Place outlet in cold air return wall cavity

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Old 04-26-09, 10:20 AM
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Place outlet in cold air return wall cavity

I'm rearranging my kitchen and want to install a new outlet above a 15" section of countertop (according to code). However, attached to the studs under the drywall is sheet metal because the stud cavity is being used a cold air return from the upstairs. Can I still put an outlet in this space?

Thanks // MarkDiy
 
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Old 04-26-09, 12:02 PM
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No can do. Plastic boxes may not be in air handling spaces. Unless you can box around the box with wood or drywall. Romex may pass through the space but that is pretty much it.

You will have to figure out another place such as the upper above the counter or on the side or front of the cabinet.
 
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Old 04-26-09, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
Romex may pass through the space but that is pretty much it.
To clarify, it may only pass through the duct perpendicular to the long dimension of the duct.

Rick
 
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Old 04-26-09, 01:41 PM
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It's NEC Section 300.22(C), Exception: This section shall not apply to the joist or stud spaces of dwelling units where the wiring passes through such spaces perpendicular to the long dimension of such spaces.

Here's the commentary (bold mine):

The exception to 300.22(C) permits cable to pass through joist or stud spaces of a dwelling unit. The joist space is covered with sheet metal and used as a cold-air return for a forced warm-air central heating system. Equipment such as junction boxes or device enclosures is not permitted in this location.

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Old 04-26-09, 02:48 PM
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I'll hold off for now and will see what the inspector says. Thank you.
 
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Old 04-26-09, 08:26 PM
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If you need to, you can install a junction box in the cold air return as long as you use "plenum-rated" materials such as a metal junction box, metallic wiring method like MC or AC cable or conduit and caulk the openings. It's not impossible, just a little more work and cost to do it right. The issue with installing plastic is that the PVC blue boxes and romex cable fumes out some nasty smoke if it catches fire and you don't want that in the air handling system.
 
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