boring holes for romex

jks55May 4, 2014

Hi guys

Ive got a ceiling beam that appears to be load bearing. Its about 9" tall and 3.5" wide.

The previous owner bored about a 3/8 diameter hole top to bottom (the 9") and threaded some bare romex (without the sheathing) down this hole for a pendant light.

1) Is that ok? i would imagine that the hole should be larger to all the romex sheathing to pass through the bore. and not run the stripped romex (doesnt seem like that would be ok....even on "top" of the beam)

2)Id like to tie in another 12/3 line to power a ceiling fan. So i would like to enlarge the hole with a 3/4 diameter bit. That should be enough for 2 romex 12/3's to comfortably fit, right?

3)Is that ok enlarge this hole to 3/4 without sacrificing the beam integrity? again, its 3.5" wide. 9" tall. i would be drilling on the 3.5" face, enlarging the existing hole.

4)The pendant light electrical connection isnt in a "box" but rather just on the bottom of the beam. Is that ok to make the junction with the feed, the light and the fan?

thanks guys!!

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Over many years, have seen lots of instances where HVAC and plumbing contractors have done serious structural damage to buildings. The vertical hole through the beam should not be enlarged although at 3/8", the damage thus far is not enormous. I think I understand what was the intent of the original installation but the stripped NM cable is not acceptable.
Some installations cannot be readily concealed. Wiremold along the side or bottom of the beam would be better for electrical safety and for structural integrity.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 8:48AM
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I agree with Bus_Driver on all counts: There's no way without engineering the entire thing that we could say it's okay to make that hole bigger.

Put it in wiremold.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 5:03PM
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thanks guys!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 9:05PM
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Two separate 12/3 lines for one fan and one light at the same spot? I don't understand why all the 12 ga. conductors for two little power sippers.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 9:16PM
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Perhaps because it's a 20 amp circuit with some other things and I assumed was talking 12/2 w ground. I wired all my houses with 12 gauge - I never used 14.

A single 12/3 would do it of course, one for the light, one for the fan the neutral and the ground.

In any event, you don't want to drill the hole larger without a clear understanding of what that will do. I've seen it too often too where HVAC and plumbing guys (mostly) just hack away anything in the way. I had some floor joists crack on the old house I'm in now.

You also don't want to thread the bare wires through the beam without sheathing or conduit.

This post was edited by jakethewonderdog on Tue, May 6, 14 at 14:08

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 9:35AM
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sorry for confusion. it is 12/2 (and ground). its 12 gauge because thats what i have on hand. im like jake. i tend to over gauge just in case.

the fan and light arent in the same location, but are ran from the same circuit. just daisy chained.

ive got a plan for how to do it without making holes bigger.

ill just ad a junction box on top of the beam with pancakes on the pendants. fan is already up with wiremold

i showed my wife what it will look like and shes ok with it

thanks guys!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 1:42PM
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As a contractor, I don't drill beams without a signed authorization letter from an certified engineer!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 5:42PM
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