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Old 08-06-2009, 11:38 PM   #1
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Cover up unused electrical boxes?


We recently removed several wall sconces to paint the living room and have decided we like it better without them (the previous owners had 10 in one room which is a bit of overkill). They are all wired to the same switch along with the main overhead light. Is it possible and safe to terminate the wires in the boxes and screw blank cover plates over them?
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:56 PM   #2
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Cover up unused electrical boxes?


Yes, it's safe. You'll have to wirenut the like colors within the box if you need the current to continue down the line and need to have the blank wall plate installed since all boxes need to be accessible.

If you're in doubt, speak with an electrician and run it by him or have him come take a look.

Last edited by n0c7; 08-07-2009 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:52 AM   #3
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Cover up unused electrical boxes?


They sell at the home stores or electrical supply 3-5 dollars Whie Inviso plates
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:17 AM   #4
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Cover up unused electrical boxes?


Yes. But the blanks are going to look bad. Especially that many. Too bad you already painted. We could have removed them and made it look like they never existed.
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:21 AM   #5
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Cover up unused electrical boxes?


You could always hang a painting/picture over some to hide them
That's a lot in one room
Are these daisy chained?
No way to simply pull the wire out & eliminate totally?

"removed to paint? " or already painted?
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:43 AM   #6
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Cover up unused electrical boxes?


Yes, they are daisy chained. We've already painted the walls and have the cover plates painted and ready to go on. Three of them will be covered by a pair of tall bookshelves, the rest we plan to hide behind paintings and wall hangings, so I'm not too worried about the aesthetics.

I didn't do too much digging to confirm, but I believe the overhead light is the first in the series and the sconces were all wired downstream of that. We just need to determine if we are going to keep two of the sconces over a fireplace. The breaker is still off from when I removed the sconces so I haven't even checked to see which boxes are still getting power (I just capped each wire as I removed the fixtures)
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Old 08-07-2009, 12:33 PM   #7
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Cover up unused electrical boxes?


As long as the cover can be accessed to get into the box you can put a blank on them and paint or wall paper over them. If the book shelves have a solid back the back must be cut so the cover can be accessed.

You are not permitted to bury junction boxes with live wires.
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Old 08-07-2009, 02:02 PM   #8
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Cover up unused electrical boxes?


[quote=joed;311571]If the book shelves have a solid back the back must be cut so the cover can be accessed.[quote]

If these are not permanent built-in bookcases, but rather moveable pieces, providing access by cutting holes in the bookcases would not be needed.
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Old 08-07-2009, 07:57 PM   #9
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Cover up unused electrical boxes?


When you say that you cannot bury junction boxes with live wires, does this mean that it needs a cover over it?
or if the wires are capped are they no longer considered live?
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:01 PM   #10
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Cover up unused electrical boxes?


You can't bury them behind a wall or sheetrock or other wall sheathing
The box needs a cover & it must be accesible
Capped wires can still be considered live
Any wire that has power is live

You would need to permantly cut & disconnect power to the wires so that they could not be reconnected to be considered dead & abondoned
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:21 PM   #11
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Cover up unused electrical boxes?


thanks scubaDave... well said!
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:25 PM   #12
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Cover up unused electrical boxes?


If you disconnect the first feed, then the rest are dead, so all you have to leave accessible is the first box. Every other box can be considered abandoned, and sheetrocked over.
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Old 08-10-2009, 07:42 PM   #13
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Cover up unused electrical boxes?


Thank you for the advice, everyone. Now one last issue: I had the Inviso cover plates painted a ready to go ... but the screw holes don't appear to line up with those on the electrical boxes! I had assumed this was standard spacing and only saw one sizing option anyway. Cover plates are spaced 3-1/2", the boxes appear to be spaced 3-1/4". Are large cover plates made to fit the smaller sizing? Did I pick up ceiling box plates instead? Since they will be covered over with paintings, etc. I've just left them screwed in firmly by the top hole only. The stickler in me is annoyed, though ...
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