EMT Conduit — Run Wires and Install Devices
If you’ve only worked with flush-mount electrical boxes, surface-mount boxes may hold some surprises.
Once Electrical Metallic Tubing—a type of conduit—is mounted to surface-mount electrical boxes, running wires can be easy. For short runs, it’s often possible to simply push wires from one box to the next.
On longer runs, use a fish tape. CJ Nielsen, who wrote about working with EMT in “Crash Course in Conduit” in FHB #273, also advises using stranded wire rather than the solid wire that’s typical in homes. While you can run solid wire through conduit, it doesn’t slide past bends nearly as easily. To avoid headaches, use stranded wire.
Run all of your wires at the same time. Otherwise, they’ll get hung up on each other. And make sure not to overfill the conduit with too many wires. Different sizes of conduit can take different numbers of different sizes of wires. Charts are widely available online that show what wires you can run through which conduit.
With flush-mount boxes, devices such as electrical outlets mount right to the boxes. With surface-mount EMT, the devices actually mount to the faceplate, which then gets attached to the box. So make sure to leave yourself plenty of extra wire so that it’s easier to make your connections.
For even more information, check out this feature article, Crash Course in Conduit, in FHB #273.