Full gut renovation, need advice/experience of smartthings veterans

Ya. Too bad about the neutral. Given the price and the neutral requirement, II don’t plan on buying any. They also seem to have a 10 watt minimum load. I have a lot of LEDs that use less power than that. I’ll stick to the other model without the favorite button. If I really want a favorite, I’ll just mount a pico somewhere convenient.

1 Like

I just had a mental picture of a WAP with a pull string like this, lol

yes it’s just like that. They go “click-click”

1 Like

IF you are installing ceiling fans - 2 gang box and wiring for separate light and fans.

  • no - I did not read all the previous -
1 Like

The reason I recommend the Hue bridge and lights is that they have zero issues with dumb switches :slight_smile: With phantom power use at 5 -6 watts for the smart switches, I use them sparingly. Being able to Power off with a dumb switch (like a garage door) is a good thing given the issues with ST reliability !

I would run a cat5 wire to a top corner of every room just in case you need low voltage for motion sensors later on.

1 Like

This is discussed in detail in some of the whole house project threads, but as @Navat604 mentioned, in home automation people quite often find that they wish they had power or even an outlet near the ceiling line in some rooms. This is good for sensors and for cameras. So it’s one of those things that’s easy to add while the walls are open and not so much later.

Since you have little kids, I would definitely consider whether you might want wired baby monitors near the ceiling line in their rooms.

A total gut remodel that sounds exciting. I’m hoping my next home is a new build or total gut. I agree with the chap that said run twice as many Cat 6 cables as you need, homerun them to a central location with decent power. I’m an audio fan so I’m going to run speaker cable for in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. Just setting up my ST shortly after installing Lutron Caseta. My first ST add on will be installing my Schlage Z-Wave lock after I figure out how to fix the weatherstripping so that it doesn’t push the door off the strike plate.

I’ll second the recommendation to wire for security camera. Prior to drywall it would be easy to wire up for a 16 channel system with the BNC cables. Swann has 4K cams now and 5MP that look fantastic. I’ve tried to justify the monthly fees of some cameras or deal with the latency issue of wifi connected camera but if security is important a wired system cannot be beat.

Check out HDBaseT stuff if you will have dedicated media room or areas. Atlona and other companies have products that will distribute HDMI, USB, Ethernet, IR, Power over a single Cat6 cable. One cable drop to rule them all. It’s not cheap but not prohibitively expensive either so long as cable drops are easy.

This is an excellent idea. I’d cap them with something, but a couple 2" pipes won’t create much of a stack effect. They’ve routed most wires along the exhaust chimney in my house. It’s not ideal and it makes it hard to cap the gap. I sealed 3 sides, but the 4th is all wires. I’d love to have some 2" pipes to pull some ethernet etc up. . . .

We did both high wall plugs (for emergency lights) and ceiling outlets on our business. The high wall plugs are great for the security cameras. Having CAT 5 or 6 jacks near those locations work very well as WIFi recording of HD feeds is not reliable. If you have a few CaT5 runs (even if you leave them in box unterminated) you have the option of either POE, or AC power if a plug is close by.

With the move of most everything to IP based, including media, you can never have enough CAT plugs. Don’t bother running phone lines…just use CAT5 or 6.

The business site uses CaT5a and we’re running 10Gbe Ethernet over this wiring. You can google “confessions of a 10gbe newbie” to read my blog series on 10Gbe net.

Excellent point, thank you.
I’ll need to continue to do research on what seems like the best group, although I don’t really have a problem with some mixing and matching.

Excellent advice and more that I need to think about this weekend!


So I was thinking of just doing a couple nest cams in the babies rooms and a couple outdoor ones for the front and back.

It sounds like wired would be a better option re latency/cost/quality?

Thanks for the reply.

This is making me rethink my current approach: Why do I need so may ethernet points?
Currently was planning on only running to TV locations (2 points) WAP Locations (3 points) Desk (1 point) and a couple spots I thought I might want cameras in the future.

I am planning on running two lines to each location.
I’m planning on using wireless sensors (like the Aeotec Multi sensor6 and their door sensor) to keep and eye on the roof hatch and movement in the hallway. Would there be a major advantage to using wired sensors that I’m not seeing?

Where else would you recommend?

There are a couple of different issues.

Ideally, you want two repeaters of each protocol in each room. A mains powered sensor can act as a repeater. (Zwave repeats only for zwave, zigbee repeats only for zigbee.)

Most people don’t want to spend that much money, though. You can get away with one repeater of each protocol about every 40 feet (60 feet for Zwave plus) in a typical US home.

But if you are going to use the sensors anyway, battery-operated sensors can’t act as repeaters (in order to save battery life) while mains powered sensors can.

Additionally, a mains powered sensor can often be set to a shorter reporting interval because it doesn’t have to sleep, again, to conserve battery.

On the other hand, battery powered sensors have the option of being placed anywhere you want and can operate even if the power is off, although that’s less useful with the smartthings system since it’s primarily a cloud-based platform anyway.

So what you want to use is up to you. Different things work for different situations.

1 Like

Ethernet becomes very useful not only for network and security, but also for other things. In the business reno, Ethernet was used for several control items that were overlooked originally.

  1. An upstairs HRV was not wired for control from downstairs. One of the Ethernet drops in the room was used to do this.

  2. Co2 sensors on the main floor were connected to the second (large) ventilator upstairs again using Ethernet after the fact.

I just wish we had run more network drops to our mechanical rooms!

  1. HDMI can be routed using passive or powered Ethernet baluns.

  2. WIFi coverage is usually much better if you forget the router as an access point and instead use 1 or 2 access points. I use several EX7000 boxes as dedicated access points. These provide AC class wifi for things like our Nexus media streamers which have no Ethernet ports. Wiring these access points to your router means better coverage and much faster WIFI speeds.

  3. Running Ethernet drops to garage (particularly detached) means you can add a device like the Netgear EX7000 to both provide high speed wifi as well as 5 additional Ethernet ports in your shop for cameras etc.

There were a few other examples of retasked Ethernet, but suffice to say having a proper patch panel in your equipment room (where all the drops terminate) gives you all kinds of flexibility after. CAT5a or 6 cable is cheap and easy to run if you’re gutting.

The comment earlier about using a DSC security panel and adding an Envisalink (needs an Ethernet port!) gives you lots of flexibility later as you can leverage a proper security system for automation after. In the business location we use this functionality to turn off AC if a window is open, and also to toggle home/away modes from security system arm/disarm events. I also use the link to DSC to manage night cooling and auto arm if for example someone forgets to arm their zone. Ecobee stats x 9 in that location help to confirm that occupants are actually away…

On that note, make sure your thermostat wiring has at least six wires, even if you only need two. Wifi stats need power (C common wire) and will need up to six wires if you’re doing heating, cooling and fan control. If you plan on installed an HRV or similar, make sure you run at least six wires (or Ethernet) to that control location as well.

Forget about using ST as a security system. The false events will drive you nuts :slight_smile:


This is a wise post.

Run more ethernet than you think you’ll need. It’s cheap and versatile. You’ll get at least 20 years of benefits. You’ll probably be dead not that long after that. Let the people 40 years from now upgrade.

1 Like

Hmm, ok. At the very least I’m going to run some futures for sure.
False events… I don’t like the sound of this
Thanks for your post.

One question re cat* cable, I have a couple thousand feet of Cat5e left from previous jobs, is there really any significant reason I should buy cat6? I know it’s only $100 but I’m doing this reno by a shoestring and a prayer so $100s will matter by the finish line.

That said, obviously if there’s a good reason I’ll get it.


The biggest difference between Cat 6 and 5e is the rated Ethernet speed, 10Gb vs 1Gb respectively. If you don’t care about 10Gb ethernet, I wouldn’t think it would matter.

1 Like

Cat6 can do 10Gbps at a maximum of 164ft end-to-end (including patch cables). While that’s not likely an issue in a residential environment, the point is that Cat6 isn’t “fully” 10Gbps compliant to the maximum Ethernet spec of 328ft.

Regardless, for 99.99% of residential applications I’d say you’re fine with the Cat5e you have. As the years progress, trends are moving away from wires for just about everything.

If you plan to use cable/satellite, or even antenna, in multiple rooms of the house, you might think about coax (RG6) runs to a central point such as a structured wiring panel along with any Cat5e. While those systems can be adapted to use Cat5e, the adapters are clunky and an extra cost and now’s the time to run the cable.

For future proofing, you can run your cables (Cat5e, RG6, etc.) inside of some plastic/PVC innerduct instead of attaching it to studs. You can always pull the old out and pull something newer/better through in its place in the future if necessary.

If there was one thing I wished for more of in my house, it’s electrical outlets not data cables. Even if you don’t install them now, pre-wiring for in-ceiling and/or high wall electrical outlets I would say is money better spent than lots of data wiring. I don’t use any data wiring in my house anymore – my phone lines, Cat5e, and coax are all dark (except for one coax that I ran outside to the TV antenna) but I do wish I had more electrical available in the ceilings. Even wireless speakers still need power. This is the time to pre-run as many runs to your panel as you think you’ll ever need, plus 20%.


And for the record, my own workstation is running 10Gbe as are several editing workstations over CAT5e. The server is about 90ft of cable away. This is not supposed to work, but it has for the last two yrs or so with zero issues. We’re running Netgear 10Gbe switches and Intel cards. The CAT5e should be fine.

I do run a 10GBe NAS at the home site, however it’s using CAT5e as well. This is the blog series I wrote, in case you feel the need to equip your home with 10Gbe :slight_smile: https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tags/Cinevate

If you are running some high wall CAT outlets, just match them to power outlets within a few feet as mentioned previous.

if you are planning to have a few WIFI access points, try to keep them separate from your Smartthings Hub. If you plan on using HUE (highly recomended) keep in mind that the bridge too will require an Ethernet port…as would a Lutron bridge if you’re planning any Caseta bits.

Smartthings as a security system has some major flaws…no one who knows the system well would recommend it over something like DSC. Sensors that drop with low batteries and zero warnings, or motion sensors that require resetting frequently are a few of the obvious flaws…although the newly added device health (if you turn it on) will help with you these issues. Cloud based hubs like ST really “violate” certain security system basics. ST is a nice complement, but certainly not a reliable replacement (yet) for more established vendors with respect to security.


© 2019 SmartThings, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

SmartThings; SmartApps®; Physical Graph; Hello, Home; and Hello, Smart Home are all trademarks of the SmartThings, Inc.