I have a light switch panel that has multiple switches to control different lights for a big area. The panel is located not in the most comfortable place, therefore I am planning to move 6 switches to different location around 5 meters away from original panel.

My plan is to use 3/4" EMT to put all the wire inside. I would use the same 12AWG wire as it is in the original panel. EMT will be connected to 6 metal cases with the switches I'm going to move. EMT conduit will be connected to the ground bar in the breaker box (it is next to the original panel)

In the end there will be 6 live wires going towards the new switches and 6 back to the original panel from where wires are distributed in the walls of the building. Light fixtures are all LED with maximum of 150w load per switch.

My question is, is there any safety concern? For example can that many wires in one place overheat or create dangerous magnetic fields, or conduit grounding is not enough?

Thank you in advance for all the answers :)

  • Are all these switches on the same circuit, or are they on different circuits? Jun 6, 2019 at 23:14
  • Will the pipe contain all switch legs,with no neutral in the pipe?
    – user101687
    Jun 7, 2019 at 0:31
  • 2 different circuits and no neutral in the pipe. :)
    – Rim
    Jun 7, 2019 at 23:49

1 Answer 1


There are two conduit factors:

Thermal derate

Yes, overheating is an issue, but the limitations don't really start to pinch until you have more than four circuits.

Generally in a split-phase system, the rule of thumb is 2 wires per circuit (a circuit being something powered from one breaker where all handle(s) throw together) ... unless for some reason current is making 2 round trips down the pipe.

More precisely, you count the number of "wires" with some exceptions. Grounds are not counted. In residential split-phase, neutrals in MWBCs or 120/240V circuits are not counted, because current flow on them means less current is flowing on another wire.

Broadly, wires which split current from the same breaker are counted as one. In a fan+lamp circuit where one hot feeds two switched-hots, the two switched-hots count as one wire. Something to think about if you don't actually have 6 breakers feeding this.

If your adjusted wire count in a single pipe <= 9, no de-rate is necessary for 15-30A branch circuits provided you are using 90C rated wire (THHN or THWN-2 or XHHW-2 or several others).

If you have 10-20 active wires, you must de-rate the wires as follows:

  • wires on a 15A breaker must be #12
  • wires on a 20A breaker must be #10
  • wires on a 30A breaker must be #8 Cu or #6 aluminum.

In turn, the larger wires require larger pipe.

Conduit fill

For this, you can use any common web calculator. You appear to be fine for 12 wires in 3/4” EMT up to #10 wire.

  • Perfect answer I was looking for. All of the lights are distributed on 2 circuits and in the future I might add 3rd one, so no problems there :) Thanks a lot for taking the time and answering my question!
    – Rim
    Jun 7, 2019 at 23:47

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