Safety Standards: Plenum Rated Cable Ties

Safety Standards: Plenum Rated Cable Ties

  Certain areas of buildings, called plenums (or air-handling spaces), require special plenum-rated cables, as well as plenum-rated cable ties. These plenum-rated cables and cable ties are extremely important in order to comply with national standards, as well as for safety reasons. Below you’ll find information on cabling in air handling spaces, including an explanation of plenum, standards for plenum-rated cable ties, and tips when choosing plenum-rated products.  

What is Plenum?

  The official definition of plenum is:
“A space, usually above a ceiling or below a floor, that can serve as a receiving chamber for air that has been heated or cooled to be distributed to inhabited areas.”
  In other words, a plenum is the space above a ceiling or below a floor that is used for heating, ventilation, or air conditioning (HVAC). That’s not all plenums are used for, though! In buildings with computer installations, the plenum space is often used for housing network communication cables.

Are there National Standards for Cabling in Plenums?

  Yes! And it is very important to follow them for safety purposes. Organizations such as the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), National Electric Code (NEC), and Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) all have requirements for cabling in air handling spaces and require cables and cable ties to be UL approved. Cables and cable ties meant for air handling (plenum) spaces are often called “plenum-rated”. Plenum-rated cable ties will almost always come in their signature maroon/burgundy color.      

How Do I Know if the Plenum-Rated Cable Ties I’m Buying are Standard Approved?

  It’s simple: they will say so! Although most of the time a signature burgundy-colored cable tie indicates compliance with air handling standards, that’s not always the case. It’s important to know the standard codes used on plenum-rated cable ties, so you know that the ones you’re buying are the real deal. (Yes, our high-quality plenum-rated cable ties are the real deal!) If you’ve ever seen regular plastic burn, you know how much of a dirty, smelly mess it makes. If you haven’t seen regular plastic burn, think lots of thick, dirty black smoke and toxic fumes. Plenum-rated cable ties have to pass specific tests and requirements in order to become UL approved. These tests measure the amount of toxic fumes, heat, and smoke released in case of fire. Cable ties that have passed testing and requirements per UL 2043 are considered UL approved, and therefore comply with NEMA, NFPA, NEC, and CEC. Plenum-rated cable ties that have been verified as suitable for use in air-handling spaces will have one of the following markings in their description:
Marking 1: “AH-2” and/or: Marking 2: "Suitable for use in Air Handling Spaces (plenums)" in accordance with Section 300.22 (C) and (D) of the National Electrical Code, and Rules 12-010 (3), (4), and (5), and 12-020 of the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I, or an equivalent wording.
  See, told you ours were the real deal! Plenum-rated cables and cable ties are generally more expensive than non-plenum ones, due to the fact that they are made from a specialized flame-retardant material. When it comes to safety, don’t skimp to save a few cents. Save lives instead with plenum-rated cables and cable ties.
    For more information on standards for cabling in air-handling spaces, check out the links below: http://ulstandards.ul.com/standard/?id=2043_4 https://www.nema.org/Products/Documents/Application%20Guide%201-Cable%20Ties_Application%20Environment_AH.pdf http://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/all-codes-and-standards/list-of-codes-and-standards?mode=code&code=90A   For a wide selection of UL approved, plenum-rated cable ties, visit our Label ID Systems store!
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