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shnelson

low voltage code?

11 posts in this topic

I'm having a house built, and while discussing my need to have Cat6/ethernet run to each room our GC mentioned we could run all of the low voltage to save on build price if we wanted.

Naturally, I'm all for it. I've had limited electrical experience with a few homes that I've helped build in the past. What i'm wondering now is what codes do I need to be cautious of when running cable/telecom/ethernet for it to pass inspection?

I did a quick search on the forum but couldnt come up with anything low voltage related. I don't mind doing my own research, but I'm at a loss where I should be looking at this point?

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not sure that there is one, however why dont you wait until the inspection is done and then run it, if your gc will let you know and give you a day to do it. just a thought

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Not much to worry about, just the building codes. The electrical inspector could careless about low voltage.

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Just run a separate cable from each room to a central location in the utility room. Staple the cable within 8" of the box in each room and you should be good.

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I recently did this to my cabin. I ran (2) cat6e cables and (1) Coax cable to each location where I wanted TV/Telephone/data ports. This will give you almost unlimited ability for anything needed in a residential application. I also got a punch down panel to terminate all my LV cables to that was placed in the mechanical room. Think of it like a electrical panel for you LV.

Older cables would get interference if they crossed 120 volt systems, but the newer stuff has better shielding, but still try to keep all these cables separate. DO NOT share openings with power.

I struggled if I wanted to do this since I feel that in a few years cables will be obsolete and everything will be wireless. I put one phone in the house, but put TV locations everywhere I ever thought it would be needed. There is only one time to do it, and for the cost now, it is cheap.

Depending on what you are doing for insulation, you will problably need to do vapor proof boxes at exterior walls (building code, not electrical code), so do that the first time. Any box can be used on interior walls.

It is a time consuming thing to do, so please give yourself plenty of time to complete it. There is also a lot of cable needed. Dont' short yourself. Also have someone to help, it is much easier with a guy on the front end, and a guy feeding cable.

Good Luck.

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Thanks for the replies everyone - looks like I have most of my bases covered.

I'll be pulling two runs of cat5e or cat6 (I can't see any real benefit to cat6, they are fairly similar and both capable of 1000mbps so it breaks down to whichever is cheaper) and one RG6 to each room to cover phone/cable/network. I'm also going to leave in a run of electrician's string so I can easily pull new cables through the wall in the future if I have to.

Good point on the sealed boxes for exterior walls. I wont have any gangboxes on the exterior, but I was considering in wall speaker mounts which would include a pair on an exterior facing wall as well as some ceiling mount. Does anyone have any experience with in wall audio and what I'd need to do in this situation? I'm also thinking about pulling a pair of speaker wires to the exterior of the home so I can pull audio to our future deck..

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Did speakers on all three levels. Piece of cake. I used some wire from Radio Shack not the "monster" from Best Buy. Didn't want to invest a small fortune. Definitly run your speakers outside in front and in back. As far as cable, my mistake is that I should have just dropped all the lines to the basement and then tee'd them off down there. That way I was out of the GC way and could take my time splitting them later. Plus if there are any splitting issues, it was still in the open instead of behind sheetrock. Since were talkiing wiring, have your guy run some exterior boxes for christmas lights...you won't regret it!!

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As far as running coax. Do not split in the walls!!! Run all the cables to your utility room and then you can designate from there. If you ever want satellite service, you will more than likely have cabling on the outside of your house. Same thing if a splitter goes bad and this happens all the time. I would say 99% of cable and satellite technicians are not going to be doing any wallfishes for a customer. Everything gets referred to an electrician to attempt to rerun the cables if possible. This is an out of pocket expense for the customer.

As far as running Cat5. Run two sets to each room you might utilize in the future. You can always keep the cables in the wall and pull them out in the future. You can run HD through Cat5. I am building a house as well and will be wiring everything myself. For me, I get all my cabling at wholesale prices so it won't cost me an arm and a leg. I am running ceiling speakers in most rooms and having it seperated into different zones. You can get a zone selector and channel your audio to certain areas of your home. I also plan on centralizing all my electronics and running IR sensors to most rooms back to the media cabinet. This way, I can run any device from any room at any given time. The media cabinet is going into the basement of a two story. I am finishing the basement on my own and adding a theater. I would also recommend running speaker wire to the outside both front and back for future use. Just remember that though it may be an added cost up front and you may never use it, but in the long run it will save you a lot of money if you want to add it later.

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In the state of Minnesota you need to be licenced to install

low voltage, even if it's landscape lighting... Unless you are

the homeowner and you do all the work yourself

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chad, you can work under someone else's license as long as you are registered as a non-licensed installer.

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