So,we were adding an on-suite office to the master bedroom of the house. This pushed out the front of the house ten feet, but required us to remove a window and expand the entryway for the office. During that process, two outlets in the master bedroom quit working. There was never a loud spark and the breaker never tripped. The house is framed with red iron rather than wood studs which required a grinder to do. Using a non contact meter, I located two wires that seemingly ran to those two outlets that didn't show power. But, when I placed a multimeter on them, they're showing 8-10 volts each. I was about to cut what I thought was a dead wire and connect it in a junction box to a known good wire. Any thoughts/suggestions?? I appreciate any advice or thoughts!

2 Answers 2


As for "seemingly ran", you should positively ID the cabling.

Shut off all breakers in the house except the one that feeds the circuit in question, and confirm the cabling around the reno area with a non-contact tester.

The small voltage reading could be coupling into the cable in question from another cable that runs closely adjacent to it for some length. They don't have to touch, and this is generally not an issue of concern. Once confirmed, you can cut it, even though it has a non-zero reading.

If this is your case, it's a phantom voltage, often observed in 3-wire cables for 2-way switches in hallways etc... The voltage arises from capacitive (parasitic) coupling and the supply impedance is high, so the current will be harmless.

The phantom reading could (but doesn't have to) disappear with the above test. If it doesn't, and you are still worried, please report back with your findings so we can help further.

  • Really appreciate you taking the time to thoroughly respond! I'll try all of that tomorrow. I was wrapping up some other electrical today. Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 1:16

8-10 volts is not a hazardous voltage , probably phantom from running with other circuits at the panel. Still I would still use caution and cut the conductors one at a time and cap them on the originally hot side so if they are energized there won’t be a possibility for them to ground out or shock someone.

  • Will do, Ed!! Appreciate the advice!!! Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 1:16

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