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#673281 - 06/28/11 04:17 PM Outdoor wire or conduit that is the question????
steelpony5555 Offline
newbie

Registered: 06/03/10
Posts: 10
Loc: Texas
Ok I want to run power to my newly built pergola so power the lights my wife wants on it. Basicly just gonna be Christmas lights for decorations so I am gonna run 12-2 to the pergola. I am gonna run a line underground to my shed which is only 5 ft from the pergola and then underground in conduit to the pergola. After that up the post and across the top of the the pergola which is 20 x 16. Now 1st question is since I am buring the wire from the house in conduit does if have to be direct bury wire or can I use outdoor Romex or can you use regular interior Romex since it's in conduit? My second question is how good is outdoor wire. Can I use it once I get to the top of the pergola or should I continue to run it in conduit to the 2-3 outlets I am gonna put in. I was a Verizon installer once and have seen all kinds of stuff people do including just running an extention cord buried. But we want to be correct here and do it right. Thanks for your help......

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#673282 - 06/28/11 05:30 PM Re: Outdoor wire or conduit that is the question???? [Re: steelpony5555]
Just_Bill Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/27/02
Posts: 20184
Loc: Wilmington, Delaware
All depends on local code. Uf is allowed underground(min 18") and above ground in some areas. Not allowed in conduit in some areas. THHN is the norm for conduit wire, in some areas. As a mater of protecting the wire, I would use conduit above ground regardless.

Nay. nay, never buried extension cord.......anywhere!!!
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#673283 - 06/28/11 05:59 PM Re: Outdoor wire or conduit that is the question???? [Re: Just_Bill]
jdevlin Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 8146
Loc: Welland Ont. Canada
You can not run normal indoor NM cable in buried conduit. Buried conduit is a wet location. You must run wet rated wire. You can not run THHN wire either. You must use THWN, although most wire is dual rated.
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#673284 - 06/28/11 10:02 PM Re: Outdoor wire or conduit that is the question???? [Re: steelpony5555]
MCA Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/09/06
Posts: 4943
Loc: Illinois
Use conduit above ground. If its down low it may be considered subject to damage. If higher up exposed UF may be ok but conduit will look better, so you may as well use conduit the whole way. If you use thinwall metal conduit for the above grade parts (thinwall can't be used underground) you need to use metal boxes to ground it. You can use electrical PVC for the above ground portion, since you probably will be using this for the below ground portion you may as well use the same for above ground. If you use UF underground you need conduit to provide protection where it emerges from the ground. Most codes will allow the heavier schedule PVC. Use individual THWN wires in the conduit. UF in a complete conduit run is not recommended, and as said regular Romex is prohibited in wet locations even if in conduit. Obviously the receptacles need GFCI protection, if you provide GFCI protection for the whole run at the source (before the wiring goes underground) you may be able to get a reduced burial depth but its a good idea to bury it the normal minimum depth. Check local codes, some don't allow UF. Most will allow PVC, some require rigid heavy wall steel.
If you use conduit you have flexibility since you can pull multiple wires, you can have one hot for always live receptacles, one hot for switched at the house receptacles, and even more hots for switched lights (even 3-ways). between the house and the structure. If you are using the shed as a shop and need more circuits you need a sub panel, but I assume the power to the shed and the pergola are all going to be on one circuit.

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#673285 - 06/28/11 10:20 PM Re: Outdoor wire or conduit that is the question???? [Re: MCA]
steelpony5555 Offline
newbie

Registered: 06/03/10
Posts: 10
Loc: Texas
Yeah kinda figured on using PVC conduit the whole way. I have a 30 amp RV box that I am gonna take off from and put a sub panel box with 20 amp GFI breakers in it then go to the shed and pergola. Planned on one breaker for the shed and one for the outside lights. But shed is gonna be mainly for lights and maybe a dorm size frig. Didnt think regular Romex could be used buried but just wasnt sure what to use. Thanks

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#673286 - 06/28/11 10:27 PM Re: Outdoor wire or conduit that is the question???? [Re: steelpony5555]
MCA Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/09/06
Posts: 4943
Loc: Illinois
Quote:

I have a 30 amp RV box that I am gonna take off from and put a sub panel box with 20 amp GFI breakers in it then go to the shed and pergola.




One circuit to the shed and one circuit to the pergola, right?
If you have 2 circuits going to the shed you may need a sub panel at the shed unless its a single multi-wire circuit. NEC 225.30. This brings up an interesting point, if a structure is served by more than one circuit then a sub panel is needed at the structure, but if a second circuit feeds through a box on exterior of the structure I'm not sure if that applies, since the circuit feeding a pergola (for example) just cuts through a box on the outside of the shed and doesn't really "serve" the shed. I am interested in hearing other opinions about this.

The "30 amp RV box" on the house right? Is it fed by 4 wires total? A 120/240 volt sub panel needs 2 hots and an insulated neutral and a grounding wire. The sub panel must have the neutral floating (bonding screw/jumper removed).
So the feeder to the sub panel must have a white neutral and a bare (or green) ground wire.


Edited by MCA (06/28/11 10:46 PM)

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