I could really use your advice on outdoor wiring.


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Old 04-13-21, 05:19 PM
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I could really use your advice on outdoor wiring.

Hello community! You've all been so helpful with my project, and I appreciate you! I am at the point to where I need to start doing the wiring for my backyard project. I want to run some wire to the backyard to create two new GFCI, weather protected in-use outlets. The only things I am going to power with them are a small pump for a fountain and a couple strings of LED lights for the pergola.

I provided 3 images which show the path of electricity, whether that be above or below ground. I am going to do the work myself as far as digging, running wire (not connecting it) etc. I have a neighbor up the road who is licensed electrician who will make the final connections for me, and most importantly will install the wires into the new 20A circuit.

As I get into this part of the project, many questions arise about methods and materials. I understand if I did this below ground then I can use UF-B with Schedule 40, buried 18-inches deep. I have also read about people running the wire and/or conduit above ground, but there seems to be some restrictions if it enters the ground at some point. Something along the lines of, if it enters the ground at some point then ALL of the wire has to be protected. In the pictures provided I have the red lines going above ground, and then when it leaves the house it would go below ground.

In theory, could I run UF-B through schedule 40 above ground, under that lip area where the foundation meets the wood, and then go below ground to the pergola area? It would all be protected and inside the 40 at that point.

Another thing is materials themselves. I have had it in my mind to use Schedule 40 with the UF-B due to cost. I can't afford the galvanized pipe for now. Could I do a blend of two materials? For example, would you use the 40 in some areas and then convert to EMT to make it more attractive? I think the EMT on the pergola part would look really good (EMT above ground of course), but I am not opposed to PVC there also if it keeps things simpler. I just find it hard to turn corners with schedule 40 by looking at the parts, but it's doable with a modified elbow.

I hope I described this project correctly in order for you all to be able to give me good feedback. The bullet points below should summarize what I am debating here...
  1. Should I stick with schedule 40 PVC for the whole project?
  2. Can I use a mix of materials to "make it look better"?
  3. What are your thoughts about running the wire through the PVC under that lip area, and then going underground after that first proposed outlet? The UF-B would be covered the whole time by using this method.
  4. CAN you use the UF-B wire alone, no PVC, under that lip area (there's plenty of room to tuck it in under the wood) and then start using PVC when it drops down from the first proposed outlet? The wire would not be covered from the box to the first outlet with this method, but it would be "protected". Either way, from that point it goes underground until it gets to the pergola just like the option above.
  5. I am trying to not have to dig 18-inches deep for 70+ feet which is why I am asking what methods are possible
  6. Lastly, at what point should I call an inspector? I would imagine you need to at some point. It is a private one you hire or some city inspector?




 

Last edited by JaredSD; 04-13-21 at 05:38 PM.
  #2  
Old 04-13-21, 06:07 PM
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FYI - It is quite difficult to run UF in conduit for any length. For complete conduit runs, I suggest running individual conductors.

While it may be code to run the UF under the lip exposed, it will not look very nice and may be subject to physical damage which is not allowed. You would be better off running EMT below the siding fastening it to the foundation. However, that will require a hammer drill and maybe an EMT bender which maybe you can borrow from your neighbor.

Since it appears you will be coming off an existing GFCI, and a circuit 20 amps or less, you really are only required to bury the conduit 12" regardless if you are using conduit or UF cable. Diggin git in will likely look a lot nicer.

Basically, anytime you are running below ground you use UF alone or PVC conduit. Where the UF comes up from being buried it needs to be protected by conduit and again, if it is touching the ground it needs to be PVC. If you start mixing materials (plastic/steel) you have to make sure to bond/ground the steel conduit or metal boxes.
 
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Old 04-13-21, 06:38 PM
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Tolyn Ironhand Thanks for the reply, you have def helped me before. I like the idea of staying with one material, so PVC it is. 12-inches is all good for digging, it was getting down to the 18 or 24 inch marks which really started to suck.

Why is it hard to run UF in conduit? Does it perhaps "catch" and it is hard to pull through? As far as doing the 3 wires individually, is that something Lowe's or HD sells as well? Is the cost comparable to the 100-foot roll I got for $76?

Also, as far as the 12-inches, is this something which requires inspection? Could I perhaps take pics and save them for later when I sell the house?

Thanks man, you rock!
 
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Old 04-13-21, 06:55 PM
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PVC conduit tends to be "sticky" as does the UF. Short sections it is not too bad, but any more than that it can be tough,

If you dig it in just come straight down from the box by the A/C unit and put a 90 on the bottom coming out at 12". Then dig around the house and come up the same way to the box by the door. Then do the same thing coming out of the same box, so you will need a weatherproof box with 2 KO's on the end, and run to your pergola. Then come up the post in the same way.

This might also be helpful: https://www.familyhandyman.com/proje...rground-cable/
 
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Old 04-13-21, 08:13 PM
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Tolyn Ironhand Makes sense, and I figured that was the issue. I planned on feeding as I went along so perhaps it won't be too bad. I could lube it up too.

I haven't seen a box with 2 KO's, but I wasn't looking at the time. I can head back to the store tomorrow. That is to say the box on the house will have two pieces of PVC involved, one going in and one going out, correct?

I am just thrilled I am not digging 18-24 inches haha.
 
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Old 04-14-21, 05:37 AM
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I
planned on feeding as I went along
This is a No-NO. The wet glue can damage the insulation on the wire.
 
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Old 04-14-21, 07:22 AM
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Wirepuller38 Thanks. I did not know that. With that in mind, could I still use this all-in-one UF-B and perhaps lube it to feed through OR should go I go with individual wires as Tolyn suggested? Is there a certain method people prefer for feeding wire?

Also, could I do the feeding in different sections? Take a look at the pics. Could I perhaps go from circuit box to outlet #1 (attached to house) and then do another feeding from that to the pergola? It will kind of have to be that way due how it is set up I suppose.
 

Last edited by JaredSD; 04-14-21 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 04-14-21, 08:47 AM
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It sounds like you are considering using PVC all the way. You do not have to as Tolyn said in Posts # 2 & 4 since your circuit will be GFCI protected at the source. You can direct bury UF cable GFCI protected circuits that are not more than 120V/20 amp 12 inches down and only need protection when it comes up out of the ground. This might be helpful.

(Sorry T did not realize you already linked to this.)
 
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Old 04-14-21, 08:55 AM
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2john02458 Ah ha! Now that I go back to that link he posted (and you), and see the diagram, along with the 3-criteria......I now understand this better. This makes things much easier for sure as far as "pulling wire". Question...the PVC is all flanged and kind of "plug and play" in a sense. Do I still need to use the glue/cement on the areas above ground?
 
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Old 04-14-21, 09:21 AM
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Personal experience: do not try to run UF in long lengths of conduit.

As stated, you have to glue them together before pulling the wire, and if there are several 10' lengths or ANY bends, you're SOL.

Either plastic conduit all the way with separate wires, or just bury UF and protect it at the source with GFI (that's what I did for my storage building).
 
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Old 04-14-21, 10:09 AM
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Do I still need to use the glue/cement on the areas above ground?
I'm not sure about that since the conduit is only for protection and not weatherproofing. A glued joint would prevent the conduit from being pulled out by earth movement from frost heave, etc. so I would say it should be glued. Also the inspector may question if it is not glued.
 
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Old 04-14-21, 11:36 AM
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2john02458 Thanks, and better to be safe anyway. I will use glue.

As far as the inspection, how does that process work? Should I get it all hooked up and working, but leave the trench uncovered until they sign off? Also, who does this inspection? Is it usually a city person?
 
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Old 04-14-21, 02:03 PM
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Call your local building department and ask them about their permit and inspection process.
 
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Old 04-15-21, 08:10 AM
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Tolyn Ironhand 2john02458 I have one more quick question for whoever sees this first, please. Tolyn mentioned a double KO box to be used on the house (the first outlet of the two). I looked at HD and I didn't really see any that are waterproof, in-use, double KO. Maybe I didn't look hard enough? The one I have now has multiple KOs (2), and they are in-line with each other. One on top and one on bottom.

Could I use this one for my purpose? Could I integrate a T-shaped conduit body to make this transition? My thought was to have a 90-degree elbow coming out of the ground (flipped though) and have that connect to a T-shaped conduit body on the side. I could make my connections in that T-shaped housing and have the wire go out the top to the box and out the bottom to the pergola. Totally cool if this is not advised or not up to code. I just couldn't find the right product with 2 KOs on the bottom AND needing to be a weatherproof box (in-use). Perhaps I need to fit a couple pieces together and not look for the all-in-one solutions they offer if I need to go this route.

The box I got is similar to this, but it has a much chunkier back which contains the KO.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Commerci...W1PC/300849073


 
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Old 04-15-21, 08:27 AM
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Use a 2-gang box with the correct number of openings on the bottom. They come with as many as 7. Unused openings can remain sealed.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Commerci...50PG/300851103
 
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Old 04-15-21, 09:48 AM
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2john02458 Thanks man, you rock. You all have been so helpful.

Can I still use schedule 40 for this or do I need to use 80 since most of the work will above ground regarding the tubing? I did read 40 is acceptable above ground also.
 
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Old 04-15-21, 05:26 PM
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Here is the weatherproof box I was referring to: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Commerci...450G/300845362 I would not recommend using a Tee fitting. They also have plastic ones as well but I think they are only for 3/4" conduit. Here is an example of the extension you will need on the box by the A/C unit: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Red-Dot-...1E-R/202200363

Also, feel free to use 3/4" conduit/fittings/boxes. It is often easier to use larger pipes when sleaving UF.
 
 

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