I heard buzzing and popping noises behind this kitchen outlet so I opened it up and it looks like this:

burnt wires

burnt sheathing

What might've caused this? And to repair this, do I have to cut up the drywall and replace the wires/sheathing? Or just wrap whatever is in the box with black tape?

  • 3
    I'm going to say its time to cut power to that circuit at the breaker panel and call a professional electrician.
    – mac
    Nov 5 '15 at 22:38
  • Completely disagree with @mac. This is a DIY forum, and our goal is to answer questions, and this is certainly a question that's easily answerable.
    – Edwin
    Nov 5 '15 at 23:08
  • 4
    I agree with mac. If things are melting/burning, it's time to call a pro.
    – Tester101
    Nov 6 '15 at 0:57

The best thing to do is set yourself about 2 hours of free time, turn off the power to any wire near that box (use one of those electric sensors), make sure you have a flash light, around.

First, pull as much of the wires free as you can, restrip everything and get new caps and tape everything new. If you think or even suspect another shitty splice is outside the box then yes, break through the drywall and make sure you tape and replace any splices there as well.

edit: ha, just saw that's not drywall...well tile is not as easy to fix, but honestly it's not that bad either...just a bigger project.

edit: am I seeing water damage (the green on the copper and debris in the box?) Just make sure there's no water leaking in your wall....

source: own several very old houses - I do this everytime I change a ceiling light - they are just masses of cloth tape and garbage...

  • it's about 1 ft from the kitchen sink which is currently clogged to the roof. Using the garbage disposal causes water to shoot from the roof pipe so it's possible, but what about rain? Wouldn't the box just overflow?
    – overflower
    Nov 5 '15 at 20:22
  • 3
    There shouldn't be any splices behind the drywall that are not in an accessible junction box. If there are, they are against code. (unless an approved splicing device like this one is used)
    – Johnny
    Nov 5 '15 at 20:45

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