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Pre-wiring your New Home for Satellite or Cable in 2006!


 

  * Includes New Rules for 2006*

PRE-WIRING NEW HOMES

FOR SATELLITE & CABLE

 

No one likes to add wires to a home once the walls have gone up.  Here are some guidelines, updated with the new industry changes for 2006, to assist you and your electrician in planning your satellite/cable wiring.

 

WHEN TO INSTALL

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The best time to wire your new home for satellite, alarm or sound systems is when your electrician is installing electrical wires and conduit in your home – before the walls go up.

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Adding cabling after the walls go up is often difficult.  Rafter tail locations, wall braces, wall insulation and other obstacles will generally increase labor costs significantly if cabling needs to be installed at a later date.  In addition, satellite or cable wiring added after the fact will generally mean ugly cable is tacked to the outside of the dwelling and a hole drilled through an exterior wall, usually found on a ‘standard’ or ‘free’ system installations.

WHAT TYPE OF WIRE

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We highly recommend you use RG-6 coax cable for your installation.  While many contractors use a slightly cheaper and thinner RG-59 cable (that’s what the cable company used to use), this cable will not work effectively for satellite and/or exterior antennas, particularly for longer cable runs.

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The other primary benefit with RG-6 cable is future growth of new service offerings with a coax cable, as well as a better picture from an outside antenna.  Video On Demand (VOD) is one of the many new services we are hearing about now that will be enhanced with this thicker cable.  Do it right the first time!

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There are other cables (like “monster cable”) which combine RG-6 wires with other type of wire in one small bundle for telephone, alarm, computer, audio and video services which you might wish to consider.  See www.monstercable.com for info.

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Most electricians now use Cat 5 UTP (8-conductor wiring at all phone or computer jacks in new construction for future growth and flexibility.

 

THE NEW WAY TO RUN THE WIRES!

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When it comes to satellite wiring, the wires must be run without other extensions piggy-backing off the original wire.  Thus, no splitters should be used throughout the entire length of the single cable, and should not exceed 100’ from the satellite dish or attic distribution point to the wall plate.

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All cables must be “home-run” (all terminate at one location) from the wall plate all the way to where the satellite dish or distribution center (attic or computer room) will be located.

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Bring at least five (yes, 5) cables from a central location in the attic out through the sidewall.  Up to four are for the new type satellite, and the fifth is for an outside antenna.  This will work for cable TV and cable internet systems as well. 

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An accessible, central distribution point in the attic allows easy changes in the future, often saving wiring dollars. 

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Be sure to add a 110v outlet where the wires come together in the attic as many of today’s multi-switches and amplified outside antennas need AC power inside and must be protected from the weather.  Attic heat usually won’t affect these devices.

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In most cases, bring these wires to the south or southwest side of the dwelling.  This is where most satellite dishes are located.

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For each wall plate, at least one RG-6 cable must be run, however, many high-definition (HDTV) and/or dual-tuner systems (such as TIVO) will require a second RG-6 cable for full functionality.  It is therefore recommended you pull at least two RG-6 cables to the location where you may someday use such equipment, such as a living or family room.

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Telephone lines – You may have heard that the only purpose for running a telephone line to each location you have a satellite wall jack is to order Pay-Per-View movies.  However, a continuous connection to a telephone line may be required for certain products (like TIVO) or functions (like Caller ID and system diagnostics) to properly operate.   The number one issue installers face is that phone lines are most often located near the couch and the TV is across the room.  The best course then is to place a phone line in every cable wall outlet so it is available when you move the furniture later.  It sure beats having a cord lying across or under the carpet, too!

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All of these low-voltage wires (satellite, telephone, alarm, etc.) may share a single wall box AND should be placed next to electrical outlet boxes.  Do not locate these low-voltage wires in the same wall box as higher-voltage household electrical wires or near or across fluorescent lights or motors.

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Pre-installation of a solid-copper ground wire between the home’s primary ground to the distribution point where all the wires come together is also recommended. 

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Over-The-Air (‘OTA’ or ‘off-air’) antenna signals can often be combined on the same cable as the satellite signal with diplexers.  Diplexers are often mistaken for splitters, as they look identical and cost about the same.  However, a diplexer (sometimes called a combiner) splits the frequencies on the cable for satellite vs. antenna signals whereas a splitter does not.  A splitter merely divides one cable into two and thus will not work at all for satellite and for some off-air systems.

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Use only the properly sized cable staples when securing wiring to rafters or studs.  It is easy and common to accidentally puncture coax wires shielding.

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A clear view to the Southern Sky is a prerequisite for satellite.  In Central Louisiana, this is 167-230 degrees azimuth, 36-53 deg. elevation, for most satellite TV and internet products.

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Mark both ends of each wire with numbers, stickers or color-coding for easy identification in the future.  Even a permanent marker on masking tape is better than nothing at all.

 

PRE-WIRING FOR SATELLITE INTERNET

 

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Two single RG-6 cables (or one dual RG-6 cable) must be run from the satellite dish all the way to where the modem is to be placed in the home.  Two wires are necessary as one will transmit data and the other will receive data.

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Please keep total cable length under 100 feet.  When a slightly longer run is required, RG-6 Quad Shield wire will provide a gain of 50 to 75 feet.  Line amplifiers are highly discouraged.

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No splitters or other shared switches can be used. 

 

 

After all this, if you still aren’t sure what wiring you’ll use down the road, put empty PVC conduit in the walls with a pull string through it for future wiring needs.

 

Please remember these are general guidelines and will vary slightly for each structure.  Please contact a state-licensed installer or qualified electrician for assistance with your existing, new or remodeled home.

 

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