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I often see people with a flush-mount panel in their garage who want to install some EV charger or NEMA 14-50 receptacle that requires new wiring from the panel.

Unless the desired charger / outlet location is in the same stud bay as the panel (e.g. immediately below it), it's painful trying to run the full length of wire inside the wall through several studs until the desired location. It's much easier to use surface-mount conduit to make the full trip.

I'm aware of 2 ways to "break out of the wall" from a recessed breaker panel to surface-mount conduit going somewhere else:

  1. In-wall wiring from the panel to a metal box in the same stud bay (e.g. below the panel), then add a metal extension ring on top of the box with a blank cover, and use one of its knockouts for exiting via conduit.

    enter image description here

  2. Flexible conduit starting from a knockout at the top of the panel (in-wall), and curving and exiting from a hole above the panel. That hole can then be foamed closed.

    enter image description here

Out of these, #1 sounds much cleaner and simpler to me.

Are there other common ways to do this? Or other trade-offs with these or other approaches that are worth knowing about?

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  • 1
    Well, there's thinking ahead to the fact that you might want to connect things to your panel and surface-mounting the whole panel, but once some genius decided to bury it, it's hard to change. Then again there's low-stress drywall repair, because, hey, it's only the garage.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 23 at 23:07
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    Note that in the second case, the drywall isn't even painted, nor did they bother to patch the hole the flex goes through by any means; while opening the drywall in the stud bay to run the conduit or cable concealed would have involved a trivial drywall repair after completion, and drilling holes in one, perhaps two studs at most.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 24 at 0:29
  • In #2 how did one terminate the connection? The hole doesn’t seem large enough to put a straight termination fitting on the liquid tight since those fittings are usually a bit larger. Did the conduit just enter a knockout without screwing a nut over it?
    – MZawg
    Sep 23 at 0:56

2 Answers 2

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#1 is easier and looks better than #2. I'd be using EMT, electric metallic tubing, insteaad of PVC.

#2 is also used extensively but not with the sealtite flexible conduit. Regular flexible metal conduit is used more often and is also cheaper. See picture below from Granger.

enter image description here

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    And it pulls easier than LFNC...
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 23 at 23:07
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There's a neater way to implement the second option

Instead of punching the flex through the drywall directly, what I'd do is a variation on approach 2 that uses a box with a ½" KO faceplate on it at the punch-through point, with whatever in-wall wiring method you want from the box to the panel. You then use a 90° fitting to attach the flex conduit to the KO on the faceplate. Neat and tidy!

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  • Thanks! You're right that this is neater -- seems almost like a hybrid between options #1 and #2. What advantages would this have compared to option #1 (extension ring) though?
    – peter
    Apr 23 at 22:17
  • I will also say, most of the time they need 3/4" conduit because of several #6 conductors, and I haven't seen cover plates with 3/4" KOs before (at least not at big box stores).
    – peter
    Apr 23 at 22:22
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    @peter -- it's a bit less sticky-outy than an extension ring, and you can use a KO punch to enlarge the faceplate's KO to 3/4" Apr 23 at 23:23
  • "Less sticky-outy" ... I like that.
    – JACK
    May 1 at 16:28

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