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Old 12-26-2007, 03:05 PM   #1
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Wiring Project - Need opinions


Recently bought a home built in 1930. There are many fun things to discover about this house, but one discovery I would like to address in a timely fashion.

The entire second floor is on a single 15 amp circuit. There are 4 bedrooms and a bathroom on this floor. I am tentatively planning to add 2 more circuits. From reading on this forum, it seems I need one dedicated to the bathroom (#12/20a), and then another for all the bedroom lights (#14/15a - existing?) and another for all the bedroom receptacles (#12/20a).

While I am at it, I would like to string data/voice cables at the same time.

My first problem is how to get the wires up there from the panels in the basement. I have found what I think is an old air duct (now cold air return?) that runs near an old, unused chimney and a more recent central air duct that runs into the attic. I have pictures attached below showing this. I am contemplating running pvc conduit through this old duct up into the attic and then attempting to drop all my wiring in the walls from above each upstairs room.

I understand most people don't use conduit for an indoor residential application. However, I would like the flexibility of easily pulling through more wires in the future (both electrical and data/voice).

Here are the pictures.

Chimney in attic (brick) with in-use air duct. Conduit would come up to the right of the chimney, on this side of the 2x4 from the in-use duct where I pulled the insulation away from the floor.



Inside the wall on the second floor showing the in-use duct. The chimney is behind this duct and the conduit would go to the left of the duct, between it and the paneling/sheetrock.


Here is a view inside the hole on the floor from the bottom left of the previous picture. At the back you can see the top of the old duct that provides a straight shot to the basement to run conduit.


Here is a view of the bottom of the old duct down in the basement. It has a 1.5" pvc conduit stuck up in it I was using to check for sizing.




So my question to you all is... am I an idiot? Or is this a potential solution to my problem? I know I have a lot more research to do, but I'm trying to get a grasp on how much work this is going to take and how I should approach the project.

Thanks for your feedback.

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Old 12-26-2007, 10:38 PM   #2
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Wiring Project - Need opinions


If I read you right you are actually considering using the chase to run the raceway, not the duct. This is permitted. If, however, you are running the PVC inside of the duct in use, you cannot do this (see NEC 300.22 (b)). The chase will provide you with a slam dunk opportunity to get all of your cabling and power upstairs. Like I said, don't use the inside of the duct.

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Old 12-27-2007, 07:00 AM   #3
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Also keep in mind that you can't (and don't want to) run your low voltage (voice/data) in the same conduit or within 2 inches of your high voltage lines.
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Old 12-27-2007, 11:40 AM   #4
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Your a lucky man. To have that nice opening for your wiring. Not everyone gets that lucky. However, as mentioned above, if this opening is used to move air, you cannot put your conduit in it.
Also mentioned above. CATV etc....should be seperated from the power conductors. You don't need a conduit for them. Unless you want a conduit. You can tye rap the signal wiring (TV etc..) to the outside of the conduit if you wish. You don't have any high voltage in your house though. Unless it exceeds 600 volts. Your voltage is considered medium voltage. 0-600.
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Old 12-27-2007, 09:54 PM   #5
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J.V is correct. You don't NEED the conduit to run your lines, but it'll be nice. Even nicer if you ran another for your phone/TV/data. Remember to polish your golden horseshoe when you are done with this project. Happy New Year!
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Old 12-29-2007, 12:16 PM   #6
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I'm not exactly sure what a "chase" is, but if you look at the last picture in my original post you will see a small duct with a grey pvc pipe going into it as well as another larger duct behind it. The small duct I am going to use is old and not in use. The larger duct next to it is the one in use by the HVAC system and I will not be running any conduit or wires inside it.

I also plan to run separate conduits for electrical and data as was suggested.

My main concern here was the proximity the conduit will be to the duct in use, but it seems that there is not a problem from your responses.

I will post again when I run into another question. Thanks for your help!
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Old 12-30-2007, 10:39 PM   #7
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A chase is simply an area free of obstructions, through a house. It allows you to run mechanicals through without hitting structural members. The duct you show is just that.
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Old 12-31-2007, 08:04 AM   #8
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Since the duct you plan to use is no longer beign used as a "duct" it provides the perfect chase. I wish I would get this lucky.

I would reccomend one conduit for the electrical, one for the data/comm, and a spare for future, capped at both ends.

I would also reccomend fire stopping the chase bottom and top when you are done.
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:18 AM   #9
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To what extent would you recommend I firestop? Do I need to seal only the top and bottom of the chase or should I also seal it off at the halfway-point (between floors)? Should I also seal the conduit?
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. V. View Post
You can tye rap the signal wiring (TV etc..) to the outside of the conduit if you wish.
Don't wrap your CAT5/6 onto the conduit. This will make for very poor performance of computer networking. Had a predecessor decide that it made a nice neat wiring bundle to wire tie the CAT 5 directly to the power cords in our computer racks. There wasn't any conduit in between, but unless its metal conduit, it won't matter.
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Old 01-04-2008, 06:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
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To what extent would you recommend I firestop? Do I need to seal only the top and bottom of the chase or should I also seal it off at the halfway-point (between floors)? Should I also seal the conduit?
What the heck...You've save gobs of time with this chase...Fire stop between floors as well. Your goal is to limit air flow in case of a fire. Install your data conduit and seal ends with fire caulk...not silicone. If the electrical conduit is just a sleeve, seal that as well.
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Old 01-04-2008, 10:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boyfly View Post
To what extent would you recommend I firestop? Do I need to seal only the top and bottom of the chase or should I also seal it off at the halfway-point (between floors)? Should I also seal the conduit?
Check with your local code inspector. Firestopping is typically required at each floor/ceiling transition minimally. Platform framing differs from balloon framing. As Andy said, the idea is to prevent fire from a lower level travelling upward due to a chimney effect created by openings from one floor to another.
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Old 01-05-2008, 05:38 AM   #13
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If you are sealing off the whole duct fire caulk isn't practical. You want to use fire resistant insulation. I forget the proper name. We always just called it rotton cotton. It's light brown. It's easy to remove if you want to get back in. You might want to run wire for smoke detectors while you are at it.

Last edited by bigredc; 01-05-2008 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 02-01-2008, 03:52 PM   #14
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Thanks for the input on firestopping.

I plan to do a chunk of this project this weekend. I'll go to Home Depot to pick up the rest of the supplies I need.

One last question... do any of you have good advice for mounting conduit vertically? And should I seal the joints in the conduit?

I'll try to take and post some pictures as I go so you guys can tell me if I'm doing something stupid.

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