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I have a finished basement and am mounting a flat-screen TV on the wall and I want to put an electrical box behind the TV. The two existing outlets are both two joists over and each separated with a metal heating vent to boot - so it would be extremely difficult to tie into one of those. However, I have access to the ceiling and can run cable there and out to another outlet.

Can I just run regular electrical wire through the joists and along the ceiling without fastening it to the joists along the way?

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See also: diy.stackexchange.com/questions/11617/… –  BMitch Jul 21 '12 at 12:29
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1 Answer

Yes:

NEC 2011 334.30(B): Unsupported cables. Nonmetallic-sheathed cable shall be permitted to be unsupported where the cable:

(1) Is fished between access points through concealed spaces in finished buildings or structures and supporting is impracticable.

(2) Is not more than 1.4 m (4½ ft) from the last point of cable support to the point of connection to a luminaire or other piece of electrical equipment and the cable and point of connection are within an accessible ceiling.

Otherwise the rest of 334.30 applies:

NEC 2011 334.30: Securing and supporting. Nonmetallic-sheathed cable shall be supported and secured by staples, cable ties, straps, hangers, or similar fittings designed and installed so as not to damage the cable, at intervals not exceeding 1.4 m (4½ ft) and within 300 mm (12 in.) of every outlet box, junction box, cabinet, or fitting. Flat cables shall not be stapled on edge.

Sections of cable protected from physical damage by raceways shall not be required to be secured within the raceway.

(A) Horizontal Runs Through Holes and Notches. In other than vertical runs, cables installed in accordance with 300.4 shall be considered to be supported and secured where such support does not exceed 1.4-m (4½-ft) intervals and the nonmetallic-sheathed cable is securely fastened in place by an approved means within 300 mm (12 in.) of each box, conduit body, or other nonmetallic-sheathed cable termination.

Informational Note: See 314.17(C) for support where non-metallic boxes are used.

(B) [given above]

(C) Wiring Device Without a Separate Outlet Box. […]

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