The Inside Wiring

Inside wiring? The house had no inside wiring. That's easy to remedy. Wire is cheap. Right? If you are going to run telephone and video wiring, you might a well run one more wire for your data network. Wire is cheap. If you are going to run any structural wiring, you might as well do it right and do the whole house, not just a couple outlets. Wire is cheap. This is how a simple project blossoms. Remember, this all started, because I wanted a whole house surge protector.

Knowing little of structured wiring, I began researching it. The web sites of SmartHome and Leviton were informative. However, the Phone-Man's and John's Closet web sites were most helpful. Since I was wiring the house for ethernet, I thought I should take advantage of the network and install a server. With a server I could store all my music on the server in the closet, instead of having duplicate music libraries on each of three computers in the house. Also, I could use it to serve up my own web page and most importantly my own E-mail, so that my E-mail address wouldn't change each time I changed my ISP. With all this wisdom and these thoughts stuffed in my head, I sat down and designed the layout of the structural wiring.

The Wiring Plan
Conventional structured wiring runs around in the attic and drops down through the wall. The low pitch of the roof makes the attic of this house two feet high at the peak and six inches at the wall. Once you get away from the center of the house, you don't even have room to hold a drill upright to drill down through the header of a wall. Further, The air conditioning ducting blocks movement around in the attic. Consequently, I was able to run wiring in the attic only for the outlets near the cent of the house, the north wall of the office and the partition between the living room and kitchen. I fished a long conduit across the attic and carport to bring the outside phone line and video cable. The air conditioning installer had made two access opening in the ceiling of the central hall of the house to run the A/C ducting. I used these two openings to place the conduit and to serve as junctions for the overhead structured wiring.
Facing Back (West)
Facing Forward (East)
Front Attic Access Opening
Facing Back (West)
Facing Forward (East)
Rear Attic Access Opening
I cut a hole in the top of the upper server closet and placed a conduit over the A/C ducting from the rear attic access opening to bring the overhead wiring into the server closet to the patch panels. The wiring for the outlets away from the center of the house had to be wired differently. While remodeling the rear bedrooms, I noted there was a gap between the floor slab and the bottom of the wall board behind the base board.
Southeast Corner of Southwest Bedroom
I utilized this gap to run the wiring for the back bedrooms, office and living room behind the baseboard bringing it all together up behind the closet wall to the upper server closet.

Finally, I added two breakers to the electrical service panel and ran two new 20 amp circuits, one to an outlet on the north wall of the office and the second to two outlets in The Server Closet.

I connected a Zero Surge surge protector at each location to power my equipment. If you truly want to protect your computer equipment from surges, use these and install no conventional ones. Conventional surge protectors protect from surges by diverting the excess current from the hot wire to ground. Since modems and networked computer equipment use the ground for a reference for 0 volts, conventional surge protectors divert the surge from a power supply designed to handle 120 to 240 volts to a circuit board designed to handle 1.5 to 5 volts. Does this make good sense? I lost three modems and a networked laser printer (back when they cost $4,000) to surges with all my equipment protected by conventional surge protectors. I then discovered Zero Surge and haven't suffered a surge casualty since. Conventional surge protectors pose a fire hazard as described by the Bellingham Fire Department in Bellingham, Washington.