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Can any type wire (speaker or cable) be used in new construction?

Posted by johnfrwhipple ( on
Mon, May 31, 10 at 7:38

I had inspections two months back and my inspector made me pull out my speaker wire. Can he do this? Why?

He said that it didn't have any approvals or FT stamps or markings.

What is a FT stamp??? I live here in North Vancouver and have insured I pulled all proper permits.

Why do I need this. I bought the wire at my "Box" - it must meet code right?

How could wire with no FT rating even be sold if it's needed.

I'm so confused - please help..

The inspector went on to say that a fire starting in the living room could spread through out the whole house depending on the type of wire, it's burn rate and the path the wire takes through the home.

Scary. If that's the reason then for sure I would think this wire doesn't burn.

Does it?

I'll test them all - this week.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Can any type wire (speaker or cable) be used in new construct

"Why do I need this. I bought the wire at my "Box" - it must meet code right?"

Sorry, this made me laugh the moment I read it.

OK, seriously.

"Meet code"? What code?
Cable and wire are manufactured to a certain specification. THAT is meeting code. How you install it is another thing entirely. You can install perfectly legal and safe cable in a dangerous and non-complaint way.

I am not familiar with Canadian code on this so I cannot comment on the cable designations.

RE: Can any type wire (speaker or cable) be used in new construct

There are also specific cables that are "in-wall" rated. It has something to do with how the jacket of the cable reacts if the wire heats up due to excess current.

btw.....I am no professional, just read a lot of crap on the internet......

RE: Can any type wire (speaker or cable) be used in new construct

the cable must be marked FT-4 on it to be "in-wall",by code.

RE: Can any type wire (speaker or cable) be used in new construct

Not sure on the exact equivalent of CSA (Canadian Standards Association) FT-4 but I believe it is CL2 or CL3 - riser rated.

Basically, what it comes down to is that if a fire was to start at or near the in-wall cable, would the cable contribute to the fire spreading? With the correct insulation, as in in-wall rated, it would not substantially contribute. Between floors, in vertical walls, it should be riser rated. If the cable passes through air handling areas (very unlikely in residential) it must be plenum rated as well which means the fumes emitted are within specific toxic limits.

The silver/gold zip-cord type of speaker wire is hardly ever in-wall rated... but the good thing is that the proper in-wall speaker cable (CL2/CL3) is usually cheaper.

Coax, Video, Audio, Ethernet cables all must be in-wall rated as well.

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