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I am having a new home built and I am putting in my own low voltage wiring.

In addition to standard network wiring, I am hoping to install CAT6 wiring for a few potential future tasks: surveillance cameras, security systems, etc.

However, I don't intend to actually wire these devices for quite some time -- I just want to put the wiring in the walls before the drywall is put up. When I put the equipment in later, I'll retrieve the wires behind the drywall.

My question is: What is the best way to do this? If I don't have a low voltage box that I'm running the wiring to, how do I keep a few feet of cable coiled up behind the wall that is:

a) easy to access later,

b) up to code, and

c) makes sense to other people working on the house why it's there.

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The common practice for future expansion is to install the box and put a blank cover on it.

That eliminates the requirement of chopping into the drywall to find the wire. It also eliminates the need to create as-built documents and store them for future reference so you can find the wires later.

My recommendation is to install device boxes with ENT (referred to as "Smurf tube" since it is bright blue) connected to them from the basement or attic. Then when you decide to install a structured cabling system it can be the latest technology. Or, if you decide to update to fiber in the future you will have easy access to these boxes.

Communication / data is a dynamic field and planning for the future is difficult if you use a permanent wiring method stapled into the walls. In commercial buildings we normally install 4" square boxes with 3/4" conduit and single gang mud rings for the drywall. That way wiring can be easily replaced in the future.

Good luck!

  • 2
    Exactly. Run conduit, add the wires later. Yes, 3/4" conduit. To be amateur-friendly, I aim for no more than one 90 degree bend between access points, I can usually push the wire through without having to use a fishing tape. – Harper May 17 '16 at 18:23
  • Thanks for the answer. I think that installing a box makes sense for interior network ports, speakers, etc. I am also interested in what the best approach would be for wiring for eventual outdoor motion detectors / surveillance cameras -- for those, I don't think there's a standard outdoor box to use -- or even if it's a good idea to put a hole in the exterior wall until I knew the nature of the final device to be installed. – J. Botsby May 18 '16 at 3:57
  • The standard for an outdoor box is a "bell" box. Just google "bell box" and you will see pictures of them. I don't like the looks of them myself and I normally cut device boxes in to the exterior wall for devices. No matter what device you select the standard for mounting is a device box. Some have adapter plates for round boxes but any device worth the money will mount to a device box. You can install the boxes and wire and then put a gasketed blank cover on it until later. – ArchonOSX May 18 '16 at 6:36

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