Editor's Note: This series follows the design and installation of home technology in a home in Las Vegas. Previous installments can be found at Project House: Las Vegas Page
In our prior installments, our Las Vegas homeowner had met with the builder, and obtained permission to add wiring to the home that was not offered by the builder. The homeowner also made arrangements to meet with the builder's electrical contractor to plan the pre-wire for all the expected equipment.
The pre-wire meeting was facilitated by the fact that the installer that would be in charge of the project had many of the same pieces of equipment in his home that are planned for the homeowner's home.
The homeowner and installer walked the house room by room, to ensure that all bases were covered.
How much pre-wiring do you need to do in the kitchen? Well, depending on what you are planning on, the kitchen can actually require quite a bit.
In this particular installation, there were a number of areas that needed to be coordinated:
- Audio Distribution: The kitchen is the control area for two separate audio zones. At the rear door (1), a volume control is provided for volume control of a pair of outdoor speakers to be mounted under the eaves of the home. The second zone is the kitchen itself, with a volume control mounted near the hallway leading to the dining room (3). The kitchen volume control will be connected to ceiling mounted speakers over the kitchen island (4).
The main piece of audio distribution equipment planned for the home is a Russound CAV6.6 Multi-Zone, Multi-Source Controller. The CAV6.6 gives the homeowner flexibility in that it has not only 6 zones of audio, but each of the zones can have A-Bus subzones. In the kitchen, this comes into play with the kitchen and outdoor volume controls. The kitchen volume control will be a Russound Uno keypad, with a full display of all controls. The outdoor volume control will be an A-Bus keypad, which will act as a sub-zone of the kitchen. This means that it will have the same source playing as the kitchen, but will have its own volume control. This is great for party situations, where consistent audio throughout the house is a must. A change of source from either volume control changes the source for both.
- Computer Workstation: The design of the home features a small workstation area at the end of the kitchen counter. This area is perfect for a computer with which to pay bills, look for recipes, even for kids to do homework while being supervised by a parent. To ensure full capability here, two Cat5 and two RG6 coax cables are being run to the workstation. These will be combined in a multimedia outlet. One Cat5 will be used for data, connecting the workstation to the home's high-speed internet connection, either DSL or cable. The RG6 will carry video from the source selected by the kitchen Uno keypad. The planned flat-panel monitor for this location has a video input, allowing it to be used for video as well as computing applications. The second Cat5 cable will be used for telephone connections.
The Family Room
The family room has been designated as the home theater space, and as such, is likely the most complicated install location in the home. The room will be pre-wired with in-ceiling rear speakers and left, center, right channel and subwoofer connections in the media niche (1). There will also be a ceiling mounted projector (5). Because of the needs of satellite receivers, there will be two Cat5 connections (2) in the media niche, allowing data and phone connections for various equipment. Since this will likely also be the rack location for all the AV equipment in the home, two RG6 cables (3) will be run to the media niche, and for future expansion, "Smurftube" (flexible plastic conduit) will be run between the media niche and the main control location (4). For ease of use, a pair of Cat5 cables will be run to a central location on the back wall of the media room, making laptop connections quick and easy, as well as adding a phone to the room (6).
Not visible on the floor plan, just outside the family room, is a thermostat connection. This will be connected to one of two multi-zone controllers. The house will already be a two-zone installation with separate cooling/heating units for each floor. But to maximize efficiency and allow guests the most comfort, each bedroom will have its own thermostat connected to HVAC zone controllers. The thermostat outside the family room controls the temperature for the ground floor. Since the family room is expected to be the most used area of the home, this is the best choice for thermostat location.
In our next installment, we'll cover the rest of the ground floor.