What is Plenum Cable Anyway?
Plenum is a word used frequently in the wire and cable arena. But do you know what it means? Simply stated, plenum is a space that is commonly above a ceiling or below a floor that serves as an air circulation chamber aiding in heating and cooling functions. Plenum spaces permit fire and smoke to travel quickly, therefore it is important that materials occupying this space have characteristics that can withstand smoke and fire.
Plenum-rated cable is coated with a jacket that is made with flame-resistant material such as Teflon. Using plenum-rated cable in plenum spaces reduces levels of toxicity in the smoke emitted and the flame retardant jacketing makes the burning cable smoke less. If your cable is not going into a plenum space, than non-plenum cable is the less expensive alternative. PVC can cost as little as one third of the cost of plenum cable. However, with insurance rates on the rise, building owners are choosing plenum rated cable as the best long term cable decision. Plenum rated cables cause less overall physical damage in the instance of a fire thereby lowering the building owner’s liability if an accident were to occur.
If you are installing cable in plenum spaces it is important to remember the advantages of plenum-rated cable in the long term!