My electrical panel is in a cabinet attached to my garage but accessible from the outside so the utility has access. I'm installing a 14-50R receptacle using 6/3 THHN in my garage and it will be directly adjacent to my service panel but on the other side of the cabinet wall so it's in the garage for EV charging. We're talking less than 10' run, probably closer to 4 or 5 feet. I believe code states that conduit isn't required since the cable is protected by the wall of the utility cabinet but considering the cabinet has a dirt floor and is accessible outside I suppose rodents could be an issue? Do I need to worry about rodents chewing wire here? I've never seen evidence of them there, nor could I imagine why they'd want to be in that cabinet, but maybe it's better to be safe than sorry? Or is the additional heat that the conduit would create more of an issue?

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    Are you using individual conductors, or a cable? A 10' length of schedule 80 PVC conduit is about $4.00, so I'm confused as to why you seem to want to avoid using conduit. – Tester101 Apr 14 '14 at 22:17
  • I've got a cable, if I went with conduit I'm told I should remove the outer jacket and just pull the conductors through... Just wondering if it's worth the extra effort or if code somehow necessitates it and I'm missing something. Not really a cost thing guess I'm just curious what's considered best practice in this scenario – Pooch Apr 15 '14 at 4:17
  • Is this cabinet only used to house electrical equipment? – Tester101 Apr 15 '14 at 12:01
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    Keep in mind that code, is a minimum safety standard. There's almost never a problem building above minimum standards. – Tester101 Apr 15 '14 at 14:29
  • No, the cabinet is a combination utility closet it's got the phone and cable drops and the gas main in there also. The sense I'm getting here is that for such a small run I should just put it in conduit and be done with it right? Any reason not to? – Pooch Apr 15 '14 at 16:36

If you have evidence of rodent damage to other wires in that location then maybe it's worth doing something more. But otherwise if using conduit is the more difficult method, I don't think I'd bother. If your garage is open framing and you can run from point A to point B in an approved NM fashion, that's the way to go. Nail a plastic 2 gang box to a 2 by and run the #6-3 NM. BTW I think #8-3 NM would've been OK for that circuit.

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  • Given it's a short run, and any potential (which has been described) of rodents, I'd choose conduit, as cheap fire insurance. Rodents can and do chew on wires, and they can and do burn buildings down as a result. I'm a bit amazed at whatever code @Pooch is living under having the electric and gas main in the same closet, rather than separated by at least 10 feet as most places do, but codes do vary wildly, and places where the gas and electric company are the same company often have less caution than other places. – Ecnerwal Apr 20 '14 at 1:53
  • I thought it a bit strange myself, but to supposedly mitigate putting the gas and electric together a shelf with Sheetrock exists between the gas main closer to the ground and the electrical panel about 4 feet up. By no means are the compartments air tight so any leaking gas could still certainly find its way up, but I suppose it's better than nothing. – Pooch Apr 20 '14 at 6:37

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