Pre-Wiring My New House - Anything I am missing for HTPC (or other)? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 112 Old 02-26-2013, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
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I am building a house and am home running CAT6 x24 to a 24 port gigabit switch in the basement. I am also running RG6 (cable) and telephone.

I will have Ubiquiti wireless AP points setup on all 3 floors in a mesh type setup for wireless internet.

Additionally I am going to run 16 gauge speaker wire x10 paired with CAT6 x10 for future whole house audio (up to 10 pairs of speaker at a later date with CAT6 in the wall for possible wall panel control) to various area on the house. This will also be home run to the basement. Looking to add a Sonos system at a later date.

Also I am hard wiring in the alarm system.

I figure the CAT6 x24 will give me plenty of options for setting up HTPCs around the house. I have a few collecting dust that I can use. wink.gif

Anything else I am overlooking?
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post #2 of 112 Old 02-26-2013, 05:06 PM
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Double run the Cat6 if you can afford it just in case one wire fails. (You wouldn't believe what contractors will do to wires.)

Edit: If you have a room full of windows, a strategically placed glass break sensor (or two) will save you some money over contacts in each window.

Double running the speaker wire might not be a bad idea either.
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post #3 of 112 Old 02-26-2013, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vladd View Post

Double run the Cat6 if you can afford it just in case one wire fails. (You wouldn't believe what contractors will do to wires.)

Edit: If you have a room full of windows, a strategically placed glass break sensor (or two) will save you some money over contacts in each window.

Double running the speaker wire might not be a bad idea either.

I hear you. Unfortunately this is somewhat of a splurge already so doubling up probably won't be an option.
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post #4 of 112 Old 02-26-2013, 05:26 PM
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You might consider pre-wiring for a camera system and home automation as well. Also, you might consider putting a 2" pipe going from the basement to the attic just in case you need to run a few more wires later down the road.
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post #5 of 112 Old 02-26-2013, 05:28 PM
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For resale make sure you wore coax a d telephone lines to the same ports as the cat cable and if you know where you are mounting your TVs make sure to hard wire your cables in the wall and that they build a power outlet behind where the TV will be. It will save you a lot of trouble down the line.
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post #6 of 112 Old 02-26-2013, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gaidin43 View Post

For resale make sure you wore coax a d telephone lines to the same ports as the cat cable and if you know where you are mounting your TVs make sure to hard wire your cables in the wall and that they build a power outlet behind where the TV will be. It will save you a lot of trouble down the line.

Agreed about the telephone. We use cell phones but are including standard "land line" phones as well.

I have 3 fireplaces but will only have one where the TV is above the fireplace. There are going to be built-ins to the left and right and I am going to run smurf tube from the built ins to the TV.
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post #7 of 112 Old 02-26-2013, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lark3po View Post

Also, you might consider putting a 2" pipe going from the basement to the attic just in case you need to run a few more wires later down the road.
I'd second this

I've been planning a new house for a while, and I keep trying to work the idea of "modular" wiring into the mix. This is essentially what I came up with as well. While speaker wire hasn't seen a lot of change for a while, I'd certainly like my house to outlast the Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6 lifecycles. I'd probably skip the phone wiring, voip sets can provide equivalent quality already. Phone is my $.02, I know millions will never stop their subscription to Ma' Bell
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post #8 of 112 Old 02-26-2013, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I hear you. Unfortunately this is somewhat of a splurge already so doubling up probably won't be an option.
Fully understood! The 2" pipe is also a really good suggestion.
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post #9 of 112 Old 02-26-2013, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by vladd View Post

Fully understood! The 2" pipe is also a really good suggestion.

Already alerted my builder who is going to discuss it with the electrician in the morning.
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post #10 of 112 Old 02-26-2013, 06:19 PM
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I just went through this with my new home build at the end of last year. I'd run smurf tubes where you are going to connecting TVs/projectors/etc to A/V equipment directly, so you can just run the wires cleanly without running them on the walls or having to fish them inside walls. I double recommend the running double cat 6. I did that for backup in case something happens to the primary cat 6 and so I can use them for voice independently case I ever want a landline or if I ever sell. Also, get the builder to label everything properly. My first day in this house was spent testing all my wiring to see which wire (coax and cat6) corresponded to which room and labeling them in my structured panel...

You could even consider a whole house UPS or putting a UPS in your structured panel for your powered equipment you'll have in there. I put a small one in there after the fact, but if you wire one up behind it in the wall or something you have more options.


you might want to run cat 6 to your garage if you have one. You never know...

Edit, I see you already are doing smurf tubes...
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post #11 of 112 Old 02-26-2013, 06:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by newlinux View Post

I just went through this with my new home build at the end of last year. I'd run smurf tubes where you are going to connecting TVs/projectors/etc to A/V equipment directly, so you can just run the wires cleanly without running them on the walls or having to fish them inside walls. I double recommend the running double cat 6. I did that for backup in case something happens to the primary cat 6 and so I can use them for voice independently case I ever want a landline or if I ever sell. Also, get the builder to label everything properly. My first day in this house was spent testing all my wiring to see which wire (coax and cat6) corresponded to which room and labeling them in my structured panel...

You could even consider a whole house UPS or putting a UPS in your structured panel for your powered equipment you'll have in there. I put a small one in there after the fact, but if you wire one up behind it in the wall or something you have more options.


you might want to run cat 6 to your garage if you have one. You never know...

Edit, I see you already are doing smurf tubes...

Definitely running cat6 to the garage.
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post #12 of 112 Old 02-26-2013, 06:28 PM
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Assuming it's not standard practice now, run Cat6 for the telephone as well and have it go to a patch panel so you can switch it out if you find yourself not using the phone and use it for data.
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post #13 of 112 Old 02-26-2013, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Agreed about the telephone. We use cell phones but are including standard "land line" phones as well.

I have 3 fireplaces but will only have one where the TV is above the fireplace. There are going to be built-ins to the left and right and I am going to run smurf tube from the built ins to the TV.

My house is 10 years old and has cat5e for phone lines. Unfortunately its not on every wall. So i had to run a bunch more. Not an easy task with fire-blocks.

Cat 6 on every living-room and bedroom wall. RG6 on two walls. Women have been known to rearrange the furniture twice a year.

Alarm systems use cellular and/or internet, so Cat6 to the alarm box as well.

Don't forget dedicated 20 amp circuit for A/V system.

RG6 to the patio is nice for football season.

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post #14 of 112 Old 02-26-2013, 07:00 PM
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Not AV related, but wiring related. My wife was complaining about the bathroom being cold and wanted a ceiling heater/vent unit. I figured it was a simple swap-out of the basic vent unit. Nope, you have to have a dedicated 20A run just for the unit. My wife is just going to be cold.

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post #15 of 112 Old 02-26-2013, 07:28 PM
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Congratulations on the new house!

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post #16 of 112 Old 02-26-2013, 09:44 PM
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+1 on the 2" tube... sure wish I had thought about that years ago when remodeling.

Not sure if you are an OTA guy, but a good antenna in the attic and a home run down to the basement media cabinet would be nice.
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post #17 of 112 Old 02-26-2013, 09:57 PM
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Congrats on the new house. When do you expect it to be finished?
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post #18 of 112 Old 02-27-2013, 05:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lark3po View Post

You might consider pre-wiring for a camera system and home automation as well. Also, you might consider putting a 2" pipe going from the basement to the attic just in case you need to run a few more wires later down the road.
I'd install two 2" pipes for a wiring raceway. You'd be amazed at how much wiring you can install after the fact. I pretty much did the same thing when my house was under construction in '86. Since then I have replaced the coax runs twice and ethernet cable at least twice. Originally I installed RG-59 for cable TV, which was replaced with RG-6 when I got DirecTV. I eventually upgraded to solid copper core RG-6 with the anticipation of upgrading my DirecTV service to the current dish. That never happened as I went with FIOS instead. In any case, here's what I would recommend:

Determine a central location for a wiring closet. This will be your access point for TV, phone, and internet connections as well as whole house automation and A/V distribution. Make sure you can easily run wires from this location to any point in the house. If it's a two-story house, run the wiring up through the basement ceiling to the main floor. Run wires up to the attic and drop them down from above. Tip: if you plan to finish the basement, install a drop ceiling with acoustic tile. It makes access to wiring so much easier.

If you can access the walls before the drywall goes up, drill holes in the base plates in the main floor through to the basement and up through the ceiling plates into the attic on the 2nd floor between the studs where you intend to place the wall plate. If you have a floor plan of the house, note the location of each hole you drilled so you can locate them later. This allows you to run the wires up through the floor or down from the ceiling without having to guess whether or not you're between the right studs.

Run two CAT6 lines to each room using riser cable. Plenum cable is overkill for most home installations. If you're using punch block terminations, splurge and get a decent punch block tool. You'll thank me later. wink.gif

Run two RG-6 coax cables to each room, preferably solid copper core and not copperclad steel. If you ever go with DirecTV this is a must. The LNBs won't switch properly due to the voltage drop caused by long runs of coperclad steel RG-6. Use compression connectors on all coax, not crimp connectors. I bought a bunch of them in bulk on ebay years ago. You can find compression tools on ebay fairly cheap.

Run a phone line to each room for a land line. This is not as critical with cordless phones, but phone cable is relatively cheap so why not do it?

Run audio speaker wires to each room if you think you're be setting up a central audio system that will distribute sound throughout the house. I prefer to use something other than 16-gauge zip cord as long speaker runs will create line loss. I'd personally use 12-gauge, but consider 14-gauge as an alternative.

Have the electrician run wires for ceiling fans in each room and tie them to wall switches. You can install dimmer controls and fan speed switches later.

Install low-voltage outlet boxes in each room (these are basically a plastic frame that clamps to the opening in the drywall and allows you to attach a coverplate). I'd go with dual boxes for future expansion. Use keystone wall plates and jacks so you can customize the outlets for each room as needed. Monoprice.com is a great place to shop for these.

For an alarm system, run 4-conductor AWG24 wire to each door and window and anyplace where you might install a motion sensor, glass breakage detector, etc. Run the wiring to a central location, preferably an upstairs closet. Run control wires from the main alarm panel to each entry door as well as the master bedroom where you intend to install a keypad for arming and disarming the system. Note that keypad controls will require multi-conductor wires so check what the requirements are for your system before installing them.

I hadn't considered home automation or camera systems, but if that floats your boat, run whatever wires you need to support them. If you need to run any wiring to the perimeter of your house, do it before the drywall and insulation go up because it's a real bitch to do it later. Sentry lights with motion sensors on the outside of your house might be something you'd like to install so check with your electrician about running these wires.

If you do the wiring yourself, check your local building codes and see if you need a permit to install the wiring. I did the wiring in my house and it failed the inspection because there was no permit or wiring plan for the additional wiring. I had to scramble around the day before settlement to get the permit and have the inspector sign off on it the day of settlement.

Note that if you create the wiring conduit between floors and run just some of the basic wiring between the main wiring closet and each room, you can postpone some of the wiring until after the house is built and your budget permits. The key is to create an easy access between each room and the wiring closet. Don't think you have to do everything while the house is under construction, especially if you're on a tight budget. Don't cheap out with inferior wiring. You'll only end up replacing it down the road, which will end up costing you more in the long run.

One more thing. If you're running wires between a basement and a 2nd floor, drop a sturdy line, like a nylon string, down through the raceway conduit and tie it off at each end, making sure the line is at least twice as long as the length of the raceway. Tie it off at each end to secure it. When you want to run a wire, pull it all the way through from the end you plan on inserting the cable. Tie the line securely to the wire and wrap some tape around the wire and the string so it won't slip off. Feed the tip of the wire into the conduit to get it started or have someone else do it for you. A helper here really makes the job easier. Go to the other end of the conduit and pull the wire through as far as you need to make the connection. If you're running it to a bedroom and have to drop it down through the ceiling, make sure you pull enough through to reach your destination. You can always pull the slack wire back through when you're done.

Happy wiring! biggrin.gif
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post #19 of 112 Old 02-27-2013, 05:13 AM
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Everyone keeps calling it a pipe. It is a raceway or conduit.

Per the national electrical code unless adopted by local jurisdiction, a permit is not required when installing low voltage (under 50 volts to ground) but if you run cabling through a mechanical chase, duct or plenum it must be plenum rated which is typically indicated by the CL designation which means "ceiling". Ceiling space above T-bar ceilings are very commonly used as return air plenums in commercial construction but not so much in residential construction. The CL designation means that the outer sheath of the cabling produces limited smoke and will not easily catch fire itself.

If you add in 120 volts not shown on the plans some jurisdictions get persnickety about it not being on the plans. Others could care less in residential construction.

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post #20 of 112 Old 02-27-2013, 06:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Everyone keeps calling it a pipe. It is a raceway or conduit.

Per the national electrical code unless adopted by local jurisdiction, a permit is not required when installing low voltage (under 50 volts to ground) but if you run cabling through a mechanical chase, duct or plenum it must be plenum rated which is typically indicated by the CL designation which means "ceiling". Ceiling space above T-bar ceilings are very commonly used as return air plenums in commercial construction but not so much in residential construction. The CL designation means that the outer sheath of the cabling produces limited smoke and will not easily catch fire itself.

If you add in 120 volts not shown on the plans some jurisdictions get persnickety about it not being on the plans. Others could care less in residential construction.
Do you know the section of the NEC that shows that requirement? AFAIK, the plenum requirement is only if it is run through an air handling duct for residential. Plenum is always required for commercial installations.
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post #21 of 112 Old 02-27-2013, 08:03 AM
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http://www.cablesplususa.com/NEC-Cable-Fire-Ratings-Guide.php

The above is a helpful link that explains some of the fire issues. Interesting reading.


I would like to start a new thread on CAT5e vs. CAT6.rolleyes.gif.. Meow!
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post #22 of 112 Old 02-27-2013, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vladd View Post

Do you know the section of the NEC that shows that requirement? AFAIK, the plenum requirement is only if it is run through an air handling duct for residential. Plenum is always required for commercial installations.

IDK but if you are being told you have to use plenum rated cabling in a ceiling that is not, in fact, a plenum then you are being told wrong. I will look it up today and post it.

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post #23 of 112 Old 02-27-2013, 08:22 AM
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Everyone keeps calling it a pipe. It is a raceway or conduit..

Sure you could use those in place of a pipe but I was talking about a 2" PVC PIPE... rolleyes.gif
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post #24 of 112 Old 02-27-2013, 09:18 AM
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Pipe carries water and is listed for doing that.

Conduit carries cabling and must be listed to do so. The fittings are different and must be listed for electrical use too.

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post #25 of 112 Old 02-27-2013, 09:41 AM
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My house is 11 years old and was fully wired with Cat 5e from the start. Fine except for my HTPCs, so I have swapped out several lines for Cat 6. Cables converge at switch in unfinished basement. Rewiring the first floor was pretty easy. Rewiring the 2nd...not so much. Can't pull the 5e because it was stapled to the studs. Can't snake the Cat6 thru the same cutouts. The previous owner did have the builder install a conduit from the basement to the unfinished attic for future utility needs, and I may try to use that for the time being. Not sure how the building code affects it, but I would recommend having an empty conduit or 2 for future access should you want to re-wire at some point. You never know when it will come in handy, and it sure beats having to rip out sheetrock to re-wire.
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post #26 of 112 Old 02-27-2013, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Pipe carries water and is listed for doing that.

Conduit carries cabling and must be listed to do so. The fittings are different and must be listed for electrical use too.

Can't tell if you're always sarcastic or not so I'll bite yet again...

I fully believe everyone in this thread knows exactly what the word "pipe" means in regards to how it is/was used in this thread. If by some chance you are having trouble understanding it's use ITT continue reading for a little enlightenment...

1) If we're arguing semantics then the proper phrase would be "wire chase" IMO but don't let that get in the way of a troll...

2) A pipe with nothing in it is still considered a pipe.

Now for the good stuff...

3) Definition of Pipe: (Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pipe?show=0&t=1361986607)
"... 2 a : a long tube or hollow body for conducting a liquid, gas, or finely divided solid or for structural purposes
b : a means of transmission (as of television signals or computer data)
3 a : a tubular or cylindrical object, part, or passage ..."

4) Definition of Conduit: (Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conduit)
"...1 a natural or artificial channel through which something (as a fluid) is conveyed
2 archaic : fountain
3 a pipe, tube, or tile for protecting electric wires or cables
4 a means of transmitting or distributing

Further reading for your enjoyment http://wiki.hometech.com/tiki-index.php?page=How+To+Run+A+Wiring+Chase

And with that I'm done with this discussion...
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post #27 of 112 Old 02-27-2013, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by jkgiant View Post

My house is 11 years old and was fully wired with Cat 5e from the start. Fine except for my HTPCs, so I have swapped out several lines for Cat 6. Cables converge at switch in unfinished basement. Rewiring the first floor was pretty easy. Rewiring the 2nd...not so much. Can't pull the 5e because it was stapled to the studs. Can't snake the Cat6 thru the same cutouts. The previous owner did have the builder install a conduit from the basement to the unfinished attic for future utility needs, and I may try to use that for the time being. Not sure how the building code affects it, but I would recommend having an empty conduit or 2 for future access should you want to re-wire at some point. You never know when it will come in handy, and it sure beats having to rip out sheetrock to re-wire.

You may to able to use a dead space behind a shower or closet to get from the basement to the attic. The trick would be to find two areas that match up and complete the path. My house is a 2-story on a slab and I've ran wires all over it but all that would have been a lot easier if I had a basement.
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post #28 of 112 Old 02-27-2013, 10:08 AM
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So conduit is a specific use of pipe and is the more correct term to use to avoid confusion.. It is the term specifically used in the electrical code as opposed to "pipe". I prefer to use the correct word when possible.

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post #29 of 112 Old 02-27-2013, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vladd View Post

Do you know the section of the NEC that shows that requirement? AFAIK, the plenum requirement is only if it is run through an air handling duct for residential. Plenum is always required for commercial installations.

NEC, Article 100, Definitions.

Plenum. A compartment or chamber to which one or more air ducts are connected and that forms part of the air distribution system.

If the supply and return air is ducted for each and not being moved by means of a pressurized (positive or negative) space with ducts connected to it then a plenum does not exist and the use of plenum rated cabling is not required.

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post #30 of 112 Old 02-27-2013, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

IDK but if you are being told you have to use plenum rated cabling in a ceiling that is not, in fact, a plenum then you are being told wrong. I will look it up today and post it.
That's exactly what I've been told by my local inspector. Since he does have the final say on whether something passes inspection or not, I would not consider it wrong.
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