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darlingm 12-08-2011 11:12 PM

Any ideas what this twisted pair of wires did before I split them?

So, I was drilling a hole to run some of my new romex cables, and split a pair of twisted wires with my drill. :eek: :mad:

These twisted wires were twisted around a nail on a rafter that would be at the top of the first image below, and is just off screen to the right on the next two images.

It's a hard area to look into. I looked good enough to see there was no electrical cable running where I was drilling, but should have looked more to catch this.

As a temporary fix, I've separated the black and white wires from each other and electrical taped their ends (separately, of course.)

As bad as the electrical has been in my house, I can't see these running 120v electricity.

This is at the back of the house. I can't trace one direction well because it goes into the brick exterior wall. I can't easily trace the other direction because someone put up a cheap stapled ceiling instead of an actual drop ceiling.

My first thought was that it might be the wire between the thermostat and the air conditioning. But, I was able to turn on the air conditioner for a moment. (Never done that before when it was 32 degrees out.) Furnace works fine, too.

The only other thing I can guess is that it might be a back doorbell wire. There isn't a back doorbell, and wasn't one when we bought the house, but maybe there used to be.

This is in a basement, it's a family room sized room.

Anyone have any idea what these are?

Would you re-connect these? I figure I could always split apart 6" of my 12/2 cable to get the black and white wires, and wire nut at both ends.

Would you trace it back to figure out what it is for, even though this means ripping apart a ceiling that you can't put back up?

Missouri Bound 12-08-2011 11:59 PM

Twisted pair wires are used for speakers, alarm wiring, and some control wiring. If you are really curious put a meter on them. I suspect that if they actually do something you will find out eventually. Just to be safe I would cap off all the wires individually.

Just Bill 12-09-2011 06:24 AM


frenchelectrican 12-09-2011 06:28 AM

Other possiblty is old thermost cable as well which it is no longer used.


ddawg16 12-09-2011 06:36 AM

Solid core or stranded wire?

Just figure out what no longer works.

But I would put a meter on it to see if you have voltage....look for 24 Vac....if you have it....most likely a door bell....which means it may have toasted the transformer.....

mpoulton 12-09-2011 10:51 AM

That doesn't really look like "twisted pair" cable to me. It looks like two #12 or #14 fabric insulated conductors that someone twisted together themselves. I would not rule out the possibility that it carries 120V power.

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