I have three outdoor lights (2 porch and 1 sodium bulb) that are controlled by one switch inside.

The sodium bulb light fixture (it is large and boxy) has been removed and there are currently two wires sticking out of the junction box.

The two other lights still function from the switch.

How do I deal with the exposed wires / junction box? Do I just cap the wire ends, shove them back in the box and stucco over?



Do I just cap the wire ends, shove them back in the box ...


Before doing any work, check the light turns on OK, then go to the main panel and turn off that circuit. Go to the light and verify power is off by toggling the switch and checking the light remains off. After removing the light fixture, check the wiring is not live, use a non-contact tester if you have one but double check with a Cat-II voltmeter/tester. If in doubt wear electricians gloves and stand on an electricians fibreglass stepladder.

Before undoing any wire connections, write down which wires are connected where. Taking a photo can be useful. If necessary, mark multiple wires which are connected together at the same connection point - with tape a marker or something similar.

Keep the wires separate and use wirenuts (or similar approved insulating arrangement) to prevent the metal of the wires touching other wires or any nearby metal parts (box, coverplate etc)

You should only tie wires together if you are certain they were tied together before in connections for the working light.

Generally you don't see black connected to white (which would normally blow a fuse or trip a breaker) though there are exceptions.

It is always safe to completely isolate all unused wires. If you have only two wires (excluding any obvious ground wires) keep them separate regardless of color.

and stucco over?

No, the wiring needs to remain accessible in most jurisdictions. You could screw on a coverplate.

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Bell blank covers are designed to provide weatherproof protection when a box is being used for junction. Blank covers have a flat face profile. Cover includes a gasket, mounting hardware and installation instruction.

These things seem to be well standardised, based on diameter (e.g. 4") but it may be prudent to measure the distance between screwholes in the box (hole centre to hole centre) before buying a coverplate.

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  • +1 But it needs to be an exterior rated coverplate. – bib Mar 17 '16 at 17:36
  • The box is round? Are there standard exterior coverplates for these? available at Home Depot? – Sam Lee Mar 17 '16 at 17:52
  • Yes see updated answer. – RedGrittyBrick Mar 17 '16 at 17:58
  • The coverplate can be painted to match the color of the house so it is not so obvious. – Jason Hutchinson Mar 17 '16 at 18:06
  • Great. Will the holes "line up" with the holes in the box? Also, I do not tie the white and black wire together, correct? just leave them "not connected"? – Sam Lee Mar 17 '16 at 18:14

If it is two individual wires (one white, one black or a color) then the removed lamp is at the end of a wiring run.

If you think there is any possibility that you or a future homeowner will ever want a light there, then you should cap off the wires and cover the box with a listed cover as described by RedGrittyBrick above. There are only a few standard sizes of box cover, but if you're worried, trace the shape of the cover, and the particularly the position of the screw holes. If you didn't save the screws, no worries, they are a standard size.

If you are absolutely positive you will never, ever want a light here again, and you don't mind some light construction (and some heavier construction if you ever change your mind), and you don't mind learning a lot more about electrical, then it's possible to follow these wires back to the next box, and remove that segment of wire entirely. Once it is good and gone, you can then remove or ignore the now completely empty electrical box and stucco it over.

If there are two cables each with multiple wires, then you have a more complicated issue and you will not be able to remove this box, should cover it, and not stucco it over.

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Yes make sure to cap the ends and wrap them in electrical tape. Shove the wires back into the box and place blank over top of the box before doing the stucco.

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  • And document where the box is: someday in the future someone (e.g. you) may want to find and open that box. Using a metal blank box cover will also make it easier to find with a stud finder. – Daniel Griscom Mar 18 '16 at 14:52

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