Connect with H&H

What do I do with an outlet I want to remove?

thisdustyhouse's picture

I have a outlet in the middle of a hallway wall and I want to remove. I'm not sure what I should do with the wires that are remaining. what so I do?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
ChalmersAbrams's picture

Ask for a technician he can help you in a faster way than any one else as he is the only person who have full details about wiring.

dytecture's picture

 After turning off the electrical panel in your house, you can cut the wires and put a wire nut on the exposed wires and cover it up with drywall.

Nestor_Kelebay's picture

I didn't respond to this question earlier because I really couldn't think of any way to remove that electrical box and repair the resulting hole.  In this case, the best option is to simply remove the duplex receptacle from the electrical box and replace the old "receptacle plate" with an "electrical box cover" made of either plastic or steel; both are readily available at any home center or electrical wholesaler if you pay cash.  An electrical box cover is the same size and shape as a switch plate or receptacle plate, but it doesn't have any holes in it for a switch toggle or the receptacle(s).  Then, either paint or wallpaper that electrical box cover to match the surrounding wall.But, I thought I would post the explanation as to what Thisdustyhouse needs to do to remove the duplex receptacle from the electrical box and why she can't really remove the electrical box and patch the resulting hole.  (Just in case anyone else was wanting to do the same thing.)The way for Thisdustyhouse to proceed it to first check the "electrical panel" in her home as this is the distribution center of all electrical power that goes to all of the lights fans and electrical outlets in any house.  If it's a newer house, there will be two rows of "circuit breakers" in the electrical panel.  Each breaker will have a toggle on the front of it similar to a wall switch, and you "trip" the breaker on or off by flipping that toggle just like a wall switch.  Flipping the toggle off will prevent electrical power from going into that circuit, just like a wall switch.  If it's an older house, there will be two rows of screw in style "fuses" in the electrical panel.  Check to see if the electrical panel is marked to say which breaker or fuse provides power to that electrical outlet, and if so, trip the breaker off or unscrew that fuse.  (Fuses screw in and out just like a light bulb.)If there's nothing in the electrical panel to say which breaker or fuse provides power to that outlet, then plug a radio (or any electrical device that makes noise) and trip breakers or unscrew fuses until she hears the noise stop.  That will be the breaker or fuse that was previously providing power to that outlet.Once the breaker is tripped or the fuse removed, then you can remove the outlet from the electrical box safely without the risk of getting a shock.  BUT, to be certain, plug the radio (or whatever) into the OTHER outlet of that duplex receptacle to be sure that there's no power in either receptacle.  That's because there are brass tabs connecting the two receptacles, but these tabs can be cut so that each receptacle can be wired to the electrical panel.  This is done (typically in kitchens) where there's a high demand for power and blowing fuses and tripping breakers is a nuisance.  By cuttomg the tabs between the electrical receptacles and running a wire from the electrical panel to each of the receptacles, you can provide two 15 amp circuits to the kitchen instead of just one, and that helps prevent the nuisance of fuses blowing when the toaster, coffee maker, electric frying pan and microwave oven are all running off the same receptacle at the same time.Typically, house circuits will all be wired in parallel rather than series so that if a light bulb burns out, it doesn't knock out all the other lights, fans and/or receptacles on that same circuit.  I know the electrical code specifies a limit on how many electrical receptacles can be on the same 15 amp circuit, and I think it's 6.  Since a single 60 watt incandescent light bulb only draws about 1/2 of an amp, there's plenty of capacity in each 15 amp circuit coming out of the electrical panel to have both light fixtures and electrical outlets and/or ceiling fans on the same circuit.  And, typically, there will be other electrical receptacles and some light fixtures or a ceiling fan or two on the same 15 amp circuit as that electrical outlet in Thisdustyhouse's hallway is on.  Since the outlets, fans and receptacles are wired in parallel, the usual practice is to use "pig tails" to connect a duplex receptacle to the house wiring.  A pig tail is merely a short piece of wire (4 to 6 inches long) that connects to the longer wires that run between electrical boxes.  The ends of those longer wires connect to the ends of the pig tail wire inside the electrical box with "wire nuts" (most commonly).  Wire nuts are plastic caps with a steel coil inside them that simply screws on to the uninsulated ends of the wires, thereby connecting the wires together.  The more wires you want to connect together and/or the larger the wires you need to connect together, the bigger the wire nut you need, and every home center will sell wire nuts in various sizes.So, removing the electrical receptacle from the electrical box would proceed as follows:1. Turn off the power to the duplex receptacle by tripping it's breaker or unscrewing it's fuse, and then check that there's no power to either of the two receptacles.2. Remove the two screws holding the duplex receptacle in the electrical box.  You will need a No. 1 "square" (Robertson) screw driver to do this.  Robertson screw drivers are colour coded, and a No.1 will have a green marking on it somewhere, typically on the handle.3. Pull the receptacle out of the box far enough to remove the wires connected to the screws on each side of the receptacle.  If there are no wires going to those screws, then they are pushed into holes on the back of the receptacle.  In that case it will be necessary to pull the receptacle out further and push a small flat screw driver (or anything small and thin enough to fit) into the slot below each hole on the back of the receptacle and pull on the wire simultaneously to remove it from the receptacle.4. Once the electrical outlet is out of the electrical box, Thisdustyhouse could either put a small wire nut on the end of each pig tail wire that was previously connected to the duplex receptacle, or, remove the pig tail wires and reconnect the remaining long wires with the same or smaller wire nuts.  If it wuz me, I'd go the first route so that the electrical outlet could be reinstalled in future with a minimum of work.5. Put an electrical box cover on the electrical box (having previously painted or wallpapered it to match the surrounding wall).Now, the reason why Thisdustyhouse can't remove that electrical box is that the Canadian Electrical Code requires that the connections for all 120 volt wiring be done inside of an approved electrical box.  Also, that electrical box has to be ACCESSIBLE; you can't bury it behind drywall so that no one knows where it is.  So, since there are almost certainly other electrical outlets and/or light fixtures on that same circuit, she can't remove the electrical box and have wire nut connections hanging loose inside the wall.  Those connections have to be inside an accessible electrical box.  In this case, putting an electrical box cover on that electrical box is about the only solution that will get rid of the receptacle but still meet the electrical code.And, finally, if Thisdustyhouse ever wanted to put the duplex receptacle back in that electrical box, there is a wiring convention that she should follow for 120 volt wiring.  That convention is that the dark wire (the one with either red or black insulation on it) goes to the dark screw (which will be a brass screw) and the light wire (which will have white insulation on it) goes to the light screw (which will be nickel plated steel).  If it's a plastic electrical box then there should also be a green or uninsulated wire going to the green grounding screw on the duplex receptacle.The reason for this wiring convention is that the electrical power from the generating station through the dark (red or black) wires in the electrical box and goes back to the generating station through the white wire in the electrical box.  (That's techncally wrong, but it's a good way to think about it.)  Normally on any sort of an appliance like a toaster or television set, the switch that turns the toaster or TV on and off would be on the dark wire so that turning the appliance off would stop electrical power from getting into the appliance.  The problem was that prior to the "polarized 3-prong" plugs that became standard in the 1970's, 120 volt plugs had two equal size prongs and receptacles had two equal size slots.  Consequently, if you turned the plug upside down and plugged in the appliance, it would work equally well, but you'd be putting yourself in danger.  That's because the switch that shuts off the appliance would now be on the side that carries the electric power back to the generating station and there would be power inside the appliance even when it was turned off.  So, if there were a short circuit in that appliance, you could get a shock from it even when it was turned off.  By following the dark wire to dark screw wiring convention the appliance's on/off switch will always be on the wire that carries power into the appliance so that shutting an appliance off will always render it harmless.The above post applies ONLY to 120 volt wiring.  The 240 volt wiring that goes to the electric stove, electric clothes dryer and central air conditioner in Thisdustyhouse's home uses a totally different wiring convention.  Also, the low voltage wiring (13 to 24 volts) for the door bell and thermostat (or other furnace controls) in her home isn't subject to the electrical code, and connections don't need to be made in electrical boxes.

Comment Guidelines

We welcome your feedback on H&H reserves the right to remove any unsuitable personal remarks made about the bloggers, hosts, homeowners and/or guests we feature. Please keep your comments focused on decorating, design, cooking and other lifestyle topics. Adopt a tone you would be willing to use in person and do not make slanderous remarks or use denigrating language. If you see a comment that you believe violates any of the guidelines outlined above, please click “Flag as inappropriate.” Thank you.