I have this old and unused hole that I believe was for an outlet or a light switch (bought a house with this capped with plastic). I also have a few old phone Jacks. I plan on removing the phone Jacks and patching the drywall in that hole. I thought of doing the same for this outlet but I remember reading somewhere that doing so would be against code. I can't seem to find that information this time around.

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Thanks everyone! I'm just going to cover it up. It's not worth the effort for me to trace out the wires and try to disconnect them. Appreciate everyone's feedback

Would patching the drywall here be an option? Or is covering it with a removable plastic cover the only option?


That is a junction box, and must remain accessible (plastic or metal cover, cover can be painted.)

NEC 314.29

If the wiring is completely removed, you can remove the junction box, but usually the wiring is serving some purpose and that is not practical.

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    Decorate the cover plate with paint, wallpaper, whatever to hide it the best you can, just be sure that the screws are accessible. – FreeMan Jan 13 at 14:43
  • Could the OP alternatively install an outlet or switch to make it actually useful? IMO a usable outlet or switch would look less weird and out-of-place than a blank cover. – jamesdlin Jan 13 at 23:39
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    Nothing weird or out of place about them - they are perfectly normal. Without knowing what the circuit running through there does it's not clear that adding a receptacle or switch would make any sense whatsoever. Might, might not. – Ecnerwal Jan 14 at 0:31
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    THe receptacle is pretty high up so it's probably an old light switch. it's also next to a window so any outlet/charger would be weird there. I'm just going to cover it up – Gio Jan 14 at 14:11
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    @Criggie - Plugs way down low are 'standard' but that doesn't mean they are optimal. A friend built his house with most of the plugs in spaces like hallways where they are likely used on a short-term basis at about waist height. Makes plugging/unplugging the vacuum cleaner much easier, particularly as one gets older. – Jon Custer Jan 14 at 14:51

This answer is similar to previous. If the wires in the box are "live" (still energized), they must remain accessible. If you can conclusively (professionally) determine that the wires are "dead" (best if the supply end is disconnected and removed from the next, upstream access point (another outlet box, or electrical panel), you can abandon the wiring in place.

  • It might be reasonable to do this - you can trace wires through walls non-invasively using a "tone" tester which are cheaply & widely available. If for instance you could trace the wire into your basement where it is visible disconnected from any power, maybe you can conclude with certainty that it is disused. You could also rig up a continuity test using a multimeter. (Any of this with the power OFF, obviously). – StayOnTarget Jan 14 at 14:03

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