I'm in the process of re-doing some back porch wiring to incorporate a switched receptacle for "cafe" lights, and also wanting to incorporate a ceiling fan for our back porch.

I have initially arranged things so that I have a box at the correct location under a rafter such that I can run my EMT along the rafter back to where the ceiling fan will be located, like so:

enter image description here

My question is, do I need to run the EMT along the rafter like this? For alignment reasons having to do with a built-in bench (next project), I am considering moving the box a few inches to the left, which would make it not align with the rafter any more. Is it OK to have the EMT hang in free space on its way over to the ceiling fan (a run of about 8 feet - see pic below)? Or would I need to jog it over and fasten it to the rafter?


enter image description here

  • "358.30(A) : EMT must be securely fastened within 3 ft. of termination fittings and at intervals not exceeding 10 ft."
    – Mazura
    Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 22:42

4 Answers 4


The EMT will need to be anchored at that existing box or within 3’ and again at the box for the fan. With the rain tight fittings and bell boxes this can be in a wet location, EMT can even be used underground now you just need the fittings like you have a recent code change.

Make sure the fan box is listed this is one thing inspectors really check, As a professional I think it looks better to run the emt along the rafter then a “kick” or offset going into the fan box.

If you move the lower box over and run the EMT parallel with it attached to the deck this is exactly what I have in my living room.

  • For the fan box, it should either run along the bottom of the joist, or it needs to go a little higher than it is and you'll need a tight radius bender, +1
    – Mazura
    Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 22:43
  • Installing EMT underground would be asinine. It would be rotted away completely in a year or two.
    – DrSparks
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 2:03
  • @drsparks, well it s code compliant and depending on the soil conditions will last much longer. , just a note for that don know there is really no code compliant “tight radius benders” infact there are some Chicago type benders that the 1/2” violates the minimum bend radius a sharp inspectors catch even these.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 5:31
  • Soil conditions?? I mean water is the enemy of ferrous metal, so unless you live in a dessert, EMT, or even RMC, decidedly, is suicide
    – DrSparks
    Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 5:55
  • Actually maybe reading the code @drsparks nfpa70 358.10.B.1 severe corrosive influences ,,, this is not water but the soil conditions.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Nov 18, 2021 at 14:34

As long as the EMT remains our of direct exposure to rainfall you should be fine. I would never install it directly outdoors. It can certainly be run in free air as long as it's securely fastened within 3 ft of any box or terminal point and supported every 10 ft max. 1/2" EMT has a tendency to sag of supported at the bare minimum.

  • Not too worried about the EMT being outdoors (desert climate). Securing within 3 ft of the box is probably the issue - I suppose I could install blocking between the rafters to secure it to?
    – icurays1
    Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 1:43
  • @icurays1 is it not an option to support it from the ceiling? It looks like plywood above, you could use a tie-strap wrapped around the EMT and secured to the ceiling. Check out this "superstrut conduit and pipe hanger" homedepot.com/p/…
    – Tyler M
    Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 15:04
  • 1
    @tyler m 1 hole or 2 hole strap I would agree with . When you use tie-strap we want to make sure files don’t think zip ties /or tie wraps can be used. This is what I thought you were referring to at first read but believe you meant straps.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 16:36

I would run along the rafter. It is a cleaner installation. Suspended conduit is fine if that's your only option and it's properly supported per your local code. Also openly suspended conduit is a path for critters and a perch for birds. You'll need a box at the fan that is designed to support the weight of the fan and for making elect. cconnection. Good luck! Typical installation


One box solution

Slide the box to the left, and have the ceiling fan run come out of the right side of the box to a 90 degree conduit body (LB or elbow). Either select a conduit body that's "just the right length" or just have a short EMT nipple there. Those particular EMT connectors are quite long, they make shorter ones.

Two box solution

Just get another box just like that one, and a Rigid (RMC) close nipple. Mount the second box immediately to the left of the existing box, with just enough clearance so you can get the lids on.

That way, you can eat your cake and have it too! I.e. still get to hug the rafter, and also you won't have to move that existing line down the wall.

If you don't want 2 boxes, then replace the existing one with a 4x4 2-gang, then you can come out one of its side ports with a sweep or an LL/LR.

I just use 99 cent 4x4s, I don't really bother with those cast boxes unless it's in the weather.

  • Not sure what the purpose of the second box would be, I certainly don't need the extra space - I would just move this box over (10 minute job).
    – icurays1
    Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 2:12
  • 1
    So you could stay with your plan of hugging the rafter for a neater installation, not have to relocate the existing down-the-wall conduit, and also put your new line exactly where you want it. Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 2:43
  • I see - no need to relocate exiting conduit, this is all new installation.
    – icurays1
    Commented Nov 13, 2021 at 3:24

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