02:32AM | 03/14/02
Member Since: 01/01/02
5 lifetime posts
I am running a single 20amp line to my detached garage for a couple of outlets and lights. The inside of the garage is unfinished with exposed studs and no drywall. My question is can I run the wire through the studs in the usual way or do I have to use conduit because the sheathed electrical cable will not be protected? If I don't need conduit, does it matter where I run the wires (i.e. at what height)? Finally, do I need a main shutoff switch in the garage or can it just be at the main breaker in my house? Thanks in advance.


09:23AM | 03/14/02
Member Since: 11/14/00
333 lifetime posts
The answers all depend on your local Code. Some local Codes are all screwed up by local electrician unions or other political factors. Chicago, for instance, prohibits sheathed electrical cable/BX wire, entirely, under the guise that rodents chew through it. It really just protects electricians because sheathed electrical cable makes it more likely that a person will do the electrical work himself. So they banned it.

Nonetheless, almost all Codes requires you to cover sheathed electrical cable with some sort of fire-rated wallboard (typically plaster of drywall) in order to run it between studs. Otherwise, you must use conduit to protect your wiring. (Note: do not put sheathed electrical cable inside conduit; it will overheat and is a code violation everywhere). There are also exceptions for attics or elevated ceilings, but the nuances vary too much to answer here.

You generally do not need to install a seperate breaker in a detached garage. I would check with your local electrical inspector. They will answer questions like that for you.

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