My breaker box is surface mounted in my garage. I want to install an outlet right next to it by running a conduit nipple out the side of the breaker box to the new outlet box. I then want to run NM from that outlet box in conduit up the wall and through the ceiling (conduit for protection and get me through the ceiling). From there I will take the NM across the attic (no conduit needed) to another wall then down through the ceiling and down the wall in conduit to a second outlet box.

Will this be within code? Am I allow to come out the side of the breaker box?

1 Answer 1


Go ahead -- although you may have to run THHN through the nipple from the panel

Coming out the side of a panelboard is a nothingburger under the NEC under most cases. The reason why you're confused is you're thinking this whole assembly is a protective sleeve under the 312.5(C) exception, which requires the sleeve come out the top, when it really isn't as the receptacle box interrupts it.

The easiest way to dispel any confusion is to use short lengths of THHN in the nipple for the home run, if you will, and then run the NM from the first receptacle up the sleeve from the receptacle box to wherever it needs to go. This bypasses 312.5(C) and its rather limiting exception altogether.

Just remember to use a conduit-to-NM transition fitting (EMT-to-NM transition fittings are standard parts) on the free ends of the conduit sleeves.

  • And if you buy white THHN, that's all you need. It's neutral. Or it's hot if you wrap both ends with tape. Strip it bare, it's ground. But EMT conduit is already ground. Your NM cable will need to take ground off the EMT; there'll be a tapped hole in the steel box for a 10-32 ground screw. Receptacle grounds by its steel ears being clamped tight to the steel box. Cut the screws short so they don't bottom out on the EMT pipe fitting. Jan 5, 2017 at 4:10
  • Run a separate ground wire -- either green or bare -- from the grounding busbar to the outlet. Even though it's permissible to use the conduit as a ground, a separate ground wire is WAY more reliable. (If a locknut gets loose, you can lose your ground.) It should be connected to the tapped hole in the back of the box in addition to the green screw on the outlet and the ground wire in the NM/Romex.
    – Jonathan J
    Jan 5, 2017 at 5:50

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