I just removed my kitchen soffit and found suspect wiring inside. It's a 100-year-old house with mostly knob and tube, but the kitchen was redone in the early 90s. Going through the house flipping on all the breakers and trying every switch we could find, nothing seemed to make current flow through this wire. We undid a massive amount of electrical tape to find that the junction looked like this: white wire only spliced to one other wire

So, it looks like the red and black are just.. hanging out, and the white goes to the knob and tube.

My questions are: *Is there ever a reason to do this? (This was clearly done intentionally, just trying to figure out why...) *If we wanted to cut these wires and cap them off inside the wall, is there any reason that would be dangerous?

We've never been able to make current flow through it, which makes sense now that we see that only one wire has been joined. Thanks for your help.

  • 1
    I am wondering if it is being used as a ground. Definitely not a code compliant connection, no wire nut or compression ferrule also the connection should have in an accessible box. I would want to verify what that that wire is used for. If as an equipment grounding conductor it may be needed even though no current normally flows through it. – Ed Beal Oct 28 '16 at 13:17
  • Thanks for the answer, @Ed, that's what we suspected too. Is there a good method to verify the use besides doing what we've been doing, flipping breakers and testing outlets? We wish we had x-ray vision to see where it leads! – cgeehr Oct 28 '16 at 15:13
  • I suspect it is grounded just so that it isn't acting like an antenna, and so that nobody could find the other end and connect it to a non-grounded conductor without tripping a breaker. I have done the very same thing when I couldn't remove the cable in its entirety. – Brad Gilbert Oct 29 '16 at 14:37

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