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Ocelaris 01-10-2013 08:22 AM

Romex wiring distance from from fireplace Chimney bricks?
I'm replacing some old ungrounded wiring above my fireplace (for a TV) and wanted to know if I need any special protection from the back of the chimney behind the wall. Above the fireplace I have a full 2x4 (3.5") distance between the drywall/plaster (not lathe) and the bricks. I'm going to be tapping off the outlet for the room's new 20amp AFCI receptacle circuit I'm running, and since I have access from the attic (unfinished) above, I'll just slip the wire down through the top frame of the stud (I'll bore a hole). But I thought there were rules about running Romex too close to a chimney? Is there any sort of protection I need for this? I'm redoing the entire house in NM-B, but if I have to switch to BX/AC/MC or something just for this section, I suppose I could bring it into a metal box and switch to BX/AC/MC? I'm also going to have to run some low voltage wiring next to it (not with it), so I was hoping just to drill the top stud, but if there's some conduit or protection I need, I'd like to know.

I've already heard the horror stories about fireplaces and TVs, but the mantel juts out almost 6 inches, so I don't foresee this being an issue with our limited use of the fireplace. Currently the fireplace is out of commission (just bought the house and need to have it inspected), so just want to get the wiring in place for future use.


RAUL HIDALGO 01-10-2013 09:31 AM

Is it an end run or does it runs from that outlet to others.if its an end run just run it inside conduit however the distance you specify should be safe for just romex but you can never be too careful

k_buz 01-10-2013 10:29 AM

Sleeving NM in conduit has no affect on the temperature rating of the insulation. You will be fine running along the 2x4 studs.

Ocelaris 01-10-2013 10:38 AM

The run is just an end run, maybe 24' tops. Conduit would be a real pain because I'd have to open up the wall a few times to secure it, and the only thing to secure it to is the brick, so I'd rather not if I don't have to. I'm sure the BX that is in place isn't anything special, so given after 60 years it's held up, I'll probably right just attach the romex to studs. Thanks

Jim Port 01-10-2013 10:56 AM

At 60 years old your wiring may not be grounded and should not be extended until valid grounding is verified. If not grounded do not extend the circuit.

Ocelaris 01-10-2013 11:13 AM

Of course, the wiring is so helter skelter I'm replacing the entire house with nm-b 12-2 for outlets and lighting (smokes get 14-3). You can kinda see the new receptacles and can lights in the picture. The mantle outlet is being tapped off a brand new 20amp AFCI circuit. The old wiring is a mix of BX and clothed romex, and circuits are shared throughout the house basement and main floor (it's a ranch) and are too tangled to bother figuring out, so I'm rewiring everything.

But that brings up a good question, when abandoning the wiring (pulling it out completely isn't realistic because I'm not tearing down all the walls), what do I do with the abandoned wire? Of course I'm disconnecting it at the panel, but when I have an outlet/receptacle I'm not reusing what's the safest way to decommission that wiring? I was planning on disconnecting it at the breaker, cut off the box, and just toss it back in the wall with wire nuts. Is there some special way to do that, or tell future electricians that it's dead wire? i.e. tape it with red tape or something?


theatretch85 01-10-2013 10:40 PM

If you can't remove the entire run of wire, then mark it at either end with tape as "Abandoned" with the date. I don't believe the color of the tape matters here.

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