Future circuit access tube

Lincoln701October 14, 2013

I moved into my new home two years ago. During our final walk-through I asked the construction supervisor about a corrigated plastic tube, about an inch in diameter, that was protruding into the attic by about 8 feet. It looked like it went down through the outer frame towards the exterier circuit breaker panel. he told me it was there to provide easy access to the panel should I ever want to add a new circuit. Now I want to add a new circuit to add extensive lighting to the attic since I added flooring for storage. When I look at the panel I can't see anything resembling the other end of the tubing. How do I access the tubing from the panel end so I can run my cable?

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Ron Natalie

Commonly called smurf tube because Carlon, the most common manufacturer, makes it in a blue color. Officially, it's flexible ENT.

Most likely they didn't actually fit it to the panel. Look around in the wall in the vicinity of the panel. Similar to the fact it just loops into nothingness in the attic, it probably loops into nothingness in the wall in the basement.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 10:38AM
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Unfortunately the wall that it goes down from the attic is my exterior stucco garage wall and is covered with sheetrock on the inside with all kinds of "stuff" attached to it. No easy way to access the interior cavity from either side of the wall. Perhaps I can run a piece of cable down through the tube until I feel it hit the panel and then try knocking out one of the larger knockouts at the top of the panel to see if I can bring it through. What do you think?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 11:56AM
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Ron Natalie

Sure, an have someone jiggle an electrical fish down the tube and perhaps you can find. However, you're not likely to be able to connect it to the panel legally without cutting into the wall but knowing where to cut would minimize the potential damage.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 12:17PM
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That conduit may already be connected to your panel;. Look for a bushing with a "conduit penny" in it. The "penny" is a blank to close the path from the panel to the open upper end of the conduit.
You can Google the conduit penny for better understanding.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 1:52PM
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Thanks! I found the bushing with the corrigated tube attached. It didn't have the "penny" in it as you decribed but I was able to insert a wooden skewer about 6" into the tube and by scaping the inside of the tube I could feel the tube's ridges.
One last question. I noticed that the vertical bars on either side of the breakers have both neutral AND grounding wires attached to each. Does that mean that when I run my new circuit into the panel that I can insert the neutral and bare copper conductors into any open spot on either bar?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 5:06PM
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Ron Natalie

If this panel contains the main disconnect, then yes the grounds and neutrals can land on the same bars, there's no electrical difference at this point.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 7:04PM
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