What are the Code requirements for protecting wires going into the top of a surface mounted electrical panel? Do the wires need to be in a conduit from the top of the panel into the ceiling above? If not, do the wires need to be secured to the wall behind the panel with staples or some other support? If so, at what length does securing the wires become necessary?
I installed a new surface-mounted electrical panel in my garage, and my inspector failed me for not having protected the wires going into the top of the panel. The wires exit the top of the panel and into a 6" hole in the ceiling, which is about 16" above the top of the panel. The wires are secured at the top of the cabinet, but are otherwise not secured anywhere along the path to the hole in the ceiling. All other installation details were deemed acceptable (height, access, keep-out requirements, etc.). How should I adequately protect these wires? The inspector suggested I could simply run 2x4s alongside the panel, but this seems kind of a wonky suggestion.
Not sure this is relevant, but this new panel is in a new location from the previous panel. The previous panel was converted into a subpanel, and all its existing circuits were left in place (which incidentally have their wires running out of the top of the panel as well - equally "unprotected"). Only two additional new circuits run out of the top of my new panel.