I recently replaced my old low-voltage thermostat with an electronic
thermostat. During the process of removing the old thermostat, the
common wire, the one that supplies power to the old thermostat, fell
into the wall. Right now the only option I think I have to retrieve the
wire is to open up another hole in the wall which I wish I could avoid.
If I just left the wire in the wall, would it have the potential to
spark a fire? The end of the wire hasn't been taped up or anything.
Likely no need to open up the wall. You still have at least one wire,
right? Try going down to the other end where the wires connect to your
furnace. Record where they are connected and disconnect them. Attach a new
cable to the old wire(s). Use the old wires to pull the new ones. Of
course this will not work if the wires have been stapled inside the wall but
more often than not they are not.
Before even doing that, I would try to capture it from the access you
already have, maybe enlarging the hole slightly as long as the new fixture
will cover it. There are lots of tricks depending on the situation; I like a
hooked stiff wire myself.
Are there just two wires goyng to the thermostat? If there is a cable,
often there are spare wires in the cable. (The electrons don't care
what color the wire is, the colors are there to make it easy to
remember what wire is connected to which terminal.) Use one of them
and connect it at both ends, abamdon the other wire in the wall.
Otherwise use one of the remaining wires to pull a whole new cable up.
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