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Old 10-21-2009, 01:38 PM   #1
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How to maintain clearance between romex and duct in joist bay?


I may need to run romex through a floor joist bay for electrical going up from the basement into my kitchen. There's currently a round supply HVAC duct going through this bay that takes up probably 75% of the height and 50% of the width in the bay.

I'm given to understand that I need to maintain 1" of clearance between this duct and the romex. Any suggestions on how to accomplish this? My initial thought would be to attach some insulation to the outside of the duct. Would this be an acceptable, code compliant solution, or is there something better I'm not considering?

I do realize that the heat/cold is not the primary issue. I'll be drilling through the center of the joists for the romex, which will be perpendicular to the duct.

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Old 10-21-2009, 09:08 PM   #2
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How to maintain clearance between romex and duct in joist bay?


Now who told you that there was a clearance between the duct and romex?

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Old 10-21-2009, 09:37 PM   #3
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How to maintain clearance between romex and duct in joist bay?


Probably the local code enforcer/home inspector. If it was me, I would run a conduit up the bay, to allow for future proofing, and to make it cleaner. Local Code has to be checked with that idea first.
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Old 10-21-2009, 11:08 PM   #4
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How to maintain clearance between romex and duct in joist bay?


There's no clearance requirement between an HVAC duct (supply or return) and romex wiring that I'm aware of. The 1" clearance requirement would be to the type B vent that vents fuel-fired appliances like furnaces and water heaters.

To say if insulation wrapping the duct would be code-compliant is hard to say, considering whoever's requiring this of you is operating outside of the code to the best of my knowledge.

If an inspector is requiring this, I'd kindly ask him to please help you find it in the code by providing the applicable code section.
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Old 10-22-2009, 01:51 AM   #5
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How to maintain clearance between romex and duct in joist bay?


Thanks for the responses. I'm learning a lot and avoiding some headaches along the way.

I'll double check with my inspector before I take any drastic action. He may not have understood that this was HVAC and not combustible gas exhaust, though that seems to be the crucial detail. They haven't been the nicest or most helpful folks to deal with, but I'm trying to play their game long enough to get my work approved. Self-interest in my own safety is plenty of motivation to figure out how to do things right. I know the inspector/code is looking out for that, too.

So, to clarify, if I'm drilling through the center of the floor joists, I can simply let the romex loop under or pass above the duct? Would one or the other be preferable? Underneath would leave the low point of the wiring almost as low as the bottom of the joist. There's a drop ceiling below this, if that has any implications.
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:56 AM   #6
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How to maintain clearance between romex and duct in joist bay?


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Originally Posted by TomServo View Post
Thanks for the responses. I'm learning a lot and avoiding some headaches along the way.

I'll double check with my inspector before I take any drastic action. He may not have understood that this was HVAC and not combustible gas exhaust, though that seems to be the crucial detail. They haven't been the nicest or most helpful folks to deal with, but I'm trying to play their game long enough to get my work approved. Self-interest in my own safety is plenty of motivation to figure out how to do things right. I know the inspector/code is looking out for that, too.

So, to clarify, if I'm drilling through the center of the floor joists, I can simply let the romex loop under or pass above the duct? Would one or the other be preferable? Underneath would leave the low point of the wiring almost as low as the bottom of the joist. There's a drop ceiling below this, if that has any implications.

Six on one hand and half dozen on another it's all good
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Old 10-22-2009, 03:15 PM   #7
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How to maintain clearance between romex and duct in joist bay?


BTW, is it the same situation with a gas dryer vent, or do I actually need clearance there?
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:13 PM   #8
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How to maintain clearance between romex and duct in joist bay?


Here in Alberta Canada you are required by code to put a piece of insulation between romex and an air duct when running romex on top of the duct and I don't believe there is any requirement for running parallel to the duct. The size/grade of insulation doesn't seem to matter.

Type "B" vents are a different story and I'm not sure on what the requirements are for those.
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Old 10-24-2009, 02:31 PM   #9
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How to maintain clearance between romex and duct in joist bay?


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Originally Posted by TomServo View Post
BTW, is it the same situation with a gas dryer vent, or do I actually need clearance there?
Still wondering a bit about this. My guess is that its no different than the HVAC, but I'd appreciate confirmation.

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