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Old 07-08-2012, 12:28 PM   #1
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Exposed live wire


Hey, I found a present from my old owner today. I guess when they finished my basement they realized they didn't need this anymore.

I can't disconnect it from the source without tearing down my entire ceiling, so what are my options? Should I just make sure the lugs are tight and get a cover for the box? It's only live when the recessed lighting switch is on inside the other room.


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Old 07-08-2012, 12:36 PM   #2
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How did you get up there in the first place? Did you have to cut a hole, or is that part of the ceiling missing? If it is easily accessible, and you are going to leave it open, you will be fine. Otherwise, if you are going to fix the hole you made, you need to put some kind of access into the ceiling at that point. Only other way, would be to pull a new run of Romex that will make it back to the breaker panel.

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Old 07-08-2012, 12:54 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by adgjqetuo View Post
Hey, I found a present from my old owner today. I guess when they finished my basement they realized they didn't need this anymore.

I can't disconnect it from the source without tearing down my entire ceiling, so what are my options? Should I just make sure the lugs are tight and get a cover for the box? It's only live when the recessed lighting switch is on inside the other room.
Find out where it comes from, either the switch itself, or one of the recess cans, either way, you can disconnect where it is fed from. You don't have to tear anything down, all recess cans have accessible j-boxes from the inside of the can.
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Old 07-08-2012, 01:49 PM   #4
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I can get a picture but in my basement in a large utility closet I have my HVAC inside it's own closet and the ceiling isn't finished within that smaller closet because of the unit and immediate duct work. I have no plans to hard drywall ceiling there.

It is connected to the can not the switch, although I'm not sure which one. I pulled off the spring housing inside the closest can to the closet but I can't get to any of the wiring bec that part is above the drywall.
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Old 07-08-2012, 01:51 PM   #5
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t but I can't get to any of the wiring bec that part is above the drywall.
All recess cans have accessible j-boxes, you probably have to loosen 3 screws and the can drops out of the ceiling giving you access to the jbox above the ceiling.
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:17 PM   #6
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I will have to take a look but I tried and didn't see any way to get to the wiring. I will look again and post another pic if need be.

Here is how I could see in the rafter:

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Old 07-08-2012, 04:26 PM   #7
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Ok where do I go from here? I don't want to take any screws out I can't put back in later on mistake so I rather be safe than sorry.



This is a total guess though, I have almost 10 can lights down there in that circuit. I had the switch apart before and didn't see it there so I don't know where else it could be coming from.

Last edited by adgjqetuo; 07-08-2012 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:27 PM   #8
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Ok where do I go from here? I don't want to take any screws out I can't put back in later on mistake so I rather be safe than sorry.
Remove those 3 screws. the can will slide out of the ceiling. You may have to run a knife around the outside edge of the can to free it from the sheetrock and as to not have any unintentional blowouts.
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:26 PM   #9
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I pulled down every pot light on that circuit and I couldn't find the wire that feeds that open box. They are all daisy chained together and the last one is on a single wire.

The switch is a 3-way switch system. I double checked the one box that feeds the lights and there is only the 14-3 in and the 14-2 out feeding the can lights, so it's not there either.

I just hope there's not a hidden box somewhere. What should I do next? Get a cover and let it be?
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:02 PM   #10
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You said you have no plans to drywall the area you noticed the box from so just cover it up as it's acessable. Problem solved
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:08 PM   #11
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You said you have no plans to drywall the area you noticed the box from so just cover it up as it's acessable. Problem solved
Just what I was thinking.
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:14 PM   #12
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Yeah that's all I can do. I did some final investigation and concluded there has to be a hidden connection somewhere. If I disconnect the first pot light in the series the extra wire is still live. If I disconnect the common wire on the switch the pot lights and that extra wire both die. So I can only conclude there is some hidden connection between the common and the first pot light.


I just hope it was done correctly and doesn't cause a fire someday. Luckily the wire is only hot when the switch is on and it's not a constant feed.


Last edited by adgjqetuo; 07-08-2012 at 11:21 PM.
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