Conduit is piping or tubing designed to enclose and
protect the wires that distribute power throughout your home. Conduit
comes in both rigid and flexible forms and is made from a variety of materials
for use in different applications. In homes, conduit is most often used for
protecting outdoor or exposed wires or cables, such as those in an unfinished
basement or garage. In some instances, wiring may be run across a wall’s
surface, secured behind a protective covering called raceway, which is similar
Local building and electrical codes regulate the type of conduit that can be
used in specific applications and how it must be installed. Check with your
local building inspector before beginning a project and be sure to obtain any
required permits. When your work is complete, always have it inspected for
compliance with local codes and to ensure that it has been safely installed.
Unless you are an experienced electrician, it may be best to consult a
professional before beginning any electrical work.
Factors to Consider
Rigid metallic conduit is most often used in commercial applications, but it can be a smart choice for straight runs of wire or cable through an attic, garage, basement or crawlspace, as it protects against nicks, punctures or cuts to wiring, including nicks made by animals that may chew on exposed wiring.
Rigid metallic conduit includes:
The wide availability of elbows, couplings and other fittings make the joining
of rigid electrical conduit easier than ever for homeowners. To learn more
about conduit fittings, see our Fittings
Flexible metallic conduit bends and twists easily, allowing turns at
corners without the use of separate elbow joints. It is often used where rigid
conduit is difficult to install or to connect permanently wired appliances,
such as a water heater.
Prewired conduit, or armored cable, offers an all-in-one solution with the wires already run through the flexible conduit.
Tips for Using Metallic Conduit
Generally made of PVC, rigid nonmetallic conduit is a good choice for outdoor residential applications, such as wiring landscape lighting or burying cables. PVC doesn’t rust and the pieces are glued together with PVC cement making connections watertight. Always run a grounding wire when using PVC conduit, and check local electrical codes to ensure compliance.
Flexible nonmetallic conduit is a useful solution where running rigid conduit is difficult.
Tips for Using Nonmetallic Conduit
The table below lists the most common types of residential conduit and their applications.