When putting together a connected home, nothing should be left to chance.
One of the elements that can wreak havoc if handled improperly is the wiring of various building systems. Cabling that is poorly installed or not future proofed can cause significant problems in the months and years following the completion of the build. There are, however, several simple steps that can be taken to eliminate potential problems with your cable management and make it simple to diagnose and fix any issues that occur.
Think before you place
When laying down cables, avoiding sharp bends and sudden changes of direction are a must as any knots, snags or kinks in the wires will have a negative effect on performance. Using a cable-pulling device with a maximum pull-force of 25lb will to ensure that no deformations are introduced during the process.
Efforts should be made to avoid running ELV closely alongside mains or lighting cables for more than 2m at a time and, if they need to cross each other, this should be done at 90° angles. CEDIA guidelines specifies 450mm as the minimum distance that should be introduced between the two types. If it is impossible to separate them, then using shielded cable is recommended.
Secure them properly
Only devices that are built to support cabling, such as J-hooks, should be used in installations — and these should not be overloaded. Likewise, when securing several wires using tie wraps, it is important that the cables are not visibly constricted.
Keep on testing
Test, test and test again; this cannot be stressed enough. This should be done at each stage of the process, as it is much harder to discover where problems lie once a whole infrastructure has been laid down. Each new set of wiring should be tested, certified if required and then made live to make sure there are no problems with the initial set-up.
Maintain good records
Documentation is distinctly unglamorous, but it has the potential to save huge amounts of time at a later date. As well as an architectural plan, there should be a schedule of cables that incorporated the type of termination and location of each end. In some cases, it would be useful to create a schematic showing the topology of the wiring system. All accredited CEDIA members are able to perform this service or advise on how this should be done.