New House Build - Planning Stage

Hi guys,

I know this has been asked before a good few times on this forum but each author of the threads all seemed really experienced with HA and smart home hardware & software not to mention how to wire it all.

I only very recently came to know about HA and it appears very daunting to absorb everything that I’ve been reading in the last few weeks. What I have grasped is that it’s crazy powerful and customisable.

Anyway, I’m currently renting here in Ireland and due to that I have very basic smart features here, Hue bulbs and sensors, Tado heating controls, Alexas all over the house and then some cheap Wi-Fi light switches and sockets about the house. It all works fine for a rental house but when we build I’d like a more permanent built in setup.

The bit I don’t like here is that everything is running over Wi-Fi and mostly cloud based, I’d like it local. But, I’ve no idea how I can achieve smart plug sockets that aren’t Wi-Fi or Zigbee etc. Is it even possible?

Another bit I’ve read about is to have low voltage wiring for light switches and then control the light via relays. I’m not sure how this would be wired though and the benefits of going this way.

The other side I was looking at recently was home audio. I see a company in the US called HTD that has a multi-room amp that also has a dedicated input for a smart speaker. I was thinking I could install alexas in the ceiling and power via PoE but then I noticed that you can’t connect an Ethernet adapter to an Echo. I then seen you can install Alexa on a raspberry pi so I did this and have it working with a ReSpeaker 4 mic hat. The problem is you can’t stream music from Spotify/Amazon/Tunein to a Pi flashed with Alexa, bummer to that. So, I need to rethink how I’m going to sort this. I know there is PiCroft but it looks slow.

Anyway, I’m rambling too much.

If you guys were to build from scratch how would you do it via mostly wired approach if possible and what hardware and software would you use?


My only suggestion for home audio if you are building is to run speaker wire. HTD makes a great device. Run wires to your zones via a patch panel to the speakers. Put you various steaming devices in the cabinet with the HTD and your HA instance and your internet.

That is our setup here. Phones, iPAD, PC even touch TV to HA which is wireless to the HA wired connection. One alexa in that cab but also a few other streaming devices that are wired. Sound through Alexa, steam device or HA instance with Kodi. Wired to HTD and wired from their to speakers. No bluetooth. Superior sound with in wall or in ceiling speakers. Pipe stream a to zone 1,2,3 and different stream to other zones. No delays, no I hear sonos playing in one room, then the next, then the next to get to 8 zones and the song is half over.

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Hi there,

Thanks for the reply :+1:t2:

That is the plan for home audio, all wired for each zone, the Alexa even wired back to the amp. All the Alexa is in each zone is a voice assistant to request stuff but if I play music via it then it goes back via the amp via speaker cable.

The annoying bit is no LAN powered Alexa device, DIY or bought, that I know of yet anyway…

My biggest issue is how best to wire lights and plug sockets throughout the house so that everything can be controlled via HA or Alexa, really stumped on this bit :thinking:

All suggestions are welcome but make it simple, I’m not that well versed in all this wiring lingo…


Consider going for a KNX installation for Switches, Light, heating. Maybe add DALI for lights. You’ll find a lot of resources about that online and I’ll bet there are installers near you who are familiar with these. It’s solid and you have a lot of choices considering manufacturers, functionalities and designs.


I use Insteon but I had that long before HA. I am very happy with this. Then again I have 65 devices.

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Unless you know that this will be your final house I would recommend not using low voltage wiring to light switches, etc. It will definitely reduce the resale value of the house and you will have to leave all of your HA hardware behind when you move. If you use Home Assistant you will have to educate the new owners on how to use it.
I used deep wiring boxes and installed Z-Wave switches/dimmers behind the switch plates.
Try to avoid battery powered devices as it becomes a pain having to replace them.
Run Cat 6 cables to every location where you might want media players or TVs, but have at least two points in every room.


I wouldn’t second that. A professionally installed Knx system for example definitely doesn’t reduce a houses resale price - more like the opposite.
HA would then just be a nice Addon, but it can be removed at every time and the house will still be way smarter than a conventional installed system.

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Agree fully with that, but he’s asking about Home Assistant and what sounds like a custom solution that he installs himself. I have been involved with a couple of clients who got “professionally” installed home automation systems installed (€25k +) who ended up ripping them out when they couldn’t get support.

Anyway, I don’t want to hijack this thread as he’s looking for advice and everyone will have different opinions on what is “right”, so it’s up to him to decide what works best for him.


Hi guys,

Thanks for the replies. I don’t seem to be getting notifications from this thread so only seeing your posts this morning.

Anyway, I’ve not heard of KNX or DALI before so need to look them up.

It looks like DALI is low voltage wiring so that would go against one of your advice in a post above?

I am not 100% committed to any platform yet so it doesn’t have to be HA. From my very brief research so far it looks like HA is the most customisable and adaptable than other systems but ideally it would be great that whatever platform I use isn’t dependant on it.

I see others recommending Hubitat instead of HA but the fear for me is the the company goes under then where do you stand with their hub and software… It can’t be a critical part of the plans in my eyes, probably more of a nice addition to existing setup.

If I went with a traditional wiring setup and used ZigBee or Z-Wave then as one of you pointed out, if we ever had to sell on then it’s an easy transition to a basic switch afterwards. Although, hopefully this will be the one and only build for us :crossed_fingers:t2:

How reliable are ZigBee or Z-Wave setups?

I see switches from Lightwave but they seem very overpriced?

Another brand that appears better value are Smart Click+ but there isn’t much information on them online yet. Anyone use these guys?

If I did go ZigBee or Z-Wave is it better to buy the hub from that brand or add a dongle to the HA setup to control them?

Also, from a bit of googling on KNX, is this a company or a platform for a smart home?

Thanks again,

Run conduit. Conduit run to every device box either ending at a central location at the panel, or at a wiring box for that area which then leads down to the master wiring panel.

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It’s an open protocol formerly known as EIB (European Installation Bus I think). This, as well as Dali is manufacturer independent. There are like 400+ manufacturers building devices for it.
In the past it was used in big office buildings, hotels, airports etc, but it’s getting used more and more in domestic homes in the last decade or so.
Both are low voltage. Knx is SELF whereas DALI is not.
DALI is for lighting only (mostly).
Knx requires a different wiring Schema than normal installations so it’s not very well suited as afterthought / upgrade system.
And yes, it’s not cheap.


Re: “The annoying bit is no LAN powered Alexa device”
…use a PoE splitter to get power to your Alexa device. Just search ’ PoE Power Over Ethernet Splitter Adapter’. You should find versions for virtually any USB powered device. The second part is making sure your PoE/PoE+ switch can handle the voltage for the number of devices you intend to connect.
If you want them concealed, you can find in-ceiling or in-wall (essentially the same) mounts.

Smart lights are another issue. I’m looking for better info/recommendations there, too.

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Yeah, I know I can get the power to the smart speaker over Ethernet but it will still be using WiFi to connect to the internet…

I would love if the Pi Alexa could stream music as it would tick all my boxes :man_facepalming:t2:

If you want to stream music to your pi use logitech media server/squeezebox.

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Thanks for the heads up, I’ve not heard of this before.

So, you install the software on the NAS and then use the Pi to play from that Logitech Server?

Can it work via voice commands from Alexa?

Home assistant works with Alexa. Home assistant can control squeezebox. So yes.

Also works direct according to a quick google

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I checked that out, the free version is very basic and not very useful functionality wise and the premium version is £2.99 a month, fairly steep I feel for a few extra voice commands :thinking:

Hi folks,

So, since my last post here, I’ve spent a lot of long hours reading and also taking the plunge and getting going with HA.

It has been very tough, very frustrating and also enjoyable at times, but I’m slowly getting some understanding of HA and what it’s capable of. I’m not sure how advanced I would ever be able to get with it but for now I’m going to stick with it before trying the likes of Hubitat or something similar that is a bit less manual.

Anyway, on the actual wiring in the house and after reading some posts here and other forums I think the best bet is to use standard wiring instead of a low voltage setup. I like the idea of low voltage but the idea of selling on the house or god forbid something was to happen me then I don’t think anyone close to me would have any clue how to maintain it or update it.

I have been tinkering with ZigBee light switches and sensors and I like how they integrate with HA so I’m swaying in this direction. One thing I don’t like is the loud clunk from the relay when I trigger the light or switch.

Are there more premium switches that use relays that aren’t so loud?

In respects to Home Audio, I think I’m going to go with the HTD amp that integrates a smart speaker. I have tinkered about with homemade options and none really hit the requirements, especially with the better half. She just likes Alexa and the ability to play whatever she likes in each room with an Echo straight from Spotify or cast from the app to whichever she wants.

Apart from those two areas, if not done much else yet, will hopefully get there soon…

Thanks again for and advice,

If you don’t tell us what switches you are you using how can anyone recommend something quieter?

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Hi there,

I thought I had added Aqara in that paragraph but basically all switches and sockets I’ve tried, both WiFi and ZigBee.

The quietest I’ve used so far has been the BG Electrical plug socket, it’s not bad.

The worst, by far has been a Tuya touch WiFi light switch, the clunk off that is so loud even though I did like the nice glossy glass cover.