I would like to remove one of the outlets from a circuit, and run a dedicated wire to it from a separate breaker, placing it on it's own circuit.

When I disconnect the existing circuit from the receptical, that will leave pigtails for the old circuit.

What do I do with the pigtails from the old circuit that the outlet will no longer be wired to?

-Do they need to stay in the box(which would mean they would be pigtailed in the box, but not connected to the outlet, and new wiring would also run into the box for the new circuit connected to the outlet)?

-Get pushed into the wall?

-What seems the safest thing: Remove the outlet, leave the pigtails in the box, and put a blank over it. Then cut a new hole for a new box for the receptacle and new wiring to go into.

  • Is there a way to find out where the line wires come from and disconnect and pull the cable out? Is there only one cable going into the box? Like @speedypetey asks, why do you need to remove the outlet? Are you short of wall space?
    – Edwin
    Jan 14, 2015 at 2:45
  • @Edwin Two outlets and microwave(1600W input) are on overloaded circuit. One outlet has a minifridge roughly 100W. The third outlet has couple 400W servers. If the computers are on and someone uses the microwave then the 15A breaker trips. Wiring is 14awg so changing to a 20A breaker is out of the question. So I want to move the outlet for the servers to their own circuit. This wire/drop would be easiest to run. I would move the microwave to its own circuit since 1600W is pretty close to the breakers limit already, but it would be more difficult to run a new drop for.
    – AaronLS
    Jan 14, 2015 at 3:05
  • @Edwin I don't know why they didn't just put the microwave on a circuit by itself to being with. 1600W leaves very little room on 15A breaker for anything else. But they also have tandem breakers forced into spaces where they are not allowed, so clearly they didn't put alot of thought into doing it right.
    – AaronLS
    Jan 14, 2015 at 3:11

2 Answers 2


Of the three options you mention, the first is fine; leave the wires in the box, spliced.

The second, no good at all. Splices must be in an accessible box.

Third, also fine. You can certainly blank up the existing box and run new.

I prefer a fourth option; Leave the existing receptacle alone and run a new circuit to a new box. WHY do you need the existing one removed?

  • The existing receptacle(we'll call X) is on 15A breaker with 14awg wire, shared by a 1600W input microwave. Another outlet(we'll call Z) has a minifridge on same circuit. Between the minifridge and microwave, that's the limit of the circuit. I don't want anyone in the future to use outlet X on the same circuit because undoubtedly the next time the microwave runs the circuit will trip due to the additional load from whatever is on outlet X. So better to remove that outlet from that circuit and move it to another circuit.
    – AaronLS
    Jan 14, 2015 at 3:12
  • Speedy Petey's suggestion of just running a new box makes sense compaired to your third option. If you're willing to go through the trouble of installing a new box, you might as well leave the orignial alone. Sure you could save a little bit of money by not having to buy a new receptical, but it is a small part of the overall project. I assume your plan is to put the microwave on the dedicated circuit.
    – robartsd
    Jan 16, 2015 at 21:24

Your best option, after having read the comments you provided, is to put a new branch circuit in for the Microwave, even though it is more difficult in your particular circumstance. The microwave should have a 20amp circuit, because it runs at over 13 Amps. 14AWG wire is rated for 15 Amps, but for continuous loads the rating drops to 12 Amps (80 percent of non-continuous per NEC 210.20(A)). You should also protect this new circuit with an GFCI outlet, especially if it is near a sink/water. Leave the 14 AWG wires connected in the back of the box so they feed the other outlets.

  • 1
    Not to be pedantic, but I would have not thought a microwave would be considered a continuous load. The interpretation I've seen is it applies to devices that commonly exceed 3 hours usage, not scenarios where you can imagine an exceptional case that something might rarely run for 3 hours or more. The rule itself already errs on the side of caution, since the wiring should be fine under continuous load, but heat buildup over time sometimes creates a hazardous situation. It doesn't hurt to err on the side of caution though. If it were more accessible I'd certainly upgrade that wiring.
    – AaronLS
    Jan 14, 2015 at 4:39
  • @AaronLS You're right, I'm being overly conservative.
    – Edwin
    Jan 14, 2015 at 20:36

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