Rough-In Wiring Guidelines

All Wiring Needs to be Run Before the Drywall Goes Up
December 11, 2013

rough-in wiringFor those of you who are building new homes now or planning a new home construction in 2014, you'll need to develop a guideline plan for running cables in the rough-in phase of construction.

The rough-in phase is when all infrastructure wiring is run for electrical service, HVAC systems, telephone service, security systems, entertainment systems, kitchen appliances, and anything else you can think of that needs a hard-wired connection from one point to another in the home. The home Ethernet network provides the backbone for many smart home automation systems, which means the appropriate cable must be run from the network equipment central location to each room containing one or more devices needing Internet access or a communication path to a central device such as a home controller. Its important the correct cabling is used for the home sub-systems previously mentioned. We recommend you read our previous article on home network topology to help guide your Ethernet wiring plan. So here's our recommended specification to use when discussing your needs with your contractor.

Low Voltage Cable Specification
The cable requirements for video, music, sensors, and Internet (Ethernet) connections are specified as follows.

Ethernet cabling requires CAT 6 550 MHz, 23 AWG, PVC 8-conductor cable which provides a reliable wired Ethernet connection from the Internet Access Point in the home to each of the rooms . A single Cat6 cable length can be up to 330 feet.

Using the T568A standard each wire is connected to the same pin on both ends of the cable. Note the applicable cable standard is ANSI/TIA/EIA T568-A-6 Category 6. Each end of the cable terminates in either a male RJ-45 connector or female in-wall data insert jack.

Video cabling should adhere to UL listed NEC type CATV RG6 double-shielded coax cable with a nominal impedance of 75 ohms. This cable is terminated by 7807G gold crimp-on RG6 F connectors recommended for satellite cabling.

Most video distribution systems will use separate Cat6 cables run to each room from the central distribution point. For local HDMI cables connecting entertainment devices in a room use High Speed 1.4 HDMI w/ Ethernet.

For stereo music distribution UL listed NEC type CL2 approved 4-conductor 16-gauge speaker cable is good for home runs to each room up to 125 ft. NEC type CL2 approved 4-conductor 14-gauge speaker cable is good for home runs up to 250 ft.

Security wiring for door and window contact sensors 18-22 AWG un-shielded twisted pair is required for each sensor. Multi-pair cables will likely make sense depending on area sensor concentration.