Plenum vs non-plenum

Posted on 2006-11-09
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Hi. I am getting ready to run about 1,000 feet of Cat6 cable. CTG is selling it for about $160.00. Should I change and get Plenum cable to meet fire codes? I know you will suggest that I ask the coding people in town, but my guess is they will say I have to. Which is probably a good reason to go with it.

The Plenum cable is anywhere from two to three times the cost of the non-plenum depending on the vendor. I found some through which was reasonable, but I am not sure of the quality.

If you think I should just get the Plenum, do you know of the best priced cable which is still good quality?


Question by:Bert2005
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LVL 34

Accepted Solution

PsiCop earned 350 total points
ID: 17911526
Generally, you only need plenum cable if you plan to run the cable through a space where air is circulated. For example, if the cable is going to run entirely within walls, then you don't need plenum. If, on the other hand, the cable is going to run above a drop-ceiling that also has an open air-return, then you need plenum-rated cable.

But you should definitely check with your local code enforcement.

Author Comment

ID: 17911857
A lot of it will run above a drop-ceiling, but I don't know if it has open air-return. How would I know that?

LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 17911876
Plenum cable is for plenums, primarily t-bar ceilings, and also air spaces such as open raceways between floors. It is important to use it in these spaces as very toxic fumes are given off by non plenum cable in a fire. Building, electrical, and fire inspectors are starting to crack down on this. Explain to the client that it is a violation of the fire code not to use it, assuming that is the case in your area, and he may be in violation by not using it. They will then enforce the other bidders to do the same so you are on even ground with the.
Not using the proper material is no different than not using structural rebar in concrete because no one will notice....until disaster strikes. Then everyone is looking for a scape goat which may be you :-)

>>"How would I know that?"
You can usually tell by the fact they have the "egg crate" grills allowing air up unto the ceiling space, within the T-Bar.
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Author Comment

ID: 17911914
Hi Rob,

Always good to hear from you. Can either of you comment on a good brand. It seems when I look at name brands such as CTG, the price jumps into the $300 to $400 range. Is all Cat6 cable the same?

LVL 77

Assisted Solution

by:Rob Williams
Rob Williams earned 150 total points
ID: 17911943
Hi Bert I didn't notice it was you. As for brands I usually buy the best and say to heck with the cost, so I am not a good one to "talk" to. Personally I always bought NORDX/IBDN cable which has recently been bought out by Belden:

Author Comment

ID: 17911972
Well, that was certainly a lot easier than the last question.
LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 17911986
Some are.
Thanks Bert,

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