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Old 08-22-2008, 10:24 PM   #16
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Cost Difference Between Conduit & Romex


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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
If conduit in a stick build home is SO much better, then why has the rest of the country not followed suit over the last 30-40 years???????

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one of the owners of one of the larger EC firms in my area had his new house done in pipe. It is not required in my area.

Since conduit is required in the '05 and newer codes for any wiring installed in an area subsect to damage, there will be more conduit in basements and possibly attics. I am not so gung ho on conduit in resi but I do hate plastic boxes and would not use them in any house of mine built new. 232 (raco 4" square x 2 1/8) would be used with the appropriate mud rings.

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Old 08-23-2008, 08:10 AM   #17
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Cost Difference Between Conduit & Romex


Union influence pushing conduit requirements....

Take Chicago for example. I don't think anyone can make a reasonable case that it is a safety-based requirement.

There's nothing wrong with installing or recommending conduit and metal boxes because it is a tight installation and it looks professional and neat. But there's nothing that makes it so advantageous that it should be required over NM romex and plastic/molded fiberglass boxes in a residential application (other than open areas where protection from physical damage is required).
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Old 08-23-2008, 08:26 AM   #18
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Cost Difference Between Conduit & Romex


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I do hate plastic boxes and would not use them in any house of mine built new. 232 (raco 4" square x 2 1/8) would be used with the appropriate mud rings.

I just did build a new house 3 years ago and I did use romex and plastic, and I am an electrician. Metal boxes are a PITA because you have to bond the box also which isn't always very fun on a deep box expecially after the mudrings are on. I don't expect to ever have to pull the wire out of the walls, why would I? If I want to add a rec. here or there, that's pretty easy.

The only places I would use metal boxes is for the low voltage stuff with a stub down into the crawlspace/basement/attic, and a 2 gang with a single gang mudring on some of the light switches in case there was ever to be a fan/light replacing the light in the future (along with 14/3 and a fan rated box of course).

If the plastic screw holes strip out, put a bigger screw in, no big deal at all.

And NO, I have nothing against conduit having worked for years in the industrial side of the industry. It's actually kind of fun running pipe.

So to whoever said earlier that "the pros" would prefer to run conduit in a residential setting, count me out.
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Old 08-23-2008, 09:02 AM   #19
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Cost Difference Between Conduit & Romex


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Union influence pushing conduit requirements....

Take Chicago for example. I don't think anyone can make a reasonable case that it is a safety-based requirement.

There's nothing wrong with installing or recommending conduit and metal boxes because it is a tight installation and it looks professional and neat. But there's nothing that makes it so advantageous that it should be required over NM romex and plastic/molded fiberglass boxes in a residential application (other than open areas where protection from physical damage is required).
Agree 100%!

Especially the first part.
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Old 08-23-2008, 10:57 AM   #20
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Cost Difference Between Conduit & Romex


I totally agree with KC. The conduit requirement is referred to around here as a "union code." While I applaud the strength of the local IBEW (9 and 134), I cannot see a compelling reason to require EMT over rope. One electrician once told me that it was because of rats. Maybe. While this may be more of a reality in the city, where I live we don't have this problem and we're bound by the same requirement. The other day I was removing some part-walls in my basement and I discovered a piece of greenfield that was punctured by a drywall screw. So, you can't really argue that thin wall steel is impervious to punctures either.

The local HD is within the city limits of Chicago and they sell NM. Now I don't see this as a problem but I've had to be the bringer of bad news to a few HO's that I've run into therein who started asking me about installing NM in their Chicago bungalows. You should see their smiles run away when I tell them that they cannot legally use it. Then I'm usually met with much bitterness and a lot of "why this" and "why that" questioning. One guy was so pissed that he practically blamed me for the fact that he couldn't use it! Sheesh!

As I said, I really enjoy working with pipe. Bending all of the offsets, kicks, saddles, etc., is challenging and I get a lot of enjoyment from it. Speedy is probably rolling his eyes at me (I know-I'm a glutton). But, I am doing this for my own home only. I do not get paid nor do I have to worry about job costs, margins, schedules (well I am married so I do have to be concerned about that but when I describe the scope to her, I alway add in enough float to allow for smoke breaks!). I just flat out thing that it's fun. Feel free to flame me-I know I deserve it!

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Old 08-23-2008, 11:18 AM   #21
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Cost Difference Between Conduit & Romex


If someone wants to have a ceiling fan with the light and fan switched separately, and the cable run to the ceiling box is 12/2 you have to run another cable.
With conduit you could just push the extra conductor from the switch box to the ceiling box. That is just one example. Just because NM is the norm in most areas, I still like pipe. And like I said before IMO.
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Old 08-23-2008, 11:22 AM   #22
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So to whoever said earlier that "the pros" would prefer to run conduit in a residential setting, count me out.
I said troubleshoot not run conduit.
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Old 08-23-2008, 11:34 AM   #23
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One electrician once told me that it was because of rats. Maybe. While this may be more of a reality in the city, where I live we don't have this problem and we're bound by the same requirement.
By "rats", he might have meant non-union or merit shop electricians, not furry rodents. They're commonly referred to as rats by the union outfits, who tend to look down on non-union guys.

Not trying to start a union/non-union argument here, but pipe is often a union thing.
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Old 08-23-2008, 11:45 AM   #24
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Cost Difference Between Conduit & Romex


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Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
By "rats", he might have meant non-union or merit shop electricians, not furry rodents. They're commonly referred to as rats by the union outfits, who tend to look down on non-union guys.

Not trying to start a union/non-union argument here, but pipe is often a union thing.
Whoops, I should have chosen my words more carefully! No, he was referring to the animals, not the people!

I didn't see your commentary as trying to argue one way or the other. I totally agree w/ your point that the requirement is driven by the strength and influence of the unions. Your input is insightful and welcome, as usual!

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Old 08-23-2008, 12:30 PM   #25
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if it is driven by the union, how do you explain the reverse trend in New York where the unions are notoriously strong?
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Old 08-23-2008, 12:35 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Silk View Post
I just did build a new house 3 years ago and I did use romex and plastic, and I am an electrician. Metal boxes are a PITA because you have to bond the box also which isn't always very fun on a deep box expecially after the mudrings are on. I don't expect to ever have to pull the wire out of the walls, why would I? If I want to add a rec. here or there, that's pretty easy.

The only places I would use metal boxes is for the low voltage stuff with a stub down into the crawlspace/basement/attic, and a 2 gang with a single gang mudring on some of the light switches in case there was ever to be a fan/light replacing the light in the future (along with 14/3 and a fan rated box of course).

If the plastic screw holes strip out, put a bigger screw in, no big deal at all.

And NO, I have nothing against conduit having worked for years in the industrial side of the industry. It's actually kind of fun running pipe.

So to whoever said earlier that "the pros" would prefer to run conduit in a residential setting, count me out.

I have no trouble with the ground tails in the boxes although I will generally install them before installing the mud ring if they are on the job. As many others have stated, it is a preference. I just don't like plastic boxes although they generally hold up just fine for the average homeowner. Since I do commercial/industrial electrical work for a living, I do tend to get used to one thing over another and that tends to sway me towards commercial style installs.
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Old 08-23-2008, 12:41 PM   #27
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Cost Difference Between Conduit & Romex


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if it is driven by the union, how do you explain the reverse trend in New York where the unions are notoriously strong?
Maybe the City is getting some common sense?
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Old 08-23-2008, 01:14 PM   #28
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Cost Difference Between Conduit & Romex


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if it is driven by the union, how do you explain the reverse trend in New York where the unions are notoriously strong?
I cannot, as I live in Chicago. Perhaps they now have some politicians that are rich enough that the kickbacks and vacations don't overrule sound decision making? Geez, listen to what I'm saying! Or maybe the politicians are all DIYers?
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Old 08-23-2008, 01:49 PM   #29
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I said troubleshoot not run conduit.

For the life of me, I can't think of a situation where having a circuit piped in would be easier for me to troubleshoot that a roped circuit. Please enlighten me. Maybe I'm just to good at troubleshooting

P.S. You can't really count any problems in a residence "troubleshooting".

Troubleshooting is when you get a call at 2 AM because a plant can't deliver product because their product pump won't run. Then you get there, open up the bucket to find their are no prints, run upstairs and open up the old 8' x 8' I/O cabinet full of relays to find that their are no prints and that the old Honeywell cabinet has been completely rewired to work with their new Seimens PLC which also has no prints. All the time the host mill that is waiting for the product from your customer is calling and saying that they will be shuttnig down soon to the tune of 10's of thousand of dollars an hour and having 400 production slouchs laying around *****ing about their lot in life. So your customer is calling corporate headquarters and trying to get an answer out of you as to "how long they can expect to be down" because their contract with the host mill has a huge penalty if they are forced to shut down. ect. ect. ect............

Sorry for the rant, But I'm just trying to put things back into perspective!

fixing someone's 3-way is a walk in the park, whether it be rope or pipe.

Last edited by Silk; 08-23-2008 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 08-23-2008, 03:46 PM   #30
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Cost Difference Between Conduit & Romex


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Troubleshooting is when you get a call at 2 AM because a plant can't deliver product because their product pump won't run. Then you get there, open up the bucket to find their are no prints, run upstairs and open up the old 8' x 8' I/O cabinet full of relays to find that their are no prints and that the old Honeywell cabinet has been completely rewired to work with their new Seimens PLC which also has no prints. All the time the host mill that is waiting for the product from your customer is calling and saying that they will be shuttnig down soon to the tune of 10's of thousand of dollars an hour and having 400 production slouchs laying around *****ing about their lot in life. So your customer is calling corporate headquarters and trying to get an answer out of you as to "how long they can expect to be down" because their contract with the host mill has a huge penalty if they are forced to shut down. ect. ect. ect.
Ahh, no prints. That's always fun. And all the I/O wiring is all the same color, all the brady's have long since fallen off, etc., etc!

I got called into a JIT manufacturing facility that had an electropainting line down and a bunch of people all sitting around. Lost production was something in the neighborhood of $10K/hr. PLC equipment was installed in a double door cabinet close to the line. The equipment got inadvertently washed down when a hose burst and sprayed caustic cleaning solution all over the card file. Of course this wouldn't have been an issue if the doors to the sealed cabinet had been shut. But some moron in his infinite wisdom added a touch screen HMI and decided that it'd be a good idea to put inside the cabinet so that the door always had to be open while they were operating.

The entire PLC is dark and I find a tripped breaker which I reset. The PLC comes back to life and falls back into the RUN mode after booting up. For GP, I shut it down and pull, inspect and clean all of the cards. After re-powering the controller, I ask the instrument tech how to start the line which he tries to do with no sucess. I notice an illuminated light on the panel that has the words "start interlock" written above it in marker. So I point this out and ask him what conditions are required to start the machine, assuming that something is locking us out. "Hmmm, I don't know. We've never had this problem" he says. Of course, no prints. It's an A/B PLC-5 and anyone who has worked with them knows that the program comments, symbols, etc., are not stored in the CPU. So, I ask him if he has the software and he tells me that the only copy is on the manager's laptop which is not available since he's on vacation (great software control, BTW). So, I plug in my laptop and start looking at the bare ladder file. After a little hunting around, I notice one particular internal bit that seems to be ANDed with just about every rung (looking like a MCR or similar safety check). I trace it to one particular input which has a wire tagged with a piece of yellow electrical tape that reads "safety." Looking over the line, I notice some E-stops and pull-cords. I take a walk, pulling on all the mushroom heads until one pops out which prompts a horn blast and a series of revolving yellow lights.

The plant supervisor got pretty red in the face when I told him that, except for a tripped circuit breaker (the technician couldn't even find that one), the only problem was that someone had pressed an emergency-stop button when the chaos erupted.

Fun, fun, fun,
Jimmy

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