romex in a cold air return?

Old 10-31-02, 04:37 AM
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romex in a cold air return?

I need to place 3 - 3 way switches at the top of our basement stairs for basement lights. The only place to insert a 3 gang switch box is in a cold air cavity.

Can I safely place the box and wire running from the 1st floor to the basement in the cold air return cavity? I was thinking I have seen new construction with flexible conduit running through a cold air return... is that an option I can use?
Old 10-31-02, 05:21 AM
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The cable would have to be plenum rated. That means it won't give toxic fumes in a fire. It also means more $$$.
Old 10-31-02, 06:01 AM
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In another words it can't have a PVC sleeve, has to be Polyester...
Old 10-31-02, 07:45 AM
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I don't think you can install a device box inside the cold air return cavity. I'm not sure about other wire types, but NM can only be run perpendicular to the length of cold air returns.
Old 10-31-02, 07:54 PM
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Most building codes won't allow the box in the cold air return reason being over time dust will be drawn into the box past the faceplate building up inside the box till one day a spark from using the switch ignites it where it burns undiscovered in the ductwork.
Old 11-01-02, 01:48 PM
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What about using surface mount hardware ( Wiremold ) without penetrating the wall ( into the air return )? You could place the boxes where you want them and then run the surface conduit to a location that you can penetrate the wall without going into the cold air return. Since the surface mount conduit is so small, you may end up needing a conduit for each set of wires ( each switch ).

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