The Importance of Cable Mining (or Removing Abandoned Cables)

April 16, 2021

Data Center Structured Cabling Infrastructure Solutions

Most buildings over a few years old have abandoned wires and cables behind the walls. This is especially true for facilities like data centers, schools, hospitals, office buildings and other structures with a prevalence of electronics and telecommunications equipment.

Cables are often abandoned when tenants move out, or when new upgrades are installed, to save time. The accumulated buildup poses numerous issues for property managers and building owners. Removing these wires should be a priority, regardless of how many extra miles of cable you’re sitting on.

What Is Cable Mining?

Abandoned cables include any that are not terminated at both ends or tagged for reuse. Cable mining is the thorough removal of any wires meeting this description.

Effective data center cable mining involves locating, identifying and removing cabling from inside the walls, above ceiling tiles, beneath raised floors and anywhere wiring is tucked away. The materials recovered are then either salvaged for reuse or discarded using the appropriate disposal method.

The Different Types of Wires and Cables

Cable identification is essential. Abandoned cabling often includes wiring from electrical equipment, PBX power cables, Ethernet cables and phone cables. Buildings may also have wiring from security systems, video cameras and fire alarms.

Some of these wires will be live, and others are subject to National Electrical Code (NEC) regulation. Other cables are more prone to issues like rodents and heat. Whoever performs the removal must have a solid grasp of cable identification to avoid potential mishaps.

The Need for Mining Power Cables and Wiring

Cable mining is about more than making aesthetic improvements and lightening the load. Remove your unused and outdated wiring and you’ll gain valuable advantages.

Removing Safety Hazards

Most cables are manufactured for flame resistance and produce minimal smoke. There’s also a lower risk of them becoming energized and directly causing a fire. The real safety risk from abandoned cables comes from the volume that builds up over time.

Even with precautions, a large bundle of abandoned wiring can produce an intolerable amount of thick, heavy and acrid smoke if exposed to open flame. People evacuating the area will have to fight the smoke’s toxic effects and seek clean air as the burning wiring consumes the oxygen supply.

Creating More Space

Abandoned cables take up valuable space. Cable mining lets you reclaim this room, freeing up valuable square inches you can use for:

  • Running new wiring: Removing abandoned wiring makes it easier to run new cables, saving time and eliminating challenges.
  • Providing ventilation: Cables block airflow, preventing you from achieving the most effective cooling for wires and components.
  • Optimizing your design: When you remove your abandoned wiring, you can re-install your live wires in an optimized configuration.
  • Simplifying troubleshooting: Keeping your spaces clear of abandoned wires will make it simpler for technicians to troubleshoot faults.

Contact DataSpan for Cable Mining Services

At DataSpan, we have 50 years of experience providing customized solutions designed to overcome unique IT challenges. We offer a wide range of products and services across all 50 states. Our data center cable mining service will help you gain the most use from your available space and provide a safer work environment.

Fill out our contact form to get started, and we’ll get back to you soon.