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Old 05-22-2012, 01:04 AM   #1
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attic wiring


Question, the attic of my ranch style can only be accessed with an extension ladder through a small hatch up in the garage wall. It is an unfriendly space, no lights , no power outlets, loose insulation to kick up, walk across planks with a flashlight kinda place.

I have always dutifully drilled holes through a lot of timber to pull a new circuit across the attic. Question is, do I need to drill holes or can I lay 20 gauge romex over the top of the beams in such an uninhabited space?

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Old 05-22-2012, 04:56 AM   #2
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Just nail some 1 X 3 to top of joists for running board then staple cable on top of it.

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Old 05-22-2012, 10:13 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by handifoot View Post
Question, the attic of my ranch style can only be accessed with an extension ladder through a small hatch up in the garage wall. It is an unfriendly space, no lights , no power outlets, loose insulation to kick up, walk across planks with a flashlight kinda place.

I have always dutifully drilled holes through a lot of timber to pull a new circuit across the attic. Question is, do I need to drill holes or can I lay 20 gauge romex over the top of the beams in such an uninhabited space?

Thank you
AS long as you are 6' away from the scuttle hole (in any direction), the cable can be layed across the top of the rafters.
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Old 05-22-2012, 04:48 PM   #4
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if within 6 feet of the scuttle hole, and you have wires that cross rafters (as opposed to running parallel), you can get by with small blocks of 1x2 on either side of the rafter where the wire crosses over the rafter, so that anyone stepping on that rafter steps on the blocks and not the wire.

I predrill the blocks so they do not crack and screw them in with 1 1/4" wood construction screws.

Actually, I think running boards do not comply with code since the cable can still be stepped on, unless you use two boards and run the wires between them.

And what the heck are you running with 20 gauge Romex? You mean 12 gauge?
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:23 AM   #5
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sorry, yes I meant to say 12 gauge, (20 amp)
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:29 AM   #6
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AS long as you are 6' away from the scuttle hole (in any direction), the cable can be layed across the top of the rafters.
The cables would still need to be secured. They are not allowed to flop across the rafters.
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Old 05-23-2012, 04:05 PM   #7
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The cables would still need to be secured. They are not allowed to flop across the rafters.
Of course the cables have to be secured, and supported, and protected., and ...,

334.23 In Accessible Attics.
The installation of cable in
accessible attics or roof spaces shall also comply with

320.23.

320.23 In Accessible Attics.
Type AC cables in accessible
attics or roof spaces shall be installed as specified in
320.23(A) and (B).

(A) Where Run Across the Top of Floor Joists.
Where
run across the top of floor joists, or within 2.1 m (7 ft) of
floor or floor joists across the face of rafters or studding, in
attics and roof spaces that are accessible, the cable shall be
protected by substantial guard strips that are at least as high
as the cable. Where this space is not accessible by permanent
stairs or ladders, protection shall only be required
within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the nearest edge of the scuttle hole or

attic entrance.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:15 PM   #8
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I knew you knew that, I just wanted to add that for clarification of others that might think draping the cables across the tops of the framing was OK.
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Old 05-24-2012, 01:35 PM   #9
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I knew you knew that, I just wanted to add that for clarification of others that might think draping the cables across the tops of the framing was OK.
My attic was the typical scuttle hole access without a dedicated ladder. The house was built in 1982, and none of the wiring is secured, just laid on top of the insulation. It's also pulled super tight without any slack anywhere, but that's another issue.

I added a pull down ladder and a small storage area floor, as well as an attic walkway. I've been adding the protective blocks I discussed above, anywhere my floor or walkway is within 7' of such wiring. Do I need to do more?
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Old 05-24-2012, 07:52 PM   #10
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Doesn't sound like it.

The code has changed and used to allow the cables to be draped without being secured IIRC.

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