If you intend to place your cables in testy environments—whether they’re hotter, moister, or chillier than most—you must invest in cables with proper protection from these elements. See why non-plenum and plenum cables are so popular, as well as why understanding the key difference between non-plenum and plenum cables could save you from trouble.
What Are Non-Plenum Jackets and When Should I Use Them?
Electrical cable construction often depends on the presence of non-plenum jackets for bedding and sheathing. Bedding and sheathing provide a protective layer between the inner and outer layers of cables.
Different types of non-plenum-rated cables include riser-rated, CM, and some PVC cables. The benefits of non-plenum-rated cables include the following:
- Non-plenum jacket cables are flame retardant, which is especially helpful for reducing electrical fire risks.
- Manufacturers utilize various additives to further improve non-plenum jackets’ thresholds for hot temperatures.
- Non-plenum jacketing is durable, which helps inner wires keep their structure for longer.
- Non-plenum-rated cables are often more accessible and cheaper, as they have both a high demand and supply.
It is best practice to use non-plenum-rated cables in the space between your building’s floors or vertical shafts—typically, any space that does not circulate air.
What Are Plenum Jackets and When Should I Use Them?
When a return air vent simply empties into the open space above the ceiling with no ducting, the area is considered a plenum space. Here is where you’ll implement cables with plenum jackets. Building management companies actually enforce building codes to ensure businesses utilize plenum-rated cables in these spaces.
The reason businesses must employ plenum cables in these spaces is that these environments react to fire differently. Manufacturers craft plenum jackets with insulation with lower smoke, flame, and toxicity characteristics. If a fire were to occur, using plenum-rated cables in the right spaces can save your building from an extreme outcome.
Key Differences Between Non-Plenum and Plenum
- Most manufacturers sell plenum-rated cables at a greater price than non-plenum.
- Many building codes require businesses to use plenum-rated cords in air-handling spaces, such as ceilings that return air to AC units, since the cable performs well in those environments.
- Plenum-rated cables must meet plenum cable insulation and Cat5e cable standards, making them more particular to make than most non-plenum-rated cords.
The key difference between non-plenum and plenum cables that will help your company avoid fires and fines is that you’re required to use plenum cables between floors, walls, in ceilings, and under floors that return air. Neglecting this difference could land you some serious damage and a costly building code violation.
Where To Get High-Quality Plenum Cords
No matter the heat, CableWholesale’s cords can handle it. For equipping larger facilities, consider our selection of bulk Cat5e cables. Not only will our low wholesale prices satisfy you, but our cables’ performance will, too. Contact us today to learn more about how our cables exceed performance and safety standards.