireless networking technology continues to advance rapidly, some structural design and construction choices may result in weak signals – which can be addressed with low-voltage wiring in the right places. Recognizing these potential issues early in a project can save on considerable rework and expense later.
More Accurate Cost Estimates
The cost of low-voltage wiring to enable smart home technology and AV is rarely considered in construction bids. It tends to be added later when a contractor – like us – comes into the picture to address the homeowner’s wish list. Why not give your client a more comprehensive building estimate? Bring us in early, where we can present the options for smart technology and audio-video installation and provide a realistic assessment of the costs, avoiding surprises later. This can also include – among other things - power requirements for devices, which can be incorporated into the electrical plan, again avoiding expensive rework.
The Right Wiring in the Right Places
Some technology choices may affect the interior design, and that will require modifications to the placement of power outlets and wiring for things like speakers, control keypads, and other equipment.
Homeowners are going to care particularly about the placement of entertainment equipment – like a large flat screen or a projector – in a room. It can affect the entire orientation of a room, and it will influence where low-voltage and power connections are terminated. It may change where wiring is added for in-wall speakers or specific security sensors.
Here are some examples of what we work through: where is the optimal placement – including height – for built-in speakers and subwoofers in a room? Does that subwoofer the homeowner wants need power or is it a passive design? These details can be considered early on, avoiding the need for homeowners and installers to have to make suboptimal choices later, or incurring additional costs for rework.