I took a phone jack off the wall and snipped the cable. I'm not getting any voltage between green and red, either AC or DC. I don't want to just leave a wire in the wall that could become live. How do I safely terminate this wire, preferably without tracing it all the way through the muddy crawlspace to its source?

  • 1
    It's not clear what kind of solution you're looking for - it was terminated in a jack before. Any dead wire could conceivably become live, if you don't want a dead wire in the wall, you have to remove it. Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 20:32
  • can I just put electrical tape over the ends or some kind of tiny wire nut Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 20:35
  • Sure... I'll make a short answer. Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 20:39

1 Answer 1


They make tiny gray and blue wire nuts that ought to work, you could strip and twist all four wires together, trim, and twist on a wire nut. You could cap each wire individually, but I'd splice / short them all together.

I have heard two different schools of thought about "safing off" unused wires, especially wires you want taken out of use. With line voltage, some say it's better to short / splice them and / or bond them to the EGC, others say cap them separately.

I'll leave that discussion for another question, for a phone cable, it doesn't matter much. One wire nut on four conductors will hold more securely and less to look at.

If you can identify it, you should disconnect and cap it at the other end as well - probably in your house's telephone NID (network interface device).

If you want to be really thorough, tag it in the NID with a label where the other end is, just in case someone needs it in the future.

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    thanks. connecting the wires won't hurt anything? don't need to cap them off separately? Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 20:50
  • Yeah, I'd expect that a person would want to avoid a short, also.
    – isherwood
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 20:53
  • To short, or not to short? That's a question... editing the answer Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 21:13
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    I'm not sure if I'm missing something, but if you strip and twist all four wires together (this must be a quad wire cable), you will place a permanent short on the phone wire, thus producing a busy signal for anyone who calls, unless the wire is unused, in which case it doesn't matter what you do to them, including leaving them alone.
    – BillDOe
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 22:41
  • You're right, its unused / disconnected, it doesn't matter, the OP just wants to do something with them. (Id have just left the dead jack alone.) Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 23:40

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