The standard electrical wiring in homes and businesses typically runs at least 120 volts of power. This is necessary to power appliances, computers, printers, and most devices that plug into an electrical outlet. In order to power networks and other business necessities like smart devices, security systems, and thermostats, many people are now opting to install low voltage wiring as well. This can go in new construction as well as older buildings.
Commonly referred to as structured cabling, low voltage wire typically runs around 50 volts or sometimes less. Learn where this wiring is installed and what the installation entails for your business.
What Is Low Voltage Wiring For?
Low voltage wiring provides a more effective and efficient way to power networks and devices for your business or commercial property. Having a structured cabling system in place makes it simple to add security systems, phone lines, and other connections as the need arises in your business. It makes it easy and cost-effective to scale your business.
While it’s convenient to have low voltage wiring in place, installing the low voltage system isn’t as simple as running some cable and calling it a day. There are important safety measures and logistical considerations to keep in mind when installing low voltage wire. One of the biggest ways to make sure the wire is safe is to install it in the correct location.
Can You Install Low Voltage Wire With Regular Wire?
Typically, low voltage wiring is installed after all the regular wiring in a building is in place. It can be run through walls, ceilings, and conduits, but it cannot be treated the same as standard wiring.
Low voltage wires need to be installed at least one foot away from other electrical wiring, and they cannot go through the same holes as the regular wire. All low voltage wire should run parallel to the traditional wiring already installed in your business. This reduces the likelihood that there will be any interference between the wires. Installing wires close together can also be a fire hazard, so it’s important to follow the one foot rule.
How to Install Low Voltage Wiring
One of the most important qualities of low voltage wire to keep in mind during installation is the wire’s fragility. It can break or get damaged easily and needs to be treated with special care. For example, low voltage wire cannot be installed at a 90 degree angle. When it’s time to turn or change direction, the wire needs to loop.
The wire also needs to be installed in locations where it won’t need to be pulled. The fragile wire shouldn’t be subject to more than 25 pounds of pull strength.
Additionally, as with any wire, it’s imperative that you keep cooling and airflow in mind when choosing where to install your low voltage wires.
Low Voltage Wiring Location
When choosing where in your building to install your wire, consider where you will need low voltage power for your networks, security systems, and devices.
Before installing wire, you first need to choose the location of a control room or structured cabling enclosure. This will be the central hub where your low voltage wires will run to and from. It’s a good idea to have this hub in a location central to the locations where you need the wire.
Your central hub will also often be located near the demarcation point in your building. This is where the public wiring ends and your private wiring begins. A cable will run from your demarcation point to your structured cabling enclosure.
Inside your central hub, you’ll be able to label and manage all of your cables.
Of course, businesses take all shapes and forms, but in an office building, you’ll want at least one data port in each individual office. You’ll also need low voltage wires run to computers, phones, TVs, security cameras, and any other device that will use the wires.
Does Low Voltage Wire Need To Be Run Through Conduit?
Where do you install low voltage wiring when it comes to conduit? Indoor low voltage wiring can be installed inside walls, ceilings, or conduit. For outdoor wiring, which is used for things such as security systems and landscape lighting, you need to put the wire inside a PVC pipe or conduit.
While low voltage wiring doesn’t always need to be installed inside conduit, there are a few conditions that call for conduit. Install low voltage wire inside conduit in the following situations:
- When a wire is buried
- When a wire is exposed to the elements in any way
- When a wire is in a location where it could be tampered with
- When you think you might need to make changes to your wiring in the future
- When local codes or regulations require all electoral wire or low voltage wire to be run through conduit
Regardless of where you choose to install your wire, it all runs to and from your structured cabling enclosure.
Where To Install Low Voltage Wiring
If you’re wondering where do you install low voltage wiring, it should be anywhere in your business where you need to power things such as networks, thermostats, landscape lighting, phones, or security cameras.
The wiring should run to and from a central hub, and it needs to be at least one foot apart from regular wire. While it’s important to know the basics of installing low voltage wire, it’s not wise to tinker with or install electrical wire on your own. Always consult with a qualified electrician before altering your wiring, and don’t attempt to do a DIY job when it comes to installing low voltage wiring.