I’m looking to install a new electrical outlet in the basement and I know it needs to be in conduit coming down the wall but my basement has a large gap above the foundation where it appears other wires are run.

Is this ok or do I need to cut holes through the joists?

Here is a picture: basement (this is existing wire in the house I just moved into)

Also, conduit is required when coming down the wall, right? (and a junction box above it?)

  • Looks like you already have a conduit with NM in it, but also some BX (or AC?) coming down, and yet another cable to the left (UF?). Which is the concern here?
    – Huesmann
    Commented Jul 11 at 11:58

2 Answers 2


It is required to be protected. Conduit is one way to protect it, but hiding it in some kind of groove works too. So yes, if there is a recess between the top of the wall and the joists you can run romex cables there.


There are two violations here:

  • Lack of Securing and Supporting for the NM type cables. NEC 334.30 requires an interval "within 300 mm (12 in.) of every cable entry into enclosures." This interval is even reduced in some cases, but I'm not seeing any support for the cables coming out of that junction box.
  • Zip tie on NM cable used to support AC conduit. NEC 300.11(D) "Cable wiring methods shall not be used as a means of support."

So keep in mind, you can use any gaps or spaces where the cable isn't subject to damage, and the cable still must be secured by fittings at appropriate intervals. The cable itself can never be used to support other equipment.

If you want this to be easy for the inspector, put NM staples on the joists where they are visible from the same angle as that photo.

  • Can't nm be zip tied to other stapled nm? Is the issue just zip tying AC to NM, or is zip tying just not valid as a means of securing and supporting?
    – cr0
    Commented Jul 11 at 21:34
  • No. Under most conditions all wiring means need to have their own support. Whether that is a staple for each NM or whether that is a half strap for each raceway down the wall. The MC cable should be half-strapped to the wall separately from the conduit. The only time you can zip-tie a wire or a cable to a raceway is if it is part of the system that raceway serves, such as a thermostat wire for a furnace. The power is installed in the raceway and the thermostat wire can be zip-tied to it.
    – ArchonOSX
    Commented Jul 11 at 22:27

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