I have a double outlet in my basement that is fed by 14/2 Romex wire (from the panel to the two outlets).

The wire runs along the ceiling for a length and then drops down vertically along a concrete wall. My understanding is that the part of the wire that runs down the wall is considered "exposed" and "open to damage" (or similar verbiage). The part of the wire that runs in recessed areas along the ceiling of the basement is not considered to have this condition.

If I understand correctly then code requires that this kind of exposed wire be protected by conduit. One set of 14/2 Romex would certainly fit within a half-inch conduit tube with plenty of room to spare.

Some reading has indicated that running Romex through conduit is sometimes not advised (not sure if that means it's always against code, ok but a bad idea, problematic only in some particular situations, or something else). That same reading often suggests THHN or THWN wire for running through conduit.

Does that mean that in order to get my basement up to code that I have to rip out the Romex that's used for those outlets and replace it with THWN and metal conduit for its entire run up the wall, across the ceiling, and then across to the panel? Am I allowed to run metal conduit (with 14/2 inside) from the receptacle box to the ceiling and then run the 14/2 without conduit the rest of the way to the panel?

  • Not answering because someone else answered and then deleted what seemed to be a perfectly good answer. So hopefully they will revise and repost it. But TL;DR Cover with a board or conduit or whatever provides physical protection. Issues of "cable inside conduit is bad" has to do with long runs because it is hard. For a short vertical, no big deal. Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 1:52
  • You don't even have to worry about conduit fill, if the conduit is a protective sleeve (if it fits, it works - as a sleeve. Not as a conduit system.) Not putting romex in conduit has a lot of good reasons when the conduit is a complete conduit system, but that's not what you're discussing.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 2:32

1 Answer 1


Romex sleeved in conduit for physical protection is FINE. But annoying when already installed, as you have to disconnect, sleeve and reconnect, which is a pain, doubly so if you are not entirely comfy with electrical work.

But it is NOT the only way. As I'm pretty sure I already said once today. To you. In a previous answer to a previous question about the same situation, phrased differently.

Two bits of 2x2 and a hunk of drywall will do. So would two bits of 2x2 and a hunk of plywood. Some 1/2 sticks and a piece of 1/16" steel plate. A section of wiremold. None of which require disconnecting the cable, as they can be assembled around it, already in place.

  • I did ask a similar question earlier. You're right. You'll also notice that I received partial answers answers in both cases. I did gain useful information both times. In the first case I learned what "LAHJ" means (Local Area Has Jurisdiction), that some sort of protection was needed, and that I need to find some way to understand how the local electrical code is different from the national one. In the second case I learned specifically that what KIND of protection it is is less important than the fact that the protection exists.
    – THill3
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 15:24
  • What I DIDN'T learn in either case (and was left to infer) was when the "protection" was allowed to end and by what means. So far, as best I can tell, it is the case that as soon as the wire reaches the ceiling that I can quit any protection (conduit, plywood, usw.). It's still a good idea to address burring and sharp edges if they exist.
    – THill3
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 15:26

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