Running communications cables into attic

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Old 04-20-10, 02:19 PM
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Running communications cables into attic

Hi all,

I don't really have a utility room in my house so I need a relatively clean and legal way to get 10 or so cat6 cables into my attic. My plan is to put in a few of those wire shelves for routers etc. in a finished closet close to the ceiling and run a plastic pipe into the attic as a conduit. I'll secure the pipe in the attic.

There will be NO 120Vac in this bundle.

Is this legal? I assume I have to maintain the firebreak and if so is firebreak caulk sufficient? Would I simply load the tube end with caulk after cables installed?

Thanks
 
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Old 04-20-10, 02:31 PM
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Exposed plastic pipe is a fire hazard in and of itself. I would recommend a bushed metal conduit.
 
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Old 04-20-10, 02:51 PM
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Ok,

I read up on firebreaks some more and it appears that for a single family home, the only firebreak is between the garage and the rest of the house, assuming what I read was up to date.

On a home improvement show, I saw the electrician stressing the need for firebreak caulk whenever he drilled a top plate or added a ceiling light fixture (don't remember if it was both or one situation) but perhaps he was just being thorough.
 
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Old 04-20-10, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by AlexH View Post
Hi all,

I don't really have a utility room in my house so I need a relatively clean and legal way to get 10 or so cat6 cables into my attic. My plan is to put in a few of those wire shelves for routers etc. in a finished closet close to the ceiling and run a plastic pipe into the attic as a conduit. I'll secure the pipe in the attic.

There will be NO 120Vac in this bundle.

Is this legal? I assume I have to maintain the firebreak and if so is firebreak caulk sufficient? Would I simply load the tube end with caulk after cables installed?

Thanks
I see no problem at all how you're going to do it. Now remember if you are running Cat6 cable make sure you don't put any sharp bends in the cable. Caution needs to be taken when you run Cat6. If you use wire ties on the cable make sure you don't over tighten the wire ties. It could damage the cable.
Good luck.
Jim

 

Last edited by pcboss; 04-20-10 at 03:13 PM. Reason: fixed quote format
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Old 04-20-10, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by AlexH View Post
I read up on firebreaks some more and it appears that for a single family home, the only firebreak is between the garage and the rest of the house, assuming what I read was up to date.
No, that's not true. Holes between floors must be firestopped.

On a home improvement show, I saw the electrician stressing the need for firebreak caulk whenever he drilled a top plate or added a ceiling light fixture (don't remember if it was both or one situation) but perhaps he was just being thorough.
True. This is to prevent fire from traveling from inside the walls to the floors.
 
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Old 04-20-10, 08:41 PM
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For the sake of discussion, firestopping and fireproofing are two entirely different things. Firestopping can be done with wood 2x4s, acrylic caulk, galvanized flashing, spray foam and even normal drywall. A rated fire partition, such as between a garage and living area, is fire rated construction and must be covered with one or more layers of type X drywall (depending on the rating) and fire taped. Even doors in a fire rated partition must be labelled with the rating. Technically, typical Carlon PVC boxes aren't allowed in a fire rated partition. Even the typical metal wall boxes and octagon ceiling boxes from Raco and Steel City are not fire rated unless covered with an approved putty pad. A LOT depends on the opinion of the local AHJ.
 
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Old 04-21-10, 04:18 AM
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Those routers in the closet ... How are they powered? 120vac? Is it a clothes closet?

Seems to me there's something about that not being allowed. Can one of the pros please set me straight once & for all about power in a clothes closet?
 
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Old 04-21-10, 05:49 AM
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There is no NEC prohibition against receptacles in closets. Panel are not allowed to be in closets near "easily ignited materials" like clothes.

To CausualJoe, the Carlon blue boxes have a 2 hour rating IIRC.
 
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Old 04-21-10, 08:01 PM
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[QUOTE=pcboss;1719791]There is no NEC prohibition against receptacles in closets. Panel are not allowed to be in closets near "easily ignited materials" like clothes.

To CausualJoe, the Carlon blue boxes have a 2 hour rating IIRC.[/QUOTE]

You are right, I checked. Guess I really stepped in that one. But still, much depends on the opinion of the AHJ.
 
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Old 04-22-10, 09:16 AM
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And just FYI to the DIY's, I removed an outlet plate from an outlet in my finished garage and the box is metal. So I suppose this means that all boxes placed in a firebreak must be metal.
 
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Old 04-22-10, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by AlexH View Post
And just FYI to the DIY's, I removed an outlet plate from an outlet in my finished garage and the box is metal. So I suppose this means that all boxes placed in a firebreak must be metal.
Not necessarily. Some plastic/fiber boxes have a fire rating that exceeds a metal box. I don't see any reason why they wouldn't be allowed.
 
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Old 04-22-10, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by AlexH View Post
And just FYI to the DIY's, I removed an outlet plate from an outlet in my finished garage and the box is metal. So I suppose this means that all boxes placed in a firebreak must be metal.
They don't always need to be metal, particularly in residential work. In many areas a single-family home wiring can be 100% plastic boxes and cables (with the exception of the main panel and meter). This depends a lot on the construction type, the exact materials used, and the local codes.

As an exercise to the reader -- really try to ruin a blue plastic box sometime. They are remarkably durable and heat resistant.
 
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Old 04-22-10, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by AlexH View Post
Hi all,

I don't really have a utility room in my house so I need a relatively clean and legal way to get 10 or so cat6 cables into my attic. My plan is to put in a few of those wire shelves for routers etc. in a finished closet close to the ceiling and run a plastic pipe into the attic as a conduit. I'll secure the pipe in the attic.

There will be NO 120Vac in this bundle.

Is this legal? I assume I have to maintain the firebreak and if so is firebreak caulk sufficient? Would I simply load the tube end with caulk after cables installed?

Thanks
I'm not sure if you're going to run the plastic pipe from the closet inside wall, drill through the ceiling sheetrock and just stub it in the attic. If so will you be putting a large junction box in your closet or just hook up the wires coming out of your pipe going in the closet? Also, how where you going in get power for your 120 volt receptable in your closet. It's OK to put one in there just so you know. Another way you could do it is to drill a hole big enough for you cat6 wires in your header on your stud wall, go down the cavity of your wall as needed and punch a hole big enough to pull your wire through the sheetrock. Just remember to caulk your hole up in the header after you have all your wires ran for the fire stop protection. Let us know what your thinking.
Jim

 
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Old 04-22-10, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by AlexH View Post
And just FYI to the DIY's, I removed an outlet plate from an outlet in my finished garage and the box is metal. So I suppose this means that all boxes placed in a firebreak must be metal.
No. As pcboss pointed out,

the Carlon blue boxes have a 2 hour rating
The Carlon blue boxes are not metal.

When Putty Pads Are Used
Two Reasons to Use Putty
Putty pads are used to protect metallic and non-metallic electrical boxes for the following three
reasons.
Size of Box
If the box is larger than 16 sq. in. (103 sq. cm), the box must be protected using putty pads.
Spacing Between Boxes
If the horizontal spacing between boxes is less than the required 24 in. (60.9 cm), the boxes must
be protected using putty pads.
Metal boxes are not automatically approved in a fire rated partition.

For more info, if you are interested.

http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/mediawe...6EVs6E666666--
 
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Old 04-22-10, 06:05 PM
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The real problem is that I live in a 2 story house on slab and I believe it uses I-joists between floors and to top it off the upstairs walls and the downstairs walls do not align vertically (even the load carrying walls do not align which suprised me). So everything -water, power and comm is routed via the attic.

Jim,

I could do it either way (through plate or through ceiling drywall) since I was planning to put the equipment fairly close to the ceiling. I wasn't really planning on running it through the plate since I tentatively selected a 2" PVC. There is a utility light+switch in the attic right above the location so wiring a new 120V socket would be easy.

I think most of my concerns were mostly unfounded since I now remember that Comcast put a cable modem in a friends closet and I think he has an extension cord for power.

I just mostly need to get the cables off the floor - it's kind of hard to vacuum with all those cables getting in the way
 
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Old 04-23-10, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by AlexH View Post
The real problem is that I live in a 2 story house on slab and I believe it uses I-joists between floors and to top it off the upstairs walls and the downstairs walls do not align vertically (even the load carrying walls do not align which suprised me). So everything -water, power and comm is routed via the attic.

Jim,

I could do it either way (through plate or through ceiling drywall) since I was planning to put the equipment fairly close to the ceiling. I wasn't really planning on running it through the plate since I tentatively selected a 2" PVC. There is a utility light+switch in the attic right above the location so wiring a new 120V socket would be easy.

I think most of my concerns were mostly unfounded since I now remember that Comcast put a cable modem in a friends closet and I think he has an extension cord for power.

I just mostly need to get the cables off the floor - it's kind of hard to vacuum with all those cables getting in the way
Alex, One thing to remember that your devices in your closet will create heat and as you know heat raises up and your ceiling area will be somewhat warm. I would at least try to set your devices mid height in your closet. Make sure you seal all holes after you're finished. Also seal your pipe up in the attic. It sounds like a fun project that you shouldn't have any trouble with.

Jim
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