I have a small closet under my stairs that doesn't have a light switch. I've been wanting to tie into a circuit from somewhere to wire up a light. While crawling around under there I found a (junction?) box with a single 14 ga cable running into it. The box is not protruding on the other side of the wall so it's not an outlet or a switch. when I wiggled the wire does not feel like it is connected to anything inside. Appears to be 14/2 Romex. Before I open it up and waste any time, is this something I could tie a light switch to? I I wouldn't imagine that someone would just leave an open-ended circuit in a box under a staircase, the house was built in 1992. Having an issue posting a picture right now, will try again shortly. Any insight would be great.

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    Does it not have a light either? Is there a receptacle nearby? Or does it have a "pull chain" fixture? Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 14:04
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    Did you test the conductors to see if the circuit is hot? Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 14:06
  • Yes. And nothing, was just an empty box with a wire cutoff inside it.
    – BigLake
    Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 17:31

1 Answer 1


Ok got it all set. It was in fact a dead end wire. It belongs to the circuit powering the bedroom on the other side of the wall. It was just a box with it's open end facing the back side of the sheetrock. I wired it up to my light and it works. Does anyone find it odd that this was just sitting in there like this?

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    I suspect the box is there specifically to support a light in that location. It was specced at build time, because that is when that is easy, and then left for the homeowner to finish as s/he pleases. Which is good, because at the time they would have installed a cheap Edison base and an incandescent, and I have personally witnessed a fire started by one of those in an under-stair storage space... whereas you can now choose cool running bulbless LED fixtures. Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 15:31
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    I have seen similar minus the fire but LED's are the way to go. Should be an answer.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 16:06
  • Harper, how did the fire start? I did install a single light fixture in a light box with a switch.
    – BigLake
    Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 21:07
  • @BigLake old incandescent bulbs get hot when left on for any amount of time. In an enclosed space with flammables nearby it's just a matter of time. Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 11:46

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