What is the best way to terminate a live wire? I want to rewire a box
that has 2 wire ungrounded romex with 12-2w/g. The problem is the
box is currently recieving power from a box in an unknown location
hidden under an attic floor and cannnot be disconnected. I could
possibly put wire nuts on the existing wire in the existing box but
that would leave the box very crowded. Any suggestions?
On another another circuit, I found the source but am not able to
physically remove the disconnected wires from the box. Can I just cut
off the disconnected wires or would it be better to put wire nuts on
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The best way, as you already mentioned, is to locate the source and
disconnect. It would be worthwhile to take apart any outlets and junction
boxes in the area to look for it. If the source is in a junction box that
is no longer accesible because somebody built a floor over, the next best
thing is to terminate the existing wires in the box. (An inaccessible
wiring box, incidentally, is a code violation, but not exactly
astonishing.) Wire tracing equipment is available for around $100. You
might be able to rent or borrow this equipment.
The space taken up by the wires can be reduced by terminating them with
small wire nuts just big enough for one wire. Cut out any extra cable
sheath or paper cable packing, if the installer left extra in the box.
Leave the leads just long enough that test equipment could be connected in
the future, about six inches if you can manage it. Tape will take up even
less space, but I think the wire nuts are better.
Consider replacing the box with a bigger one.
If you can absolutely determine that you have located and disconnected BOTH
ENDS of the same cable, and have made it IMPOSSIBLE to reconnect either
end, you can cut it off. Otherwise, the wire nuts would be much better.
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