Found this while tearing down some old shelves in the basement. It was wedged behind the shelf in the air. This is coming from the opposite side of the basement where the electric box lives. Any ideas what this cable is used for?

I mainly trying to figure out if its safe to touch before i start working near it.

close up

cable wedged behind side of shelve

with tape measure

  • 1
    Take another picture with a measuring tape, tailoring tape, ruler etc. tucked under the rubber part. Jan 14 '17 at 19:51
  • @Harper - adding another pic w/ tape measure. Jan 14 '17 at 19:55
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    I'd try tracing where the other end of it goes. Hopefully it is not actually in use....
    – keshlam
    Jan 14 '17 at 20:00
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    The answer will be "maybe" unless you can find the other end, or measure the voltage across it (and the former's the better path by far). Jan 14 '17 at 20:09
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    Cable went outside, called electrician for it be removed, most likely was for a hot tub. Thanks for all the good advice. It was not hot, better safe than sorry though, Jan 15 '17 at 4:33

It's obviously not "used" for anything, at present, being cut off; At least, this particular piece is not in use. What you need to determine is whether its still connected at the other end, so you need to follow it back to where it comes from.

While you could certainly just carefully wrap the end in electrical tape for safer handling, you'll want it disconnected (not merely turned off at the breaker, if it's still connected to a breaker) unless you happen to have some use for it (nice, heavy gauge cable by the look of it.) Might have been for an electric dryer at some prior time, for instance. If you have no use for it, remove it and sell it. Copper wiring is not cheap these days, especially in large sizes.


That's definitely power. Looks like ungrounded split-phase from the colors, possibly 10AWG commonly for dryers or hot water heaters. Might be cordage.

That is just as scary as it looks IMO, and I would follow it back to source and decommission it with extreme prejudice.

As for the cable, shuck it and sell the copper, without a ground wire it's useless even for what it's listed for.

  • 2
    I will never understand people leaving "mystery cables" installed, and not removing them when replacing equipment.... Jan 15 '17 at 3:57

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