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  1. #1
    Dan Teresinski's Avatar
    Dan Teresinski Guest

    Default Electrical in Attic

    Hello all, been looking at a few posts on electrical in attics and not really sure I ran across any that totally fits my situation.

    I live in a condo unit, side by side units 2 stories tall. My attic requires a ladder to get up into and there is really no walkways up in the attic besides 1 main cross beam that runs the width of the place and then the joists that run length wise. Currently in the attic I have a few electrical points that feed upstairs power. They are all using the armored cable (1970's construction) that are run all over the place.

    What im trying to do is adding 3 fans to my upstairs bedrooms. Though I perfer to use romex cable since its so much easier to handle and cheaper than using that armored cabling. I would be using 1 run to power my MB, which is on a 20AMP circuit, and 2 runs to power 2 other bedrooms and they run off the same 15AMP circuit. Upstairs all the insulation is blown in.

    How would I go about securing down cabling and crossing the joists to get to where I need the fan to be? What I found is that of course romex cable to be placed 1 1/2" below the top and bottom surface of the joist to help prevent from nails and screws going into it. Though im a little in the dark about when going over the joists, as I do not perfer to drill them since it would be located in the middle or away from the edges where its perfered.

    Is it ok to run the cabling inside the isulation like such? I know its done else where but just want to make sure its OK. And yes I do have the proper 15/20AMP Romex wiring for each circuit if its allowable (from past projects on kitchen and laundry room remodel/rewiring).

    Thanks in advance for the help.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Electrical in Attic

    Romex can be run in the insulation. It should be secured to the framework at least every 48 inches. Where it crosses frame work at a 90 degree angle, guide strips should be installed to attach the cables to. The cables should be kept away from the hatch as much as possible.

    The boxes for the ceiling fans need to be properly secured in order to handle the weight of the fan assembly.

    If you're not sure about what you are doing, you should have a qualified contractor do the work.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Electrical in Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Teresinski View Post
    I live in a condo unit, side by side units 2 stories tall. My attic requires a ladder to get up into

    Because you live in a condo, the structure does not below to you, and your ceiling is likely the fire-resistance membrane separating your condo from the common structure, therefore in condos it is most likely that you should not be able to get into your attic at all.

    An exception I have seen on just a very few rare occasions (twice as I recall) was where the attic was enclosed in the condo space and the structure was protected from the attic by a fire-resistance rated membrane enclosing the attic from the structure, i.e., you could not see the fire-rated walls, the roof framing, anything else, all you could see was "drywall", taped and bedded.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
    Dan Teresinski's Avatar
    Dan Teresinski Guest

    Default Re: Electrical in Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    Romex can be run in the insulation. It should be secured to the framework at least every 48 inches. Where it crosses frame work at a 90 degree angle, guide strips should be installed to attach the cables to. The cables should be kept away from the hatch as much as possible.

    The boxes for the ceiling fans need to be properly secured in order to handle the weight of the fan assembly.

    If you're not sure about what you are doing, you should have a qualified contractor do the work.
    Installing things isn't a problem just wanted to clarify what should be done is all. I've just never done an electrical install in an exposed area before is all hence why I ask since all my stuff before has been enclosed behind drywall.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Because you live in a condo, the structure does not below to you, and your ceiling is likely the fire-resistance membrane separating your condo from the common structure, therefore in condos it is most likely that you should not be able to get into your attic at all.

    An exception I have seen on just a very few rare occasions (twice as I recall) was where the attic was enclosed in the condo space and the structure was protected from the attic by a fire-resistance rated membrane enclosing the attic from the structure, i.e., you could not see the fire-rated walls, the roof framing, anything else, all you could see was "drywall", taped and bedded.
    Originally the units where a apartment function, which switched to condo units. The attic is full access to all units that I know of. It runs the span of all 12, course there is drywall separating all the units though in the attic, but its not a 100% cover, there is room at the peak where no drywall exists. When I had an inspection he didn't say anything about it.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Electrical in Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Teresinski View Post
    Originally the units where a apartment function, which switched to condo units. The attic is full access to all units that I know of. It runs the span of all 12, course there is drywall separating all the units though in the attic, but its not a 100% cover, there is room at the peak where no drywall exists. When I had an inspection he didn't say anything about it.
    The attic should either be split over each separation wall between each unit with a fire-resistance rated wall which goes all the way to the roof sheathing and the roof sheathing should be protected by drywall a minimum of 4 feet to each side of that wall (i.e., the roof sheathing you see should be covered by drywall for the first 4 feet at each end), or, the ceiling and all penetrations, including supply ducts, etc., needs to be fire-resistance rated with fire-stopping systems and fire-dampers installed, AND (for either option) *there should not be any attic access from any unit into the attic* ... unless ... the entire roof structure and all structural framing in the attic was properly protected with at least a 1-hour, and probably a 2-hour, covering of some type.

    The difference between condos/apartments and townhouses is that townhouses are each their own structure and should be able to burn to the ground and not take down the structure on either side of it due to its design and framing techniques, whereas a condo/apartment building is one structure and the occupants only occupy 'their space' within that structure. Which means none of the occupants should have access to unprotected structural items (such as the attic).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
    Lou Romano's Avatar
    Lou Romano Guest

    Default Re: Electrical in Attic

    [QUOTE=The boxes for the ceiling fans need to be properly secured in order to handle the weight of the fan assembly.[/QUOTE]

    They also need to be boxes that are stamped as "Suitable for fan support"


  7. #7
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Electrical in Attic

    What I normally do in an insulated attic is to attach the romex to the roof rafters and then you don't need the running boards when you run perpendicular to the rafters. When you get to the ceiling joist where the fan will be mounted nail a 2x4 to the rafter and the ceiling joist so you will have something to attach the cable to. You don't need to worry about the 1 1/2" setback on the side of the ceiling joist if no finish material will be installed. Make sure you use a fan rated ceiling box.


  8. #8
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
    chris mcintyre Guest

    Default Re: Electrical in Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    What I normally do in an insulated attic is to attach the romex to the roof rafters and then you don't need the running boards when you run perpendicular to the rafters.
    In over 30 years in residential construction I have never seen this. So you are saying every switch leg comes through the top plate up to the rafters, over to where the fixture is in the room and then drops down? You do this for every room? And that is just for the lights, I am picturing an attic that looks like a giant spider web of NM cable.


  9. #9
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Electrical in Attic

    No...just to add a light or fan in an insulated attic. It's a lot easier than messing in the blown insulation. Works for powered roof fans too.


  10. #10
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electrical in Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    What I normally do in an insulated attic...
    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    No...just to add a light or fan in an insulated attic.
    Oh , it's late I think I'll call it a night.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Electrical in Attic

    National Electrical Code requirements should be consulted, you can wire the 3 fans in your attic the best thing to do is have them on their own circuit because you donít know what the load is already on the feeds in the attic already, the key here is safely performing the installation and not drilling holes in the section that will cause structural (wood framing)problems for ceiling, if you install your wiring on the top of the rafters, make sure they are stapled according to code and junction boxes have covers and no exposed wiring and no wire nuts is outside of junction boxes.
    If the above skill level is above your ability hire an licensed Electrician.
    Best regards
    Fred Sweezer Sr.
    We inspect for YOU | Home Inspection Company




  12. #12
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    Default Re: Electrical in Attic

    Only cables within 6ft of scuttle holes require prot, such as running boards.
    In an insulated attic, do not secure cables to top of ceiling joists. Doing so makes them subject to physical damage if stepped on with staples. Of course stapling to sides is required.
    Staple 2in up from sheet rock, floor/ceiling, not 1 1/2.

    Double check: NM cable is not allowed in certain installations, such as in buildings exceeding 3 floors.
    Bob Smit, County EI


  13. #13
    ed ferraioli's Avatar
    ed ferraioli Guest

    Default Re: Electrical in Attic

    Oky I am having a brain fart! I have a simple question . I do not understand what a running board is for or what it is. If you run wire over joist you can not put a subfloor down or floor until the wires are 1 1/2 below joist and any wire below 7 feet should be in conduit. I know I never see this in attics. So why not staple the wires to the joist. I just do not know what the ruuning board will do > Please explain.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Electrical in Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by ed ferraioli View Post
    Oky I am having a brain fart! I have a simple question . I do not understand what a running board is for or what it is. If you run wire over joist you can not put a subfloor down or floor until the wires are 1 1/2 below joist and any wire below 7 feet should be in conduit. I know I never see this in attics. So why not staple the wires to the joist. I just do not know what the ruuning board will do > Please explain.
    Running boards are used near the attic access to protect the wire from damage when you slide the steamer trunk full of books into the attic. The wire is stapled to the side of the board rather than the top.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  15. #15
    ed ferraioli's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electrical in Attic

    Got it THanks !!!!


  16. #16
    Dan Teresinski's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electrical in Attic

    Thanks for the replys.

    I managed to install 2 of the 3 fans over the weekend, and hopefully get the last one in this coming weekend. Just got to hot upstairs for me to work, over 110 in the attic. Got them in, sealed them up and installed the new lightswitches with proper grounds in them. All the previous switches in the house had zero ground to the switch itself, im switching every one out in the house including outlets (which are as well need replacement) when I come around to fix the items in that room.

    Im installing the fans on the circuits to the rooms which they are located in, this is because there is room on the circuits for it. Plenty of leeway in the circuits and since re-wiring the kitchen I've taken load off the upstairs circuits by ALOT, which I had help from an electrician. 2 Bedrooms share a 15amp circuit and the Bathroom and Master Bedroom share a 15amp circuit. Yes I know its not proper but this is the way it was wired and haven't had time to switch the baths over to there own dedicated breaker which was put in and run late last year.

    And to get back to some earlier comments, since I finally really got up there since I bought the place. Yes the units are seperated by a firewall, from top to bottom all the way no gaps. Sorry I thought there was when I went up there one time, so I mispoke on that. Though found lots of crap up there I should get rid of and other things to bring up with my condo assosiation to fix, nothing electrical though. As well yes the boxes to hang the fans are fan rated, thats what they where for and are fan rated.

    Last no new cabling, is near the opening closest wire I saw was for an upstairs light housing which is just over 5' from the hole that was original to the place. Probably something I will replace because its outdated.

    The wiring in the condo, lets just say has been a fun time. Even my electrician said that when he helped me redo the kitchen and move around curcuits in the breaker itself. Items wired wierdly, or items wired to a circuit that is part of something on another floor. Though thankfully we've fixed a grounding issue that was appartent in a few circuits in the condo.



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