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There was a fan attached, but I removed it because I don't need it. I'm not sure what to do with the wires, though. Should I tie the neutral and hot wires together or should I leave them as they are in the picture? Also, do I leave the ground wire just hanging there?


No, these should be capped off as your picture shows. If they are still live, code requires that the ends be in an approved box with a lid, and not concealed behind drywall or plaster (i.e. so the next person can get to it. It looks like the conduit that brings the wires to the metal box has lost its nut to keep it attached to the box; you should try to replace that too, so that the individual wires don't become abraded and short across the edge of the hole in the box.


Nope. That would be a direct short and would either make some impressive sparks or trip a breaker and prevent its reset. Be sure the nuts are securely connected and leave them as they are.

Your misunderstanding probably comes from the notion that electricity requires a closed circuit. While true, home wiring is done in parallel, so that each device is given a clear path to and from the source (panel). By connecting hot and neutral together, you're closing the electrical path without a load. This results in very large current flow, and the breaker will trip.

Normally that ground wire would be connected to a metal housing like that. If the device is abandoned, though, it's probably not a concern.

  • Great, can I wrap a little bit of electrical tape around them (including the ground) just to be extra sure and safe the nuts stay on Jan 15 '17 at 3:24
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    Wouldn't hurt. No point in taping the ground, though. If anything I'd attach it to the metal housing with a sheet metal screw and call it a day.
    – isherwood
    Jan 15 '17 at 3:25
  • @user1142130 Remember as long as those wires are hot they must remain accessible. You can't just close that hole up with the wires capped. You said you don't need the fan, if your closing that hole you need to do something else.
    – Tyson
    Jan 15 '17 at 12:46
  • @Tyson what exactly do you mean? Can't I just put the fan cover back on and call it a day? I don't want to cover the hole completely with drywall- if that's what you're saying.... Jan 15 '17 at 12:55
  • @user1142130 yes you can put the fan cover back on, that leaves the wire "accessible". Drywall, plaster, etc was in fact my concern.
    – Tyson
    Jan 15 '17 at 12:58

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