How to build a intelligent home extension

Most intelligent homes are a product of add-ons, modifying an existent residence and bolting in intelligent lighting, heating and more. The outcome can be a mismatch of products and an ugly-looking finish. When you’re starting from blemish and have a walls and floors up, things don’t have to be that way. We will uncover we how to build a intelligent home prolongation and what we need to devise for.

The pivotal indicate here is to overspecify – as we never know when we competence need something after down a line, it’s softened to have and not need, and all that.

Put Ethernet everywhere

While Wi-Fi has positively softened with a likes of filigree systems boosting wireless speeds around your home by additional wireless entrance points, it’s still not perfect. And even filigree networks strech their stipulations and, such as a Netgear Orbi RBK50, advantage from regulating Ethernet to bond adult a satellite entrance points. In all cases, carrying a earthy tie to a device, be it a intelligent home heart or media streamer, is some-more arguable than regulating wireless only.

Related: Best Wi-Fi extenders

I entirely suggest putting in as most Ethernet as we can around your new extension. There are several areas to concentration on. First, is a categorical tie to your router. Most routers have 3 or 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, that during initial seems utterly limiting.

However, we can boost a series of points by joining Gigabit Ethernet switches to your router. A elementary eight-port Netgear ProSafe GS108 costs around £30, though gives we additional connected capacity.

You can daisy-chain switches together, though be clever about overdoing it. The final tie to your router and, therefore, a internet is a singular Gigabit Ethernet cable. If we daisy-chain too many devices, you’re introducing a bottleneck. That said, it competence be available to extend entrance by a second switch in some cases, utterly to low-bandwidth devices, such as intelligent home devices.


  • Credit: Photo by Raúl Nájera on Unsplash

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In my home, we have 3 switches in a categorical house. One is behind a TV and is for all of a media inclination there, including Sky Q, an Ultra HD Blu-ray actor and a TV. This switch is directly connected to a router.

A second switch is placed underneath a building during a behind of a residence and serves for a kitchen extension. This is connected directly to a categorical router though has a daisy-chain couple to a third switch, located in a gymnasium cupboard, that serves as a home for a intelligent home hubs. Plan where we wish your switches to be located as, ultimately, you’ll need to run Ethernet cables to them.

There are dual ways to run Ethernet: run a patch wire and poke it out a hole in a wall or floor, or cancel a run during a wall hollow that we block a apart wire into. The initial is a easiest and dirtiest: we usually run a patch cable. Cat 5e will understanding with Gigabit Ethernet, though go with Cat 6 if we wish destiny support for 10Gbit Ethernet. Cables are utterly cheap, with a 10m Cat 6 wire costing reduction than £10. You can have a limit of 100m of cabling, though 50m should cover a longest length you’ll practically need.

Running a patch wire means that we have a connector on possibly end, that doesn’t demeanour unequivocally neat. However, this doesn’t always matter. For my sideboard with intelligent home hubs, we have a wire come adult out of a wall and bond into a switch. As a cable’s in a cupboard, we can’t see it, so there’s no need to cancel it neatly. Having a place for intelligent home hubs is unequivocally handy, utterly as a sideboard is roughly in a center of a house, giving decent coverage.

Likewise, underneath a run of kitchen cabinets, there’s another cable, that can’t be seen. This plugs into a heart that runs a intelligent cat strap (a SureFlap Microchip Pet Door Connect) and is a good use of space.

Particularly when building a kitchen, consider about regulating a under-cabinet space for such devices, though hang divided from any areas that could be unprotected to water, such as underneath a penetrate or a dishwasher.

Think about regulating Ethernet upstairs by any voids that we competence have. we have a sideboard upstairs that houses a boiler and is usually above a kitchen. While a work was being done, this gave me a ideal eventuality to run a wire into this cupboard, hooking adult a Orbi RBK50 around Ethernet.

The second approach of regulating cables is neater. Terminating in a wall-mounted socket, we equivocate unsightly cables poking out. Instead, when we wish to use a port, we usually block a shorter wire into a wall hollow and a device we wish to use. we have a Sky Q Mini box plugged into a pier in a kitchen.

When terminating a socket, you’ll need a wire to be run to a pattress box, and afterwards consummated in an RJ45 female connector. An Ethernet crimping apparatus is used to make a connection. It’s mostly easier to buy a run of patch cable, afterwards clip a finish off and re-terminate in a socket.

For even easier convenience, try a Quick Connect box from Nexxia: we usually block a patch wire into a behind and you’re done, with no additional wiring. The downside is that these connectors are a tiny deeper, so you’ll need a pattress box low enough.

Place as many connectors around your new prolongation as we consider we competence need. If we know where you’re going to put a TV or desk, place sockets there; don’t be bashful about fixation an additional hollow or dual elsewhere: we never know when we competence pierce things around.

Height is important. You can place a sockets during a normal turn nearby a floor, though that competence not work for all applications: with a wall-mounted TV, for example, a higher-level Ethernet hollow could be unequivocally useful; we wish I’d finished this in my kitchen.

In all cases, we finish adult with a garland of Ethernet cables or sockets during a points we need to use them, with a other ends collated nearby a switch. Don’t worry if we finish adult with some-more cables than we have switch ports for, as we don’t need to bond adult everything, usually a cables that you’re indeed using. For this reason, labelling a cables can be useful.

My approach of doing things is to have a top-down blueprint of a new area, that we symbol adult with numbered Ethernet ports. To compare a cables with a numbers (if we didn’t during a start), we start by unplugging all cables from a switch. Then, we block a laptop (any device will do) into a finish of an Ethernet wire or wall hollow (the conflicting finish to a switch) starting a pier 1.

At a switch end, we block and unplug cables until a pier lights up: this shows there’s a connection, and a wire can be labelled as pier 1 regulating a bit of masking tape. Repeat with a other cables until you’ve finished a whole run.

Plan your intelligent lighting

Smart lighting can renovate a space, utterly if we go with colour-changing bulbs, such as with a Philips Hue, as we did. As we can see from a images below, a kitchen can take on totally opposite looks and feels, usually by adjusting a colour. It unequivocally is a final wow factor, in my opinion.

I went with Philips Hue for dual reasons: there’s a wider choice of tuber fittings, and there are dedicated remote light switches, so a lights can be operated as ‘normal’ though regulating an app or a voice assistant, such as Alexa. However, these options sojourn a current form of control.

For me, intelligent lighting is about a effect – rather than indispensably saying a lights – so we had a kitchen built to residence these products though them being seen. Spotlights (GU10s) lay out of steer in a side of a strange building. Around a skylight, we had a tiny shelf built, that a LED frame is connected to (you can run adult to 10m of lighting in this way). This gives illumination, though we mostly don’t see a LED frame and it also lights adult a outward of a house.

The Hue LED frame is powered by a plug-in energy adaptor. Normally installations can be a problem, though not in this case, as we had a energy hollow commissioned in a tip of a kitchen sideboard and usually ran a wire by a newly-built roof into a cupboard. Again, it’s value meditative about where we competence need sockets. In my setup, usually dual categorical bulbs are manifest inside a housing that we picked for them.

Control of a lights is around a Hue Switch, that connects magnetically to a fridge on a approach into a kitchen. The center territory can be private and used as a remote control. However, usually in box something goes wrong (or we pierce and wish to take a bulbs), there are dedicated normal light switches. By default, these are left on and never touched. Hue is intelligent and in a eventuality of a problem, branch a switch off and afterwards behind on again turns a bulbs on, with them set to comfortable white.

Outside, a garden bureau already had GU10 adult and downlighters. we mirrored these on a extension, kitting them all out with Philips Hue White Ambience (temperature-changing bulbs), bending adult to another Hue Switch. So, now, a garden and kitchen both work with intelligent lighting.

Related: Amazon Alexa guide

Plan intelligent underfloor heating

If you’re going to put in underfloor heating, afterwards we need to place a heating plural somewhere sensible. While you’re doing it, it creates clarity to consider about underfloor heating. we run Honeywell Evohome in my house, that is concordant with underfloor heating.

A Honeywell Single Zone Thermostat Y87RF2024 did a job, with a T87RF2033 Wireless Thermostat for heat measurements and a BDR91 Wireless Relay Box to control a underfloor heating manifold. This usually adds an additional section into a house, that is as controllable and programmable as any other room.

Related: Best intelligent thermostats

Work out where your intelligent speakers and audio are going

If we wish audio around your home, afterwards consider about what we can do with a walls non-stop up, and we can run cabling. we opted for dual high-level energy sockets on possibly side of a room: one any for a Sonos Play:1 orator that we mounted on a wall. There’s also a Sonos Sub located underneath a kitchen opposite for bass. The beauty of doing things from blemish is that all is hidden.

An Amazon Echo Dot sits above a wall-mounted TV, powered by a USB pier on a behind of a Sky Q Mini box. we overcame a miss of energy points during TV tallness by regulating a multi-way adaptor behind a TV.

I also had a orator wire run along and out of a behind of a extension, wall-mounting weather-proof speakers outside. These are connected to a Sonos Amp, that is sat in a box underneath a aged dining room floor: there’s tiny need to see a Sonos actor like this. In a summer months, it means peculiarity outward music, that we can also play inside – no some-more messing around with Bluetooth speakers.

There is one area where you’ll have to make a choice. we mirrored a outward speakers to a Sonos Play:1 speakers inside. Typically we collect a left and right speakers by station and looking during them. However, station inside and looking out is a counterpart picture of station outward and looking inwards during a outward speakers. In my case, it would meant that a left indoor Sonos orator was subsequent to a right outward orator and clamp versa. My advice, if we finish adult in a identical conditions is to compare a outward to a indoor, so left is subsequent to left, and right subsequent to right.

What else to demeanour out for

Make certain we have copiousness of energy sockets and areas to put things. we have a Dyson 360 Eye drudge opening cleaner that keeps a kitchen looking neat and tidy. A lower-level energy hollow and a somewhat condensed run of cupboards gave copiousness of room for a cleaner to lay out of a approach when it’s not in use.

Related: Best drudge opening cleaners

Got any some-more tips or tricks for traffic with a new-build? Tell us @trustedreviews

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