Modern day homeowners are used to having high-speed Internet and Wi-Fi, automation controls for lighting and music, and up-to-date security systems with cameras installed in their homes. This is why many homebuilders are offering low voltage services vis-a-vis the traditional installation of structured cabling. But what exactly are low voltage services?
Low voltage wiring is often used for Smart doorbells, telephones, garage door opener controls, heating and cooling thermostats, landscape lighting, alarm system sensors and controls (security system cameras, motion sensors), audio-visual wiring (surround sound audio systems, cable television, intercom systems), internet network and Wi-Fi, and LED or low voltage lighting. They are different from cable outlets in that while cable outlets run 120V or 240V of electricity, low voltage wiring is designed to carry 50 volts of electricity or less. Common low voltages are 12V, 24V and 48V.
The infrastructure on which low voltage wiring operates is called structured cabling. A structured wiring system is built on a separate network from most of a home’s wiring. In most cases, the home’s main electrical system is installed first, followed by the low voltage wiring. Some of the more common types of cables used in low-voltage wiring include:
- Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cable — Cat 6 or 6a cables are the ones most often used in homes today.
- Fiber optic cable — Used for long distance runs. It’s difficult to work with and requires specialized crimping tools and connectors.
- Speaker wire — Used for whole-house audio and home theater applications.
- Thermostat wire
- Coaxial cable (coax) — The most common types used in a home are RG-59/U (.64mm core and a single shield), RG-6/U (1.024mm core with a double shield) and /RG-6/UQ (1.024mm core with a quad shield.
- Security system wire — Commonly in 18 and 24AWG, with either two or four conductors.
Low voltage power offers what can be an efficient and cost-effective alternative to traditional high voltage systems. They are much safer during installation, maintenance, and use. Consequently, these systems carry different, far more lenient electric safety code requirements.
If want to know more about low voltage services and how it can benefit your home, call A Plus Cable Runners today!