Seeing my predicament, Weiner said he would send a crew to the house to fix the problem if I could hold off the dry wall. Even though the delay would have a domino effect on other aspects of the job, I readily consented, and a few days later a two-man crew arrived and rewired the entire addition, making sure that the high- and low-voltage wires were at least 6 inches apart, and that all intersections were made at 90° angles. Also, where the electricians had run a single RG6 and Cat5e cable to each location, the Hudson Valley Home Media crew pulled three or four runs of each. They also wired Tyler's bedroom, and installed additional RG45 telecom and RG6 cable jacks in the kitchen and master bedroom so we'd have greater placement flexibility and access.
|The plasma TV will go on the wall opposite the bed, between the bathroom and walk-in closet.|
Weiner explains that he always runs extra wires as a way of future-proofing an installation. "You don't want to start ripping up sheetrock six months after a project is finished," he says. "Plus, the wire itself is relatively cheap - it's the labor that's expensive, so the cost to pull six wires instead of one is marginal."
The installers' practiced eyes also found several things I'd overlooked. For example, they pointed out that the living-room plasma TV needed a recessed clock outlet so the power cord wouldn't show, and that a stud below the TV had to be cut and framed to accommodate the horizontally mounted center-channel speaker.
While they were there, the installers also ran all the wires for the in-wall and ceiling speakers, and mounted cardboard templates on the studs so the dry-wallers would know exactly where to cut small holes for the wires to be pulled through. (I was going to leave the wires coiled in the walls and ceiling and hope my measurements were accurate enough to find them.)
If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, I'd just found out the hard way that it can also be expensive. All told, it took the installers about 17 hours to pre-wire the addition, which at $100 an hour (rates vary by region and installer), came to $1,700. While that's not exactly chump change, in hindsight, it's a small price to pay compared to the cost, time, and aggravation of having to rip out sheetrock to correct the problem after the rooms were done.
In the next installment, Jim will discuss his equipment choices, the installation of the gear, deciding on a remote control to operate it all, and his plans for creating the home theater and recording studio in the basement.
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