I've got a covered up electric box, and inside are two white wires, both coming from the same place that are tied together. Neither of them register on my voltage tester. Taking the tape off reveals that inside each white wire is an even smaller red, green, yellow and black wire.

I'm mostly just curious what they might be for and why they have their own box like that. They also seem to just be taped together which I have to imagine is an issue. Any reason for me to not just swap it out with a more appropriate connector?

picture of cover plate over electric box

enter image description here

  • 1
    There might have been a reason with conduit(separate wires), but cable always has at least black and white together. Conduit to outside buildings is usually recommended.
    – crip659
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 18:14
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    Just wondering if these are not phone/coax/internet cable/wires, instead of white electrical wire
    – crip659
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 19:37
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    Phone wiring was also my guess, but the picture does not show the guts. If you take the tape off and find red green black yellow wires in the cables, that's what it is.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 19:50
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    We need to see the ends. Take the cover off and attach a pic. Could be network cable or coax (antenna). Doesn't look like power. The ends will tell us for sure.
    – asp316
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 21:27
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    taking the tape off revealed that inside each white wire was an even smaller red, green, yellow and black wire
    – Ben
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 21:51

2 Answers 2


Red, green, yellow, black wires in a cable make this "telephone quad cable," almost definitely used at present or in the past for landline telephone wiring.

enter image description here

Why's it there? This was a good place for a former owner/technician to put a junction. May have been easier to pull from both ends to this box, may have needed to tie in a line nearby and wire already ran through here.

What to do about it now? I recommend leaving it. Landlines aren't used nearly as often now, but are still present in nearly all older (and some newer) homes. The wiring can be repurposed in surprising ways, like carrying signals or voltage to security systems and smarthome devices. You can repurpose this wire for one of those uses if you have smarthome devices to place near there.

Alternatively, you could pull it out; but you'd likely want to fix that hole after you did, and it'll be difficult to get it to look good (smooth) without replacing that entire board.

As some others have commented, feel free to get a smaller cover plate if it'd look better to you. Although I think the reason that one's there is to cover up some sloppy cutting around the edges of the hole.


That is telephone cable (four-conductor).

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