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In the past, I added 4 breakers to my breaker box in my basement and ran the wire for each of those circuits out the side of the box thru their individual clamp. However, all the pre-existing wires were run thru the top of the box thru 2 pvc-like pipes. That pipe ended when it reached the bottom of the joists.

Is it a code violation to run wires out the side of the box? The face of the breaker box is flush with the sheetrock around it but the new wire can be seen in the 1" gaps on the side of the breaker box.

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Technically, exposed NM wire should be protected from physical damage, especially in heavy traffic areas like kitchens.

For your situation, a 1x1 piece of wood to buffer any accidents is all that is needed.

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