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I am running a 6/2 NM-B Romex for approx. 45 feet from my service panel to my garage for a wall charger for an EV. No unfinished space in basement and and garage wall is on concrete slab of garage, so conventional run will be very difficult. However, my house has a central vac system with ~ 1.75" thin-walled PVC piping running to both my garage and a wall in the basement adjacent to the service panel(s). We don't use the central vac system. I was able to use my shopvac to pull a pulling rope from the service panel to the garage through the PVC pipe. Looks like it goes through 3 90 degree elbows and 1 T. Will it be OK to pull the 6/2 NM-B Romex through the PVC pipe inside the house if it is the only circuit?

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The central vac PVC isn't listed for electrical use, so it won't fly as a conduit or raceway for electrical wiring.

But you aren't really using it as a raceway, just as a protective sleeve for the cable, so you could make the argument that if the cable could travel the same path without the pipe, it should be able to travel that path in the pipe.

The main sticking point would be the bends. You might have a very hard time pulling the cable around those bends and T's. The resulting install may even violate the bend radius requirements for the cable. If you cut out the elbows and T's and use those spots as pulling points, that should get around that problem.

You'd want to be sure that the pipes are protected by nailers where they pass through framing closer than 1-1/4" from the finish surface. That could be a gray area. You might assume that was the case when the central vac was installed, but if you're repurposing the pipe, your local code enforcement department may insist that it be re-inspected, which would mean removing the finish (drywall).

  • You don't use the central vac, but the next occupant of the house might. I think you should route the cable by the standard means. When the house is inspected prior to sale it will be so much better if this is standard. – Jim Stewart Sep 10 '18 at 15:02
  • Thanks for the feedback. More concerned about safety of the wire inside the pipe than I am about code. I can just pull it out if I go to sell the house. That's the beauty of it being inside the pipes. Just cap off the pipe in the garage and reconnect the one near the service panel and the central vac would be up and running again (assuming I can get it through the joints without cutting them out). – W. Randy King Sep 10 '18 at 15:11
  • Code and safety are generally the same thing. Are you under the impression that they just put a bunch of random stupid stuff in Code for no reason? It might seem that way to the novice who has yet to learn the "why" of things, but everything is there for good reason. They're up against the builder's and appliance lobby, which won't let them put useless stuff in Code. – Harper Sep 10 '18 at 18:03
  • Code is a set of guidelines that are used to drive safe practices. However, there are many situations that aren't covered by code, such as running a 6/2 Romex through existing 1.75" PVC in the house. Code may say you can't run three circuits of jacketed conductors through a 1/2" PVC conduit, but do you even know why? Answering that question is the difference between an Electrician and an Electrical Engineer (who writes the code). In this case, I don't really care what the code says generically about Romex in conduit because it won't fit my situation. – W. Randy King Sep 10 '18 at 21:45
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    Just a followup: it did turn out that the elbows/Ts were too much to pull the 6 AWG wire through. One elbow is all I could do. Ended just using the PVC piping for the central vac to run the wire 6 ft up the wall from the basement to the garage but did the remaining 35 ft of run in the plenum of the false ceiling in the basement. @JimStewart will be happy to know I capped the PVC to the central vac where it was cut and the central vac is back up and running minus the garage (which was a strange place for a central vac outlet anyway). – W. Randy King Sep 12 '18 at 2:33

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