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Old 10-31-2007, 11:26 PM   #1
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Flexible Conduit?


Hello.

Typically I run a larger number of Halloween and Christmas decorations. Currently, there are no outdoor outlets on outside of the house.

Power is supplied to the outdoor decorations via extension cords plugged into an outlet in the basement right next to the load center, which is on its own 15 or 20 Amp circuit (Will have to check, can't remember). This circuit is also not GFCI protected.

Obviously this has caused a range of problems. One of which occurred last year, an overloaded extension cord which got a little too hot. Also the simple fact that it is not GFCI protected + snow in the winter + cords laying on the ground = Not a good idea.

The breaker box and outlet are close to a basement window which is located on the side of the house right behind the front porch (the front porch goes out past the side of the house). The frame around the window is wood.

Would it be possible to run a length of flexible watertight conduit with THHN wire from the window frame, up the side of the house along the rear of the porch, and up to an outlet or two along the beam near the ceiling of the porch?

Is using flexible watertight conduit in a situation like that even allowed?

I am also unsure what I would do in the basement to run the wire from the window frame to the breaker panel. Since it would be THHN wire, that would not be allowed I believe? It has to be Romex to be run exposed in the basement, correct?

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Old 11-01-2007, 06:44 AM   #2
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Flexible Conduit?


Liquidtight conduit should be fine for that outside run along the porch. If it's visible it might not be the most attractive thing, but that's another issue.

You would need to run conduit for the entire length of the THHN run.

I believe you can transition to Romex in a box at the end of the liquidtight conduit though, if you want to.

Your outdoor outlet will have to be GFI protected.

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Old 11-01-2007, 07:09 AM   #3
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Flexible Conduit?


The wire should be rated THWN (wet or dry environment). THHN is only to be used in a dry environment. Most single conductors are THHN/THWN and can be used in either area.
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Old 11-01-2007, 12:48 PM   #4
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Flexible Conduit?


Run the romex from the panel to a junction box. Use a romex connector. Then use the Flex from there. Dont run Romex in the flex, run 4 thhn/thwn individual wires to the outlet that you will plug your lights into. This MUST be on a GFCI breaker or receptacle.

In the box where you transition from romex to flex, you can mount a GFCI there and connect to the load side of the GFCI to feed outside. This way you can add more than one REGULAR receptacles if needed, and all will be protected by the one GFCI. Much cheaper than GFCI breaker and the ability to expand for more light plugs.

As the above poster stated this will not be a pretty job. Flex is not really designed for this type of application.
If you could run EMT conduit all the way, it will look much better and will be easier to install the wires. 4 wires. 2 hots 1 neutral and 1 Ground (ECG)
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Old 11-01-2007, 12:58 PM   #5
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Flexible Conduit?


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Originally Posted by J. V. View Post
Run the romex from the panel to a junction box. Use a romex connector. Then use the Flex from there. Dont run Romex in the flex, run 4 thhn/thwn individual wires to the outlet that you will plug your lights into. This MUST be on a GFCI breaker or receptacle.

In the box where you transition from romex to flex, you can mount a GFCI there and connect to the load side of the GFCI to feed outside. This way you can add more than one REGULAR receptacles if needed, and all will be protected by the one GFCI. Much cheaper than GFCI breaker and the ability to expand for more light plugs.

As the above poster stated this will not be a pretty job. Flex is not really designed for this type of application.
If you could run EMT conduit all the way, it will look much better and will be easier to install the wires. 4 wires. 2 hots 1 neutral and 1 Ground (ECG)
Why the two hots? If he is running a multiwire branch circuit, then a GFCI receptacle won't work as you describe, it would have to be dp GFCI breaker, or two GFCI receptacles and a dedicated neutral for each circuit.
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Old 11-01-2007, 02:03 PM   #6
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Flexible Conduit?


If it is not "exposed to physical damage" ( which it doesn't sound as if it will be) You could also run UF cable. UF cable is essentially waterproof romex. They will have it at the homecenter. This method will also look like a dog's butt, But hey...sometimes a dog's butt is good enough.
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Old 11-01-2007, 03:10 PM   #7
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Flexible Conduit?


The circuit isn't a multiwire branch circuit. Single hot, 110 @ 15 or 20A (Still have to look, been too busy today).

There's a dual gang box in the basement mounted on the same wood-like panel that the load center is on, and has a switch and a standard outlet. The switch controls the outlet, however the outlet and switch are on their own circuit breaker.

Could I replace the outlet in the basement with a GFCI (and possibly remove the switch... or is it OK to switch an outlet like that?) - The switch is there to make it easier to switch the outlet on and off because that circuit is usually only used for decorations... or sometimes things like the vacuum cleaner in the basement

And then connect the Romex to the other side of the GFCI outlet, run it to the top of the board the load center is mounted on, then into the joists, over to the window...

I'd have to put the box on the outside of the house, and run the Romex into the back of it, then on the outside, the flex conduit from that box, left about 4 feet to the back of the porch, up the side of the house, and onto the top beam on the porch, correct?

From there I could put standard outlets with watertight boxes and covers on the porch since they're protected by the GFCI?

Also, as for the look, the area where the conduit would run isn't noticeable, and it wouldn't matter too much anyway.

I would have to figure out how to drill into the solid brick though to mount the brackets to hold the conduit... Any suggestions there?

As for wire gauge... if the circuit is 20A, I should run 12 Ga. wire, correct?

EDIT: Use a metal watertight box for the transition to Romex to THWN, right?

Last edited by Riccbhard; 11-01-2007 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 11-01-2007, 08:25 PM   #8
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Flexible Conduit?


Ric,

Everything you described will work fine. Liquid tight flexible metallic conduit (flex) Must be supported 12" from the box outside the window and by the recps and every 4.5' between the boxes. You can leave the switch or remove it. The GFCI in the basement is the superior design because it is the easiest to get to.

As far as drilling the holes for the straps, I use a hammerdrill. Either corded or cordless works fine. Your home center will sell an anchor kit which includes Plastic sleeves, screws and usually even a bit for the hammerdrill. If you use 1/2" flex, I THINK a 3/4" 1-hole EMT strap will work. Good luck and tell us how it works out

P.S. 15A=14gauge wire 20=12gauge wire It will be a bear to get the wire in the flex, trust me!!! Even though "technically" against code, I highly recommend you prefit the flex, cut it, stretch that sucker out FLAT AND STRAIGHT, fish your wire in, and then attach to your boxes and strap.
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Old 11-01-2007, 10:50 PM   #9
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Flexible Conduit?


I'm looking at things I'd have to buy now. I'm assuming that the wire that I will install that comes out of the junction box next to the load center must be covered by conduit until it reaches the edge of the board the load center is mounted on?

The power meter is almost directly above the junction box in question (Yes, of all places, the meter is in the basement), so I am not quite sure yet how to route the wire to the joists

Where the Romex wire will exit through a hole in the wood frame around the basement window, the top edge of the frame is not exactly level with the joists. What's best to do here?

I assume that since the box will be surface mounted onto the outside of the frame, that no clamp on the back of the box is necessary to hold the Romex (not that it would really be possible to even put one there) ?

And to be sure, this is the type of conduit that I'm looking at:
http://doitbest.com/Electrical+Condu...sku-531391.dib

And this is the box I'm looking at:
http://doitbest.com/Electrical+and+s...sku-562475.dib
(Romex will enter through rear, THWN wire will exit into conduit out of the side. The box will probably have a blanking plate on it, I don't think I will be putting an outlet there.)

I assume this is what is used to connect the conduit to the box?
http://doitbest.com/Electrical+Condu...sku-540838.dib

Is 3/4" necessary? 1/2" seemed a little small to me but I'm not sure. (For likely 12 Ga. wire)

I'll probably use the same boxes for the outlets on the porch, with waterproof covers for the receptacles.

I know, I have a lot of questions.

Last edited by Riccbhard; 11-01-2007 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 11-02-2007, 03:51 PM   #10
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Flexible Conduit?


Romex does not have to be put into conduit in your basement. I'd run 1/2 inch, but that's just me.

If you were paying me, the window frame would never enter the picture. I'd use a 1/2" hammerdrill bit and go out the brick straght into the back of the box mounted on the brick on the outside. Then, from there conduit (flex) to wherever. Pro electricians never mess with windows (with the exception of log homes, but that is another story) we leave windows for the window guys.

Don't let the brick scare you. You are smarter than the brick.
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Old 11-02-2007, 10:47 PM   #11
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Flexible Conduit?


OR just use the great Canadian invention.... TECK Cable.. it is suitable for for wet location, direct burial and hell it can go through a body of water if need be.
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Old 11-02-2007, 11:05 PM   #12
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Flexible Conduit?


If I were to drill through the brick, is there anything like a metal sleeve that has to go in the hole before the wire?

Drilling through the brick may seem like the best option at this point because the window frame is thinner than I anticipated.

Does the box have to be a certain height from the ground when mounting it on the brick?

The brick is painted, hopefully it does not have any lead paint on it.
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Old 11-02-2007, 11:14 PM   #13
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Flexible Conduit?


If you use Teck Cable you dont have to do anything to protect when going through the brick
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Old 11-03-2007, 06:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwiftyMcV View Post
If you use Teck Cable you dont have to do anything to protect when going through the brick
I've never heard of teck cable, but then again I've never been to Canada.

Ric, there is no height requirements for this junction box. But use a little common sense. You don't want to be lying on the ground doing all this work.

As far as a sleeve where it passes through the brick, none is required.(Cause we are still dealing with romex at this point)

The paint could be lead based which brings up SAFETY. Wear a dust mask and ALWAYS WEAR YOUR SAFETY GLASSES!!! The ones I wear ALLDAY EVERYDAY are available at my Wallyworld for $5.

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