smart home wiring

Smart Home Wiring: What You Need to Know

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Accordingly National Renewable Energy Labs, an average U.S. family spends near to $1,300 a year on their home’s utility bills. Considering how much the charge for energy is, who does not want to better monitor and control your energy consumption with a little smart home wiring?

Although wireless technologies come to mind when smart is mentioned, Smart home Wiring may be required for the installation of some products. This guide will walk you through the basics of how to wire up a smart home system in your home.

What does “Smart” mean?

A smart home is any home that uses automation and connectivity to make everyday tasks easier. These systems can help you save time, and money, and even improve your quality of life. 

But before you start planning out how to integrate these technologies into your home, you need to know exactly what “smart” means. Here are three things to consider:

Smart devices: A smart device is anything that connects to the Internet and can automate certain aspects of your daily routine. You might have a smart thermostat, security system, lighting system, or even a refrigerator.

Connectivity: A smart home is considered connected if it communicates with each other via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, Z-Wave, or similar wireless protocols. This connection allows you to control smart devices in your home from anywhere.

smart home platforms

Automation: An automated system is one that can perform a task without human intervention. For example, a smart door lock automatically unlocks when you approach your front door. IFTTT is one of the most comprehensive smart home automation applications.

ifttt

What is smart home wiring?

Smart home wiring is a type of electrical wiring that enables your home to be controlled by a central computer system.

This type of wiring is typically used for homes that are equipped with a variety of smart devices, such as thermostats, security systems, and lighting controls.

How does smart home wiring work?

Smart home wiring works by connecting all of your home’s devices and systems to a central computer system.

This system can then be used to control and monitor all of the different devices in your home. For example, you can use the system to turn on your lights, adjust your thermostat, or even unlock your doors.

What are the benefits of smart home wiring?

There are many benefits to having smart home wiring installed in your home. One of the main benefits is that it allows you to have greater control over your home’s energy usage.

With smart devices, you can program them to only use energy when you need it, which can help you save money on your energy bills. Additionally, smart home wiring can also improve your home’s security by allowing you to monitor and control all of the different devices in your home from one central location.

What are some things to consider before installing smart home wiring?

Before you install smart home wiring in your home, there are a few things that you will need to consider. First, you will need to determine what type of devices and systems you want to connect to the central computer system.

Additionally, you will need to decide where you want to place the central computer system in your home. Lastly, you will need to make sure that your electrical system is capable of supporting the additional load that will be placed on it by the new wiring.

How can I learn more about smart home wiring?

If you are interested in learning more about smart home wiring, there are a few resources that you can consult. First, you can check out our website for more information on the topic.

Additionally, there are a number of books and online articles that can provide you with further details on how to install and use smart home wiring in your own home.

What is Smart Wiring?

Smart wiring is a system that allows you to control your home’s electrical devices from a central control panel. It is a way to automate your home’s electrical system, making it more efficient and easier to use. Smart wiring can be used to control lights, appliances, security systems, and more.

Smart Wiring is a term used to describe a new type of cabling technology that combines multiple cables together into one unit. This makes it easier to install and maintain and reduces the risk of damage to individual cables. It also gives you the option to expand your system later on.

Smart Home Wiring FAQ

Do you really need smart wiring through the smart home transformation process?

In my opinion, no! Because we are witnessing the transformation from wires into wireless systems. It doesn’t matter how smart your wire system can be, you will eventually want to get rid of all the wires in your house. 

Why should I invest in a smart home?

There are several reasons why you should consider investing in a smart home. First off, you can save money. By using a few inexpensive energy efficiency measures, you can reduce your energy bills by 10% to 50% and help reduce air pollution at the same time. It is possible to increase this rate with smart home products and their correct use. That’s a lot of money! 

By installing smart thermostats, you can reduce those costs significantly. Additionally, you can use smart lights to turn down the brightness or turn off your bulbs when you leave the room, saving you money on electricity bills. 

Finally, you can monitor your home remotely using a smartphone app, giving you peace of mind knowing everything is running smoothly at home.

smart home

Where can I find smart home products?

You don’t necessarily need to buy a whole house full of smart devices to enjoy the benefits of a smart home. 

There are plenty of smart home gadgets you can purchase individually. You can find smart locks, plugs, sensors, and more online. 

How do I wire my smart home?

Smart homes are becoming increasingly popular, and they’re not just for tech-savvy millennials anymore. In fact, in 2017 NAHB declared “Two-thirds of consumers say they want a connected home. Within three years some 43 percent of homeowners will likely have numerous connected devices in their homes.”

And while many people think of smart homes as being connected to the internet, that’s only one aspect of what makes them so appealing.

How/Where do I get started for a smart home?

If you’re ready to take the plunge and start integrating smart home technologies into your home, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Start small. Don’t try to implement a complete smart home right away. Instead, focus on implementing one or two smart devices first. Once you’ve mastered that, you can move on to something else.
  • Start with a product that interests you, that you would like to have your hands on, or that will directly benefit you. 

If you are someone who likes to watch TV series like me and you want your spouse to be more open-minded towards smart home investments, smart lighting products can be good for the beginning. The lighting that is synchronized with the image on the television or the combinations that can create its ambiance, create a great change in the room.

  • Or, you can choose a product such as a smart thermostat or smart switch, as reducing the energy consumption in your home will contribute to you financially.
  • You may be a DIY type, but the products you are trying to install have complex technologies. Remember that a simple mistake can harm other products you want to run or you. For this reason, please keep in mind the option of calling a professional electrician.

Which smart devices will need to be wired?

The number of equipment requiring extra wiring to complete the smart home transformation is relatively low.  Considering that new technology tends to be wireless, it will be more understandable why there are fewer devices in this section. 

Below you can find smart home devices that need wiring and how to wire them.

How to install a smart switch/smart outlet

The first step is to remove the old switch from the wall box. There will usually be two wires coming out of the switch: the line and load wires. These wires connect to the terminal screws on the back of the switch. 

Remove the screws and pull the switch out of the wall. Now you need to determine which wire is the neutral wire if you have one. 

Look inside the wall box for a white wire that connects to the screw terminals on the back of the box. This is your neutral wire. 

Now that you know how many cables you will be connecting with, you can look at the page for no neutral smart switch and 4-wire smart switch connection options.

If you don’t have a neutral wire and only two wires coming out from the back of the old switch, then you’ll probably need an electrician to add one.

Pro tip: If you plan to use the smart switch for ceiling fans, I suggest you check the suitability(Power/Amperage) of the smart switch you will use on the product page. Since most smart switches are only produced for lighting control, they may not be suitable for or capable of controlling ceiling fans.

How to install a smart thermostat

In the smart thermostat connection, you must first label the cables you disconnected very well. Remembering which wire controls what in the old thermostat connection is the most important part of the thermostat replacement job. 

Once you’ve cleared the wire labeling up, there are a few more questions that might change the type of your connection. 

I strongly recommend you check the thermostat compatibility for your current connection type from Google’s and GE’s thermostat Compatibility Checker.

There will be questions about which of the heating, cooling, and heat pump options your old thermostat is managing. And depending on the answers you give to this, the connection types change. Therefore, I recommend that you do not skip this point just by pressing “Next”.

32 types of smart thermostat connection
32 types of smart thermostat connections – Source: Cync Support

I am attaching Cync Smart Thermostat Installation Guide here for you to review as an example.

smart thermostat wiring

How to install a smart sprinkler controller / smart irrigation controller

Smart sprinklers are becoming increasingly common. They allow you to set up schedules based on rainfall, temperature, humidity, soil moisture levels, and even solar energy. You can also program them to automatically shut down when it rains, which saves water and money.

First, before you remove the old irrigation controller cables, turn the device on and manually check all the zones. Make sure that you photograph or tag the cables you will see behind when you remove them. 

Common wires are generally labeled as “C” or “Com”. Make sure you labeled them.

Also, label the zone wires you disconnected from the back of your old sprinkler controller. Generally, different colored areas are reserved for zone cables in the terminal box behind smart irrigation control devices.

Apart from these, there may be a cable in the master pump or valve control. 

There are also terminals for sensor cables that are not found in old irrigation devices and are found in new smart sprinkler controllers. 

The terminals these sensor cables will enter are usually called S1, S2…

smart sprinkler controller installation
smart irrigation controller installation
Source for both images: Rachio Support

Do not forget to choose a smart irrigation controller suitable for the sensor types you want to use in this system. (Rain, humidity, temperature, etc.)  Most sensors may need an external 24VAC supply to trigger a relay. Take these into account when choosing your smart sprinkler controller.

How to install a smart smoke alarm / smart smoke detector

Smart smoke alarms use sensors to detect smoke and sound an alarm when there is a fire. They can be connected to your home network so that they send alerts directly to your smartphone.

Smart smoke alarms or smart smoke detectors are must-have security equipment for the home. 

These types of smoke sensors are usually mounted separately with the base underneath for easy disassembly.

What distinguishes the installation of smart smoke sensors from the installation of other smart home products is the fact that you will also need a ladder for the installation of this equipment.

You may not need it when replacing an old smoke detector with a smart detector, but mounting it in the right place for new smoke detectors is the most important factor.

smart smoke alarm installation
Source: ELKO Website

In addition, in order to avoid false alarms, it will not be suitable to be installed next to electrical power sources, next to ventilation vents, near fireplaces or fire sources, or in rooms with excessive dust.

Since these products are security equipment, we recommend that you choose a model suitable for both wired and wireless connections. 

But the devices you will usually find will be battery-powered. It is not a handicap that is only powered by a battery. Since these are Smart sensors, you can easily catch the low battery warning on your smart home system and change the batteries.

For a wired smart smoke detector connection, you should first check how the old detector’s connections are if there is one. 

Fire protection systems are generally systems whose circuit is continued through the terminal box of the previous detector. Find the in and out cables of the detectors, and find the external supply cable if any. Be careful at that step. There may be 120VAC in some wires. Label all the cables you find. Then remove the old detector. Mount the new detector base. Cables will be mounted on this base or will only require a 120V supply. (may vary depending on the model)

That’s it!

Pro tip: Some products have a feature that detects smoke and carbon monoxide in the same unit. If you plan to buy such a smart smoke detector or smart carbon monoxide detector, I strongly suggest you consider it. It also avoids extra labor and expense of a new detector.

How to install a video doorbell

The Smart Video Doorbell uses a camera to detect motion and sound. It connects to your home Wi-Fi network and sends alerts to your smartphone when someone rings the bell. You can choose whether to receive notifications on your phone or tablet and if you want to see who’s ringing before answering the door.

Smart video doorbell installation is one of the easiest to install among other smart home products. 

Because most smart doorbells do not need anything other than the supply cable during installation. 

For battery-powered models, it will be sufficient to connect the battery’s charging cable. Below you can simply see the smart video doorbell installation steps.

  • Install the chime module next to your current chime
  • Remove your existing doorbell
  • Screw the wall mounting plate in place
  • Connect the wires
  • Fix the Video Doorbell to the mounting plate

The mounting point of the doorbell is the most important element to get the right view. The classic practice is to mount it approximately 4 feet above the ground.

smart video doorbell installation
Source: Ring Support

Pro tip: When choosing a smart video doorbell, do not forget to check whether the smart doorbell you are considering is a chime module, depending on your decision on whether to use your old chime or not. 

Pro tip 2: The supply voltage part of Smart video doorbell products can be very diverse, I strongly suggest you pay attention before purchasing.

Should I do the wiring myself?

If you do not have a proper electrical history, it is not right to do the wiring yourself.  because the wiring job contains many risks.  I am talking about the great risks that may result in fire, shock, or death after a possible short circuit.  I suggest you seek professional help in this regard.

Electrical terms you should know when building a smart home

If you say that you do not know anything about the home electrical system, I have listed the terms below that I think will be useful to you.

  1. Power outlets

Power outlets are located at the back of electrical devices and allow them to plug into the wall. These outlets have two prongs that fit into the outlet box and then connect to the power cord. There are three types of outlets: standard, ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), and arc fault circuit interrupter. Standard outlets are the most commonly used type and are designed to provide 120 volts AC/60 Hz. GFCIs are designed to protect people from electric shock and are used in bathrooms, kitchens, and any area where water may get splashed around. Arc fault circuit interrupters are used to prevent fires caused by faulty wires and are only found in commercial buildings.

  1. Grounding

Grounding is the practice of connecting a wire from the neutral line to the metal frame of the house. When electricity enters the building, it travels down the neutral line and connects to the grounding wire. If the neutral line were not grounded, it would cause an imbalance between the hot and neutral lines and could potentially cause a fire.

grounding
Source: Voltimum UK
  1. Circuit breakers

Circuit breakers are switches that turn off the flow of electricity if something goes wrong with the system. In residential settings, they are often installed near the breaker panel. A circuit breaker is used to stop the flow of electricity if someone trips over a wire or touches a live wire.

circuit breaker
Source: Schneider

  1. Surge protector

A surge protector is a device that prevents surges from damaging electronics. Surges occur when there is a sudden increase in current, causing damage to electronic equipment. Surge protectors are used to reducing the risk of damage to computers, televisions, stereos, and other electronics.

It is used as an indispensable security measure, especially in Smart home systems, where more and more electronic equipment is used every day. 

surge protector
Lightning can cause surges

  1. Wiring diagrams

Wiring diagrams show how each piece of equipment is connected together. They are helpful for identifying what wires go where and help avoid confusion when installing new equipment.

The wiring diagram is an element that may not seem important at first installation but is vital once you start living in it. The first thing you should check is when you want to add something new to your smart home ecosystem. 

wiring diagram
  1. Switch

Switches control the flow of electricity. Switches are rated based on their amperage. The lower the amperage, the less electricity the switch can handle. Larger switches can handle more electricity than smaller ones. 

Considering that larger switches can handle more electricity, it is important to find the appropriate amperage when installed for protection purposes.

You can think of it like switches that turn the lamps on and off, but it’s a safety-specialized version of it. 

  1. Power over Ethernet (PoE)

Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a technology that enables power to be delivered over a network cable, eliminating the need for a separate power supply at each end of the connection. PoE was originally developed for use in data centers, where it provides cost savings and flexibility. 

In recent years, it has become increasingly popular in residential applications, including home networking, wireless access points, IP cameras, VoIP phones, and security systems.

poe ethernet
  • Power-over-ethernet (PoE) injector

A power-over-ethernet (PoE) injector is a device that converts electrical power from a wall outlet into a direct current (DC) voltage suitable for powering small electronic devices. A PoE injector is commonly used to provide power to a variety of small electronic devices, such as wireless access points, IP telephones, and video surveillance equipment.

  • Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) switch

A power-over-ethernet (PoE) switches is a device that connects computers, printers, fax machines, and other peripherals to a local area network (LAN). A PoE switch is designed to convert the standard 48-volt alternating current (AC) power supplied by a wall socket into a lower DC voltage suitable for powering these devices.

TL;DR


It’s actually not difficult to attach anything in your home. At this point, all you need is:

  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Wire cutter
  • Wire Stripper
  • Voltage Tester
  • Flashlight or battery-operated lantern (If needed)
  • Wire connectors
  • Wire nuts
  • Electrical tape
  • Paper tape for labeling (Some brands include labels in packages)

Most of these are available in a normal home.

You don’t need to be afraid to install the smart home products you are considering buying in your home. You can feel better by turning this into a small DIY project. 

But remember that electricity is dangerous. And don’t be afraid to seek professional help when needed.

For our other articles Condochance.com

Batu of CondoChance Team

BSc. Electrical Engineer & MBA
10+ years of industrial experience as an Electrical Engineer

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