I'm sure we've all been there - noticing that one loose, disconnected wire behind an outlet that you have no idea what to do with. It's been back there for who knows how long, and you can't just leave it - it needs to be dealt with. But electrical work can be daunting, and this weird wire is just confusing. Well, it's time to finally fix this issue once and for all.

Identifying the Wire

The first step is to identify what type of wire this is and what it was likely originally connected to. Here are a few possibilities:

Ground Wire

Neutral Wire

Hot Wire

Capped Extra Wire

So take a close look and see if you can identify what type of wire this is in your outlet.

Turn Off the Power

Before doing any electrical work, safety should be the top priority. Make sure the power is shut off at the breaker before touching any wires.

Working on an outlet that is live can result in dangerous shocks. Take the time to power down the circuit you're working on.

Remove the Outlet Cover

With the electricity safely powered down, now you can dig in to fix that wire.

Inspect the Wire

Take a close look at the disconnected wire and try to determine:

Thorough inspection will help you identify the wire and determine the appropriate remedy.

Reconnect It Properly

Once you've determined what type of wire it is, it's time to make the proper connections:

Make sure hot and neutral wires have enough exposed copper to make solid contact with their terminals.

Secure the Connections

It's critical that all wires are securely fastened to prevent loose connections that can spark fires or shocks:

Don't forget to reconnect the ground wire to ensure outlet grounding protection is restored.

Restore Power and Test

You're almost finished - it's now safe to turn the power back on and make sure the outlet is working properly:

That should take care of that nagging loose wire issue behind your outlet. Just be sure to turn the power off first, make solid connections, and test the outlet before buttoning it up. Then you can finally relax knowing that weird wire is fixed, no longer a safety hazard.