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Old 07-13-2010, 07:30 PM   #1
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How do I effectively fix my outdoor wiring blunder?


Scenario: Wiring a 20A 220v Air Conditioner into our older mobile home. From the living room wall, where the unit will mount, It's about 40' along the plywood skirting, then out (where I'll bury the wire) another 8' to the Cutler Hammer combination breaker box/meter base.

I got very ahead of myself on this one. I brainlessly purchased a 100' roll of 10-2 NM-B (instead of UF), and the wife and I progressed to get it through the 40' run along the exterior face of the skirting - in 3/4" pvc conduit...

About that time a friend, who says he knows "a little" about wiring, stopped by, and said he thought that install was a bad idea; that the wire would overheat, and potentially cause a fire.

So, onto the net I went, and, sure enough seems my mistakes have been:

1. Since the wire is "outdoors" (I live in Western Oregon = wet), it should have been type UF.

2. 10-2 with ground needs conduit larger than 3/4" to avoid overheating issues, especially since it's mounted to the outside of the skirting, where it will be in the sun until mid-day.

So, my question is: can anything I've done so far be salvaged?

If I scrapped the whole thing, seems from what I've read I should buy a roll of UF, run it behind the skirting for protection (hung under the mobile - not in conduit), and either direct bury the last leg, or run in ? 1" min ? conduit to the breaker box?

Would it be to code to, instead, pull the NM out, and pull 3 singles of THWN?

Which would be less expensive???

*** funny, I called 3 local area electricians for clues, and all 3 gave completely different answers...

Thanks, Joe (who 'normally' doesn't jump the gun without proper research
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:11 PM   #2
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1) Type NM cable is not approved for installation in PVC conduit in wet locations.

2) Outdoors is considered a wet location.

3) You only need #12 conductors for a 20 Amp circuit
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldenvoice View Post

If I scrapped the whole thing, seems from what I've read I should buy a roll of UF, run it behind the skirting for protection (hung under the mobile - not in conduit), and either direct bury the last leg, or run in ? 1" min ? conduit to the breaker box?
I would do this, only use 12/2UF.

Unless you are in very sandy or clean solid I'd sleeve the run in conduit for the whole outside portion instead of direct burying.
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Old 07-14-2010, 06:28 AM   #4
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I am not an electrician, just a serious DIYer, so I can't say if it is a code violation but I never UF exposed outside. I always use THWN in PVC conduit. Critters, and my dogs, like to chew on things and a piece of cable is very inviting (my dog even chewed the PVC cover off an outdoor outlet). For a 20A circuit you need minimum 12 AWG THWN. You need 3 wires for 220V, buy red, black and green for the ground. No need for a neutral unless there are 120V components as well which probably does not exist on an AC.
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SleepyDog View Post
I am not an electrician, just a serious DIYer, so I can't say if it is a code violation but I never UF exposed outside.
UF is not allowed exposed where subject to damage, same as NM-B cable.
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