I have conduit surfacing in an outdoor location that is not ideal; I wish it were a foot to the left. In general, I understand that I could put in a handhole box for this purpose. These boxes are not items that show up in many variations in the big box store, so I was hoping that someone here could help me with the particulars of this application.

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Image from Amazon: link to listing. Click to embiggen.

My image is of such a thing with a conduit entering from the bottom and another exiting from the side (which will bend 90 degrees and surface where the coast is, as it were, clear).

However, it seems as if perhaps everything has to enter from the bottom; but I wonder if I'm allowed to cut a 'mousehole' to take a conduit out horizontally.

I note that the original design was approved by the electrical inspector, but it turns out that the protective carpentry I had arranged was no match for a medium-sized misguided truck, and I'd like to avoid a repeat performance.

  • 1
    If vehicular traffic hitting electrical or gas lines is an issue, something a tad more sturdy than "protective carpentry" is probably called for. A 3 or 4" steel pipe sunk in concrete should be considered - look what they put in at gas station islands to protect the pumps...
    – FreeMan
    Nov 17, 2022 at 13:36
  • This is at the edge of a parking space behind my house. Typically, the only traffic is me backing in very carefully with plenty of room to spare. I invited a landscaper to pull a truck in to save him some work, and now here we are.'Carpentry' is an oversimplification, but no matter.
    – bmargulies
    Nov 17, 2022 at 15:59
  • NEC specifies minimum burial depths (well, cover) for the various wiring methods. If you don't follow that, and it takes a hit, you have no one to blame but yourself :) Note that an inspector allowing it is really an inspector missing it unless you get a waiver in writing. Something missed by 1 inspector is fair game for the next inspector to flag. Nov 17, 2022 at 21:42

1 Answer 1


Due to frost movement, you want everything to go out the open bottom. If you want it to go up from there, use a sweep to bring it up. That will cost you only 135 degrees if you follow the next tip.

When coming into the box, if it's not tiny, use a 45 up into the box rather than a 90, which saves 45 degrees of the 360 you can have between pull points, and pulls easier as a result.

Rather than limiting yourself to the offerings of Amazon or a big box, go to an electrical supply house. If "medium sized trucks" are a factor that might drive over this, you'll need to get the concrete flavor of handhole, which are costly, but probably even more costly with "ha, ha, we overcharged you so much for 'free' shipping on this heavy object." Plastic is OK if the thing won't have to deal with anything more than a lawnmower driving on it.

  • The existing conduit 'incoming' is travelling precisely vertically, so that's no problem. I am considering replacing the second leg of this with direct burial cable, at the cost of digging down 36" to install it, but if not I'll follow your angular prescription.
    – bmargulies
    Nov 17, 2022 at 15:56
  • 1
    Conduit is superior to direct burial cable on pretty much all fronts.
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 17, 2022 at 15:58

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