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Does the NEC allow electrical wiring to run next to a ventilation duct?

My house has recently been converted to 200-amp electrical service, and I would love to run some new wire to take advantage of that fact. My house was converted from forced air to hot-water baseboard heating. My question is: can I run electrical wire through the old heating ducts to save myself quite a bit of hassle? What if there are hot water pipes in them? Is it advisable to/must I use conduit, or would Romex suffice?

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    ^ while the question is not the same, KeithS provides the answer to your question (short answer: no) – Steven Aug 30 '12 at 17:47

I will let someone else weigh in on the NEC compliance, but likely it is allowed (I am guessing it is the same as retrofitting and fishing a wire through an empty wall cavity).

However, I would definitely not do this with NM wire, since there's a high chance there are sharp metal edges and other protrusions that can damage the wire creating a safety and fire hazard. BX (armoured) would be more appropriate, and easier than trying to get NM through conduit and into the vents.

  • You don't see a problem with either the completely empty ducts, or the ones with the hot water pipes? – Brendon Aug 30 '12 at 17:11

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