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I am doing some remodeling, and I got an old ugly GFCI outlet with a switch in the middle of the wall. The outlet was next to a sink, but now even the sink is gone and not coming back. I don't need that outlet there, and I just want to remove it, isolate wires, and patch the hole. Is it safe to do? Here is how it is now:

GFCI outlet with a switch

And this is what I want to do before I patch that hole:

empty junction box with switch and GFCI outlet removed

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  • You will never say to yourself "Gee, I wish I had fewer outlets." Dispose of the "ugly" outlet and install a non-ugly model. Whether the new outlet also has to be GFCI depends on local codes.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jun 21, 2021 at 16:41

2 Answers 2

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You cannot sheetrock or otherwise cover over the electrical box, but you can remove the outlet and put a cover plate over the box. You can paint the cover plate.

But per electric code in the US, you cannot hide a junction box in the wall. It has to have an accessible plate. You could hang a picture over it, I guess.

If you are able to trace the wires back to their source and pull them out of the box altogether, so the box is empty, then you can leave the box in the wall and hide it (since it has no wires in it).

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  • Why is it against the code?
    – sprogissd
    Jun 19, 2021 at 14:02
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    If the boxes are accessible, it gives electricians a fighting chance of fixing things without tearing down all the interior walls to find where the wires go. They can pull new wire from box to box, or they can check connections inside boxes without resorting to destructive measures.
    – mkeith
    Jun 19, 2021 at 16:52
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It is ok to remove the GFCI outlet because the kitchen counter is no longer there. You also need to make sure that that outlet was not feeding and protecting another outlet. Since there were only two wires attached to it, it was not feeding another outlet.

If you have removed the counter and created a new wall space, you need to be sure that an outlet is not required in that wall space. If a wall space is more than 2 feet wide, every point along the wall must be within 6 feet of an outlet. You might need to install an outlet near the floor below the one that you removed.

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  • Counter height outlets are handy. Until you decide you want to hang a charging shelf or even use it to power the new flat screen TV, Just get a blank cover plate, I have a similar scenario where an old thermostat is in the middle (wall span AND ceiling height). The new outlet there powers the new flat screen TV
    – user113627
    Jun 26, 2021 at 18:41

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