Attic Wiring, Junction Boxes and Electrical Safety

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Store Unused Electrical Wires: Is it safe to leave live wires capped in switch box covered by flat plate?

Electrical Safety and Unused Attic Wiring

Electrical Question: Is it safe to leave live wires capped in switch box covered by flat plate?

  • Having disconnected a 3-wire wall switch to an attic-mounted whole house fan, is it safe to leave live wires capped in the switch box covered by flat plate?
  • The wires don’t touch each other or the box; they are capped.
  • Is it safe to leave the fan hard-wired to the attic junction box?

This electrical question came from: John, a Homeowner from Naperville, Illinois.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question John.

How to Store Unused Electrical Wires

electrical wire splice

Application: Storing Electrical Wiring in a Junction Box.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Certified Electrician or Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Identify the circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Important: Burnt or damaged wiring and circuit components should be replaced with new electrical materials of the same voltage and amperage rating.
Notice: Repairs or changes to Home Electrical Wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes and installing new or replacement electrical parts or equipment may require to have a permit and be inspected.

What to do with Unused Electrical Wiring

  • Placing a fold of electrical tape over the end of a unused wire is fine in a temporary situation, but not as a long term solution.
  • It is best to screw a wire connector over the end of the wires and cover the box with a blank plate as you have mentioned.
  • I don’t know if there is a problem with the whole house fan, but as long as the power source will not be connected to it then you can leave the wiring in the attic junction box and cap off the wires and covering the junction box as mentioned.

More about Unused Electrical Wiring

  • Electrical Code for How Many Wires in Junction Boxes
  • Electrical wire
    Electrical Wire for the Home
    Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.
  • Junction boxes
    Electrical Junction Boxes for Home Wiring
    Understanding electrical junction boxes and what they are used for. Home electrical wiring is the process of installing electrical wire to a location that will serve electrical devices or an appliance. One very important component is the box where the wire will be installed. The type and size of the home wiring electrical boxes will depend upon the circuit size, application and its location.

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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

3 Responses to “Attic Wiring, Junction Boxes and Electrical Safety”
  1. Eldon Kilburg says:

    Can you wire an attic and put the light bulb mounts (and bulbs) on the roof trusses (next to the roof)? Can you also run wire on the roof trusses? Having electricity running within 8 inches of the roof in an electrical storm, is that safe?

  2. Mike says:

    I am trying to figure out the code violation of having spliced electrical wiring in an attic put together with wire nuts. There is exposed wiring, and I have photos I can send. From my understanding, all splicing of electrical wiring has to be contained in a junction box. Is this the case to remain in code? This is for CA.

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Mike,
      Here is an example of providing an approved electrical splice in a junction box: Electrical splices must be made inside an approved electrical junction box which is properly installed and fastened, the cables entering the junction box must be secured with the appropriate box connectors, the splices must be made using insulated electrical connectors, the junction box must have a cover installed, and the junction box must be in an accessible location.
      I hope this helps you with your junction box project. Thank you for sharing your electrical question,


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