fishing wire through cold air return

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  #1  
Old 01-18-03, 08:51 PM
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fishing wire through cold air return

I want to move my cable modem and router to the basement and run CAT5 up the cold air return to the computer room. This will allow me to have a TV in there and to run more CAT5 through the basement.

Having never fished wire through the cold air return, I don't really know how these suckers negotiate the transition from floor to floor (router in basement, cascade switch in computer room on second floor.)

The cold air return is thankfully on one wall of the computer room, but I don't know how it might manage to get around the wall's sole plate to continue its mission on down to the basement. Confusingly, the return is situated above the kitchen entrance on the first floor, so it must shift left or right and go through another wall.

Anyone out there know how they usually do this so I can avoid punching too many holes in the drywall :-)? I'll start drilling all over if I have to, since I'm refinishing all the walls this isn't such a big deal. But I'd like to minimize the damaga if possible.
 
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Old 01-18-03, 09:18 PM
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I don't know how much planning you have in this so far, but a good plan is helpful.


****************NOTE FROM PHONETEK*****************

This post was edited due to the fact that the advise given was not safe, nor did it comply with most building codes. As the Moderator of this forum I have the right to edit or delete any posts or links given that are not appropriate. Thank you.
 

Last edited by Phonetek; 01-19-03 at 08:32 PM.
  #3  
Old 01-18-03, 10:20 PM
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Many thanks for the site reference. I'll pop right over. I presume that special wiring is not needed for a cold air return, as there is no heat and not much else going on in there, but I'll look into it further.
 
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Old 01-19-03, 08:25 PM
Phonetek
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Fishing wire through a cold air return is ABSOLUTELY NOT ACCEPTABLE! I would sooner recommend running your electric through your water pipes. You can run wire NEXT TO duct work, NEXT TO pipes but NEVER run it through duct work. Cold air returns are for exactly that purpose and that purpose only! A drill and a Fish tape will do wonders to help you run the wires in a correct manner. There should be plenty of room inside your walls to feed cable up through. It may seem difficult and it can be quite a job but it can be done correctly and safe. If you feel that staying out of the air duct is something that you cannot do yourself I would recommend getting some outside help to do the work. Perhaps a handyman through your local newspaper wouldn't charge much. Let us know how it turns out!
 

Last edited by Phonetek; 01-19-03 at 08:40 PM.
  #5  
Old 01-19-03, 09:29 PM
bryan77
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Check going down the soil stack, I know in most older homes the stack is normally a straight shot from the basement to the attic.
 
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Old 01-19-03, 10:44 PM
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I would really appreciate a bit of info regarding the negative side of running a low power application like home networking through a duct system that circulates cold air. Your comparison to running electrical through water pipes was intended to express the severity of the risk, so I'm now very curious as to what the hazards are.

Thanks.
 
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Old 01-19-03, 11:24 PM
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hazards

Let me try and explain why.

All rooms in a house are seperated by drywall and doors to provide a fire break from room to room.

Ductwork is made of metal or other fire retardants such as drywall so that fire spread will not move from room to room. Punching holes in ductwork breaches that fire break.

Short circuts, low voltage or not, can generate smoke and/or fire. If this fire is in the ductwork, it has a clear and unobstucted path to each and every room because it is one of the only common ways through the firebreaks.

OK, so it only smokes, and there is no fire spread. In house fire deaths, 99.9% of deaths are caused by smoke inhalation.

Look at another thing, cold air ducts are hot one season, cold the next. Variance of climate create funny things such as condensation in cables. Cat 5 is a high end cable for high end uses. Why in the world would you run it through a box with varying climate.

There are reasons for codes, and this is one of them not to violate. Of course, violations are what puts my kids through college.

Now, excuse me while I run, I've got another fire alrm to respond to. Probably a cat5 in a duct.........

TxFirePro
 
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Old 01-20-03, 01:08 AM
Phonetek
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kletkeman :: "Your comparison to running electrical through water pipes was intended to express the severity of the risk, so I'm now very curious as to what the hazards are."


ME::
I think the previous post pretty much explains a lot. I guess my main thing is that it just isn't done that way. They do not call them the "Cold Air Return & Cabling Duct." Also, Cat5 cable as is many other types of cable is coated with Polypropylene. Regardless if it is plenum cable or not it is still made of that substance. That being the case, your running this cable through a duct that has rather warm air going into it. When you add heat to polypropylene it gets soft and I know you can smell it. If you can smell it, it is giving off some sort of fumes. Those fumes are then getting sucked into your furnace then circulated throughout your home. I don't know about you, but I really don't think I want MY house smelling like plastic which is probably toxic to begin with. Call or send an email to a Cat 5 manufacturer and ask them what the effects are from adding heat to their cables are. They may tell you. This may be stretching it just a bit but I'm not a fire code expert, heating and A/C guy nor am I a scientist or doctor to tell you all the possible health hazards. Of course I do know it only takes an 8 inch piece of PVC pipe to burn to cause enough toxic fumes to kill you and today most homes have plenty of that. Why add to it and ask for trouble?

In addition to that, adding heat to a cable could also cause your wires to melt together over time which will surely not help your high speed connection. Also, you can add the vibration factor in while were at it. I don't know about your house but when my furnace kicks on or A/C it sounds like a train is running through it with all the ducts banging away. The insides of ductwork have sharp corners, burrs of metal, sheet metal screws and lots of muck to go along with it. With all of that going on, if you don't damage your cables pulling them in it probably won't take long before the vibration makes them rub up against a screw or burr to damage them anyway.

I'm sure this isn't everything that could possibly happen and I'm sure there will be more posts to follow from myself and others but it's a good start. To be quite honest this should be more than enough. So, before I were to even think about running any kind of wires/cabling through heating/AC ductwork I would sooner go to the worse area in Chicago at midnight screaming on the street "HEY! ANYONE GOT CHANGE FOR A HUNDRED DOLLAR BILL!!!? I wouldn't give that advice to anyone nor would I give advice to run the cable that way. THAT, is my PROFESSIONAL opinion. Let us know how it comes out! (or through)
 
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