How to Wire for Everything
I’m going to write this piece as if we have a new custom build. This won’t exactly line up perfectly if you are retrofitting wiring into an existing home, as you won’t have as much freedom and space to work within, however, the principles here are the same: wire for everything.
New Build Wiring
Talk to any home builder and they will tell you that they lay wire for everything, and they have for basically the last 20-25 years. As you might imagine, in that time span the world has changed a lot, gotten more technical and digital. I’ll walk through a bit of each of the systems you should think about, as these are what home builders are wiring for no matter what the homeowner requests.
Actual Electrical Wiring
I think this goes without saying, but the article is meant for the other types of wiring, but I didn’t want to skip over this point. The other point to consider is just adding more load. While you are doing your home remodeling project, consider adding more load to the box. During home builds, they are considering the future. You might add a garage or a hot tub or the like, so they add more power to the box than you might need. When you are remodeling, add to the box BEYOND what you are remodeling for. If you are going to be there a while, it can be hard to predict the future.
Home insurance is cheaper per year if you install home security. The catch is that you also have to use it (which they do check). So home builders will install the wiring needed for lights, outdoor cameras, motion detectors, etc whether or not you ask them to. Many homeowners forget this request and then sprint to get it installed at their mortgage company’s request after the drywall has gone up. And even though home security has been around a long time, even the laws around home security cameras have changed.
Medical Alert Systems
Believe it or not, you aren’t getting any younger and sooner or later, we are all going to need a medical alert device to either provide ourselves or our children with some peace of mind that we can get help when no one else is able to help. Add the wiring for medical alert systems. They often don’t need much, but in a new home build, they will pre-determine the spot for the mounting of the medical alert system. You can do the same as well during your reno project. Just drop some lines down the wall in a central location in the house where the medical alert device, usually a bracelet or pendant, can reach the main box, which in turn alerts the provider.
We don’t hear as much about sound systems these days as we did 10 years ago because the quality of TVs as well as sound bars have pretty much eliminated this need for wiring for surround sound, but still. Who knows what the next tech advancement might be. You might need spaces and wiring for speakers again, so might as well take the time to create this link.
Mobile Connected Lifestyle
If we have learned anything about home wiring in the last five years, it’s that the modem is too far away from the main area where internet use is happening and there are too few outlets. Also, sometimes there are outlets that aren’t even outlets. New home builders are bedgrudgingly adding tons of outlets to bedrooms and living spaces on the prospect that multiple people will be in the same room, all on separate devices, and potentially need to charge while using. Modern times. Having outlets spaced four feet agart is becoming the norm (between every other stud). As well as wiring for cable and DSL in multiple areas of the house for modem placement or those hotspot helpers.
Again, many of these ideas will be difficult in a remodel and can be an expensive add to an existing project. However, you only need to do this once to be covered. If you don’t, and you only give yourself the added wiring that you need for that specific project, you will end up paying an electrician again and again to add a little more instead of adding a lifetime of power and wiring to a house all at once. My $.02 anyway.