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OmegaWS6 09-25-2012 06:09 PM

Wire run through chimney
I would like to add a sub panel in the garage and the main panel is on the other side of the house. I don't want to run a pipe outside the house and I have taken some sheet rock off around the main panel anyway. Due to other projects going on, I have access to the walls so I can run the sub panel wire fairly easily.

Can I run wire down along the furnace/boiler flue? It's a 4" single wall pipe within a run that looks to be at least 12"x12". I think to be on the safer side I can run PVC pipe along the side for added heat insulation.

I'm in NJ if that helps clear any code issues up.

mpoulton 09-25-2012 06:51 PM

I can't tell exactly what you're describing, but it doesn't sound like a good idea. If the flue is running inside an enclosed drywall chase, that is probably a fire rated enclosure which you can't penetrate without fire-caulking the penetrations and complying with a bunch of other annoying fire code provisions.

allthumbsdiy 09-25-2012 08:34 PM

I agree with mpoulton. I don't think running your cable inside chimney is a good idea (it;s probably illegal).

And I don't think you can use regular PVC to protect that cable either.

I actually did a reverse setup as yours (I ran a subpanel cable from main in the garage to the basement) via garage attic. At most, I would think you need to open up one sheetrock wall (first wall away from the wall between your house and garage).

sublime2 09-25-2012 08:44 PM

It seems to me,he is asking if he can run the pvc/ wire within the same space.
Not actually in the flue.

techpappy 09-25-2012 09:07 PM

I would suggest you do not use PVC so close to flue. It could melt or catch fire. Some flues can reach 1000 F! Maybe use conduit.
OR can you box it in sheet rock OR both.

OmegaWS6 09-26-2012 08:35 AM

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Ok, so I made a very general picture of what is going on. From the attic, I can see straight down to the first floor/basement ceiling where the flue enters. There is no fireblock or stops or whatever else should/might be there.. just a nice open hole. I chose PVC since it has a temp rating of 90 deg C, which I figure would help protect the wire. I know of a fiberglass pipe which is rated higher than that, but I have not sourced it yet. I thought about metal pipe, but I would assume that would not insulate the wire as well.

I don't think I can box the pipe, I would have to prefab and drop it down the hole.

techpappy 09-26-2012 08:52 AM

That clearance around the flue is there to protect surrounding building materials..wood/drywall etc. from overheating/possibly catching fire..The flue has a potential temperature exceeding 1000 deg F! DO NOT USE PVC!! IT COULD EASILY MELT..In fact now that I think about it .. you would not be meeting fire code by adding anything into that space. Can you run through attic then down to sub panel?

OmegaWS6 09-26-2012 09:33 AM

That's what I wanted to know.. if I was allowed by code to run anything down there. I wasn't determined to use PVC, I just found some pipe that had a higher temp rating than the wire I plan on using.

Getting from the main panel below (on the other side of the house) then up and along the attic is the easy part. I'm having a tough time finding a good way to get from the attic back down to where the new sub panel will be. This is where the flue run idea came from :)

Thanks for your help.

techpappy 09-26-2012 09:52 AM

Why not just run along outside of flue enclosure.

mpoulton 09-26-2012 12:04 PM

That's a fire-rated chase for the flue. You definitely can't put any combustible materials inside that chase, including wire. I'd run along the outside of it.

OmegaWS6 09-26-2012 01:36 PM

The outside of it is a closet, 2 bathrooms and an unknown :( Plan B it is!

techpappy 09-26-2012 02:25 PM

You can only go so far in the attic then you are at the wall you want to be. Then straight down to where you want to put the sub panel. Right?

Somehow I think I might be wrong. Say it isn't so. If I'm wrong then what is Plan B.

Dave632 09-26-2012 02:50 PM

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What about extending the walls a few inches, and create a "wiring duct" (not sure of the proper terminology) that is separate from, but adjacent to, the flue duct?

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