Articles » The High-Tech House

High technology has become a part of our every day life - with computers, cellular phones, faxes, digital TV, all vying for our attention. Gone are the days when a house only came pre-wired with three telephone jacks and two TV outlets. Now every room needs telephone, computer and TV connections.

Buyers aren't looking for a "SmartHouse" system of the recent past - where all appliances were supposedly capable of talking to each other, and you could run hot water for your bath from your cell phone on the way home from work. It was too complicated, too expensive, and a bit silly. (And what would a microwave say to a refrigerator, anyway… "Why are you being so cold to me?")

What we do want, however, are rooms that are pre-wired for telephone, computer, stereo and television (including eventual high-speed access). We may not need it all right now, but we certainly don't want to have to rewire in a few years. We want better lighting and power controls, and a built-in security system. And we want technology that's easy to use, and doesn't require an advanced degree to decipher the manual.

Fortunately, it's not all that expensive or difficult to anticipate those technology needs. Many builders and electrical contractors offer something called a structured wiring system to address all those needs, which includes the cables, the outlets and the junction boxes to handle most computer, television, and telephone needs. At the minimum, insist on Cat 5 telephone cable and RG6 co-ax wiring. It may cost a little bit more to do structured wiring now - but it's a lot less than retrofitting the house later. Besides, would you really want a house that's technologically obsolete before you move in?