How to Cap a Wire Safely After Tearing Down a Wall

If you're doing home refurbishment that involves tearing down walls, you may end up with some electrical wires that you don't need. In particular, this happens in cases where the wires lead to an outlet in the wall. When you get rid of the wall, those wires have no purpose.

Luckily, it's fairly easy to deal with those wires. You just need to cap them. Here are some tips to help you do that safely.

Shut Off the Power

Before doing anything with the wires, turn off the power. You can turn off the power to your entire home, or you can just shut off that particular circuit. Only use the latter option if you are 100 percent sure which circuit you are dealing with.

To be on the safe side, let everyone in the house know that you've shut off that circuit so they don't inadvertently turn it back on. Some people place a piece of tape over the switch to serve as an additional reminder to leave it alone.

Put the Wires Into a Junction Box

To be safe, you should put the wires into a junction box before you cap them. A junction box is basically a small durable box with an opening at the front and a hole in the top. Cut a hole in the floor, wall or ceiling that the wires are behind, and then, orient the junction box so that it is flush with the surface you are dealing with.

Feed the wires into the hole in the top of the junction box. Then, secure the junction box with hardware to the backside of the wall's gypsum board or to a stud. Then, proceed to the next step.

Strip and Cap the Wire

If possible, you can just cut the wire where it reaches the circuit breaker, but in most cases, this is not possible because the wire likely travels through other walls to the circuit breaker. In this situation, you should strip back the wire as far as possible. Striping back the wire just refers to removing the insulation and cutting the wire itself. Then, add the cap.

There is a special item just for this purpose called a wire nut. The wire nut is a small plastic cap that looks similar to the cap you place on the valve of a bicycle tyre. Push the wire into that cap, and then, secure it in place using electrical tape.

To get help with this process, contact an electrical contractor.