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Thread: 2 12/2 NM cables in one hole through top plate into attic cellulose

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    DIY Junior Member pex006's Avatar
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    Default 2 12/2 NM cables in one hole through top plate into attic cellulose

    Hi I have recently found a 12/2 cable running in my return air duct that is just connected with wire caps and not in a box. Someone who remodeled the house moved the receptacle a foot to the left and just wire nutted the wires that used to go into the old recptacle and pushed them back into the return duct. The air return duct is a stud bay being used as a return air duct that goes down into the lower floor joists. I have a small stud bay directly to the side with a two gang switchbox. This is were the cable originates from and then travels through a hole in the stud and into the air retun stud bay where the put the new recptcle, then a foot down the line it is junctioned with the wire nuts then continues up a stud and out the top of the bay into the attic. I would like to bypass the air return by pulling the cable back into the neighboring bay that has a 2 gang switchbox and put the receptacle there. Then cut the cable that comes out of the top of the air retun duct and remove that unused cable out of the return if possible. I would then fish a cable down the switchbox studbay to the receptacle and junction the the circuit in the attic. I have found where the cables exit the switchbox studbay and one of the holes has room for one more cable to slide in. Is it ok to put (2) 12/2 cables that are on seperate circuits through the same hole in the top plate if it will go up into/through cellulose insulation? They will go seperate ways immediatley after exiting the hole in the toplate.

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    DIY Senior Member Homeownerinburb's Avatar
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    You are certainly on the right track, realizing that it is a violation of code to fish NM down a air duct. In the events of an air return duct such as you describe, that is only made up of the studs, it used to be, and still is, I believe, permissibly to pass across the duct and seal the holes drilled.

    Yes, drill a generous hole for the NM and run two lengths of it in that hole, and flare them away one from the other. Short parallel runs are permissible. Use some fire rated expanding foam to fill the hole after you are done.

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    DIY Junior Member pex006's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeownerinburb View Post
    You are certainly on the right track, realizing that it is a violation of code to fish NM down a air duct. In the events of an air return duct such as you describe, that is only made up of the studs, it used to be, and still is, I believe, permissibly to pass across the duct and seal the holes drilled.

    Yes, drill a generous hole for the NM and run two lengths of it in that hole, and flare them away one from the other. Short parallel runs are permissible. Use some fire rated expanding foam to fill the hole after you are done.
    I was going to put the new wire down through the same hole as an existing cable that has just enough extra room for another cable to slide by. Would it be ok to use that same hole? That would make it 2 cables total in that hole.

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    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pex006 View Post
    I was going to put the new wire down through the same hole as an existing cable that has just enough extra room for another cable to slide by. Would it be ok to use that same hole? That would make it 2 cables total in that hole.
    I believe all will be well there as long as the two are still a bit "loose" and not being compressed by each other.
    "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." --Eleanor Roosevelt

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    DIY Senior Member Homeownerinburb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pex006 View Post
    I was going to put the new wire down through the same hole as an existing cable that has just enough extra room for another cable to slide by. Would it be ok to use that same hole? That would make it 2 cables total in that hole.
    Did I understand you to say that the existing wire you are talking about is in the return duct? Because you cannot run nm down the length of a return duct.

    If you can reasonably get the wire into the hole, go ahead. Just do as you said that you were going to do, and space them away from each other as much as you can away from the hole in the framing.

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    DIY Junior Member pex006's Avatar
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    No the cable in the return duct I am totally getting rid of. The supply for that line is in the neighboring studbay. I would like to cut both ends of the line in the return and just run straight up the neighboring studbay into the attic and junction with the line I cut at the top. But in that neighboring studbay there are already cables for switches and another supply for a bedroom. One of the holes where one of the switch cables goes into the attic has some room for another cable to slide by pretty easily. I slid a cable in the hole and back out pretty smoothly.

    Do the two cables have to still have alot of wiggle room or is it ok that they are snug together. I have no trouble sliding the new cable in and back out by the other cable in the hole already, but they pretty much fill the hole completely when next to each other.
    Last edited by pex006; 07-14-2013 at 08:25 PM.

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