Abandoned Cable Removal 

What are your options when you need to abandon a wire in a wall or ceiling? This Chief Electrical Inspector knows the answer.

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Question: Is it acceptable to leave a dead wire buried in the wall, when removal is not possible or very difficult to accomplish?

Answer: Yes.

If the wiring method consists of raceways, such as rigid or flexible metallic or nonmetallic conduits, abandoned, discontinued or disconnected conductors should be removed. For cable-type wiring methods, abandoned cables that are accessible and are not terminated at a piece of equipment or tagged for future use should be removed. When it comes to cables that are not accessible, common sense really comes into play. Both ends of the cable should be cut back in such a manner that they can never be accidentally used again or worse yet become energized, which obviously would create a serious fire or life safety hazard.

Always check with a local electrical inspector about the code requirements in your area.

Question answered by John Williamson, Chief Electrical Inspector, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry 

John Williamson has been in the electrical industry for 40 years and is a licensed master electrician and certified building official. John has worked for the state of Minnesota for over 23 years and is the Chief Electrical Inspector. For the past 25 years John has also provided electrical code consultation to various book and magazine publishers

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