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I'm interested in installing outlets on my basement wall, and I saw that PVC conduit is available. Is this acceptable to use PVC conduit on unfinished basement walls?

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You are much better off using EMT metal conduit. I find it easier to work, you can bend it yourself with any pipe bender, and the EMT provides the ground for you, so you don't need to wire a ground. That saves you 33% on wire. I work exclusively in EMT and I never owned any green wire until I did an extension in PVC.

By the way, in any conduit you are better off using individual wires, called THHN/THWN-2, or alternately XHHW. Using Romex in conduit isn't illegal, but it requires being a masochist or overspending on wildly oversized conduit. Also you can only put 1 cable per conduit unless the conduit is super oversized. In wires, you can put as 5-6 circuits in a 1/2" conduit.

In wires (not cables), you can also use stranded wire, which is super easy to pull, although a little harder to terminate on cheapie switches and receptacles.

Second circuits in garages can be rather useful when dust collectors are involved.

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Yes. From the National Electrical Code:

352.10 Uses Permitted.
(F) Exposed. PVC conduit shall be permitted for exposed work. PVC conduit used exposed in areas of physical damage shall be identified for the use.

Informational Note: PVC Conduit, Type Schedule 80, is identified for areas of physical damage.

What is subject to physical damage is subject to interpretation but generally exposed conduit is considered subject to physical damage where it's within 8' of the floor. So for your receptacles, you'll want to use schedule 80 PVC.

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