PVC v.s. Plenum

DWC Fire Alarm Cable
What to choose, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or plenum? Consider asking yourself these simple questions to aid in the decision making process.

If the building or wire were to catch fire, does the kind of smoke produced matter?

No smoke is good for the human body to ingest, but if you had to choose… When a wire is coated in PVC and burns, it has tendency to produce Hydrogen Chloride Fumes, which can be extremely toxic. When a plenum rated wire burns, the smoke that is produced is still toxic, like any smoke, but is less toxic than the smoke produced by a wire coated in PVC.

How much are you or your customer willing to spend?

Sometimes price does matter. PVC will almost always be cheaper than a plenum rated product.  If your application allows for a PVC product, you should use it to save money.

Where will the wire be installed?

This is the biggest driver in your product selection. For example, plenum fire alarm cable (FPLP) is required in drop ceilings to prevent toxic smoke burn off. PVC fire alarm cable (FPLR) is used in riser applications when smoke burn off is not as much of a concern. Also, you should always use plenum datacom products, such as category 5E CMP, in an air space of a residential or commercial building. Consider a PVC rated product when the product is being installed behind walls or any area where toxic smoke burn off would not be an issue.

PVC and plenum both have drawbacks and benefits. Depending on the project, one may be better suited than the other. If you still have questions about PVC v.s. plenum, be sure to contact your account manager today at 888.439.2947. If you are ready to get a quote, click here.