The question pretty much sums it up. I nailed through a live wire in my ceiling. Rather than splice it and install a jbox, I ran a new run to the outlet. However, I took a slightly different route that did not require any additional cuts into the drywall.

I will be leaving the dead run in the ceiling. Are there any guidelines or code I need to follow to still be within compliance? For example, do a cut the wire ends clean? Tape them up and label them? Also, do I need to remove the dead wire from the outlet box or can that be cut and/or taped up?

  • 1
    @benrudgers - please site your source if this is anything other than your opinion.
    – SBerg413
    Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 18:10

2 Answers 2


It's acceptable to leave wire in the walls. The only thing you need to do is leave the ends exposed in boxes and wire nut and tape the two legs together. That will indicate to an electrician what's going on, and if someone does try to tie into them in the future it will just pop the breaker.

  • Can you cite a source for the procedure you describe?
    – Tester101
    Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 19:42
  • NEC 300.15 would be appropriate.
    – user23752
    Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 21:40
  • @benrudgers If the wiring is abandoned, it's no longer covered by NEC. It's not an outlet, switch point, splice, junction, termination, or pull point.
    – Tester101
    Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 22:43
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    NFPA 70 [NEC] Article 90-2(a) Covered This code covers the following. (1) Installation of electric conductors and equipment.... Abandoned work is not among the items in (b) Not Covered. Note also that like any other construction component, conductors in the walls are also covered by the model building codes (e.g. IRC). Keep in mind that one person's "abandoned conductors" are another person's future conductors. This is undoubtedly why the NEC does not exempt [either of] them.
    – user23752
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 3:53
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    @benrudgers My pots and pans are "conductors", hell I'm a "conductor". Does the NEC cover me, and my pots and pans? There's nothing in the NEC that says what to do with abandoned electrical cable.
    – Tester101
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 15:15

There's nothing in National Electrical Code about removing abandoned electrical cable. If it's communication, television, radio, etc. cable, you have to remove the accessible portion of the cables. If it's wire in a raceway (conduit, cables trays, etc.), you do have to remove it.

Connecting the ungrounded (hot), grounded (neutral), and grounding conductors together is a common practice (one which I've recommended before). However, it relies on the breaker functioning properly, in the event the line is ever energized in the future. The safer practice is to cap each wire separately, and label the wires as abandoned at both ends.

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