What Kind Of Wiring Do New Homes Come With These Days?

  1. Is multi-drop cat 6 and coax to everyroom standard?
  2. USB wall plate chargers?
  3. What the most tricked-out setup you have seen in a new home?
  4. Do any track homes come with security wiring or camera rough-ins yet?
  5. If not, How long will it be be before they do?

The improvements made in wireless over the past few years have sort of killed structured wiring for homes. In the new homes I've been in you see coax, but hardly ever UTP. I'm barely seeing phone jacks, even.

Security wiring seems to be much more common, but I think it depends on what you buy from the home builder. I don't think it's as standard as we'd think it is or should be. Driving through the seemingly infinite number of housing developments that have replaced farmland here, I see nearly no houses with cameras.

Also, I don't really see the point of the USB wall plates. I guess if they're the sort that fit in with an existing duplex receptacle, fine, but people replacing receptacles with them seems silly to me. Just plug in a charger. They're really not that bulky. I generally only charge my phone in the living room, my desk, or on my nightstand, also, none of which have a convenient accessible place for a USB wallplate.

I have a friend who is an RCDD (Really Cool Data Dude) that had Cat6 specified for cameras to a closet, and wifi radios installed in his attic. No coax, no RG3, only copper run to camera locations outside.

All the lightswitches and (power) receptacles in his house are z-wave connected.

So he irradiates his family 24 hours a day. Nice.

Around my base in Texas, I'm seeing most production home builders including pre-wired intrusion in almost every neighborhood. The routine plan is switches on all exterior doors (and into garage), one motion in a living room corner, keypads wired at front & back doors with another in the Master BR. Panel always in the MBR walk-in closet (sometime in a recessed structured bay), and siren is wired in center hall or attic.

Sometimes the home is left with the 'pre-wired for security' as a selling point, sometimes its trimmed out with a Honeywell or DSC panel. If so, then there is some sort of nudge toward a tar-pit contract.

Usually RG6 coax to all expected TV locations, again back to distribution in the MBR closet. Almost all of your expected telephone locations are wired with Cat5 or 5e, again to the MBR closet - this seems to anticipate wired Ethernet in the home rather than telephone, which has gone from wired to cordless to cellular.

An integrator I know is hooked up with a developer, wiring two or three brand new neighborhoods a year. Enough people opt for equipment, and enough of those people sign up for alarm monitoring, to make it worth it, although the home buyers can always hire someone else to install the equipment, or decide not to have the equipment installed at all. And he's getting paid by the developer for the fire alarm in any case, so he's profitable from day one even if the home buyer never gets a single add-on.

They wire for full intrusion (all doors, all accessible windows, several motion detectors), commercial fire including sprinkler activation and notification (they have had several customers with hearing impaired and developmentally disabled family members opt for strobes in addition to sirens), intercom, with doorphone, door strike release, wiring for master units in the kitchen, master bedroom, basement, and second floor hallway, wiring for sub units in all bedrooms and the study, a Cat6 drop in every bedroom, Cat5e in every bedroom, coax in every bedroom, a Cat5e/Cat6 drop in the kitchen and study, and two Cat5e/Cat6 drops in the basement, along with more coax. Cat5e at the front and rear entrance for a camera, Cat5e on the side for a camera if it's an end-unit, and Cat5e at the intercom drops in the kitchen and second floor hallway for a flush mount monitor next to the intercom.

Customization is available preconstruction and midconstruction, but if you don't specify (and pay for) anything special, that's what you get.

This integrator has two crews that can completely wire a house before lunch and another before quitting time. All townhouses built by this developer are built to the exact same floorplan, so the crews know exactly where all the drops are and exactly where the integrator prefers his runs and chases to go. They install rough-in rings and blank plates in some spots, but in others, they simply wrap the wire up and leave it for the sheetrock crew to bury if the home buyer does not end up prepaying for the equipment. The finishing crew can install a full suite of equipment in half a day, assuming no customizations. But even if the home buyer waits a year or two to pay for the alarm or the intercom, cutting open the walls takes them just a few minutes because they know without looking exactly where to cut. One of the nice things about this particular integrator's mild OCD is the fact that his installs are perfect and identical, every time.

As far as I know, they do not wire for WAPs or USB.

HDMI cables to rooms with TV's as all the cable boxes will be located in the basement or a special closet. On that note also...all the Kitchen light switches could all be located in the basement also along with a few other rooms. Why? Because they have scene buttons in the kitchen that will turn the lights on. Look up Control4, Creston, and a few other quality full home automation systems.

Home Automation and Lighting can make a new house cable layout crazy to the human eye.