For an intercom installation project to be successful, it requires an experienced installer certified for the job. Otherwise, the property won’t benefit from all the intercom system has to offer.
In this guide, we detail everything you need to know about installing an intercom system. You’ll find out how much it costs to install, how long the process typically takes, and the differences between a new construction and a retrofit installation. Additionally, this post includes which tools are required and a step-by-step guide on how to install the system.
This guide covers:
- How much does an intercom system cost?
- How much does it cost to install a video intercom?
- How long do intercom systems last?
- New construction vs. retrofitting intercom installation
- Materials needed for intercom installation
- How to install an intercom system
How much does an intercom system cost?
An intercom system could cost anywhere from $500 to more than $5,000. What will influence the cost is the range of functionality and features it has.
Note: This price range doesn’t include any ongoing subscription costs, maintenance, or installation.
How much does it cost to install a video intercom?
The cost to install a video intercom ranges from $1,000 to $3,000 or more, depending on certain factors.
Factors that impact intercom installation costs are:
- Whether you choose a wireless or a hardwired intercom system
- Complexity of installation
How long do intercom systems last?
The average intercom system lasts approximately 20 years with proper care and maintenance.
Of course, cloud-based video intercom systems last longer because they can receive new features and updates remotely without needing manual updating. Plus, cloud-based systems can easily scale with a property’s growth, giving it a longer lifespan.
New construction vs. retrofitting intercom installation
The intercom system installation process will vary based on the type of building it’s installed in and the type of intercom being installed. New developments will plan for the intercom, while an existing building may have to adjust its infrastructure.
So, it’s vital for intercom installers to consider the unique factors that will impact the installation process.
Considerations for new construction intercom installation:
- Look for an intercom system early. There will be no easier time to install an intercom system than with new construction. So, choose an intercom system early in the design and planning phase. This way, architects can properly incorporate the system into the building plans. Thus, the process is easier and cheaper than a retrofit install.
- Think about where to place the intercom. When planning your building’s layout, you’ll need to know where to place the intercom for the best user experience. At the same time, weigh the option of including more than one system, depending on the number of primary exterior entryways. For example, a community with two vehicle entrances may want two gate intercoms installed. Conversely, an apartment building with a single primary entrance would only need one.
- How will the intercom be used? How your intercom will be used should also influence how it’s installed. This consideration is especially important for new developments because they don’t have any residents yet. For instance, if your intercom is installed at a vehicle gate, users will be sitting. So, the system must be installed at the right height. Otherwise, it may be difficult to reach, creating issues for people accessing the property. Moreover, the intercom will likely need a pedestal if a nearby wall is unavailable.
Considerations for retrofitting an intercom system:
- Expect costs to be higher than a new construction installation. No matter the type of intercom system, a retrofit project will likely cost more than a new construction install. With that said, certain factors of the intercom can help lower the installation costs, such as being cloud-based and wireless.
- Does your building currently have an intercom system? Buildings without an existing intercom need the proper wiring to support the system. Even wireless options will require some wired connections for power and internet. As for buildings with an intercom already, replacing it isn’t as simple as many might think since most systems have different wiring and installation requirements.
- Wireless vs. hardwired intercom system. A wireless intercom requires minimal wiring, so it reduces the difficulty and the cost of installation. Rather than needing hardware installed in every unit, wireless intercoms use mobile phones as substations. Conversely, wired intercom systems require extensive wiring to individual unit substations throughout the property. So for a simpler solution with lower costs, consider installing a wireless intercom.
Materials needed for intercom installation
An intercom installation project requires several different tools and materials. Of course, the tools required will vary based on certain factors of the installation. Nonetheless, there is a general set of materials most installations will require.
The general tools you’ll need for an intercom installation include:
- Smartphone. You’ll likely need a phone to register the intercom and speak with the support team to activate the system after installation.
- Video intercom device. Lay out all the video intercom parts to ensure you have everything you need before beginning.
- Required wiring. Depending on your system, the wiring used will vary. However, many intercoms use similar types of wiring, including power, Ethernet, and door release.
- Fish tape. If you have to run any kind of wiring through the walls or ceilings, a fish tape or rod helps it reach the destination easier.
- Screwdriver. An electric drill can act as a replacement, but in some cases, a screwdriver may be more appropriate for removing and inserting screws, such as the intercom’s backplate.
- Electric drill. The electric drill will help with drilling any necessary holes, alongside securing the intercom to the surface.
- Razor blade or scraper. A straight edge from a razor or scraper is perfect for cleaning up the edges of any holes or caulk from an old system.
Learn how to remove an old intercom before installing ButterflyMX:
How to install an intercom system
Now that you have the tools to install an intercom system, it’s time to follow the step-by-step process. Again, the process of installing an intercom will vary based on the system you’re installing.
Follow these steps to install an intercom system:
- Unbox and register the intercom
- Prepare the intercom mounting site
- Prepare the intercom wiring
- Mark the mounting area
- Attach the intercom backplate
- Connect the wiring to the intercom
- Attach the intercom system
- Activate and test the system
1. Unbox and register the intercom
The first step of installing an intercom system is to remove it from the packaging and locate the serial number. Write it down or take a picture of it for later. The serial number is required to register and activate the intercom after the system is installed.
2. Prepare the intercom mounting site
This step will vary based on whether there is an existing intercom or not.
If you’re replacing an old intercom, remove it from the wall safely before disconnecting the wiring. Afterward, clean the area as best as possible, removing any leftover adhesive, caulking, or debris.
On the other hand, if there is no existing intercom, ensure the mounting site is level and clear of debris. Then, using the backplate or intercom as a guide, mark a spot to cut a hole for wiring. Finish this step by cleanly cutting the hole for the intercom wiring using the appropriate tool.
3. Prepare the intercom wiring
For those who had to remove an old intercom, review the quality of any wiring you’ll be utilizing. Ensure the wires are intact and there is no damage to the shielding. Next, assemble any cabling you may need to run through the wall with the fish tape. With the wiring attached, slowly push the fish tape through the wall to the desired location before connecting it to the respective port.
If you’re running wiring to the intercom location for the first time, attach all of them to the fish tape. Once secured, feed the fish tape through the wall, following a path toward the desired location. After the wiring has reached its destination, connect each to the correct port.
4. Mark the mounting area
Determine where you’d like to mount the system by using the intercom mounting bracket or backplate. Once you’re happy with the placement, use a pen or marker to mark the holes.
5. Attach the intercom backplate
After your intercom backplate’s position has been labeled, use an electric drill to make the holes. Before securing the backplate to the wall, ensure all the required cables are routed through the backplate’s hole. Next, secure the backplate to the wall using screws. Before you finish tightening the screws of the backplate, check to make sure it’s level.
6. Connect the wiring to the intercom
Now, if necessary, remove any port covers on the back of the intercom, keeping any screws safe. If there is a hole present, run the cables through it before plugging anything in. Then, attach all the wiring required to the intercom: power, Ethernet, and door strike. Lastly, reattach the back cover before moving forward.
7. Attach the intercom system
Once the wiring is connected to the intercom, secure the system to the backplate. If the intercom has any locking mechanism, be sure to engage that right away.
8. Activate and test the system
Finally, follow the activation instructions provided by the intercom company. You’ll need the serial number you recorded earlier. After activation, test the system to ensure the intercom is working correctly before it’s handed off to the property.
- An intercom system can cost up to $5,000, while intercom installation can cost up to $3,000.
- Intercom systems that are installed correctly can last up to 20 years.
- The process of installing an intercom will vary based on whether you’re installing a new intercom or retrofitting an old one.
- Closely follow a step-by-step guide in order to correctly install any intercom system.