My compressor is about 30 feet away from my electrical panel. I'm thinking
about running a conduit about waist high on the outside of the drywall from
the panel to the compressor. I could run the conduit along the ceiling, but
it is 16 feet up and I would have to rent a scissor lift. (I'm afraid to go
up on ladders that high.) Are there any safety or code related problems
with running conduit horizontally along a wall?
Not really. It really all depends on how much "physical damage" you expect to
expose the conduit to and what type conduit you use. If this is on a wall where
it will really get beat up you can use rigid metal (threaded schedule 40 pipe)
but most places in a residential shop regular old thin wall EMT or even the
grey PVC will be fine.
One trick you can use to protect the pipe is to run it under a 2x4 "chair rail"
that will take the abuse.
Buy a 50 ft extension cord of suitable size, cut off the female end and wire
it directly into the compressor.
Install a receptacle at the panel.
Plug in the compressor when you need it, otherwise keep it unplugged.
I run a 5HP, 240V, 2 stage compressor this way.
No problem with that at all.
IIRC As long as the compressor is within sight of the breaker box, no
disconnect at the compressor is needed either, although it is generally
accepted practice to install one.
You can't 'idiot proof' anything....every time you try, they just make
This all gets back to language in the electric code about "subject to physical
damage". To some extent this is left up to the local authorities.
Each wiring method has it's own "physical damage" rating and local
The only wiring methods that do not have specific language saying they can't be
used where subject to physical damage are rigid metal conduit, intermediate
metal conduit (both threaded pipe) and Electrical Metal Conduit (thinwall
pipe). EMT is hedged with the statement that it can't be used where it is
subject to "severe" physical damage.
It is clear that there are a lot of judgemewnt calls here, particularly when
you get to the difference between Romex on running boards and ENT (smurf tube)
or the various metal covered cables broadly called BX (MC, FMC, LFMC and AC).
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