How to Remove Electrical Wires


The electrical supply in your house is carried from room to room by electrical wires, in much the same way that pipes carry water. Electricity enters your house through a central circuit breaker, which then distributes power to different parts of your home. Removing electrical wires isn't a difficult project, but exercise caution and know the risks when working with electricity.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Needlenose pliers
  • Electrical tape
  • Voltometer
  • Scissors
  • Check with your city or municipality code about DIYers performing electrical work. This can change from location to location. Some cities allow DIYers to perform electrical work, in others you may need a permit, while other locations require a certified professional to do the electrical work.

  • Turn off the electricity to the wires that you wish to remove. If removing household wiring, for example, turn off the circuit that controls the electricity at the main circuit breaker. Identity the breaker that controls the electricity for the wires and move the breaker to the "off" setting.

  • Remove any coverings, such as a socket or junction box cover, so you can access the wires.

  • Test the wires you are removing with a voltmeter. The meter should read "0" when touching the wires with the probes. This will ensure that the electricity has been cut correctly.

  • Unscrew the terminals holding the wires in place with a screwdriver. Pull the wires off the terminals. Bend the wires back with a pair of needlenose pliers, if needed, so you can pull off the wires.

  • Locate the other end of the wires. Disconnect these wires from the terminals or other wires. If these wires are held together with wire nuts, for example, unscrew the wire nuts from the end of the wires. Untwist the wires to get them apart. Use scissors to cut away any electrical tape holding the wires together.

  • Remove the wires by pulling them through the wall or conduit. Pull gently -- don't yank them. This will prevent damage if they get caught on something in a wall space or conduit.

Tips & Warnings

  • Put a piece of electrical tape over the breaker after you have flipped it to the off setting so it isn't accidentally turned on while you're working.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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