SmartThings Community

Building a house and want your ideas!

(Christofer Hardy) #6

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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(Christofer Hardy) #7

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


(Michael) #8

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?


(Bryan) #10

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.


(Dave) #12

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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(Christofer Hardy) #14

@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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(Nathan Curtis) #15

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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(Christofer Hardy) #17

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?


(Christofer Hardy) #18

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.


(Bryan) #20

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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(Bryan) #21

If you have high power requirements on a couple cameras, you still might be able to power them via POE+. You’d just need a switch that has some POE+ ports in addition to the regular POE ports.


(Michael) #22

I ran Cat5e 12 years ago and haven’t kept up with Cat6 so unsure if its worth the cost difference. I will say that all the various baluns for VGA and HDMI I have purchased support Cat5e. I recommend running it everywhere you think you will need it, and run a few extra runs from behind your TVs to your media cabinet since you can convert Cat cable into other types of cables via baluns.

In regards to PVC getting expensive, not really sure I follow. Local box stores sell PVC pipes for a few bucks. Here is an example of what I did during a recent addition where I installed a flat panel TV on the wall in a bedroom:

Now let me stress the importance of this… Code in my area requires the vertical boards you see pictured for ceilings 9 feet and higher. Without that PVC conduit, its extremely difficult to run wires up into the wall, hence why I suggest running PVC to any area you plan to have a bunch of wires.

I also suggest a large, 2", PVC from your basement to your attic. I cut the cord last year and am very thankful I did that because I installed a digital antenna in my attic. I had to run a wire from my media closet on my first floor to my attic and without my PVC conduit that wouldn’t have been possible. When I wired my master addition, picture above, I didn’t run Coax to that TV since I had HDMI. But after cutting the cord, I needed to get the antenna signal to that TV, that conduit made it a breeze. If you piddle like me and keep up with technology, its important to “future proof” your house by making it easy to run wires. Hopefully you understand my point. I’d also suggest checking with your builder to see if you can do some of this yourself and save cash. I did all the low voltage wiring in my addition that included security hard wired sensors, speakers, and media wires.

I purchased a Aeon Multisensor 6 from @TheSmartestHouse that is installed in a ceiling recessor. Its been working fine and I use its motion to also turn lights off as well.

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(Christofer Hardy) #23

I’d be using NVR. I wasn’t quite sure how I’d run the PoE to the outside cameras…


(Christofer Hardy) #24

I do follow. I’m trying to figure out if I want to get the hard PVC or if I want to go with something like Flex tubing.

I’m also going be meeting with the builder to see how they would feel about me doing the low voltage work.



if this is a new house, I would wait til they finish framing the walls of the house. while u wait, create a visual diagram of where you want to place your cameras. usually garage, driveway, doors and windows. also think of height placement, you don’t want it too low where someone can knock it out, but you don’t want it too high where you will only see the top of people head which defeats the whole purpose. also I don’t know if your house is brick or wood but usually run the wire to the location, drill the hole to the outside and put a waterproof junction box outside for termination.