2 wire to 3 wire connection?


Old 09-18-05, 08:48 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Red face 2 wire to 3 wire connection?

Hi - we recently removed a fireplace with an electric fan assembly from our bedroom, and in the process I cut the connections between two copper electric wires. I had thought the wires only powered the fire place, but apparently, they were spliced to continue a circuit through our bedroom. This became apparent once we got the fireplace out and could see where the wires went. I have left the circuit off until I can splice them back together. However, I am not 100% sure which wires to connect since the source wire has only a white/black/ground, and the wire that continues on the outlets has those wires plus a red one.

I checked the outlet which is adjacent to the fireplace(and does not work) and the wire(from the fireplace side) red and black are connected to the hot side of the outlet. So, what I think I need to do to re-splice the circuit is to connect the black wire on the souce side to both the red and black wires on the continuing side and then connect the neutral and grounds respectively. I just want to be sure about this, I never ran into connecting an odd number of wires before and certainly do not want to burn the house down(especially since this splice will get buried into the wall once we put in the new fireplace). It seems simple enough that it isn't worth 100$+ to bring in an electrician for 10 mins of work, but maybe I am wrong?

Please let me know if you can confirm that I should connect the red wire to the black wires. Thank you so much!

Sponsored Links
Old 09-18-05, 09:41 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: CA
Posts: 2,041
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I am sorry but based on your description I am not clear enough to tell you what wires go where. If you could draw a diagram and scan it in that would be very helpful.]

One thing which is clear: you must NOT "bury" this splice in the wall. That is prohibited by code. Any and all junction boxes MUST be accessible. You could put a blank cover over the box, but it must remain accessible.
Old 09-18-05, 11:37 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
How to make the connections is not important, since you cannot make it and bury the connections in the wall. You will either need to install a permanently accessible junction box or replace both wires with a single wire that goes from one junction box to another.
Old 09-18-05, 02:14 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks - Good Point - didn't realize that. We are printing out the install guide for the fireplace, apparently it needs electric for the fan, so when the installer comes, I assume he will put the wires back in the fan box. We bought a gas fireplace, so I did not think it would use electric, but apparently it does. In the meantime, can I still temporarily connect the wires in the open hole for the short term so I can get power back? I will put it in a box and tape it up, and since there is a large gaping hole in the wall :-) it will be completely accessible. It will be weeks before the fireplace is installed.

Assuming that I can re-connect the wires temporarily until the fireplace is installed, I tried to draw the wires with text below. The '?' is where I question which wire goes to which, its really the red wire which I question. For some reason this post board won't allow me to add attachments or cut and paste pics, so this was the best I can do, hope its useful. I also couldn't format with spaces, so if you see ......, that where I tried to use spaces, so please ignore ......

line from breaker side to cut line from cut cable to 1st outlet by fireplace
_______________________ ____________________________________

............................ ? black wire -------> to hot side of outlet

black wire ---------> ? red wire ---------> to hot side of outlet

white wire ---------> ? white wire -------> to neutral side of outlet

ground wire ---- ---> ground wire ----> to other ground wires

I assume I connect as follows, 'XX' indicating the splice location:

line from breaker side to cut line from cut cable to outlet
_______________________ ____________________

black wire ----------------XX----> black wire -------> to hot side of outlet

black wire(same as above)-XX---> red wire ---------> to hot side of outlet

white wire ----------------XX---> white wire -------> to neutral side of outlet

ground wire ---------------XX--> ground wire ----> to other ground wires

Any thoughts would be appreciated, and thanks for your prompt response!

Old 09-18-05, 02:27 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
To make a temporary connection, buy a junction box at the store and a blank cover that fits it. An inexpensive plastic box and plastic plastic cover will work. Route the wires into the box and connect them with wire nuts.

The red wire is most likely no longer used. I am thinking that the room was originally wired so that any of the receptacles could be made partially or completely switched, and that the red wire originally carried switched power, while the black carried always hot wire.

Then when the fireplace was added, the installer simply tapped into the line. However, he or she either did not have 14/3 (or 12/3) wire, or just did not bother to use it.

I bet that you will find the same red/black/white/bare cable at the other receptacles in the room.

I would check the wiring at the receptacle near the fireplace that does not work. Is the red wire hooked up anywhere? If not, then don't bother connecting it in your junction box, and simply go color to color, covering the red wire with a wire nut.. If it is connected at the receptacle, then connect color to color, but add the red wire to the two black wires.

Gas fireplaces need electric power for several reasons. They have an electronic ignition that needs power. Some of them have remote controls that require a receiver than needs power. Some of them have fans that need power.

Understand that if the electrical box for the new fireplace is not in the same place as the old fireplace that one or both of those wires may need to be replaced, so that the wires reach the box.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: