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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Charlottesville, Va.
    Posts
    292

    Default Plumbing, Cables, Line Set Routed Through Duct

    I ran across a return duct today that had a plumbing drain, electrical cables and the heat pumps line set all running through the return air duct. I've never seen this before, but think I know it to be not allowed/incorrect.

    Can I please get some explaination/education on why this is not allowed/incorrect so that I can write the "why it's a problem" part of my narrative to best affect.

    Thank you.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    1,984

    Default Re: Plumbing, Cables, Line Set Routed Through Duct

    Plumbing - contamination hazard, any leaks in the drain line can leach bacteria into the system which will be distributed throughout the home and can cause sickness or death
    Electrical - since you can't see all the electrical, you can't say whether now or in the future when somebody modifies something that the line won't energize the sheetmetal ... and zap
    Freon - contamination hazard
    See IRC M1601.4 and M1801.8
    Write it up as non-compliant and a safety hazard.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    389

    Default Re: Plumbing, Cables, Line Set Routed Through Duct

    I'd say it is not a problem.

    All utilities are exposed in your mechanical room are they not?

    Having said that, the installation looks pretty "Harry the Homeowner" ish.

    Last edited by Rod Butler; 07-11-2012 at 03:56 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Charlottesville, Va.
    Posts
    292

    Default Re: Plumbing, Cables, Line Set Routed Through Duct

    Thank you for the reply Markus.

    Rod, I do not see the comparison to the mechanical room as very pertinent. The mechanical room is not under negative air pressure like the return duct, which is drawing everything in the duct, including potential contaminants, into the air handler for relatively quick delivery to all rooms of the house.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,252

    Default Re: Plumbing, Cables, Line Set Routed Through Duct

    The main difference between that duct and the mechanical room, which could be under negative pressure if the return was open to the room and the room was open to either the return ducts or the environmental air of the house, the main difference is that those items in the environmental air of the mechanical room are not concealed, they are exposed, whereas that duct is closed and concealed and no one would know of a problem causing burning and outgassing of the toxic chemicals of the prohibited items in that duct.

    Items which are allowed in the environmental air of mechanical rooms and air handler closets with louvered doors to a hallway (which contains the environmental air) are not allowed in plenum ceilings, ducts or return air plenums (of which a plenum ceiling is one type of return air plenum).

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

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