Newbie: How to Properly Terminate Existing Unused Outlet


Old 11-20-05, 02:58 PM
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Newbie: How to Properly Terminate Existing Unused Outlet

This is a newbie question...

We have a lighting fixture in our coat closet by the foyer. It really wasn't properly wired by the previous owner of the house. I see two wires coming through a hole from the ceiling connected to the light fixure with electrical tape.

For now, my wife and I decided to just get rid of the light fixture and terminate the outlet until we figure out later what to do with it. In the mean time, I want to make sure that I do this properly and not introduce any fire hazards.

Can someone give me some pointers as to how to peroperly terminate this outlet?

Thanks in advance for your help.

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Old 11-20-05, 04:43 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 174
The experts will weigh in, but here goes...

Kill the power to the circuit by pulling the fuse or switching off the breaker.

Cap the ends of (all) the conductors with wire nuts.

Carefully push the capped wires back into the box.

Cover the box with a blank cover plate.

If the box is metal, you may want to attach the ground wire to the box at the ground screw instead of capping it.

Old 11-20-05, 09:21 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 973
TomZ1's advise is correct. However, from your description, it does not sound like there is a box. It sounds like it's just a cable poked through a hole in drywall.

In that case, buy an "old work" box to use. To install it, you will cut an appropriately sized hole in the ceiling around the cable (being careful not to cut the cable in the process). Next you insert the cable into the old work box. Then you install the box into the hole you cut. Now you can proceed with wire nutting the wires, and installing a blank cover.

Note: When you buy the old work box, see if there is a paper template for it. Some times they are just loose in the cardboard box that the electric boxes are in at the big box store.

An alternate...if possible, trace back the cable to where the former DIY'er robbed power and remove the cable completely.
Old 11-20-05, 09:51 PM
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Thanks for your replies. Yes, there does not seem to be a box there, just a couple of wires through the ceiling. I will follow your advice and get it done right.

Old 11-21-05, 05:22 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 278
As I have run into many similar jobs by 'Jerry Riggs' during my current re-wiring project, I would check out the rest of the wiring system as well as you can to identify any other potential hazards. If a guy thought it was ok to do this, it's hard telling what else he may have done.

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