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I'm planning on running cat6 solid cable throughout many areas of my house. The best way for me to get from the basement to the second floor is through a pvc pipe my builder installed with the house that runs to the attic. I have already used this pipe to run electrical wire up to the attic so I could install my outside flood lights.....thinking ahead before I order everything will I need shielded cat6 since it is running up this pipe with the other electrical wires? Am I setting myself up for a lot of interference if I don't use shielded cat6 and grounded keystones or can I just get the wall rated riser cat6 and regular keystones? Thanks in advance!!!!

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    I don't think you can run low-voltage wiring in the same conduit as line-voltage wiring, shielded or not. – Daniel Griscom Jan 15 '16 at 14:33
  • Any reason why? Is it a fire hazard or something like that? – Bobby Jan 15 '16 at 15:14
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    It's against electrical code. Low voltage/media wiring can't share the same conduit or boxes as electrical wiring. See Ed's answer. – JPhi1618 Jan 15 '16 at 15:18
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    In almost every residential case, the answer is "no", you don't need shielded cable, I've only seen it make a difference in industrial situations where there's huge electrical loads like arc furnaces and 500+ HP electric motors. Shielded cable is much more difficult to run - it's stiffer and has more stringent bend radius and pull strength limits, it's easy for an inexperienced installer to damage it -- one sharp bend can break the shield and crimp the twisted pair cables, making it much worse that a non shielded cable. The twisted pairs give a lot of noise resistance even without a shield. – Johnny Jan 15 '16 at 20:20
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Some areas code do not allow data in the same conduit with power unless the data cable has the voltage rating of the power in that run. If you do run shielded, ground on the supply end do not ground on both ends this is how industrial plants run comm wires when in close proximity to 480V lines.

  • Curious why they don't allow it? Fire hazard? Interference? So if I do run this line ground the shielded on the router end keystone, not where it is going into my equipment, correct? – Bobby Jan 15 '16 at 15:17
  • @Bobby Safety and common sense - low-voltage wiring should be in a separate conduit, which pretty much guarantees that you'll never find mains voltage on the low voltage wiring, which is not designed for mains voltage (nor are the places it connects to.) When you stick them in the same pipe, fault conditions that could cross-connect the two become much more likely, even if you personally find that inconceivable. The NEC finds it quite conceivable and thus forbids it. The NEC is written by the NFPA, so you could assume it's a fire hazard, yes. – Ecnerwal Jan 15 '16 at 15:34
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According to the National Electrical Code. You can only run communications circuits in conduit with electric power conductors, if they are separated by a permanent and listed barrier (800.133(A)(1)(d)Ex.1, 830.133(A)(1)(f)Ex.1).

With some communications circuits, you can run them in the same conduit if all the conductors are capable of handling the maximum voltage in the conduit (800.133(A)(1)(d)Ex.3).

This is to reduce the chances of electric power circuits energizing communications conductors. i.e. to reduce the chances of a a short-circuit between a mains voltage conductor, and communications conductors. You wouldn't want to be punching down a network cable, and suddenly get jolted with 120-240 volts. If a fault were to occur, running mains voltage through a communications conductor could result in dangerous heating.

National Electrical Code 2014

Chapter 8 Communications Systems

Article 800 Communications Circuits

800.133 Installation of Communications Wires, Cables, and Equipment.

(A) Separation from Other Conductors.

(1) In Raceways, Cable Trays, Boxes, Cables, Enclosures and Cable Routing Assemblies.

(d) Electric Light, Power, Class 1, Non–Power-Limited Fire Alarm, and Medium-Power Network-Powered Broadband Communications Circuits in Raceways, Compartments, and Boxes. Communications conductors shall not be placed in any raceway, compartment, outlet box, junction box, or similar fitting with conductors of electric light, power, Class 1, non–power-limited fire alarm, or mediumpower network-powered broadband communications circuits.

Exception No. 1: Where all of the conductors of electric light, power, Class 1, non–power-limited fire alarm, and medium-power network-powered broadband communications circuits are separated from all of the conductors of communications circuits by a permanent barrier or listed divider.

Exception No. 3: As permitted by 620.36.


Article 830 Network-Powered Broadband Communications Systems

830.133 Installation of Network-Powered Broadband Communications Cables and Equipment.

(A) Separation of Conductors.

(1) In Raceways, Cable Trays, Boxes, Enclosures and Cable Routing Assemblies.

(f) Electric Light, Power, Class 1, Non–Powered Broadband Communications Circuit Cables. Network-powered broadband communications cable shall not be placed in any raceway, cable tray, compartment, outlet box, junction box, or similar fittings with conductors of electric light, power, Class 1, or non–power-limited fire alarm circuit cables.

Exception No. 1: Where all of the conductors of electric light, power, Class 1, non–power-limited fire alarm circuits are separated from all of the network-powered broadband communications cables by a permanent barrier or listed divider.

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