How to Choose Between Plenum Vs Riser Rated Cables

It can be all besides comfortable to underestimate the complexities of low-tension cable requirements for an office or data center. many people aren ’ thyroxine fully aware of the National Fire Protection Association ( NFPA ) and assume that barely any cable will work for their needs—neglecting to verify that their cables actually meet National Electrical Code ( NEC or NFPA 70 ) requirements .
There are several discrete cable ratings referenced in the NEC that businesses need to be mindful of when planning and budget for a modern cable installation or when hiring a broken voltage cabling contractor. Some of these ratings include CL/CM cables, CMP cables, and CMR cables—commonly referred to as general purpose/residential, communications plenum, and communications riser, respectively. There are a few other ratings for communications cable television that apply to outdoor environments, but that is a subject for a future web log .
It should be noted that the CL/CM, CMP, and CMR designations only refer to the denounce of the cable “ jacket ” and its fire resistance properties—they have no give birth on the data transmittance capabilities of the cable. Most commercial spaces will have to use either plenum or riser rated cables to meet fire safety codes. As such, many people ask about the deviation between plenum and riser rated cables .

What is a Plenum?

To understand plenum cable, it ’ sulfur significant to know what a plenum is. As noted in a Medium article, “ a plenum is a branch space used for air out circulation for heat, breathing, and air conditioning. ” These spaces may be used as a nerve pathway to return breeze to the build ’ s heat, public discussion, and air travel condition ( HVAC ) system..

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Any materials, including cables installed within a plenum space motivation to be rated for that environment—largely because any smoke from burning cables could easily be sucked into the HVAC system and spread throughout the building .

What is a Riser?

A riser is a term given to a upright spear or series of rooms within a construction that allow primary utilities such as electric conduits, water provide lines, and communications cabling to be distributed vertically. For communications cabling, the riser could be a separate room on each floor or a room shared with the electrical gear. In either character, the board is self-contained and not used for recirculating air to the HVAC organization. Thus the fire electric resistance requirements for materials installed within these rooms are less rigorous than that required for plenum spaces .

What is Plenum Cabling? 

Plenum cable, designated as CMP by the NFPA ’ s NEC guidelines, is cabling that uses materials such as polyvinyl chloride ( PVC ) or fluorinated ethylene polymer ( FEP ) for their crown ’ randomness construction. These materials have a higher degree of fire resistance and emit fewer toxic fumes compared to other fictile polymers .
When running cables within plenum spaces, plenum cables are a must. Because plenum cables are built to a higher ardor resistance standard than riser cables, plenum cable is more expensive than riser cable. While you can substitute plenum cabling for riser cable in a “ riser ” space, you can not substitute riser rated cables for plenum rated cables in a plenum quad.

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What is Riser Cabling?

Riser cables, designated as CMR by the NEC, is cabling that meets the open fire electric resistance standards for installation within a vertical riser or within an area designated specifically as a non-plenum environment .
One case of this would be an HVAC system that uses a ducted-return shape because separate ducts are used to recirculate atmosphere to the system rather of using the stallion space above the drop ceiling. This helps to prevent the bedspread of smoke and toxic fumes throughout the HVAC system from any burning cables ( or drop ceiling tiles ) in the event of a open fire .
To summarize the difference between plenum and riser rated cables, cost is a major divisor but it ’ s truly a matter of how fire-retardant their jackets are and how much smoke is emitted if they burn. The higher fire underground of plenum cables make them a lower gamble in a build fire than riser cables ( which are, in change state, safer than general-purpose cables ).

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Terms to Know when Choosing Plenum Vs Riser Cabling

here ’ s a short number of some acronym and other terms to know when looking for plenum or riser rated cables :

  • CL/CM/CMG Cables. The term for residential-grade or general-purpose cabling. NOT SUITABLE FOR COMMERCIAL USE IN RISER OR PLENUM ENVIRONMENTS.
  • CMR Cables. Communications Riser. Approved for use in riser spaces.
  • CMP Cables. Communications Plenum. Approved for use in riser and plenum spaces.
  • NFPA. The National Fire Protection Association. This is the organization that created the National Electrical Code.
  • NEC. The National Electrical Code (NFPA 70). This document is designed to create a baseline for electrical safety in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings.

need help determining whether you need plenum vs riser cables for your adjacent low-tension system initiation ? Reach out to the experts at Blue Wave Communications for aid .
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