There is a 240V/30A circuit in a room of my house that used to be a patio. I think it was used for a baseboard/electric heater system. It had a surface mounted outlet that I have removed, but now I have the cable sticking out of the wall. I also disconnected the wires completely from the breaker panel, so they're hanging by it. How much of this wire should I remove to be safe?

  • 2
    Why do you want to remove it? In my experience, "home run" outlets are at a premium in older houses. Unless it's unsafe wiring, a better choice IMO is to cut in a new outlet (I assume that you just don't like the surface mount).
    – kdgregory
    Dec 12, 2011 at 19:47
  • @kdgregory, True, but it's 10/3 cable, kinda heavy to deal with, and I presume that that's not really conducive to a normal outlet. What other thing could I use this for?
    – Aaron
    Dec 12, 2011 at 22:52
  • 10ga wire is enough for a 30A subpanel, which you could use to feed more branch circuits in the vicinity.
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Dec 13, 2011 at 5:57

1 Answer 1


If the wire is completely disconnected from the panel, and you've confirmed with appropriate testers that there is no voltage running through it, the line is safe. You can cut it back as much or as little as you like.

I'd suggest that you cut it back on both ends - so that it cannot reach the panel and be hooked up again in the future by someone else who doesn't know better.

  • 9
    If you are going to cut it off, it's a good idea to short out the wire -- connect white and black with a wire nut -- so that if someone ever does mistakenly hook it up, it blows the breaker. This is much better than having live power on a wire that goes nowhere.
    – gregmac
    Dec 12, 2011 at 20:33
  • 5
    Label it. Someone will thank you down the road.
    – Steven
    Dec 12, 2011 at 21:16
  • Is it "safe" to then wallboard over the hole in the wall?
    – Aaron
    Dec 13, 2011 at 1:02
  • Yes, as long as the wire is deactivated (and follow gregmacs advice on shorting the wire as well), you can safely cover it up. With no connection on either end to electricity, its harmless. Dec 13, 2011 at 13:10

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