This system is defunct and no longer in use by my building.

Id like to get rid of the hideous phone on the wall.

Can I cut these? Is there an order in which to cut them?

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  • 3
    Since it's an apartment, you probably can't legally cut them without permission from your landlord. If it were me, I'd write down the locations of each wire, unscrew them, tape them to prevent contact between wires, then tuck the whole bundle into the wall and cover it with a wall plate. Still probably not technically allowed by your lease agreement, but at least you can put thing back how they were if you had to (like if the Landlord later decides to put in a new video door security system and he wants to use the same wiring)
    – Johnny
    Oct 15, 2015 at 17:33
  • hey @johnny i actually own this apartment, so im free to cut it if i need too. im just concerned that its electrical and going to zap me. i have no way to disable any type of power to it or anything..but do you believe unscrewing them would be fine? i have tape and a wall plate i can use to conceal them.
    – bartha19
    Oct 15, 2015 at 17:50
  • You own the place (USA-speak then makes it a "Condominium" .vs. "Apartment" but other places don't agree) - but is there a head of maintenance you could check with? If it's in fact totally defunct, they should know, and if it is, you can simply cut the whole cable at once (where they are all in the white outer sheath) and be done with it. The smoke-stains are impressive.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 15, 2015 at 17:57
  • You can get a voltage meter pretty cheaply, or even a non-contact voltage sensor. Since you say "phone or intercom", if there is voltage it's likely to only be from a 24v transformer or 50v phone line voltage. You could get a zap, but it shouldn't hurt. Of course, electricity and probably don't go well together, so ask around or check for voltage before cutting.
    – JPhi1618
    Oct 15, 2015 at 21:17
  • Agreed on testing with a multimeter. The block in the upper right looks suspiciously like a transformer, so I'd check to see if you have potential between the red and green. If you're in North America, I'd also check for potential between the blue and white. The orange and yellow may be another tip and ring pair (non-standard colors).
    – Comintern
    Oct 15, 2015 at 22:47

2 Answers 2


Phone wiring is mostly low voltage, though old-style electromagnetic ringers can briefly kick it up to 90v when ringing. If you really want to just discard this, I'd just cut off the bared copper ends, fold the wire back on itself once so the ends are against the outer sheathing, give it a quick wrap with electrical tape to hold them there (just once or twice around the ends), and shove it back into the wall.

That may not be the best answer. But it would work, and be fairly easy to undo if you discover you need them after all.


If it were me I would just unscrew the plate and pull it to see how much extra wire is in the wall. Cut all the wires close to the connectors with insulated wire snips - if there is enough extra wire inside the wall to reconnect it, you could snip the (most likely) UTP cable again so there are no dangling wires. If there isn't, wrap the small wires around something round like a screw driver handle to shape them neatly, remove the handle and put electrical tape around the bundle.

As others recommended, a voltage tester is probably a safe precaution to make certain there isn't any live power running through those wires.

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