(2) NM cables in one hole through toplate into attic cellulose

pex006July 12, 2013

Hi I have recently found a 12/2 cable running in my return air duct that is just connected with wire caps and not in a box. Someone who remodeled the house moved the receptacle a foot to the left and just wire nutted the wires that used to go into the old recptacle and pushed them back into the return duct. The air return duct is a stud bay being used as a return air duct that goes down into the lower floor joists. I have a small stud bay directly to the side with a two gang switchbox. This is were the cable originates from and then travels through a hole in the stud and into the air retun stud bay where the put the new recptcle, then a foot down the line it is junctioned with the wire nuts then continues up a stud and out the top of the bay into the attic. I would like to bypass the air return by pulling the cable back into the neighboring bay that has a 2 gang switchbox and put the receptacle there. Then cut the cable that comes out of the top of the air retun duct and remove that unused cable out of the return if possible. I would then fish a cable down the switchbox studbay to the receptacle and junction the the circuit in the attic. I have found where the cables exit the switchbox studbay and one of the holes has room for one more cable to slide in. Is it ok to put (2) 12/2 cables that are on seperate circuits through the same hole in the top plate if it will go up into/through cellulose insulation? They will go seperate ways immediatley after exiting the hole in the toplate.

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Ron Natalie

As you may have surmised, but let me be explicit for those others reading, not only is the connection outside a box illegal, the NM cabiing should not be in an air return (either a real duct or a stud cavity used for one).

To answer the question you did ask, yes you can stick as many cables through a bored hole as will fit. There's no limit other than the practical one on how much you can fit in there. Insulation isn't a problem with NM either.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 8:16AM
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pex006

One more question. Do the two cables have to still have some wiggle room or is it ok that they are snug together. I have no trouble sliding the new cable in and back out by the other cable in the hole already, but they pretty much fill the hole completely when next to each other.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Ron Natalie

As long as you don't damage the cable pulling it through the hole, it can be as tight as you like.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 8:43AM
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pex006

Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 2:10AM
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