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I'm planning to run 1" conduit to power an outdoor sauna. In digging the trench, I discovered that my old stone foundation runs outwards from the house. That is, while the inside cellar wall is straight up and down, on the outside it is built down and away from the house. At the conduit depth (~18") it's about 12" away from the house.

How should I run the conduit up and through the wall? Can i run conduit right at ground level for the last few inches and go straight through the wall (actually a panel of CDX that replaced an old cellar window)?

I was originally planning on doing this the traditional way - conduit up with a 90 º sweep to a LB through the wall. This won't work unless i put in an otherwise extraneous 90 º sweep right at the end... and I'm not sure if there's room for that given the rather small size of that CDX panel. Here's a sketch:

enter image description here

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Your bigger problem is running out of allowable bends (or pullable bends between access points,since pulling near the max allowable is a bugbear and often beyond the ability or available tools of DIYers. You end up humiliatingly having to call an electrican simply for the pull, and once called they want the whole job.

I would consider a conduit body right at the upper vertical bend.

Conduit bodies are 90 degrees, so I would add a slight ~20 degree bend onto the short conduit coming out of the access panel, to tuck it upward slightly, so it is perpendicular to the angle of the outside wall. Then, when you make your 90 degree with your conduit body, you come down at the correct angle. That will also mean you face less than 180 degrees of bend through the underground section, still in the DIY-pullable range.

  • I'm having a hard time understanding...so I'd use an LB for the upper bend (makes sense), but where/how does the 20 º bend come into it? – aaron Nov 12 '18 at 17:57
  • The angle doesn't work at 90 degrees. Most people are saying to bend the vertical pipe somewhat, leaving the conduit body jutting out. . I am saying bend the horizontal pipe, so the conduit body lies more flush to the house and less exposed to damage. – Harper Nov 12 '18 at 18:21
  • oh... so the bend would be up and the LB would be angled down onto it? – aaron Nov 12 '18 at 18:23
  • Yes. Up slightly, easy bend to make, and the conduit you're bending is ~1 foot long and accessible. So if you botch the bend, no great loss... toss it and make another. – Harper Nov 12 '18 at 18:25
  • I second this idea, especially if you have bends anywhere else in your run. – longneck Nov 13 '18 at 3:43
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I would bend a piece of conduit to match the angles. If you don't have a conduit bender, your local hardware store might bend it for you. In which case you should make a template to take with you to guide the bending. Dig the trench right up to the foundation, and then cut a piece of cardboard or plywood to match the shape of the wall and foundation. Like so:

enter image description here

Brown is the template, and red is the conduit.

  • it looks like the advantages of this are 1) less total bending than using two 90º sweeps and 2) the exposed above-ground horizontal section is shorter. But fundamentally, is it ok to have an above-ground horizontal run of conduit? – aaron Nov 12 '18 at 14:58
  • for short sections like that, yes. – longneck Nov 12 '18 at 15:04
  • that being said, if your code inspector doesn't like it, then nothing we say here will fix that. – longneck Nov 12 '18 at 18:53

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