Building a house and want your ideas!

So - I see a couple of topics that are similar, but after a year, I think the landscape has continued to change.

We are building a house, and the hole for the foundation has just been dug.

For those of you who have built a new house, or those with any wishes wants, what do you see as must haves and nice to haves? I have been waiting a while to build out some fire tablets with action tiles… I have quite a few IoT devices…

Or have you been down this road before, and think going DIY is just too much work?

I would absolutely run Cat6 to everywhere you are going to put a camera. With the exception of the cameras that are battery operated (and don’t allow for full time recording), cameras have to be powered, and POE is, IMO, the way to go. Hidden cables make for a neat installation.

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First things first: where do you live? Both device selection and services available can vary quite a bit. This is an international forum, and we’ve had community members from Vietnam, Malta, Greece, Mexico, Argentina, many parts of the UK and Europe, all over the United States and Canada, and other locations as well.

Second things second: what kind of budget are you looking at? A high-end system, very reliable with lots of features, typically cost 10% of the price of the house plus an annual fee. My own budget runs a maximum of about $500 per room and under $5000 for the entire project, although I’m willing to replace every individual piece of equipment, including the hub, every three years. Some people want to spend only 2000 and Expect it to last for 10 years (which typically means not just doing your own wiring but building your own devices).

And another critical factor is what your own highest priorities are. When you are looking at low to mid range systems, people could have very different priorities among three big project factors:

A) reliability

B) versatility in both the devices you can and the rules you can create

C) project cost.

At the lower end, you generally have to trade off between these three – – if you want high reliability, you may not only have to pay more, you may have to give up some versatility in order to get that reliability.

So different things work for different people, but I think the first thing is to put some scope on the project: what country will it be built in, what kind of budget are you looking at, and then what your priority balance is between complexity and reliability. :sunglasses:

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have a media closet where you can run all cat5e or cat6 wires for your internet in every room for computers/TV’s/printers. You can also run Ethernet cables (cat5e or 6 and make sure solid copper) for cameras. You can also run a Ethernet to your doorbell for optional POE ring doorbell. Run all rg6 cables for cable tv or even for your modem depending on your provider you plan in the future and you can just put a splitter in the media closet so all you will have is 1 wire coming from the outside to your house to power it up. Since this is going be a new house, there will be a neutral wire in every switch box as to code.

Low voltage 4 conductor bell wire 14-18 AWG to the top corner of every window run from a central location. Note this is not for the security system your builder will undoubtedly include in the package… This is for power to future blinds/shades. It’s a major PITA to add it later.


Hey @JDRoberts. I live in the USA, in Wyoming specifically. I’ve had ST for a while, and I’ve had my current home set up with Smart Things. I actually had some of the SAGE devices in my house. So - it was very broken initially. I’ve gotten to the point where the current house has some automation. I just have to figure out how insane I want to go here, or if there are gotcha’s on what I should do for the house (my wife’s biggest wants are remote blinds as wall as the lights going on in the garage and basement when there is movement :slight_smile:

So - I’m just trying to figure out, if I do go DIY, what should I prep the house with.

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Any recommendations on the Media Closet? Any recommendations on PoE switches?

Ideas I posted from another thread below. Agree with other posts on running Cat5/6 everywhere you think you will need it. Also run PVC conduit in walls where you plan to mount TVs and make a chase from the crawl to your upstairs attic so you can run wires easily later. I have Ethernet in every room and TV locations. Wi-Fi just has too much interference IMHO.

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Media closet would be where all your main wiring would be located (modem, router, switch, smartthings, cctv, etc) to hide everything. Usually I put a media closet for customers in the basement. What are you planning to use a POE switch for? cameras?

I’ve used a number of Netgear POE switches of varying sizes/models. They have all performed flawlessly.

Leviton makes nice structured media enclosures.

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For best performance with mesh networks, you generally want to move your SmartThings hub out of the media closet and locate it centrally in your home both vertically and horizontally, and in clear air. You’d also like it to be at least 3 m away from any Wi-Fi router or access point. It should work fine if you plug it into an ethernet access point, So you don’t have to have it in the media closet with your regular router.

There are Certainly people who put it right next to the router inside a media closet and get acceptable performance, but you almost always get your best mesh performance if you isolate it as you will lose fewer messages, Thus improving overall response time. :sunglasses:

For more discussion specific to laying out your zigbee and zwave devices, see the following FAQ. Start with post 11 in that thread, then go up to the top and read the whole thing.

I would absolutely drop multiple ethernet lines per room, on different walls. Drop ethernet where you think you might need at some point in the future. If you are going to use landlines, use ethernet for those too. Use ethernet anywhere you possibly can. In my mind, overdoing ethernet is not a bad thing. I have a friend who installed fiber to future proof his house. Not sure if it that is necessary or not. It all really depends on how much you want to spend.

I would also strongly agree with a media closet and terminate everything there. It will make life easier later on.

I have been using a Netgear GS108Tv2 PD in a structured media enclosure outside my house for the last 2 years, that gets extremely hot during summer. I love it, does what I need it for. At that price point I am willing to replace it every 2-3 years or so if I need to. There is a huge price range when it comes to these. Pick what works for you at the price range you want to pay.

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Also, just to be clear, I’m all in favor of a media closet for anything hardwired. :sunglasses:

But for radio frequency devices, in particular for mesh network hubs, central location and clear air can make a big difference in long term network efficiency.

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@nathancu - What would you use as the central device for all of the blinds/shade? Do they just drill through the window frame?

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Sorry my fat fingers just flagged that last post… (mods please undo that)

Most ZWave blinds I have researched mount. Like standard blinds and shades and use ZWave for control… That is except the Lutrons I think they actually communicate over the wire. Either way if yih do t want to use battery at the device you’ll want power.

My house is 10 years old and it’s a major pain to run a power line to every window. If I were building new… Well.

put in a run between the basement and the attic so you can alway run wires between them in the future. I used 2 2" conduits so I have plenty of room.

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So. I’m thinking Cat6a. Getting the fastest cabling in that I can. PVC seems to be a way to get expensive fast.

I will have an unfinished basement in this house, I’m planning on running both the low voltage power and the ethernet all down into this location with most likely a media closet.

I do like all that you did in your bathroom. I need to start pricing all the sensors. How well do the Multisensors work for Humidity?

I’d want a rather big Media Closet in the unfinished basement. Coax, Ethernet, low voltage would go there. PoE for cameras, and perhaps the AP (Since the switch and everything else is going into basement). I have a NetGear Orbi, but I’m unsure if I’m going to use that or revert to something like Ubiquti.

Some of the cameras will be outdoors on the perimeter of the house. I’m not sure if I should power them with outlets, or somehow run them via PoE. Probably outlets?

Will you be using NVR or DVR? I would recommend powering them into one centralized power box and put it in the media closet. Only reason to power them in outlets close to each camera is if your cameras take a lot of power (usually if you use IR array night vision) and the run is long, more than 100+ feet.

I would do POE. That way you also have a network cabled camera instead of relying on WiFi. Unless you’re doing the electrical work itself, it’s a lot cheaper to pull Cat 6 than to have receptacles installed at every camera location.

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