Electrical conduits are used to protect the electric wiring of a building or structure. Generally, electrical conduits help to route the electrical lining and prevent messing up with electrical wiring.
Most time, we use an electrical conduit under the ground so that it can remain unexposed and protected.
But keeping the electrical conduit under the ground might not be possible always. So, you might be confused about whether you can run an electrical conduit above ground or not.
Well, you have to know about the safety and consequences of running an electrical conduit above ground. Moreover, knowing the drawbacks of running it above ground is also essential.
Can I Run Electrical Conduit Above Ground?
You can run an electrical conduit above ground. You can use both flexible and rigid conduits above ground. But when using a flexible conduit, anchor every 12 to 18 inches to prevent sagging. But you must follow the local electrical codes before running an electrical conduit above ground.
However, the electrical conduit can be made of different materials. For example, both plastic and metal conduits are available.
Each material might have different effects and requirements above ground. So, let’s see whether you can run these electrical conduits above ground or not.
PVC electrical conduit:
PVC electrical conduit is pretty common and convenient. This type of electrical conduit is lightweight. So, PVC electrical conduits are easy to run. Moreover, they are flexible and durable. That’s why PVC electrical conduits are suitable to run above ground.
Generally, PVC material is corrosion-resistant. So, PVC conduits are also corrosion-resistant. But you have to anchor this type of electrical conduit every 12 to 18 inches since it is flexible.
Even you will get PVC electrical conduit in various grades and thicknesses. So, this conduit is also versatile.
Moreover, it induces less risk since it is made of plastic materials. So, you can use it above ground. But you must follow the local building and electrical codes before placing PVC electrical conduit above ground.
Metal electrical conduit:
Metal electrical conduits are hard and durable. These types of conduits are rigid. So, the chance of physical damage to these conduits is low. But you can use metal electrical conduits above ground.
Generally, when metal electrical conduits are used outside, the polymer coating is used. This prevents water and moisture from penetrating into the conduit. So, if you want to use a metal electrical conduit above ground, you can also consider this fact.
Moreover, you have to follow some codes before running metal electrical conduits above ground.
What are the conduit code requirements above ground? How far above ground does conduit need to be?
When you want to install electrical conduits above ground, you have to follow some code requirements.
The National Electrical Code (NEC) is published by the National Fire Protection Administration. NEC is the standard code that has to be followed by all the states in the United States. This stands as the standard for electrical work in commercial and residential buildings.
The code requirements of conduit above ground say that you can run both flexible and rigid conduits above ground. Moreover, these conduits must have ratings for exposure to UV light. Besides, the boxes and conduits should be waterproof.
When using the PBV conduits, you have to install a green ground wire in the conduit with the other wire. Also, when temperature changes, the joints and fittings have to allow expansion and contraction.
Moreover, these conduits should be far from boundary fences. The conduits must have protection with a circuit breaker. However, you should keep the conduit 75 feet far above the ground. If you increase the distance, you should increase the wire size by one.
Three reasons why you can run electrical conduits above ground
Now that you know you can run electrical conduits above ground, you might want to know the reasons. Let’s see why you can run electrical conduits above ground.
When it comes to installing electrical conduits above ground, you might think that it will be unsafe. But electrical conduits have protections. PVC electrical conduits are corrosion-resistant and waterproof.
So, it will be pretty safe. Moreover, metal conduits are hard and prevent physical damage. So, you can run both flexible and rigid conduits according to your preference.
Sometimes, metal conduits might be run. But metal conduits also have a polymer coating. So, it will prevent water penetration to the conduits. So, running electrical conduits above ground will be safe.
Less land waste:
When you run electrical conduits under the ground, you have to bury the conduits. So, you have to dig a spacious area for the installation.
Moreover, you can’t use that surface area of the land for other projects. But when you run electrical conduits above the ground, you don’t have to dig so much land. So, the land will not be wasted.
Installing electrical conduits above ground is less expensive. You don’t have to pay for digging the soil for burying the conduits. So, the expense will be less.
What conduits you can use above ground?
You should run suitable conduits above ground. Because all conduits might not be suitable above ground. So, let’s see what conduits you can use above ground.
Non-Metallic Flexible Conduit:
Non-Metallic flexible conduits are mostly made of PVC. These conduits are flexible and bendable. Moreover, these are lightweight. So it will be easy to install. But you have to anchor every 12 to 18 inches to prevent the sagging of the conduits.
Rigid Metal Conduit:
Rigid metal conduits are made of metals. These conduits are hard and strong. So, there is a low chance of physical damage. Moreover, these conduits are suitable for places with heavy instruments.
Electrical Metallic Tubing:
Electrical metallic tubing is lightweight and thin. But these conduits are also resistant to damage. Installation of these conduits is pretty easy. But you should add additional coating for the above-ground application.
Schedule 40 PVC Electrical Conduit:
Schedule 40 PVC Electrical Conduit is suitable to run above ground. Because this conduit has UV protection. So, you can use it above ground where direct sunlight occurs. This PVC conduit is the most common among the other PVC conduits.
Schedule 80 PVC Electrical Conduit:
Schedule 80 PVC electrical conduit has the same properties as Schedule 40. But Schedule 80 has a greater thickness than the earlier one. So, it will provide better protection and resistance to weather effects.
Is metal or PVC conduit better for above-ground installations?
Whether metal or PVC conduit is better for above-ground installations depends on your preference. Moreover, you should compare the advantages and disadvantages of using these two types of conduits. But most often, PVC conduits are used above ground.
Because PVC conduit is corrosion-resistant. Moreover, it is lightweight and handy. Also, it gives better protection from water and electricity being plastic material. Also, PVC conduit installation is easier. Besides, PVC conduit is cost-effective.
On the other hand, metal conduit provides better protection from damage for their rigidity. Moreover, high traffic areas require metal conduits. But since metal conduits are heavier and costlier, people consider PVC as the better among these two.
How to run electrical conduit above ground?
Now that you know you can run an electrical conduit above ground, you should know how you can do it. Let’s see how you can run an electrical conduit above ground.
Finding a suitable location:
You can run an electrical conduit above ground doesn’t mean that you can place it anywhere. You have to find a suitable location for installation. Find a place where there is a low chance of physical damage.
Moreover, you must follow the NEC codes before installation. You should avoid the restricted places before installation according to the codes.
Get ready the equipment:
Then you have to get ready all the equipment needed for the installation. Moreover, you have to choose the types of conduit. You can choose either PVC or metal conduits according to your preference.
Running the conduit:
Now, you have to select the proper diameter and number of conduits for the installation. Then you have to pass the wires along with the conduit. You also have to connect the circuit breaker with the conduit.
Then you have to anchor the conduit every 12 to 18 inches. Finally, check everything is okay and run electricity to be sure.
You can run both flexible and rigid electrical conduits above ground. PVC conduit and metal conduit both are suitable to run above ground. Running conduit above ground also has some advantages. But you must follow the restriction codes before installation of the conduit.