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Old 07-14-2013, 07:11 PM   #1
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Running Cat6 and romex in same holes


I'm getting ready to run cat6 and romex through new framing. It is my understanding that they can be ran through the same stud holes, parallel with each other, and that the NEC does not require a separation if NM cable is used. I just want to verify that this is accurate. I understand it's probably not best practice, but if it's legal, then that's all I care about right now.

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Old 07-14-2013, 09:20 PM   #2
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Running Cat6 and romex in same holes


You need separation between them otherwise you end up with line noise that wrecks being able to use the CAT6 cabling. You'd be better off not installing it than doing it that way.

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Old 07-15-2013, 03:24 AM   #3
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Running Cat6 and romex in same holes


Running low voltage and Electric Light & Power circuits in the same hole as you describe is not permissible by the NEC. I don't have my code book in front of me, but I believe the requirement is a minimum separation of 6".

Not to mention the amount of interference you'd get by doing the cabling this way, especially if the romex circuit has a motor or a high draw load on the other end. Depending on the circuit, the path and how long they are together for, I'd be surprised if you get a better connection than wireless.

Bottom line, drill a new hole and do yourself a favor and make it a minimum of 12" away.
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Old 07-15-2013, 05:51 AM   #4
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Running Cat6 and romex in same holes


Quote:
Originally Posted by theatretch85
Running low voltage and Electric Light & Power circuits in the same hole as you describe is not permissible by the NEC...
I'm no expert on the NEC, but I'm pretty sure this is wrong. There may be a problem with putting them in the same raceway or terminating in the same box because of differences in insulation, but holes through studs are not a raceway. Of course your inspector will be the final word on this.

That said, it's a bad idea for interference reasons. You can put data cables close to higher voltage cables for short distances with no problems, but running them parallel for longer distances can theoretically introduce noise. This is especially true if someone plugs an electric motor into your circuit. Some people claim this can be mitigated by putting a gentle twist in the romex every few feet.
CAT5e/CAT6 cables are twisted pair cables designed to handle some electromagnetic interference and anyone who works with data networks in commercial environments will tell you they see un-shielded data cables run next to high voltage cables all the time with no apparent ill effect. Still, in a residential setting with new framing its pretty easy to just avoid the whole problem by running them separate.

Reference "300.3(C) Conductors of Different Systems"

Last edited by dftc; 07-15-2013 at 06:29 AM.
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Old 07-15-2013, 01:47 PM   #5
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Running Cat6 and romex in same holes


DFTC is correct. Through the same hole is not an NEC issue.
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Old 07-15-2013, 02:32 PM   #6
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Running Cat6 and romex in same holes


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Of course your inspector will be the final word on this.
This.

It'd be worth putting the question to the permitting office. You don't want your permit delayed trying to squabble over what is or isn't "allowed" by code.
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Old 07-15-2013, 05:36 PM   #7
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Running Cat6 and romex in same holes


Its fine to run low voltage and high voltage cables in the same drilled holes, only audio fanatics freak out about this without justified cause, the twisting of the Cat5,6 eliminates any unwanted line noise. it's a moot point.
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Old 07-15-2013, 05:36 PM   #8
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This.

It'd be worth putting the question to the permitting office. You don't want your permit delayed trying to squabble over what is or isn't "allowed" by code.
Why? the NEC is pretty clear on it.
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:04 PM   #9
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What the NEC might say vs how local inspectors interpret things is an age-old problem. Made worse, perhaps, when there's DIY labor involved. This doesn't make it right, but arguing with inspectors wouldn't get the permit issued any faster. Combine that with the likelihood for disrupting the networking on the line and it doesn't make much sense to go that route.

Or is there some other issue at hand here that's affecting being able to run the wires properly?
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:07 PM   #10
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Its fine to run low voltage and high voltage cables in the same drilled holes, only audio fanatics freak out about this without justified cause, the twisting of the Cat5,6 eliminates any unwanted line noise. it's a moot point.
And you know this based on what? Experience with line voltage gear or gigabit networking performance?

Having overseen and consulted on literally tens of thousands of network ports over several decades I'll err on the side of caution when it comes to avoiding interference with network cabling. I've had clients have to spend a fair bit of money to move the line voltage wiring because someone else 'assumed' it wouldn't be a problem. And it wasn't for most of the year... until the AC gear powered on that circuit kicked in and disrupted a considerable number of workstation's networking.

But hey, feel free to screw it up any way you choose.
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:08 PM   #11
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Running Cat6 and romex in same holes


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Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post
What the NEC might say vs how local inspectors interpret things is an age-old problem. Made worse, perhaps, when there's DIY labor involved. This doesn't make it right, but arguing with inspectors wouldn't get the permit issued any faster. Combine that with the likelihood for disrupting the networking on the line and it doesn't make much sense to go that route.

Or is there some other issue at hand here that's affecting being able to run the wires properly?
Personally, if inspectors actually read the NEC, it would be fantastic, if they want to call a violation, then they should post the section that was violated since the NEC is a permissive document, if you just agree to everything the inspector wants, that is just insane. And I never said argue, just ask for the code section that was violated, pretty simple.
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:12 PM   #12
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Get the inspection done and move on. Or get your shorts all bunched up on the annoying ways inspectors fixate on the wrong issues. The former sure seems like a simpler and easier way to move a project forward... the latter seems insane.
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:33 PM   #13
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Running Cat6 and romex in same holes


Use the violation as a teaching moment, not a start of a heated dispute. Inspectors are human and will make mistakes. Once they tell you what they think you did ask them to read it and discuss it. The code doesn't always say what you think it does.
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Old 07-15-2013, 10:17 PM   #14
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Running Cat6 and romex in same holes


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Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post
Get the inspection done and move on. Or get your shorts all bunched up on the annoying ways inspectors fixate on the wrong issues. The former sure seems like a simpler and easier way to move a project forward... the latter seems insane.
That logic is insane, you would not agree if you were a contractor and it cost you money, if you bid a hotel with 100 rooms, and the inspector required a $10 dollar GFCI in every room that wasn't required, would you abide with the same attitude? I seriously doubt it. How about 200 rooms, still not convinced?
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Old 07-15-2013, 10:21 PM   #15
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Running Cat6 and romex in same holes


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Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post
And you know this based on what? Experience with line voltage gear or gigabit networking performance?

Having overseen and consulted on literally tens of thousands of network ports over several decades I'll err on the side of caution when it comes to avoiding interference with network cabling. I've had clients have to spend a fair bit of money to move the line voltage wiring because someone else 'assumed' it wouldn't be a problem. And it wasn't for most of the year... until the AC gear powered on that circuit kicked in and disrupted a considerable number of workstation's networking.

But hey, feel free to screw it up any way you choose.
Please, you have no documentation on this, its all an audiophiles wet dream... Keep selling moster cable while you are at it, because it IS the best....

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Last edited by stickboy1375; 07-15-2013 at 10:23 PM.
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