Reno - Walls Open - Wiring Plan

I assume you have neutrals for all the switches and a C wire for the Ecobee?

I live in a 100 year old house and we’re about to embark on a walls open reno of the basement. Really want to take the opportunity to run neutrals where I can.

Any good pointers outside of plan ahead?

Deep back boxes. We used to say 47 mm, but now the Fibaro dimmer instructions say 60 mm. Which sounds crazy, but there it is. Anyway, deep back boxes will give you more choices in the future. :sunglasses:

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Also, there’s some good conversation on wiring in the following thread:

That’s good advice. I think 2 5/8" deep is mass production.

We took everything out and put on an addition so everything is new from the 200A service forward. We’ll be using 14/2 for 15A circuits. Unless the switch is 3-way. Should we be using 14/3 everywhere? Do I not need to wire traditional 3-way anymore?

Sorry to keep on this one, but by a neutral do you mean a single wire? Or should I wire all with 14/3 (or whatever gauge required for Amp) so I have a spare wire in jacket?

Don’t worry, not trying to kill myself or family. Have a great electrician starting this week so I’ll bring this up.

I will be pulling the Low and No voltage wiring so I want to have my head around the full scope of project.

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Current NEC requires neutral to every box, switch or outlet.

Deep boxes, deepest ones you can find, There is also a box that is 2 gang wide, but fits a 1 gang size hole and the extra space is behind the drywall. Good for lots of wires or adding relays.
Many non electricians will over stuff a box. There are max. fill sizes for every enclosure.

One thing I now wish I had dine, well 2 actually is replace 1 gang with 2 gang. Easier for future expansion. Other is add some receptacles at switch height - I have a few, but wish there were more. Easy for sweeper or other portable “things”.

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Not following this one. its 2 gang, but half of it is behind the wall? Can you link us? Thanks!

The following is another option. You use a regular double gang box, but you only put one switch in it and use a mud ring and a center face plate. you see these on some entertainment centers where there’s extra stuff that needs to fit in the box.

I Think this is it.

I do know they are Carlon. I used 2 of them/. One of those - know it when you see it things. Gives you 30 Cu in and a deep one is around 18-25.

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I’ll dig deep on wiring this week.

Is there a consensus on which z wave dimmers/switches/outlets to go with? Or is it a layered beast of price points & function.

Different ones work for different people. They have some different features. There’s a discussion of the various options and brands in the following thread. The light switch discussion starts around post 40

That said, I like Lutron Caseta switches and ended up choosing those for my own house. Right now there are two methods of integration with smart things: indirectly through IFTTT, or by setting up your own middleman server. But an official integration has been announced recently and may be here in as soon as a month. We won’t know how quick that is relative to Lutron on its own until it actually arrives.

Lutron is an engineering company that specializes in lighting and holds a number of patents. Their target is 300 ms before the switch comes on, which is notably faster than most of the Z wave switches. But again, there’s no telling yet exactly what the SmartThings integration will introduce as far as cloud latency.

We’re moving along nicely with the second floor line voltage wiring done. Electrician showed up with a case of deep outlet boxes without us having the conversation. Pretty pumped to see this happening along with great HVAC and plumbing layout.

I’ll be starting Cat6, RG6, 16/4 Speaker Thursday.

Still on the fence about which switch and outlets to use but I guess I have time to make that decision.

HDMI - I have a 20’ and 35’ run. Should I a fabricated cable or just run 2-3 Cat6 to each location?

We plan on getting a dog shortly so I assume a basic security system based on motion won’t work well. Our 2 front entry doors are steel and the back door is a 16’ wide French slider. Can door sensors be used on either of those types?

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First, as far as the dog, it’s going to depend on the size of the dog. There are motion sensors which are “pet immune” which is just a fancy way of saying the sensitivity can be set so that only bigger creatures, typically over 40 or 50 pounds, will result in an alert. Then you can run into the opposite problem that those sensors won’t necessarily trigger for small child, would you might want if you’re also using them to operate lighting.

A lot of people will adjust the detection field so that it only starts detecting at about 5 feet off the ground, which might also make it work for a dog. So there are just various things you can look at for that particular issue.

As far as the doors and contact sensors, the new sensative strips, which are available on both the US and EU frequency, are just under 3 mm thick and are designed to fit in the door frame. They can also be painted which makes them almost invisible. They are expensive, but there are some deals available on them. A number of community members have them and like them a lot. So that would be something to look into for the French doors.

The steel doors are a whole different problem. Any magnetic reed sensor, which includes the sensative strips, is not going to work well on the steel doors. What happens is that overtime the steel itself becomes magnetized and then it confuses the sensor so that it will always read as closed even when the doors open. Not what you want, obviously.

You can get around that, but it usually requires lifting the sensor up off the door several inches and putting it on a non-conducting block, typically wood or maybe some plastics. Again, sometimes you just have to try it and see.

What about tripwire type sensor instead of motion or contact?

You mean a light beam like the ones used for garage door obstacle Detection? Or an actual physical tripwire?

Physical tripwires aren’t usually used in residential settings.

For discussion of the infrared option, see

Things are going well with electrical. Time for me to run the Cat6, RG6 (Sat and OTA Antenna), Speaker wire.

Is their a certain brand of Cat6 I should be purchasing for in-wall residential? Not going through and ductwork so I’m guessing FT-4 is acceptable?

@pstuart might have some suggestions.

Also curious if people are doing HDMI over Ethernet or just using pre-fab cables. I would need a 25’ and 40’ runs.

I’ve got 3 more days to complete wiring. All the runs on outside walls are done on 1st and 2nd floor as I race ahead of spray foam guys.

I’ve installed about 1200’ of Cat6 and have 800’ left. In addition to bedrooms and office getting 2-6 runs per room I’ve put runs for WAP on each floor, 3 to the backyard, 4 per TV location, runs for Sonos, 2 IP Camera, and a few runs with the RG6 to the side of house and attic.

HRV has 18/8 run to furnace. 18/8 run from furnace to thermostat.

HDMI to each TV and 16/2 & 16/4 speaker runs for in ceiling and HT.

What else should I be thinking about?
Motion sensor hardware?