I have an outlet on a wall in my garage. I want to move this outlet to the ceiling for use on a garage door opener and a retractable reel extension cord. I think a way to do this is to run PVC electrical conduit from the old outlet location, up to the ceiling.

I will eliminate the old wall outlet rather than add an outlet in addition to it, it is in an inconvenient location.

What is the correct way to go from an existing, flush mount wall outlet to a new junction box that will accept PVC electrical conduit?

I am not sure if there is a way to take a bare wire into surface mount PVC electrical boxes or if there is a specialPVC electrical box that will join to an existing box.

I am performing this work to get caught up on a "temporary" fix I ran into 4 years ago. I should not have allowed that temporary solution to sit for so long. Letting that temporary solution sit was foolish.

  • NMT? Where are you? Feb 27, 2020 at 18:27
  • 1
    NMT = Non Metallic Tubing = "Smurf tube" (but it also comes in orange) OK, the correct term is ENT or Electrical Nonmetallic Tubing.
    – Ecnerwal
    Feb 27, 2020 at 19:01
  • 1
    I mean the grey PVC conduit. I thought that was NMT for non-metallic tubing but I clearly used the wrong abbreviation.
    – Freiheit
    Feb 27, 2020 at 19:16

3 Answers 3


Get a cover plate with a knockout and a 90 degree connector to your NMT. That should get you started. If doing it for myself I'd use PVC conduit and an entrance ell, but that's just personal preference.

cover plate with knockout.

pic of entrance ell

  • Just beat me to it - was typing the same answer.
    – JPhi1618
    Feb 27, 2020 at 17:27
  • LOL....I think several of us "compete" for being the first to answer. Kinda like being the first to "hit the button" on a game show. Feb 27, 2020 at 17:29
  • 1
    Would the answer fundamentally change if I used PVC instead of NMT? It would still be a knockout to an L to a box and onwards regardless of PVC, NMT, EMT, etc etc etc
    – Freiheit
    Feb 27, 2020 at 17:32
  • 1
    No. It won't change the answer. I just like PVC better bc it looks neater when surface mounted. I'll add a pic of it to my original answer. They are available in threaded or slip (glue) versions. Feb 27, 2020 at 17:36
  • 1
    @Freiheit, you don't need to go into a box immediately after the existing box. The existing box can be the junction box for the new wire then it's just a straight shot up to the ceiling.
    – JPhi1618
    Feb 27, 2020 at 17:43

enter image description hereenter image description hereUse a Raco 665 or 187 over the receptacle location, then any type of connector out of the top of the box, and you still have the required access to the wires in the box.

  • Good option if you need extra room to make the splices or if you wanted to keep an outlet in that location.
    – JPhi1618
    Feb 27, 2020 at 19:35
  • Is there a reason you went for a metallic option?
    – Mast
    Feb 28, 2020 at 8:19
  • I went with metal because I am not familiar with non-metallic versions. Feb 28, 2020 at 13:42

Depending on how fancy you want to get, you either go

  • Surface conduit such as Legrand Wiremold. This uses a low-profile "Surface conduit starter box" only 1" high, and allows you to retain a receptacle (or switch!) in the old location. The surface conduit then attaches to the surface, with a tight corner bend at the ceiling, and it remains conformal to the wall its entire distance. You then run THWN-2 individual wires up the conduit.

  • EMT thinwall metal conduit with a box extension such as NoSparksPlease has linked. This looks fairly industrial, and involves a bit of pipe bending using a bending tool. It is 1/4" away from the wall when it starts, and needs to be bent flush to the wall, or carried on spacers. You typically do a broad 90 degree bend near the ceiling. You can often find a hardware store willing to let you do your bends using their tool; just get "in the ballpark" and hacksaw off the excess length when fitting up. You don't need to do all the bends in a single piece, you can have separate pieces and couple them - you can even buy the 1/4" offset bends, and the 90 degree bends, pre-made, so it's just an erector set - easy assembly. Then you run THWN-2 hot and neutral wires; you don't need to run a ground wire since EMT metal conduit qualifies as a ground path.

  • PVC conduit, but you'll need to learn the fine art of bending PVC, or buy pre-made bends (but the couplers are very bulky, which practically defeats the purpose). You could also use a conduit body for that 90 degree ceiling bend, but that is fairly awkward and will only work with an LR or LL conduit body. I work a lot in EMT but I own the bender. I find PVC intimidating to work with, honestly.

Once done, you run THWN-2 individual wires in the conduit. For PVC you must run a separate ground wire. It must be green or bare, so you can shuck down a black wire for instance.

Don't waste your time thinking about pulling cable such as NM, UF, SE etc. in a conduit. It's a nightmare pull, and you probably don't know enough swear words to pull that job off! Also 1/2" conduit is illegal for cable, you must use 3/4" or larger. Many people go there because they aren't acquainted with THWN-2 type individual wires. Get acquainted with them; you'll love them!

  • 1
    +1 for pointing out that pulling cable is a really bad idea.
    – TooTea
    Feb 28, 2020 at 12:10
  • 2
    Out of curiosity, why is 0.5" conduit illegal for cable?
    – Vikki
    Feb 28, 2020 at 22:21
  • Max fill is based on the cross sectional fill as a single round conductor, based on maximum section of the cable. 12/2 NM-B cable is 1/2" wide. I compute the cable has a cross section of 0.196 square inches. Chapter 9 tables for 1/2" pvc shows single conductor max fill of 53% is 0.151 in² Feb 28, 2020 at 23:01

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