Copied from an email.
So the thing about wiring houses.. 1. always do home runs, you never know how you'll want to connect things in the future. Home runs means that all data (low voltage) wiring terminates in one place. Halted is a great place to find rack mountable termination blocks. 2. pick a cool, dry, centralized, accessible place for your wiring closet. In my house I first picked a difficult-to-access place and it was a pain in the arse.. plus it helps you show it off to people. Obviously cool and dry for the electronics. Centralized for the wireless box. Oh and away from EM fields like fans. My current wiring closet is right next to the furnace which probably doesn't help 802.11b/g. 3. CAT-5 everywhere, baby. You can run ethernet, s-video, audio, firewire, SVGA (shielded CAT5 required) all over a CAT-5 wire. So my current theory is use CAT5 everywhere, and make dongles to convert to the proper connector. So for example in Tom's room, we're going to run two separate home-runs from his entertainment center and from the location of the projector. This allows me to bridge those two circuits in the wiring closet and make two dongles for his room. The dongles will adapt a standard ethernet connector to a female sVideo connector. If someday I want to use that run for ethernet, it's as easy as unplugging the dongles and patching the CAT-5 patch panel to the gig-E switch. 4. Labels.. label everything. All wall plates get a unique number and each CAT-5 in a wall plate gets a letter. Back at the patch panel, they get the same designation and there's a printout of what numbers go to what rooms. This way when the 'study' turns in to Troy Jr's room, you don't have to re-label anything. Use light grey or white cables, so that you can write on them with a sharpie. 5. Use RG-6 for Satellite/Cable coax, but you already knew that. Use Double-shield RG-6 only, not Quad-shield. In tests, quad shield actually performs slightly worse than double-shield unless you're running along side lots of power lines. Run two coax per location for multiple satellite or cable feeds. Consider using the 4-in-1 cable systems that include 2 RG-6 and 2 CAT5s all in one bundle. This makes wiring easier. 6. signal level (not speaker level) audio goes over twisted pair. Composite video or RGB video goes over coax. Satellite goes over coax, duh. DVI.. your guess is as good as mine. There's no good way to do DVI yet. 7. Leviton plates and jacks are great from Home Depot. For more interesting options (like 6 and 8-port plates) go to Gray Bar or Smarthome.com. partsexpress.com is a good source for audio/video patch cables. 8. Tools. It's worth the money to buy the ratcheting coax crimper and cat-5 crimper from Home Depot. They are $50 each, but worth the money. Also I'm adding a 66 and 110 punch down tool. Also expensive, but worth it to have around. 9. Phones. Leviton sells 6-conductor phone jacks also at home depot. Use Cat-5 to wire phone and terminate at a standard 66-block in the wiring closet. Each phone jack gets 3 pairs (lines). Terminate your incoming phone line from the MPOE (minimum point of entry) to your wiring closet using the highest quality CAT-5 you can find.. terminate to a standard phone company type block, then run patches of twisted pair to the 66-block just for the rooms that need them. Doing it this way, it's easy to reconfigure. 10. Audio distribution. Home runs always for reconfiguration later and you can use standard 14-16 guage zip cord (lamp power cord). Nuvo makes a really nice audio system but it's expensive. http://www.smarthome.com/8270CE.html 11. Surround Sound. You can wire directly within a room if you're sure of where the boob-tube and speakers will go forever. Otherwise install some more conduit and make note of where it is in the walls. As for the physical part of drilling up into your wall... Most modern construction (post 70's) has no fire breaks. Instead they rely on the idea that the top and bottom of a stud-cavity are sealed and drywall won't burn, so any fire (electrical or otherwise) will run out of oxygen once the oxygen trapped in the stud-cavity runs out. This is why when you build a soffit in the ceiling, you're also supposed to drywall the _inside_ of the soffit. So since your house is newish, you shouldn't have many fire breaks to deal with. So assuming you have a crawl space and not a concrete slab, you'll be under there with an auger bit in your drill and CAREFULLY calculating where the walls are above. It's definitely a scary proposition until you learn more about how far the foundation sticks out from the wall, etc. My 14.4 Makita drill in torque mode and a 6" or so auger bit does just fine. Once you're in the wall cavity (you were careful not to drill up into a stud), it's a game of find the wire. Once I get one wire pulled to a location, I usually tie 50-pound fishing line to the wall plate attachment device and to a screw down below, this way you can send more wire up easily in the future. Remember to run 2x the distance of fishing line. Ahh, here's a big tip. Use a tent pole to run wire up a long distance (like to the 2nd floor). The modern dome tent poles collapse and so you can get it down with you under the house or up in the attic, then put it together slowly as you run the wire down(up) the wall. Other than that, put a hook in the end of a clothes hanger and go fishing. Sometimes a small flashlight pushed up into a hole can illuminate the situation. If you encounter fire breaks, I think you're out of luck. How would you keep a long auger bit centered in the wall? And watch out for 110/220 wire!! Best bet with fire breaks is to learn to patch drywall. As a safety precaution, any holes you cut into the base or top of a wall, you should probably try to plug to keep oxygen from electrical fires. I haven't done this and I'll probably die a horrible death when my house goes up in flames. I've found that a feed wire in conduit doesn't help very much because it gets tangled in the wires. Probably better to use a proper metal snake. Some more wise words from DaveW: My two cents is to be extra generous with your outlets. I totally regret the way I had my house wired for outlets. I can't tell you how often I beat myself up for not requesting an outlet in certain places. In fact, don't bother with dry wall. Just put outlets EVERYWHERE. 1) If you plan on putting x-mas lights up, then put an exterior outlet up near the eves. Then put a toggle switch in a closet or somewhere that is discrete but convenient. This way your not running a silly extension cord up the side of the house. If you're not putting up lights, then no problem . . . SCROOGE!!!!! 2) Think about where your X-mas tree is gonna go. Is there an outlet for light for that. But again, if you're Scroogin, then no problem. 3) Also during x-mas, if you plan on putting decorative lights along your stairway railing, put an outlet at the top or bottom of the stairs. If you Scrooge-fest . . . ignore. 4) Rechargable battery station. If you have a bunch tools/toys that require a rechargeable docking station, think about where that will go and put some outlets there. If you opt to Scrooge . . . oh wait . . . nevermind. 5) Exterior landscape lighting usually has a timer box to control the on/off. I luckly ran some romax underground to the corner of the yard where the timer boxes are. You don't have to do this now, but have a place where you can tap into if/when you do decide to do this. Having kids will change how you use your house. And unfortunately it is only after you have them is when you discover what you should have done. 1) While you may not watch TV very much now, it will get more use from your family after you have kids. I'm not suggesting that the TV will become a baby sitter. However it will become more a part of you life when kids come. 2) When the kids arrive, you will be vacuuming everyday. Make sure your outlets are in strategic places for vacuuming. If you are installing a central vacuum system, then no worries. (I highly recommend a central vac.) While your have exposed walls, a central vac system is easy to install. Or just install the piping and buy the vacuum and accessories later. Makes a nice selling feature (pre plumbed for central vac).