Question Home Network / Conduit for Shielding Cables

kcella

Honorable
Jan 16, 2014
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I am researching how to setup a wired home Network for my new house. The previous owner had routed all the power lines in the closet from basement to attic so everything is centralized and easy to trace.

My goal was to use the same route for the ethernet cables. However I read that the low voltage Ethernet cables should not be near power cables. Can anyone please suggest a good conduit material I can use to shield any interference?

I really do not want to find another location to route the cables. It is an old house with plaster and lathe walls so it makes a new location difficult.

Thanks.
 
In most cases the restriction about spacing between low voltage cables (ie ethernet) and electrical cables is code requirement. This is a safety thing mostly, they worry about some issue causing electrical power to get into the ethernet cables. Since ethernet cables are not protected in any way someone could get a shock or worse. It is a safety restriction not a technical one.

Not sure how likely that really is but that is main reason you do not see see ethernet run next to power cables.

Now in theory electrical wires can cause interference in ethernet. The twist in the ethernet wire are designed to prevent this. Normal power runs at 50-60hz which is too low to cause much issue. There is the chance it could induce a current in the wires but this would be caused by say a large motor or maybe something like a starter ballast in a florescent light.

Pretty much if you were to run the wire next to your power cables it likely would cause no issue. We had massive amounts of power cords and ethernet cable crammed into server racks and we never had issues.

I am not sure how you would accomplish this anyway. The power wires I have always seen are attached to the wood members and run run though holes that do not have enough room to run wires. In most case you have no access to these holes anyway when the walls are finished. You can not use the electrical wires as a pull string since they are attached to the wood.

I think the big reason to be careful about doing this is if you were to try to sell the house and a inspector found a code violation they could delay the sale. I think the distance for parallel wires is 2 inches but electrical code varies a lot.
 

mihen

Respectable
Oct 11, 2017
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I wouldn't place ethernet cables in the same wall cavity as electrical from a practicality perspective. You may cut into the electrical if you are not careful. Running conduit won't make a difference for interference. It does provide an extra layer of protection against critters and makes rerunning a wire in a wall cavity easier. If you run conduit you really need to know what you are doing so it's easy to replace the wire later on, the wire has sufficient bend distance, and it doesn't become a home to pests. To me it's more hassle than it's worth on something that has already been built.
For conduit material, I would use stiff PVC. If you use metal, you will need to ground it. Anything flex is a big no no.
 

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